Abracadia Storytelling Course


Strand 2: The Storyteller’s Toolkit

This unit runs mainly through webinars and one to one sessions. Participants may choose as many as required from the tools below (to complete the full course a minimum of two are needed); assessment by written submission or oral presentation:
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  • Sound and meaning:

What are the meanings of the letters and sounds that words are made of, and how can we use word-sound and shape to empower the stories that we live and the tales (of all kinds, new and old) that we tell? The unit uses global storytelling traditions to explore such elements as:
  • The letters we use have innate meaning, and words carry this as well their semantic load. In this unit we experience the vibration-spectrum of wordsound textures, from sound and letter families to hard letters and the meanings in their hardness to soft ones and their meanings.

  • Letter shapes: The visual impact of letter shapes and what they signify, and the physiological effects of making or hearing the sounds they make.

  • The global legacy of wordsound and power: in Vedic mantras, African and African Diaspora spoken-word traditions, in kaballah, and in modern English.


  • Archetype Profiles:

Archetypes are the universal unchanging models of human development encoded in the 6,000-year legacy of human wisdom and experience found in the combined mythologies of the world. This unit takes a fascinating tour through that global legacy, exploring the following archetype elements:
  • thematic categories of experience (e.g. challenge, opportunity, learning, teaching, stasis, change, conflict, union, quest, discovery, transition, permanence, vision, passion, mission, journey, acquiring and sharing)

  • models of character development (e.g. divine child, trickster, virgin, hero, crone, king, queen, wise elder)

  • organizing principles (e.g. line, geometry, cosmology, number, trajectory, velocity).


A full archetype profile is not just a character, as often assumed. It represents a stage in our journey as an individual and as a community. What is your own archetype profile and trajectory, and how can we use archetypes to navigate in life situations? What are the archetypal elements involved in the your own issues, personal, social or professional, and how can they best be used?

  • Signifying Monkey: The Power of Symbols:

How can storytellers use the power of signification to make a story stick?
  • signs

  • symbols

  • alchemy

  • icons

  • poetic devices

  • rhythm

  • totem

  • taboo


This unit explores the use of these signifiers in traditional stories from all around the world, and it offers useful pointers on how to use them in creating and telling your own stories and in adapting or telling traditional ones.

  • Moving Beyond Content:

  • How to recognize and convey deeper meanings and significances in language, wordsound, symbols, rhythm and structure, using case studies drawn from story traditions from a global range of cultures. And how to convey hidden meaning subliminally using spoken word techniques from different traditions.


  • Telling Without Words:

  • How to add depth and life to a story by using objects and Non-Verbal Communication (e.g. movement, posture, gaze, breathing, music, rhythm, song and silence).