The WonderLit Path
What is the WonderLit Path?
The WonderLit Path s a self-study course that invites you to experience the renewing, healing power of fairy tales by delving into a story and exploring it for yourself.
With the guidance of a published author who is also a seasoned storyteller, you will begin by choosing a fairy tale that you find meaningful. Then, going at your own pace, you will be offered a series of writing exercises that will take you into the story you've chosen to explore. Using your own imagination, you'll move into the tale, meet the characters, witness the events, and, through the richness of your own imagination, discover what the story means to you.
Who is WonderLit for?
The WonderLit Path is for people who:
- are interested in fairy tales and what they mean.
- like to write and use their imagination along with other artistic skills like drawing and performing.
- wish to gain new insight into what is going on in their inner world and their path in life.
- wish to be supported on their journey by the metaphors of the universal human journey.
- enjoy conversing with others and would like to deepen their conversations and make more soulful connections with the natural world.
In short, this course is for you if you want to stretch and strengthen your imagination, and become more deeply self-aware through the rich imagery of a fairy tale.
WonderLit in a Nutshell
There are fifteen chapters on the WonderLit Path, and they are divided into three sections: WARM UP, JOURNEY and DEEP WORK.
When you enter the WARM UP, you'll receive guidance in choosing your fairy tale. If it's your first time through, you'll be encouraged to choose a short tale—a story that you feel connected to, with a strong structure and a classic happy ending. As you move through the WARM UP, you'll be looking at your story as a whole. You'll find out how you're connected to the tale, you'll meet the characters, and you'll map the territory. By the end of the WARM UP you will know why you were drawn to the story, and you'll be able to tell it to friends.
After the WARM UP you'll embark on a JOURNEY, following in the footsteps of your main character. Starting in the protagonist's "home state," you'll discover the narrative that governs the status quo in your story. You'll explore how your protagonist departs from the status quo, and, as you move into the adventure, you'll discover how your character's adventures relate to real life.
Throughout the JOURNEY, you'll be writing with more and more flow, and making a "breadcrumb trail" of insights as you complete each chapter. At the end of the JOURNEY, you will understand what your protagonist's liberation means to you. You'll be able to tell your story with power and conviction, through different points of view. You will also have written a lot of material that will enrich your life in a variety of ways.
After you have finished the JOURNEY, you may decide to go on to the third part of the course, and do some DEEP WORK with the story. Here you'll have the opportunity to examine the powers that were overthrown in your story, and to ask questions that remain unanswered at the end of the story. Your considerations may lead you to explore or write new stories, to forge new paths of reconciliation.
Throughout your journey, you'll be seeing the many facets of the jewel that is your fairy tale. You'll understand why you chose it, and feel some of the "medicine" it has to offer. The whole process will give you a way to exercise your mythic imagination and enrich your experience as an artist and as a person.
How do I take the course?
You can take the journey by yourself or in a group. You may wish to go through the exercises on your own, or you might prefer to take the course with a small group of friends—study partners, a writing group, or a book club. The exercises are not only lively and fun, they also lead to soulful conversations, so it can be advantageous to do them with trusted friends in informal settings.
You can set your own pace. The WonderLit Path is divided into three sections so you can celebrate your accomplishments at the end of each one. You set the pace. We recommend that you stick to the time and frequency you set until you get to the end of the section. So, for example, you might choose to do one chapter every week, or one every two weeks. The complete JOURNEY subscription to WonderLit lasts for a year, so if you start at the beginning of the year, you'll have plenty of time to immerse yourself in all of the material.
You can return to explore a new story. If you have completed the course, you might wish to do it again with another character in the same story, or with a different story. You'll know your own timing. You may wish to do the WARM UP several times with different stories, and then choose one in which to embark on the JOURNEY. It's up to you!
What is the WonderLit method?
The WonderLit method is based on three premises:
1 To know a fairy tale is to experience it for yourself.
In WonderLit, we're not trying to find out what fairy tales mean in any absolute sense. We’re interested in what the story means to you. Through the power of your own imagination, you'll see things that lead you to personal and universal insights. For example, if you’re exploring Hansel and Gretel, the experience of being “lost in the woods” will likely connect you to your personal experience as well as to the wisdom of all human beings who have found themselves “lost in a dark wood.”
2 Respect the lines of the story as it is presented and then go between them.
Charles Dickens once wrote, "In a utilitarian age...it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected."
Many people find that while they’re attracted to a particular story, it has aspects that don’t feel comfortable. That’s typical of fairy tales! Our approach is to embrace the story, warts and all, and come to know it on its own terms. Once you accept the story, you can use your creative imagination to step between the lines and look around with your own eyes.
3 The story is a territory.
In WonderLit, we’re entering the story as if it were a country, a space that can be explored. We can move around in this country, meet the inhabitants, and time-travel through the changing events.
Sound like fun?
What People Say about WonderLit
WonderLit rocks! It is so much fun and multifaceted. The learning is applicable to where I have been, where I am now, and where I want to go. It’s been very interesting from the instructional design perspective to experience how Michelle Tocher, the course author, pegged so many of the things that learners are demanding these days—very personalized learning, total engagement, depth, relevance, and options (no single answer is the right one.) I'm much more able, after taking the WonderLit course, to expand my viewpoint as a writer, fully developing my characters, which substantially enhances my readers' experience. I loved this course, and I’ve gained immeasurable strength and peace as well as empowerment on this magical journey back to my strongest self."
Jen Berghage, veteran Instructional Designer, Penn State World Campus, Artist, Writer, and Beadweaver
Through Michelle, I learned how to enter into the story, discover the characters, and let the story unfold. The process was magical, and brought me back to my childhood love for fairy tales. Since then I've attended every class and workshop of Michelle's that I could. I've explored characters such as the Thirteenth Wise Woman, Cinderella, and the Fairy Godmother. And largely due to Michelle, I wrote a play "The Sorrowkeeper," which I later took to the stage. Michelle's work brings light to dark places, and magic to illuminate our everyday lives."
Katie Curtin, Life Coach and Founder of "The Creativity Cafe"
Following Michelle's guidance through such territories as "mapping the landscape," "deep spells and first awakenings," "allies in impossibility," and "when spells break," I discovered not only the depth-within-simplicity of fairy tales, but also previously unknown meanings within my own personal story. The exploration of (The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs) through writing, psychodrama, and Michelle's forms of understanding, enabled some spell-breaking and a welcomed further descent into my humble humanity. I do not exaggerate. I am very grateful for having encountered Michelle and her devotion to liberating the psyche through the magic of fairy tales."
Anthony Wilson, Psychotherapist and Singer-Songwriter
When I was working with Beauty and the Beast, Beauty did not attract me. In fact she repelled me. I was much more drawn to the Beast. I found Beauty to be icky and filled with false virtue. Sacrificial, Sickly sweet. Goody two shoes. I wanted to smack her. The Beast's raging and tormented self seemed more believable. Familiar. However, when I ventured into each of them, I found that Beauty needed to marry the Beast, as much as he needed to marry her! They needed to marry one another to become Real. For as with all of us humans, they were neither one nor the other. And surrender to love for one another was a way to make each one Real."
Sage Walker, Spiritual Educator and Counselor