Doorways to the Soul, 52 Wisdom Tales from Around the World, by Elisa Davy Pearmain, published by Resource Publications; Portland OR, 2007, a slim 138 pages.
When I got this book I was originally going to read it as suggested - one story a week. But the stories are so good I went through more than a story a day. In each case I saw something that applied to my inner work and life. I will be reading this again a story a week and going deeper with it and have recently been dipping into it! It is one of those books I will be returning to again and again like the Tao Te Ching, a book I use for inspiration and guidance.
The stories are great stories by themselves, so even if you were to get nothing from the intent of the book (which is HIGHLY unlikely) then you still have a great book of tales. Most of the stories are traditional folk tales and parables and come from all cultures. There are Buddhist tales, tales from India, Hasidic, Sufi and First American tales, European, African, Zen and Christian tales which all offer great insight to ourselves and the world around us. Some of the tales are less than a page in length, others are longer at two or three pages.
The 'work' Elisa Pearmain suggests you do is explore the story, visualize the story, write about the story, explore the story through expressive art form, make a personal connection to the story, try on the ideas of the story, share it with others and create a personal vision to guide your journey using the stories and book as a whole. These are all a series of exercises Pearmain suggests and offers ideas of 'how to use' at the end of each tale. Of course you can pick and chose what you want to do with each story, if anything. Each story has a depth to it which can be plumbed using the techniques Pearmain offers. And you can discover parts of yourself and your life in these tales. As I read them I saw myself in ways I did not before, sometimes as the 'bad guy', which caught me off guard. The stories teach healing and forgiveness and gives one an opportunity to forgive oneself and those around you. You can gain insight from the stories which could help you on your journey through life, spiritually or not.
This book could be good for so many applications for all ages. I can see religious leaders and teachers, and therapists using it, parents with their children using it (grief and loss), people who are stuck in a rut, people who have lost their spiritual path and want to get back on track, or as a book of great tales for storytellers and story lovers alike. It is a beautiful book and a gentle book, well written and presented in a clear way. Some of the tales you might know, some will be different versions of tales you have heard before, and some, I am sure, will be new to you. And the price is perfect. The book is well bound and is of good quality so will stand the test of time from reading it again and again which I plan on doing.
I bought this book and have no regrets at all.