There are cultures in which stories are so sacred that they can’t be told by an outsider. Many of these cultures won’t even tell these stories to an outsider. A special challenge arises when these stories are “leaked” into the wider world and are told anyway.
As a Transformational Storyteller, I seek out stories from different cultures and traditions – this is absolutely essential to the work. It has been my consistent experience that when people of multiple perspectives have open-hearted encounters, the depth of their own spiritual lives in their home traditions deepens remarkably. This has led me more than once to encounter a sacred story that had been taken from its cultural owners and inappropriately shared.
These stories came to me through what seemed to be completely legitimate means. Yet further and careful investigation – usually in happy collaboration with other storytellers – revealed their truly “sacrosanct” nature, and so I no longer tell them.
Happily, this issue took an unexpected turn when one of my students was able to have the Chief Priest of the River Olu (in Odogbolu) tell the authentic story and set straight the variations that have crept in over years and years of retelling.
That story will be posted in its entirety soon as part of our Africa project. Have a quick look now, and stay tuned!