To Re-enchant the World

The re-enchantment of the world is a big theme for me.  I talk about it a lot. I haven’t yet blogged about it much, but I’m gonna. So I probably ought to explain what I mean right out of the gate.

To re-enchant the world implies that it has been disenchanted. The concept of disenchantment appears to have been coined by a turn-of-the-century German Sociologist named Max Weber, to express the loss of mystical, magickal, or religious worldviews in favor of purely scientific, mechanistic, and capitalistic worldviews. During an admittedly quick search – because ultimately I am not so interested in where these terms come from as their ability to captivate our imaginations in this moment – I came across an article written by a fellow named Albert J. Raboteau, which sums this concept up nicely. Here’s a little excerpt:

“The world became disenchanted (Max Weber’s phrase, I think) at a certain point in the history of Western Europe — victim to the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution, the triumph of rationalism in the Enlightenment. …The world becomes flattened, surface, ordinary, spiritless. And in response we succumb to the pseudo-enchantment of addiction to entertainment, to food, to alcohol, to sex, to possessions — out of our deep innate hunger for mystery, for spirit, for glory. Like Esau, we trade our birthright. We settle for glittering treasure, dragon bait, but then the dragon wakens and eats our souls. We become the hollow men and women that T. S. Eliot described. We may not know how to name it, but we are no less deprived, impoverished, hungry. The gnawing feeling that our lives ought to be more possesses us. And we are right.”

(Note: this entire article is well worth a read and can be found at  http://www.crosscurrents.org/Raboteau.htm) –

The crux of the matter seems to be that we lost a sense of magic and wonder as the scientific worldview took over. We came to trust only what could be proven. It now seems, however, that we have paid a steep price for this “either/or” thinking. There is so much that simply cannot be measured let alone proven, and many of these “unprovable” experiences  appear to be crucial to our well-being.

There are a whole lot of mysteries in this word, and if we discount them simply because they don’t coincide with what we can prove, right now, we may be missing something. A whole lot in fact.

Am I betraying science, to say these things? I don’t think so. My stance is, it doesn’t have to be either/or. To give up science in favor of magic is to become superstitious. But to give up magic in favor of science is to diminish our humanity. To cut ourselves off from the parts of the world we can’t explain. And therefore to narrow our vision.

No one has a corner on the “truth” market. No matter what worldview we adopt, we are seeing the world through colored glasses. Science itself reevaluates positions that once seemed rock-solid every generation or so. As we speak, the Theory of Relativity is being called into question by the discovery of neutrinos that appear to be moving faster than the speed of light.

Rationality is very useful, and a very trustworthy mindset upon which to make decisions. But it is not everything. Intuition is a just as valid, and oftentimes proves itself to be more useful. I have frequently gotten better results solving problems by NOT thinking about them, i.e. during states of meditation.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all “religious nut” on you, and argue that science is false and that my God is “The Truth”. The point I am making here is, there is a whole heck of a lot of mystery in this world, and a willingness to consider the potential wisdom in relating to the world as mysterious may behoove us in a lot of ways.

Also – do we need our worldview to be “true”? Or just useful? Maybe any kind of absolute truth is ultimately unknowable. And maybe this is okay.

I am a Pagan. (well, sort of a Zen-Pagan-Buddhist at this point but that is a story for another day). Which means I have chosen to anthropomorphize forces of nature. I do this because to poeticize natural processes, i.e. science, in this way kindles something in my brain. It opens doors in my mind that make me feel inspired and expansive. I do not do this becasue I believe literally that there is some dude named Thor hurling thunderbolts down at us every time there is a storm. In other words – I don’t need Thor to be literal. But having him there in my imagination is useful to me, in ways that I don’t even fully understand. However, I don’t necessarily need to understand. I can make my peace with mystery, knowing that for whatever reason, this poeticization of nature’s workings inspires me. And an inspired mind is a creative mind, and a creative mind solves more problems than a closed mind.

What we believe shapes our experience. Our experience becomes our truth. Our truth becomes the world we live in. What kind of world do you want to live in?

I propose that we can relearn to see this world as a glittering jewel of infinite miracles. And in seeing the world this way, we begin to take actions that shape our world accordingly. What kind of person do you suppose is going to have the most positive impact on the world? Someone who beleives in infinite possibilities? Or someone who accepts only what can be proven to the rational mind?

I want to live in an enchanted world. Where fairy tales just might come true.  Where synchronicities do exist. This is my great thought experiment. What will come to pass in our lives, what doors might open up, if we make it a habit to believe 6 impossible things before breakfast?

As I see it, to re-enchant the world is to shift our perception to one where we see the world as alive, and ourselves as part of a connected whole, rather than a discrete part in a mechanical world, where nothing is alive and we are separate, disconnected, and isolated. To re-enchant the world is to learn to see between the cracks of “accepted” reality into a place where there is wonder, light, beauty, and infinite possibility, to rekindle that sense of  magic we had as children,  to remember that our imaginations can open up windows in the mind, the soul, and in nature.  And that through these windows can flow an inexhaustible energy that feeds us, inspires us, and gives us a direct experience of the Infinite.

Will you join me in keeping our minds open to the improbable, the impossible, the infinite? Will you experiment with me, and see what happens when we believe 6 impossible things before breakfast? Will you leave a door in your heart open to the infinite mystery of life? Shall we re-enchant the world together?

27 thoughts on “To Re-enchant the World

  1. Sharon, I love this post. I also have such a love affair (enchantment?) with the space where the edges of science and spirituality collide.

  2. I also need to have some magic in my life. Otherwise it feels like a life without inspiration. I lose the magic when I get too caught up in shoulds and have toos. This is something I am working on. When I allow myself to believe that “All is Well” and exist at that vibration I feel the magic. Thanks for your inspired post.

  3. Brilliant! I love this part: “…do we need our worldview to be “true”? Or just useful? Maybe any kind of absolute truth is ultimately unknowable. And maybe this is okay…”

    In my opinion, it is the act of holding onto unworkable, un-useful worldviews that gives us stagnant thinking and dead ‘religion’. The beauty of the scientific perspective, at its best, is that it is full of curiosity! If we can engage with our spirituality, our religion, with a sense of exploration and adventure, how much greater our joy and creativity?

    Many blessings to you, Wise Priestess~

  4. I am so inspired by this. The world absolutely needs to re enchanted as do I. I ran through 6 impossible things…which don’t seen so impossible anymore. I love that idea! I look forward to your posts. Love from the GC.

    Stephanie

  5. Yes! Yes, I will join you and yes let’s bring this world back to life.

    To be more precise, I don’t really think the world is any less magickal or alive or enchanted than it ever was. We’ve just gone numb. That’s what needs changing.

  6. Ooo, Sharon, this is a wonderful post. I am going to go through and read the links you gave in your article here. I love the beautiful and wonderful idea of Re-enchanting the world. I also just love your music. This is just an amazing site and I’ll be coming here regularly. I understand what you mean about “at this point”, I am always growing and changing in my spirituality, which is something that sometimes does not come very easily to me. You know… like to stay with what I understand and know better… but it’s so good to stretch yourself and learn new and wonderful things. Thank you for writing this great post.

    Brightest blessings,
    Bird

  7. Thank you so much for this post Sharon. The struggle to let go of straight, rational thought and open my heart to the mysterious is something I deal with every day. To let go of the chase for explanation and embrace the mystery is a difficult task, but one that I cannot give up. A life without mystery and magic is a dull, shallow one. Thank you for the inspiration to continue the Quest!

  8. I see I have compatriots on this quest – excellent! A quest is always more fun with kindred spirits.

    Indeed, Morpheus, it is probably more accurate to talk of the re-enchantment of our selves! The phrase “re-enchanting the world” is just so darn poetic. And we all know how much I love poetry. :+)

    Thanks for your comments, All – they inspire me.

  9. As I’ve grown older, I’ve wanted more and more to go back to the way I believed when I was little. The energy, the wonder, the awe at the universe, the ability to be open to miracles, to know I had power. It’s squeezed out of us as we leave our teens, when we’re supposed to learn to be serious grownups who only believe in what they can see. My last two years have been a surprisingly gruelling process of re-enchanting my own life – it’s amazing how hard it can be to fight those ingrained tendencies. But I’m doing it. The Wild Child inside me believes and craves it, and I’m able to hear her more clearly these days.

  10. Aaah … such delicious energy in the word ‘enchantment’, and to re-enchant the world is the most luscious mission evah.

    I’m with you, gorgeous one!

    Bliss-ings,
    the goddess known as Jacqui

  11. Hi Sharon

    I love this article! It is awesome and is exactly how I described it to a good friend a year or so ago. My life and world is brighter and so much more interesting with the Gods, Goddesses and Fey and…and…etc. That is a world I want to live in!

    Antara

  12. It’s funny, for the last few months I have been really thinking a lot about the idea of re-enchanting the world.

    I figure that my job is to re-enchant one person at a time, to help them see that their lives can connect to value and magic and love, and then the ripples will move out into the world!

  13. I am right there with you and ready to re-enchant! I can always tell when I’m smack dab in the flow of infinite possibility – life just goes way more smoothly. And the magic that occurs when I’m there doesn’t have to be measured or analyzed for me to absolutely enjoy it with all my heart. I’m keeping my eyes open for miracles today!

  14. If angels, elves, and pictseys are included in your re-enchanting of the world then count me in… if not then please add them soon as I know they would like to be in on the project.

  15. Sharon- I love when you share your inner thoughts! To me the world is still enchanted. It’s just our filters that have changed. All around the magick is here, just barely a vibration away. But our lives have caused us to keep tight in this realm where to touch and see is everything.

    So, I’m on this quest with you! Let’s rumble!

  16. I totally agree. I don’t believe in making “science” a god, either. If we are to have no gods, as some voices suggest these days, then have NO gods at all. Making “science” and “rationality” a God is just as much a mistake then as getting born again or joining a church. It’s a name change, nothing more.

    I agree with Morpheus: it’s not the world that has become less enchanted, it is we who have become deaf, dumb and blind to it. We are being entertained to death. One of the things I work on is to periodically overthrow my intellect and my “rational” self, which all too often, with me, leads to hopelessness. If I re-enchant myself and remember my divine origins I can come alive again, wake up to the actual, real, multidimensional multiverse. It’s happened to me before, and I am willing to work to wake up again.

  17. Wow, that was very well thought out. I completely agree with anthropomorphizing nature for the sake of one’s own perception rather than as a “fact” or “reality”. Lovely reading this post.

  18. Hi Sharon!

    I’m really interested in the reenchantment of the world, too, and I enjoyed reading your take on it.

    I’m writing to invite you over to the Million Dollar Blog Project tribal blog syndication forum right here:
    http://www.awesomeyourlife.com/forum/#/news/

    And you might also be interested to read a little article I wrote explaining what tribal blog syndication is:
    http://www.awesomeyourlife.com/2011/09/get-internet-famous-do-tribal-blog-syndication/

    Hope to see you there!
    Carolyn

  19. Hi Carolyn!

    Yes, I have already signed up for the MDBP, very psyched! I saw you over there last night and you motivated me to get my initial accountability journal up, thanks!

    I’ll go visit your site now, would love to hear what you have to say about tribal blog syndication. I’ve been to your site before, too, as you caught my eye over on Leonie’s Goddess Circle.

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  21. Hi Sharon,

    What a wonderful post!!

    I came across your blog via MDBP and I’m glad I did – congratulations on a great post, a great blog and also doing so well over at MDBP.

    On our website (http://lifestoogood.net) we also try and encourage our readers to get back to enjoying the simpler things in life, particularly all the fantastic things that mother nature offers us every single day – please come and take a look and say hello.

    Anyways, take care and best wishes,
    Alan

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