Martin Shaw: Foundational Stones towards Mythtelling


only love…

Originally posted on The EarthLines Review:

Martin Shaw photoMartin Shaw is a mythologist, storyteller and wilderness rites-of-passage guide. Author of the award-winning ‘A Branch From The Lightning Tree: ecstatic myth and the grace in wildness’, he leads the Oral Tradition: Myth, Folktale, and Fairy Tale programme at Stanford University in the U.S., and is visiting lecturer on Desmond Tutu’s leadership programme at Oxford University. Director of the Westcountry School of Myth on Dartmoor, he lived under canvas for four years to get a deeper sense of the pockets of the wild still contained in Great Britain.

Foundational Stones Towards Mythtelling

1. The Wild Crucible of the Psyche

Get out into the mountains and pray and fast. Travel for at least a day to get there. Don’t do this alone, get a trained wilderness rites-of-passage guide to support you. Take four days. Open yourself to the vast story, and in doing so, to the realisation that your psyche…

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Hold on


His dark moods are rollercoaster rides;

sugar rushing, teeth crunching, too much!

Deep dips of blackness, take me to the edge,

balancing on egg shells, carefull not to crack.


Hands grip on for the ride;

nails leave marks in my skin.

Stomach dips high, then low;

vital blood pumps thick; fast.


Is it safe to get off yet?








Goodbye long lengths of Loch;

muscular mountain ranges;

barrels of blue sky…


Farewell languid lie-ins,

family fued fueled games

timeless talks, endless days.


Ah’ll be seein ya

crunchy heather haunches, 

soft snowy slopes, sunlit corners

be back again…


Abundance of Onslaught


 No bridge between worlds

 have or have not,

planet of the teenager.

Little boy lost, young man found

in the darkness of his shadow, hidden

on the overgrown ground.

Daily he hand-crafts me a coffin;

from threads of imagination.

Limpet love poured around me

split second to

maniacal murder plot.

I’ll never leave you;

wish you were dead.

Turbulent hormones

mashed round in his head.

Tied Down



You tie me down,

weight me with

your wanton, misplaced


Almost free but not;

I look at my feet, bleeding,

sunlight glints on salvaged nails

hammered through my skin.

Bone, muscle, blood skin,

all yours;

heart beats for else where.

barely concious of your busy tools

tap, tap, tapping, through the night.






The expanse of you, cracks open

my heart; frees it’s song;

dusty rooms, closed doors. 

No more do words dwell; ‘shouldn’t be’ 

or lonely moments, all gone.

You stretch me out, so completely I 

feel whole, once more. 

If I sit here long enough

my hardened edge will

be smoothed away by

his determination, to win me.

He doesn’t know, however

I am already in 

the palm of his hand.

We will play this game,

for the rest of time, until I

am nothing but a smooth pebble.