Many years ago, I read "The Re-Enchantment Of Everyday Life" by Thomas Moore. It's one of my favourite non-fiction books ever. I kept a well-thumbed and dog-eared copy of the book within arm's length for many years, until I gave the book away to someone who I thought might love it too. The premise of the book speaks to the notion that as we've become more mechanized, more technologically dependent, we've lost something important, something slow, something about touch and smell and connection to the inherent magic that is ever present in the world. Much of how I see and practice magic has its roots in this book. 

Here's an excerpt that rings especially true for me:

"Enchantment is to a large extent founded in the spirituality inherent in earthly nature. Religious and spiritual writers often symbolize their goal with images of light and sky that draw us upward and away from the particulars of life on earth. Our task in re-enchantment is to expand our very idea of spirituality to include the lowliest of things and the most particular and familiar haunts of nature. Without romanticizing nature, we could turn to it as the major source of our spirituality--a difficult task for most of us who have been brought up on moral and theological abstractions. 

Although nature is usually thought of as the quintessential example of the material world, paradoxically nature gives us the most fundamental opening to spirit. Mountains, rivers, and deserts, enjoying a lifetime far exceeding our own, give us a taste of eternity, and an ancient forest or gorge reminds us that our own lives are brief in comparison. In nature, we become sensitive to our mortality and to the immensity of the life that is our matrix, and both of these sensations, mortality and immensity, offer the foundation for a spiritual life." - The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life 


For instance, I don't normally have a tree in my living room. For sure, I have a few house plants most of the time but they are not trees. What's more is that I've decorated this tree with twinkling lights and shiny baubles that catch the twinkling in such a way that they seem to dance and move about the tree. The tree, bedecked with ornaments and twinkly bits, make me happy. This tree occupies a particular spot in the living room where other such trees have stood, also lighted and decorated. That there is a tree is not that uncommon really, I bet you can guess why I have a tree in my living room. What is fascinating is that the drab little corner where the tree sits, now has a story. It's the corner where the tree goes and the tree (and all of its foretrees) also has stories connected to it. The lighted tree connects me and my family and all the people that have shared space with the tree spot and my family over the years to, well, all of the years we've gathered around the tree. The corner, the tree, the decorations on the tree are now enchanted. 

Several years ago I bought a lovely bowl from a Pagan artist at Pantheacon. It's exquisite. It usually sits in a cupboard most of the year but I tend to bring it out around Samhain and it stays out through Yuletide. The bowl feels great in my hands. The food I serve in it looks fantastic. Every time I use the bowl I'm reminded of the artist, of P-Con and of all the great meals I've shared with a surprisingly diverse group of people. The bowl has become much more than the clay and the glaze it's comprised of. The bowl holds a great deal more than mashed potatoes or freshly harvested greens, it holds stories and memories. This is how the bowl has become enchanted.

For Witches and Pagans and other folk similarly inclined, enchantment is a concept we are familiar with. The very word itself means to be bewitched or influenced by magic. It also means to take great delight in and blending those two meanings together is what I want to reconnect to this Yule and into 2017.

So where else can I find re-enchantment in this seemingly un-enchanted time and place? Well, just about everywhere actually, if I slow down long enough to notice it.


Today's enchantment is mushrooms. It has been raining this week. All of a sudden there are mushrooms in my front yard. There's a rendering of a toadstool that sits on an altar at my wife's shop. A customer just asked me yesterday about the little mushroom statue and we had a lovely fifteen minute discussion on mushrooms. Mushrooms and toadstools are appearing everywhere. This needn't be a sign from the mushroom gods, but I can make a mushroom risotto or mushroom soup this week for dinner, from local mushrooms that are in clearly in season right now. I'm re-enchanting dinner and cooking by using what's in season. Now there's a story to my mushroom soup and probably future mushroom soups. Soup has become enchanted.

So that's my Yule gift to myself this year. I'm going to look for re-enchantments as often as possible.

Happy Yule to you and yours!


Note: all pictures courtesy of Pixabay - CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use No attribution required