C is for Councils & Communions—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Councils & Communions-

From the Cherokee-

The Cherokee often met as councils to discuss important matters, and so it should be no surprise that the animals and the plants also preferred to meet and discuss things together.

50-word-or-less summary:

Animals gathered as council to discuss hunting from the humans. If humans kill without prayer of thanks, illnesses will afflict them. Plants gathered as council to discuss the healing of humans as a result of the animals’ plan. Anyone sick turned to Shaman who communed with spirits of the plants.

Version of Origin of Medicine story: http://www.indigenouspeople.net/origmedi.htm

Compare to History:

Back in 2000 BC, people viewed much of healing to come from eating different roots. Then, by 1000 AD, people saw these practices as being heathen and focused more on prayer. We have moved on to pills and antibiotics. Yet, by 2007, we are leaning towards natural ways of medicines and returning to eating different roots. The Cherokee have used herbs such as cherry bark for coughs, colds, and diarrhea. Hemlock could cure the flu. Combinations of plants already know by the Cherokee have been transformed to medicine such as penicillin.

Another Story Version Combined with History: https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-cherokeemedicine/

From Turkey-

The communion is to Allah and yet also takes place at the grave of the girl’s mother. Such a combination allows the girls’s mother to share the answers through the blessing of Allah. May we commune with whomever we deem as our Higher Power and increase our love and devotion to family.

50-word-or-less summary:

Sultana sick. Any who help die. Girl prays to Allah. Voice says use milk. Sultana cured! Birthed dragon! Dragon prince killed teachers. Girl’s stepmother offered girl as teacher. Communed. Given staff. Dragon pacified. Dragon to marry?. Ate bride. Marry girl now? Communed. Hedgehog Mask. Dragon skin taken off—human!

Version of The Dragon Prince story: https://books.google.com/books?id=Bi7fBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=folktale+prayer+sick&source=bl&ots=WFgW7O_F6_&sig=ACfU3U0JmRfP7AH-dceJV4n4dTlwMaIQKw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiBk9yGssvoAhWObs0KHdFgBicQ6AEwDHoECAUQAQ#v=onepage&q=folktale%20prayer%20sick&f=false

Compare to History:

Throughout time, people have argued about allowing prayer and the dedicated time to commune. In 1962, prayer was banned in American schools. On January 16, 2020, President Trump commemorated National Religious Freedom Day in the Oval Office with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim students. The president sent out an updated guidance to schools on the exercise of religious freedom. This is an emotional topic and will forever be something to ponder.

More on the History: https://www.npr.org/2020/01/16/796864399/exclusive-trump-to-reinforce-protections-for-prayer-in-schools

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19. Our postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

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