The Cloth of Hope and Sorrow: Teller, Tales, Tradition on the move at Wimbledon Park, London

Friday, October 11, 2019 @ 6:00 pm – Sunday, October 13, 2019 @ 2:00 pm
Casa Templo Setting
Wimbledon Park 31 Ryfold Road London SW19 8DF
The LifeLore Institute

Join us for a weekend-long story told by a living tradition bearer, Drut’syla Shonaleigh Cumbers, part of a series of extended storytelling sessions taking place in 2018.

In a remote castle a Makhshef – a sorcerer and bringer of chaos – lived alone. But it had not always been so; once upon a time he had an imprisoned girl and a city to torment and all power and mayhem and evil was his. And then one day, he was tricked. The woman had taken the silver threads of the moon and sewed images into a blue cloth, taking everything embroidered to a place of safety. One by one, all who he threatened disappeared until finally she had embroidered herself into the cloth and he was all alone. In a rage, the Makhshef took the cloth and would have destroyed it had his eye not caught the half-finished likeness of himself, glinting in the moonlight. He could not destroy the cloth without destroying himself. So he remained alone, with nothing to do and nothing to torment.
One chill night he came upon a dove, frozen and still at the edge of the road. Out of curiosity and boredom, the Makshef picked it up, curious, and took it back to his empty palace.
“I am the Dove of Heaven,” said the bird. “You have saved me. What can I give you in return?”
The Makhshef felt something strange – his face was wet.
“What is this?” he asked.
“Tears,” replied the Dove.
“I want a soul,” whispered the Makhshef.
“You can only have a soul if you wander – 7 years in each direction. And you must find a woman who can stitch the cloth.”
This is the story of a demon is search for a soul and for only woman in the world who can finish stitching his image into the Cloth of Hope and Sorrow.

The Cloth of Hope and Sorrow is one of five stories in The Gem Cycle. The Gem Cycle is one of twelve epic cycles of stories which have been passed down by generations of Jewish women from Grandmother to Grandaughter in the Drut’syla tradition. Join us on the journey through this exquisitely detailed story landscape brought to life in the moment by unique tradition-bearer, Shonaleigh Cumbers who was taught by her Bubbe (grandmother).

Starting at one point in the lattice, we the listeners, will guide the journey through the interlinked tales, hearing stories possibly left untold for two generations.

We will also take time to discuss both the tradition and the issues raised by the stories and explore how the wisdom of these stories can help us navigate life in the 21st Century, and build stronger communities, whatever our location, situation, and whatever our faith or belief system.

The tellings will take place within a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of cushions and chairs. A range of snacks (including gluten and dairy free ones), tea, coffee and soft drinks will be available throughout the event, included in the admission price. BYOB. You are welcome to bring quiet crafts (that will not disturb others) such as knitting, crochet, embroidery etc.


Friday 11th October 2019

Doors open from 6:00 pm
Telling starts at 7:30 pm
Telling ends around 10:00 or 10:30 pm

Saturday 12th October 2019

Doors open at 9:00 am – morning tea, coffee and snacks available
Telling restarts at 10:00 am interspersed with coffee, lunch, and tea breaks
Telling ends around 5:30 pm

Doors open to larger group at 6:30 pm
Telling restarts at 7:30 pm
Telling ends at 10:00 or 10:30 pm

Sunday 13th October 2019

Doors open at 9:00 am – morning tea, coffee and snacks available
Telling restarts at 10:00 am, interspersed with coffee break, going through to lunchtime.

A range of snacks (including gluten and dairy free ones), tea, coffee and soft drinks will be available throughout the event, included in the admission price. BYOB.

Numbers are limited to 16 so we urge you to book soon if you would like to join us.

Stories within stories

In the Drut’syla tradition, around 4,000 tales are held within the mind and recalled on request, in a networked lattice of ‘stories within stories’. This weekend is an opportunity to gain an insight into how a culture thrived before the written word became common practice.


Told over centuries these stories have a timeless, universal resonance for all of us, men and women, young and old, survivors and seekers. The group will interact with the story in the way it was originally intended, with listeners encouraged to ask questions directly about the stories and the environment in which they were told. We may find hidden trade routes locked within the tales, discuss the reasons why a person might forego a story in order to hear one of greater importance to the community or be prompted to engage in philosophical discussions by issues raised within the stories.

The Last Drut’syla?

Shonaleigh is the only known Drut’syla having learnt the stories from her Bubbe (grandmother) and the weekend will be a thoroughly unusual revival of a culture almost lost. This is an unmissable opportunity for anyone interested in stories or in oral and lost cultures to come and help document and archive through listening, requesting stories and asking questions.

What is a Casa Templo?

The Casa Templo concept is a simple concept which started in South America. It defines a domestic space in which people gather to celebrate life as a community. LifeLore Casa Templo events are inspired by this model, and are hosted in the light of three universal principles: goodness, truth, and harmony which the people present balance in their own ways to guide the quality of their individual and collective actions throughout the event.