This last week has all been about folklore, the latest and 8th studio album by Taylor Swift. I couldn’t have guessed she would choose this title for her exquisite collection of new lullabies. Though it’s absolute perfection for us during this global pandemic to bring us into a kingdom where folklore meets us in the cold dark shadows and guides us into the warm light with a hypnotic spell she casts from the magical seat of her piano. Story telling, folklore, and metaphors are my passion and maybe that’s part of why I’m drawn to her music. It speaks to my spirit.
Taylor introduces us to her world through a forest cabin we can only dream of. A cauldron by the hearth, a wicker broom stands next to her, with bare feet in a cotton nightgown. She plays her magical piano that opens a portal to a fairy realm with fantastic waterfalls, cool green moss, and ancient trees. She cast a spell and I happily surrender to this remarkable storytelling.
This lullaby is reminiscent of the night time stories we loved as small children. The magical story telling that made it easier for us to escape our fears of the dark and our worldly worries so we could drift of to sleep peacefully. Ancient folklore, mythology, and legends inspire us and comfort us. Which is exactly what we need during this global pandemic.
The stories of our ancestors were historically told orally, memorized, and passed down to generations to come. We know the tales of heroic Thor, the siren song story of the little mermaid, and the never ending rabbit hole to wonderland. These tales taught us mystery, courage, and wisdom to carry us through countless battles with mystical beasts.
Sometimes the stories infiltrated our hearts with fright, but we battled those monsters of Grimm with battle axes and other incredulous weapons of war. These are the fables that plow into our souls to show us where our fears sit so we can unseat them and toss them into the abyss of flames to become ashes of our past. These adventures take us into cold places where we’re met with our own reflections. These opportunities to discover who we really are, what we’re really made of. Where we defeat dragons.
Folklore has traditionally been a vehicle for our learning. It’s been an avenue for growth. A highway for change. We’re given time to pause and reflect on our choices. Gifted storytelling rips at our souls, pulls weeds from hard ground, and cultivates moist rich soil for possibilities.
This oral tradition of stories weaves a pattern for survival whenever humans go through a collective chaos whether that be a pandemic, financial disruptions, or even mass deaths from war. Our heroes victories gain momentum and become legends for their sacrifice for the greater good. Where are the heroes today? This pandemic we’re staggering through has shown us the value and importance of our health care professionals. They’re our modern legends and their stories are being told to give us pause about our next steps out of our homes. When humans are faced with a global crisis we stand in solidarity with one another.
This album, folklore, arrived in our world right when we needed it. Millions of Swifties are tweeting about their uncontrollable crying while listening to this magical collection of lullabies. The perfect combination of instruments, the tone, the beats, and the lyrics to set the stage for our journey to safety. This sound healing that vibrates to our core and whispers, “Everything is going to be ok. We’ll get through this together.” Surviving a pandemic is new territory for us. Most of the world’s population has never experienced such a togetherness crisis before. The collective fear manufactures a hysteria in a way we’re not accustomed to. Humans scatter under a plunging wave like fish when a rock is hurled into their peaceful coral reef. Voices in leadership have been so divided. Families stuck at home sorting through their emotions alone. Depression, fear, agony. In the early days of America, Puritans experienced a similar fate. Would they, will we, die?
This stillness of folklore reminds us to go within, to be grounded again. To dig our heels into the earth and breathe deep. It’s perfectly acceptable to allow our minds to wander through this storytelling, it brings an escape..a healing. The queen of song writing offered our culture an opportunity to embrace the power of folklore to carry us through this storm. In 1964, The Beatles came to America and their music brought healing to an entire generation. Here we are, repeating history. We’ll be ok, we’ll get through this…together.
“Love you to the Moon and to Saturn, passed down like folk songs, the love lasts so long.” ~Taylor Swift