© 2010 Oona McOuat
At my doorstep, there are cozy cob houses made by mud girls; there are jack in the beanstalk, rose-scented gardens; there is a quartz crystal mountaintop with an ocean view.
|My neighbour Molly's cob house & the mud girls who made it.|
At my doorstep, there is a road with a steady, hurried stream of fossil fuel guzzling cars; there is a garbage transfer station where household waste sits waiting to be shipped to distant landfills; there is land that is honoured less for its life giving properties than its cash value.
Both versions of this story are true. To see the first without the second is naively perpetuating a state of denial. To see the second without the first is doing a disservice to the transformative potential of enchantment.
Calamitous oil spills, compulsive consumption, crumbling economies, and vanishing species... A profit-blinded push for total industrialization and an information technology addiction, which is eroding true relationship... There is no time for debate; the hourglass has been set in motion. We must act now to bring life on this planet into balance and we must root our actions in the fertile, potent soil of enchantment.
The pathway to true enchantment bypasses flights of fancy. It traverses a heart broken open by caring and compassion to arrive at the sweet and primal wilderness within.
Sun on skin, a ripe strawberry, a pure white feather bed... When we drop into our breath and body and fully engage with what is here and now, our senses can guide us into enchantment’s realm. Here, the improbable is possible, the deeply personal is universal, and our collective imagination has unlimited potential to weave mystery and wholeness.
Dolphins’ dance and a mermaid’s song... a message in a nautilus shell, and we believe in healed oceans.
Photo by Leigh Hilbert
Wizard mist and hummingbird joy, and we arrive in a velvety, shimmering meadow of inspiration. Here, a simple twig asks a mossy question and we answer by building a house of wattle and daub, and then we sing, laugh, weep, play, nurture, plant and celebrate with a luminosity bright enough to guide the whole world home.
The days are long now where I live. The trees have miraculously burst forth in foliage, the birds in song. This midpoint of the light half of the year is potent. The fields and forests are alive with fervent whisperings of pleasure and delight. Once upon a time, this was the season when the hives were full of honey and the honey was fermented to make mead. This month’s full moon was honoured as the Mead Moon, the "honeymoon" and marked a cycle of heightened love, passion, and bounty.
Midsummer’s dew was full of magic. Women washed their faces in it to call forth youth and beauty; they skipped naked through it to help conceive a child. Mid-summer plants, especially calendula, had miraculous healing powers. One special plant that flowered only on Midsummer Night’s Eve would teach the one who picked it the language of the trees.
Is it possible that all that was, still is, but we have simply stopped believing and perceiving it?
Enchantment: from the Old French enchanter, from the Latin incantare - to utter an incantation, to cast a spell. On this Solstice, I call forth the power of enchantment. May we dip into the sweetness of summer and apply it like a balm to the wounded. May we feel and hear the canorous – the richly melodious, tuneful song of the natural world around us. May we see the beauty, be our beauty as we drop our buckets into the bottomless well of enchantment and draw forth objects to inspire acts of loving kindness: a silver comb to untangle our differences, a stone in a soup pot to feed the hungry, a mushroom that eats spilled oil.
Oil Eating Oyster Mushrooms
Photo from archives of British Mycological Society
May we be entranced, enamoured and enraptured by all we are, by all that is, and by all our strong and broken open hearts’ desire to be.