The film, A Monster Calls, by J.A. Bayona, from the book by Patrick Ness, is a story of life and death, of pain and of healing. It is a Celtic story that is set in the modern world—one that feels very dark and very real. Yet, it is also a fairytale… one that uses fairytales to demonstrate how the metaphor relates to the reality.
A young boy, named Conor, summons a monster of the old yew tree he sees from his bedroom window. He calls upon the monster to help save his dying mother and punish both his wicked grandmother and cruel playground bullies.
The yew monster tells Conor three stories, to elicit the boy’s own truth—based upon his own short, but pain-soaked experience of life. Through sketching and watercolour paintings, this age-old tale comes to life, as the boy expresses himself through creativity, as taught by the mother he is losing to cancer.
The movie deals with many themes, yet those which stand out are: life and death, light and dark, beauty and terror, relationships, and most of all, healing.
When we appreciate the Celtic understanding of the yew tree and its power, we see this most profound of trees embraces life and death, light and dark, beauty and terror, relationships, and most of all, healing.
A Monster Calls, is thus a metaphor for the yew. It symbolises our deep connection to the yew tree and how this connection can adjust our viewpoint; change our perspective.
This is the nature of storytelling and why stories were so important to the people we refer to as the Celts. Indeed, when we shift our focus to Celtic Reiki, we again see the power of stories and how an allegory or fairytale can be used to deliver the very thing, explored within the story.
Through watching A Monster Calls, we find ourselves reflecting upon our own life experiences, we notice our own ties to the stories and we empathise with the protagonist and his suffering. Through these internal bonds, the monster of the yew tree (and the yew tree itself) heals us too.
The Celtic Reiki essences are stories, adventures, perspectives that deliver the experience of healing for our clients, students and ourselves.
Rather than reducing an all-encompassing force (Ki, Nearth, etc.) into a series of ‘energies’ (a word that diminishes the power of Ki), we are defining a world—a universe—through each essence, story and experience we apply to that world.
Each essence, be it Ioho (The Yew), or some other from the Celtic Reiki canon, is a rich, immersive experience that emulates the stories of our Celtic ancestors. Every time we tell a story, like that of A Monster Calls, we express the power of the trees, the Earth, the Universe.
For every essence is the entire universe experienced from a single viewpoint. And as we experience that viewpoint and present it through stories, through artwork, through anecdotes and through any form of expression, we give that world, that essence, reality.
As each of us consciously flows through the Universal constant of Ki, Nearth and the other experiences of oneness, we create a human reality where every essence has a greater effect upon us, because of the stories, art and expression we offer.
So, is A Monster Calls a movie?
Yes. However, it is also an expression of the Yew Tree and the healing power of its essence.