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Excerpted from The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life by Thomas Moore. Copyright © 1996 by Thomas Moore. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"Enchantment is to a large extent founded in the spirituality inherent in earthly nature."

Thomas Moore, 
Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
, part 1

Nature Spirits

Itís early summer, and the sunflowers are about seven feet high in the garden off the kitchen. I'm reminded that in the fifteenth century, Marsilio Ficino recommended that everyone turn toward the mystery of his own nature the way a sunflower turns toward the sun. In all things, even in the most recondite mysteries of the soul, nature is the first and finest of teachers.

All lessons in enchantment begin with nature: with animals that exhibit "Pure soul," as Robert Sardello once remarked; with day and night, season and tide--natural rhythms; with our own instincts and sensations, our own nature, part of and reflective of the natural world around us. It's easy to speak philosophically and abstractly about being part of nature, but the important thing is to live that realization, to make local nature a concrete element in daily life. This is a necessary initial step in the re-enchantment of our individual lives, although it will take a while for society as a whole to discover that it canít survive humanely without surrendering some authority and initiative to nature.

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.

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