The Crane Bag is a podcast that explores myths and stories from around the world, bringing them alive through guitar, drum, and the power of the spoken word. You can become a Patreon Supporter of the podcast at the link below (or right here) and receive free access to online storytelling classes and performances as well as additional stories, including the epic of Gilgamesh, Sufi stories, Russian fairy tales, and more. New stories are added on a regular basis.
Episode 51: The Birth of Athena
Where do the gods come from? If you're a goddess of wisdom and strategy, the recipe for your arrival includes a divine headache, a sparrow caught in a rainstorm and a rowdy craft project carried out inside the skull of your dad. Of course!
Note:This episode is most appropriate for audiences 15 years old and up.
Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510), Pallas e Centauro (detail)
Support the Art of Storytelling!
A story can be a journey, a medicine, and a map to territories of the soul. If you are able to support the crucial work of getting stories out into the world, please do so! Patreon Supporters of the podcast receive access to occasional online storytelling events as well as to extra podcast episodes, interviews, and poems; donations to the podcast help to bring the wild and magical power of story into the world to nourish us all in a deep way.
Episodes are listed (somewhat) chronologically below; for more specific listings,
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Episode 65: Miguel Rivera and the Poetry of Humberto Ak'Abal
"In the churches/you can only hear the prayers/of the trees/converted into pews." In this episode we explore our relations to the earth, first through the Seneca story of "the Storytelling Stone" and then through the poetry of Humberto Ak'Abal as translated by the healer and ceremony-maker Miguel Rivera.
Rags and Leaves
Is true love a matter of the heart, or of dumb luck? In this Sicilian tale a rose tossed from a balcony leads to cold winds, a creaking shack in the mountains and an endless cycle of dreams that can only be escaped by welcoming the most scraggly and unloved parts of our world to the feast.
Episode 66: Naqqali Storytelling with Morshed Saghi and Arash Ali Farhadipour
An exploration of Iranian Naqqali storytelling with Morshed Saghi and Arash Ali Farhadipour, storytellers who bring the ancient epic known as the Shahnameh ("The Persian Book of Kings") alive for contemporary audiences through music, theater and the power of the spoken word.
Episode 62: The Firebird
The burning red feather of desire is there on the forest path, but the horse beneath you says look buddy trouble awaits if you pick up that burning bright glimmering thing. Trouble does await, of course, and it's the beautiful trouble of a Russian tale able to remind us of the dialogue between what we want and what we need.
Episode 64: Clare Murphy on Irish Myth, Storytelling, and the Universe Story
The Irish storyteller Clare Murphy has brought her love of myth to audiences around the world as well as to veterans, health care workers and scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This episode begins with her telling of "The Curse of Macha" and goes on to explore the many ways in which the rowdy power of myth opens us to the depths and heights of this world.
"The Handless Maiden" is a violent yet beautiful story found in over one hundred versions worldwide. In this episode JL and special guest Elaine Stanton explore the story together, voyaging into the wild forest of its dream-images to drink from the nourishing waters to be found there.
Please note that this story is most suitable for listeners 15 years old and up.
Episode 61: "The Woman of the Sea" told by Regi Carpenter
Can the wildness of the ocean marry the day-to-day life of the rough earth? In "The Woman of the Sea" a woman born for the ocean is compelled to live a life on land. This episode features a telling of this story by Regi Carpenter followed by an interview in which we consider the depths of this story and of the storyteller's art.
Valemon, the White Bear King
What happens when one of the lords of the animal world snuffles towards you carrying the golden wreath of eternity on his back? Find out what wind blows through this question once a young princess marries a bear and plunges into depths even her dreams forgot to tell her about.
Episode 50: "The Fox Woman" told by Danny Deardorff
The American storyteller Danny Deardorff (1952--2019) brought many stories flourishing up into the light of his wild voice. In this episode we explore his telling of "The Fox Woman," a Siberian tale of confinement and escape able to awaken the salt-taste of the infinite in our own animal souls.
Episode 59: The Power of Dreams with Peter Fortunato
In this episode we explore the power of dreams, first through a story from the One Thousand and One Nights and then through an interview with the poet, author and healer Peter Fortunato. The result is a wide-ranging exploration of dreamwork, poetry, and our relations to the earth.
Episode 48: Odin and the Well of Wisdom Re-visited
Do we see with our eyes alone, or with the mind? In this episode we return to the story of Odin and the Well of Wisdom, exploring it as a means to understand both inner and outer vision with special guest optometrist and vision therapist Dr. Larry Wallace.
Breville mini smart oven.
Photo by Kazuend on Unsplash
Episode 54: "The Oldest Boy" told by Walton Stanley
What do the gods and spirits of this world want from us? Climb into the sealskin boots of this question and journey away from your whalebone lodge into the depths, perhaps finding there an answer to the question of our place in the imagination of the world. A story from the far north told by Walton Stanley, followed by an interview with Jay Leeming.
Episode 44: Odin and the Well of Wisdom
Where do we come from, and where do we go? Would any of us give up our sense of sight for a look into worlds within? In this episode we explore the Norse myth of Odin and the Well of Wisdom, both through the story itself and through an interview with Indo-European scholar Erick James Dodge.
Photo: Valeriy Poltorak
Please click on the images below to access each individual episode.