Storyteller

(Minstrel, Narrator)

The classic Storyteller/Minstrel archetype relays the wisdom or foolishness, mistakes and successes, facts and fiction, and tales of love and the impossible, on a plane that is often exaggerated beyond ordinary life. Love is greater, power is more daring, successes are more astonishing, and foolishness is more obvious. We have an archetypal need to be spoken to through stories because they bring us into contact with our inner being. We are, in fact, storytellers by nature. Those who have this archetype find that the Storyteller’s voice and methods are essential to their way of communicating and perceiving the world. Some teachers are also connected with the Storyteller archetype, but not all Storytellers are teachers. Not all writers are Storytellers, but authors of fiction must be. A Storyteller communicates not just facts but also a metaphoric learning or experience. Storytellers abound in any walk of life, not just among professional writers.

The tradition of the Minstrel reveals how essential the Storyteller’s role was in medieval culture, because Minstrels were expected to tell stories and sing stories as a way of entertaining a group as well as passing on the news of the day.

The shadow Storyteller is, in the extreme, a liar, and, in moderation, an exaggerator. The temptation always exists to misuse the skill of storytelling to your own advantage when sharing information. The shadow aspect manifests when we can’t resist making up a story to conceal something we don’t want to be truthful about. But the universal appeal of storytelling throughout history suggests some deeper connection of this archetype with the human soul. The oldest written works we possess, from the Gilgamesh Epic to the Bible to the Odyssey, use storytelling to make their points. Maybe it’s simply a reflection of the sense that each of our lives is a story worth telling, or a desire to impose order on what sometimes seems like a chaotic and random universe.