Once upon a time, there was a wee lassie who would sit as quiet as a moose while she listened to her auld granny tell stories by their smoky coal fire. These stories spoke to her soul, fed her imagination, and made her believe in magic and miracles. That of course was me, and that childhood experience was the seed that grew into a belief in the power of storytelling for personal and social change.
I trained as a Community Artist, as a Theatre of the Oppressed Facilitator and went on to take a degree in Community Education. During the last 40 years I have worked with many marginalised communities who experience great inequalities, as I am passionate about social justice and women's issues. I have used storytelling with children to teach them about abuse, with young people to explore various issues and with adults as a medium to raise awareness of mental health, domestic violence and homelessness.
As a professional storyteller I like to tell in the mither tounge, as Scots vernacular is an incredibly beautiful language. I have a deep love of Scottish folklore and tales. I am especially interested in stories that are connected to the landscape, such as the Cailleach myths, for these are as old as mankind. And, tales that are connected to the shore - the liminal place where land meets sea. My favourites are of the seal folk, perhaps because I long to shift my shape and swim off into the deep blue sea.
I have told stories at both international and local level but the best places for telling stories is under the stars or beside a crackling fire. Stories are enchanted threads that can lead you into the depths of the dark forest, enable you to see the hidden folk, to run with the wild deer and take you swimming with selkies. What can be more magical than that?
I also trained as a cross-cultural shamanic teacher and have researched traditional folk magic from my own land. The beliefs of the Fairy Faith. The practices of cunning folk and wise women. Witchcraft and counter witchcraft rituals. My workshops aim to give people a deeper connection to myth and magic, the three realms, the old festivals, the otherworld and the ways of the wise woman. I have just started to runs some of these workshops again and hope to be able to run some small gatherings in the Scottish highlands in 2022.
After years of writing my own original short stories and rewriting traditional tales for oral telling. I decided it was time to publish some of my work. I am currently working on an Anthology of Scottish Witch Folktales, which if the Carlin Wife approves will be published sometime in 2022. It is growing arms and legs and is a mammoth task.
When I am not doing all of the above, I like to draw, paint and make all manner of strange creations (some of which I have shared on the page below) and most days can be found walking around Loch Leven with my two little dogs.
“When Rowan tells a story she transforms and pulls you into another realm. It is magical!” (Barbara Neznek)