A short collection of short stories

As a teller of tales, I often take stories I have heard, or read and like the Soul Sculptress in the story below I breathe new life into them. I cannot share my written versions of these stories for I was not the one who birthed them but I will share a few of my own. Bear in mind that the short stories I write are created for traditional oral telling, which is very different to stories that are intended to be read. 

An ongoing series of informational entries

The Sculptress of Souls by Rowan Morrison

February 14, 2018

The short story below is a fusion of my work as a community educator and my shamanic practice. I was given this ‘oral story’ in the dream-time to share for International Women’s Day. It is written from a feminist perspective and is dedicated to all the women whose souls could bear the pain no longer, souls that have fragmented like shards of glass to the four winds. It was written to be spoken in coordination with playing of the frame drum.


Sculptress of souls

It is the shamanic belief that in addition to the world we inhabit, there is also a lower, middle and upper world. I invite you to take a journey with me to the lower world where the spirits of the 4 legged, 2 legged, the finned, the winged ones and the creepy crawlers go when their bodies are returned to the earth. There are many doorways to this land, but to get there we must close our earthly eyes and see with our hearts. We must ride the sound of the drum and allow it carry us to a place where there is no day and there is no night, that is all and yet nothing.


The spirit of the drum is calling you, its sound, like the heartbeat of mother earth…..are you there yet? Can you see the old stone giants that have stood for all eternity, to bear witness to the inhumanity of man against woman?


Breathe deeply and stay silent, for the sculptress of souls is coming your way. Her footsteps shake the ground, as this earth goddess comes ever nearer. Her hair the colour of menstrual blood, her skin black and thick as tar, her belly round and full of the breath of life. For it is she, who sings the souls of the dead home, to this land of sweet resurrection.


The souls of women, whose broken bodies and spirits, have chosen to be reborn into another form. A form that knows no shame for not being good enough, slim enough or pretty enough. A form that is not judged by a society, that whispers “she must have asked for it” and shouts “why doesn't she just leave him?”


With her big fat fingers, the mother sculptress moulds new life from the warm, wet earth. She lovingly creates a vessel for the souls of wounded women. A vessel that is transformed in the sacred fire that burns beside her huge body. As she pulls these lifeless forms of newborn flesh and blood from the flames. She places her mouth to their hearts and gently breathes life into them. They are no longer inanimate objects, they are living breathing creatures.


Before she returns the once fragmented souls of her broken and battered daughters to the earth world, she gently kisses them one last time and watches, as they spread their feathered wings and take flight, as wild birds that cannot be caged ever again.


Just as these birds are returned to the world above, so must we. For only lost souls are permitted to dwell in the lower world. It is time to ride the sound of the drum and return once more to a land where man is still master of a female race that is enslaved by unspoken cultural rules that require women to be submissive rather than strong.


They say a soul can remember, so if you see a bird that has the courage to look into your eyes before it flies off into the sky, it might just be a bird who once had a human soul. Show this daughter of the soul sculptress the kindness she never received from mankind, when she was once a human woman and let her fly free.

The Mechanical Heart by Rowan Morrison

February 14, 2018

The little bird seemed ordinary in every way, except inside her feathered body she had a tiny mechanical heart made of gold. But her yellow heart had grown rusty, for she was kept inside a small cage by a lonely man. Although it was furnished with beautiful trinkets to keep the bird happy, a cage is still a cage no matter what it holds inside.


One day the lonely man forgot to lock the cage and upon seeing this, the little bird felt a cog turn in her golden heart and a faint flutter in her feathered breast.Then she heard a soft whisper on the wind that said, “little bird with the heart of gold, fly once more before you grow too old”. So, she hopped outside her finely furnished prison and felt another cog move inside her breast. Then all at once, every bit of her tiny mechanical heart began to move, to twist, to turn. Then a small joyous sound, flew out of her beak and disappeared into the night.


Something very strange was happening to the little bird, something very strange indeed. She looked around for the lonely man, but he was nowhere to be seen. Dare she? Could she still fly? She remembered the what the wind had told her, with a beat of her tiny wings she flew off high into the sky. What a glorious feeling, to be finally free. To do what birds do best, to fly, fly, fly. 


On that wondrous night she flew so high she visited the man in the moon who told her stories of old. Then she visited the silver stars who sung her long-lost songs. It really was the most magical of nights. Perhaps that is why the little bird didn’t feel the pain grow stronger inside her mechanical heart. So, she flew ever higher for she wanted to see the creator and thank him for her feathered wings. But her wings grew heavy and her tiny heart grew tired until they both finally stopped beating. 


The body of the little bird fell back to earth and landed beside the cage that had been her home. No life left in it, for once you have escaped you can never go back inside. 


The next morning, the lonely man came with seeds for the little bird and cried a solitary tear to find her dead. He plucked a red feather from her breast, then buried her in his favourite part of the garden, before he went out to buy another little bird to keep in his cage.

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“When Rowan tells a story she transforms and pulls you into another realm. It is magical!” (Barbara Neznek)

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