H. A. Byrd

Stories Are Here For Us 

Many of us are exhausted, and ready for a breath of fresh air. I know I am. Relaxing with a book can be a source of comfort on several levels.

It is painful but fortunate that our eyes are opening to the reality of the society in which we live. The darker side of human nature has recently accelerated the onslaughts which are a natural result of that darkness. We respond with the light, the love, the brighter side of our humanity. We work together to save us from ourselves, just like in generation after generation of stories.

Our ancestors around the world lived through difficult, sometimes unspeakable events. They shared the wisdom gained from these experiences by telling stories. We have a wealth of knowledge in the form of mythologies, sacred texts and oral traditions. These stories can help us to improve our lives, giving us perspective or adjusting our thinking. They can help us to cope.

In modern thinking, the insect which rested conspicuously on a man’s head for a couple of minutes during political debate did so as a random event. It could have happened to anyone. What are the chances, though, that a bird perched on a candidate’s podium in a crowded venue, and also a fly rested for a couple of minutes on the head of another during a debate? Throughout the ages, small birds have represented clarity, purity of the soul, and new beginnings. Flies have been associated with refuse and corruption. There is a thin line between superstition and usefully noticing these symbols that nature gives us, but our traditional stories and sacred texts are full of them.

Symbols are integral to our lives, our brains recognize them and depend on them for processing information. Traditional knowledge within and across cultural boundaries, expressed through symbols since time out of mind, has woven societies rich with culture. Artful uses of archetypal images such as this bird and fly are a joy to come across in fiction and poetry. These symbols are significant because we use them to interpret what we observe in literature and in life.

Personally, I’ve always had an interest in symbols. Symbolic images in dreams, in artwork and literature (particularly in traditional fantasy) intrigue me. Enthusiasm in recognizing symbols helps the reader to appreciate the story Aru’s Realm both artistically and sociologically.

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