Re-enchanting the World

Tonight as I have been busying myself with menial tasks, the deliriously wonderful movie Enchantment has been playing in the background. I noticed last night that it was playing and put it on my DVR to re-watch sometime.  It turned out to be an oracular voice tonight, as often happens when stories like this seemingly randomly enter my living room.

This movie is a story of innocence and belief in love vs. a world of bald reason and suspicion. The innocent characters in it have a seemingly silly and magical relationship with the non-human world of animals and spirits, and they (apparently ridiculously) believe in the power of love, and the ultimate power of “true love’s kiss.” The humor of the story involves their foolish appearance in the context of New York and its sophistication – the “real” world. This allows the viewer to have quite a few really good laughs. As the plot begins to shift, the wisdom in innocence becomes more apparent, and the worlds of “fantasy” and “reality” begin to bridge. This of course, as in all fairy tales, brings on the wrath of the evil witch who would kill any such integration and dangerous relationship building. But what do you think happens in this movie? Love prevails. It is the final truth!

Since Descartes, Newton and the Enlightenment we have located ourselves in a mechanized cosmology, perceiving the world as a soulless machine – unconscious matter with no spirit, intelligent life or language; a disenchanted universe. This has led us down a collective path of increasing despair, disorientation and isolation, observable absolutely everywhere. To walk through a forest and see it as dead matter that does not experience, sense and actively respond to us – and love us right back – is a tragic loss of sensibility. In our modern world those who talk to plants, trees and animals are seen as either delusional or magical, but not normal. They are, in the best-case scenario, the “innocents”, the non-sophisticated.

Now I think it falls to us, the disenchanted inheritors of these recently developed paradigms to wake up to our loss and delusion. In a re-enchanted cosmology those who don’t talk to animals, plants, trees, rivers, air, stars, sun, fire, light, darkness, wind and spirits are to be pitied because of their disability.

How do we re-enchant the world? BELIEVE in innocence. Bypass suspicion. Expect good. Open the heart. Love. Listen to the non-human world and let it love you back. All of this often sounds ungrounded and unrealistic. Reality as it has been developed in these last centuries might, however, eventually come to be seen as the wrong version of the story of who we are, an adolescent distortion, a hubris. Maturation might mean a reintegration of relationships within the whole family of creation. The delusion of human superiority, dominance and separation has led to pathological behaviors. I am thinking that it is possible for each of us, one-by-one, to soon return to our origins and indigenous minds, to recover a relationship to the daily, natural magic and miracles of an innocent, enchanted world. It takes intention. And smiling. And shaking off the old. And courage to be foolish. Joy. Wisdom. And most of all, love.

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3 Responses to “Re-enchanting the World”

  1. Jerry R. O'Neill Says:

    Yes, intention, shaking off the old, courage to be foolish, open to joy, wisdom and most of all, love.

    By these words you have described beautifully my motive for moving to Whidbey Island! Thank you, Tayria.

    Now, I wish the same for you.


  2. Tayria Ward Says:

    Jerry, once you get to Whidbey I have a couple of close friends out there that you might like to meet. We will have to keep that in mind once you are settled. I wish you so many blessings in this huge time of transition. You’re going to one of the most beautiful places in the world, so I hope your spirit will feel truly at home there.

  3. Jerry R. O'Neill Says:

    Thanks, Julie.

    I am honored you would introduce me to your friends on Whidbey Island and would like that very much.


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