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THE WONDER explores perspectives, rituals, and observances of modern, naturalistic, Earth-revering Neopagan religious paths. Naturalistic Pagans embrace the world as understood by science (that is, without gods, magic, or the supernatural), and enhance our lives with myth, ritual and activism. Hosted by Mark Green (author of ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science) and Yucca (formerly of The Pagan Perspective YouTube channel, now of the Magic and Mundane channel).

Named #4 in the top15 Pagan podcasts for 2022! https://blog.feedspot.com/pagan_podcasts/

Re-Enchantment of Life

August 9, 2021

Remember, we welcome comments, questions and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com



Mark: Welcome back to the wonder science-based paganism. I'm your host Mark.

Yucca: And I'm Yucca.

Mark: And today we're going to talk about re-enchantment of the world. Of the, the story of our lives. And this is a little complicated. So we're going to describe kind of what the problem is first and then talk about approaches for making that better and why we would choose to do that. 

Yucca: Yes. And there's a lot of layers to this. So we'll try and get into that from the different directions. 

Mark: Yes. One of the things that makes this a little bit challenging to talk about is that we are so accustomed to the way our mainstream culture approaches living That it's hard for us even to imagine that there are other ways to do it. It's sort of this thing that's kind of almost out of your reach and you sort of grasp for it.

And, and we have some examples that'll sort of concretize that for you going forward. But but first let's talk about why, what is this and, and why is it a problem?

Yucca: Yeah, well, we started young. Many of you probably can remember being told as a child. Well, when you get to the real world, Things aren't fun anymore. You think, you know, things are rainbows and butterflies or whatever it is that you were into. Well, that's not like it in the real world. It doesn't matter in the real world, this world of, of taking everything super seriously and doing things that you don't want and kind of the idea that everything sucks.

That was, you know, and I, my parents weren't perfect. Harsh on that, but that was the message that came from everywhere. 

Mark: Sure. Sure. It's important for us to recognize that that's not just a matter of growing up and putting away childish things, although that is, you know, that's, that's in the Bible, they tell you to do that. And and that certainly is a big part of this, but until the Protestant reformation. A lot of this was not true.

I mean, when you, when you look at the written histories under the Roman Catholic church, throughout the middle ages, into the early Renaissance people's descriptions of the life around them was very mystical. They had demons and, and spirits and You know, mystical creatures and, and there are a lot, there's lots of debate about what that actually means, but those people clearly lived in a world that they believed was populated by a lot of, kind of amazing and fantastical stuff.

Yucca: Or at least they saw more personality and things that today we might just ignore, pass off. 

Mark: Yes. 

Yucca: Right there. There, there might be more. Anthropomorphizing of experiences and, and phenomenon like wind or things like that. 

Mark: Sure and events, you know, if you prayed to a particular Saint for a particular thing and it happened well, then there was this mystical component of the world that was causing these, these kind of amazing things. And we're not by any means suggesting that we fall into. You know, and irrational superstition where we're a science-based pagan podcast.

Right. But that doesn't mean that the magical quality of life can't be cultivated and use to sort of reinvigorate our understanding of the enchantment of what it means to be alive. Under the. of Protestant framework that dominates certainly the United States and I, I think many other parts of the English speaking world.

Fun is something that is viewed with deep suspicion. The, you know, the, I don't remember who it was, who said it, it might've been Churchill, but he said something about Protestantism being informed by the deep suspicion that someone somewhere may be having a good time. 

Yucca: Shame on them for that, 

Mark: Shame on them for that, what frivolity and you know, what they should be doing is putting their nose to the grindstone and, you know, working hard for the glory of God.

So. When we were talking before we started recording, what we were talking about is that there are opportunities for us to take this problem of the denaturing of our lives. Well, you know, I gotta get up in the morning and then I go to work and then when I'm done with work, then I come home and I've got chores to do and dah, dah, dah, and to.

Live in that up with more of a sense of wonder and enthusiasm and and kind of mystery because specifically, because it's more fun because it's more enjoyable and it feels more like an adventure to approach your life that way.

Yucca: And it also stretches it out. So now it seems like every year is faster. Than the year before everything just keeps going by. You know, when we are teenagers, the idea of being in high school for four years, my goodness four years was forever, but moving into young adulthood, adulthood, you know, I haven't gotten to my older years yet, but I'm told that it feels like it goes faster and faster and faster. 

Mark: Much much faster.

Yucca: a lot of that has to do with, they're not with sameness. Your experience of the world of everything is just the same all the time. Your routine is exactly the same. You're not experiencing new things that it all blurs together. But when that wonder is in there, when the new things for your mind to learn for your body to experience, then. That's what lets time slow down a little bit. That's what lets you be and breathe in, in the moment of existence that you are and are in. 

Mark: Yes. Yes. And that's why vacations are so memorable and so enjoyable because we go somewhere else and everything that we experienced is new. 

Yucca: Hm. 

Mark: So there's novelty and our, our minds, instead of just sort of skipping over it saying, I've seen this a bunch, I don't need to really track what's going on. Our minds, suck up all this novelty, all the new experiences and textures and colors and shapes and all that good kind of stuff.

Yucca: Damn. 

Mark: So. Being able to sort of vacation eyes, 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: our daily experience a little bit is beneficial for us. And it's not just that it makes things more enjoyable and fun. It's also that it can help us to overcome blockages that we have to getting things done that feel like they're just. Tedious Drudge work that we just dread getting done.

If we can reframe that, if we can change the way that we look at that and tell ourselves a different story about it, it may make it easier for us actually to surmount that issue. And so the. I, I first came to thinking about this. We were talking in the Saturday mixer this morning. The atheopagan community has a zoom mixer on Saturday mornings.

And a woman Addie brought up a mean that she had read that was about this process of Rayanne chanting your life. And it's. It said, you're not just going to the CVS. You're going to the apothecary to look over the potions. You're not just feeding the birds, you're making an Alliance with the Crow queen.

And I was just delighted by this mean, because. All that it says is that it just depends on the story. You tell yourself. If you tell yourself the story that you're doing, a meaningless chore that you have to do over and over again, then that is the emotional experience that you will get out of it. But if you reframe things in more of an adventurous kind of way, then you can have a much more colorful, fun.

Enjoyable pleasurable life. And of course, that's we go back to this again and again, what we're in this for is a very pleasurable life where we can be effective and we can leave the world a better place.

Yucca: Yeah. And once you're in that space, you know, using the, going to the drug store example, when you're already in that playful space, what you're, how you're going to experience and what else you're going to notice in those moments is probably going to be very different than the. That I've got to do these chores.

I've got to go out in the world and and we've got to wear a masks again and all the, you know, whatever the, the, the grumpy talk on our heads. And that's all we all we experience instead of the, all of the sites and experiences and sounds. And the funny little things, there are so many things that are. Just really humorous. Would you stop and actually look at them, the puns on bottles and the interaction between the, the crows and the pigeons. Right. And all of that is just amazing. And here we are. 

Mark: Right. And so once again, that brings you back to this core principle that we've talked about many times, which is about paying attention, right? It's about really being as engaged as we possibly can with the life that's happening around us and with the, the moments of our existence we only get this life and if we sleepwalk through it, then we miss it.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: if we change up the story that we have to ourselves about what it is that we're doing, when we're doing those tasks that have to be done, then it can be a lot more. Thrilling really you know, the end of, at the end of the day, you can tell yourself, well, I went on a quest and I got shampoo and groceries, and there are probably better ways to describe shampoo and groceries that are even more adventurous, but I'm not thinking of them right now.

I got a potion for the anointment of my head 

Yucca: Okay. 

Mark: that improves my charisma.

Yucca: Yeah. Yeah. And, and just giving ourselves permission to be playful in that world, in that way. Right,

And to say that, okay. You know, the world, the quote, unquote, real world. I experience, not what somebody else is saying it should or shouldn't be, but what do I want it to be? 

Mark: right, 

Yucca: And even, even if we aren't going as far as to rename things which I think is delightful, right.

The potion of anointment for, for your head or your scalper, whatever it is. But, but just being able to. To have that awareness and playfulness is so empowering 

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: how we normally are taught to think and behave. 

Mark: Yes. Yes. There are, of course, a lot of people out in the world, you know, people that are suffused with the over culture whose position on this will be well, you're, you're acting crazy or you're you're just making up fanciful stories about things that aren't very interesting, but the truth is there's nothing wrong with that.

Or there was never anything wrong with it. The expectation that you should be dry and humorless is something that was given to us by people like John Calvin and Martin Luther. And that's not the only way that a society can operate. One of the things that we see in many indigenous societies is that often people are very playful.

They play with language, they play games, they gamble, they do all kinds of just sort of. Playful stuff in the course of going through the daily routines of their lives. And that doesn't mean that it's frivolous. It means that they have found ways to live in enjoyment and we, we can learn from other people who have.

Have not, you know, swallowed this potion of grimness from the from the, the mainstream society and who expect everything to be about taxes and mortality and aging and dust collecting and having to vacuum again So, so that, that really is what we're talking about here. It's the ability to reframe our thinking about our lives in a way that brings more of a sense of joy and wonder and adventure to it.

Understanding of course, that we're not encouraging people to become delusional. Right. You know, we but, but for practical purposes, there really isn't any difference between a potion of anointment of your scalp and shampoo. It's just, one of them is a lot more fun.

Yucca: Yeah,

there's another element in here. Talked about before, but when we're thinking about that reframing there's other things that we could bring in that also can really help our quality of life and our joy, like the gratitude that going and getting your potion of anointment that, you know, that. Do that in the first place that you had the financial resources that you have the transportation, or if you're ordering it for somebody, who's going to bring it to you through a delivery service.

Like, wow. How amazing is that?

Mark: Yeah,

Yucca: Despite the problems that we can get into things with the gig economy and all of that, there are some really amazing sites. 

Mark: absolutely. There certainly are. And and what this enables us to do is to be. More in a relationship of gratitude with things that may seem ordinary and pedestrian. When you say I'm going to go to the store and get some shampoo, well, that sort of assumes that it's a normal thing to just go to a store.

The store is always there. The shampoo's always, there you go. You get the shampoo big deal. 

Yucca: And you're running water at home. 

Mark: Yes. And you have running water at home and on and on, on the other hand, if you have this sense that this potion is going to improve your charisma and help with your self esteem and a bunch of other stuff, how amazing that something like that is actually available on the shelf.

And you have a variety of choices of different kinds that you can pick from in order to. Well with whatever your particular head is like, and then you can, and you can choose from them and take it home and experiment. All,

Yucca: would you like to be more strawberry or a little bit more coconut today? 

Mark: yes. 

Yucca: Or maybe Musk? 

Mark: Right. So. It, there's definitely a gratitude component to this. I, I, I think that, you know, a major part of the reason why people might want to start reframing some of these things that they don't, that they take for granted and don't consider it to be very exciting is because it enhances our capacity to find gratitude for the circumstances of our lives.

Yucca: Okay. 

Mark: So I was thinking about this recently in this morning in relation to my job search. My previous job ended on under circumstances that I'm really unhappy about, and I feel very stung and very hurt and angry and and betrayed. Because of that. And what that has added up to is that I have been unable to get myself to do any of the things that I need to do in order to start pursuing a new one, because I just don't want to think about it.

It's just 

Yucca: Mm. 

Mark: me all worked up. Right. So, We were talking in this, this mixer on zoom this morning. And one of the people there mentioned the resume as a plus for scroll of charisma and persuasion, and that just rang all my bells. It was so exciting. It was like, yes, that's exactly what it is. It's a scroll of charisma and persuasion.

And I, and I can, I can approach the creation of something like that. In a very different way than reworking my resume because that's what you have to do. You know, I can use some kind of magical components to that. I can burn incense while I'm working on it. I can listen to my ritually music while I'm doing that.

There's, there's a lot of things that I can do to not only. Enhance the experience of doing it, but to make it a lot more possible for me to break through that barrier so that I can do it. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: So there are practical benefits to this approach to living. It's not just that it's more fun, which I should say is a practical benefit.

That's not a frivolous benefit. That's a real benefit. 

Yucca: On so many levels. It's that? It's the, it's the start of that ripple. Yeah, 

Mark: Yeah, but also just sheerly in the, in the pragmatic question of whether the task gets done or not. And so, and, and I'll be the first to say, this is a new concept to me and I, I'm excited about. And I can also see that it's going to be a bunch of work for me to start doing this reframing and getting into the habit of looking at things, particularly things that I'm sort of dreading in a manner of framing them as adventurous and kind of mystical and, and cool rather than drudgery or something that I'm afraid of or 

Yucca: Yeah, 

Mark: forth.

Yucca: no, it's a shame. We're not doing this. Right around tax season, because that would be a wonderful one. 

Mark: Well, maybe we can revisit it in 

Yucca: should Yeah,

Mark: Yeah,

Yucca: Gathering all of your ingredients and mixing them together in the right.

way. And hopefully getting money back would be the ideal part. 

Mark: That's right. Yes. Once again, a scroll and persuasion. Yes. No, really. It all adds up. You owe me money,

Yucca: Yes, I don't owe you any, everything is fine. No audits please. Yeah. 

Mark: So, can you think of other examples in your life Yaka, where you might apply something like this taxes, I think is a really good one, by the way.

Yucca: Yeah, Taxes. I mean, there's all of that. Sort of domestic stuff that we've just got to do in our lives. And for some people, some people love some and, and hate others, right? The getting into things like the dishes or the calling people on the phone to correct things that needed to be corrected. I mean, there's, there's all of those that Th this idea is just so exciting because it can make it into this exciting th this adventure and maybe transition some of that anxiety and dread into anticipation and excitement. So this is, this is a very interesting idea.

Mark: I think it's something that you can enlist your kids into. We're going to go on a quest for food.

Yucca: Oh, we've been doing something. We unfortunately had to get a new car. We loved the car that we had, but it. That's a point. It, when it breaks down more often than once a week consistently, it becomes time to get another one. And the kids of course were very sad about this because we name our cars. But we, they got to name this one and we've turned it into basically our own little version of the magic school bus.

So we, we get in the car and we go on adventures and. Pretend that, oh, we're going through the volcano now and all of that sort of thing. So this has already, I mean, kids, kids minds are just, you know, this primed for this. It's perfect. So I think of maybe it's a little bit of for remembering and bringing back that part, that, that came natural to all of us at one point and some of it, Yes.

There's some of there's the growing up, but a lot of it, we lost because. That's what we, it was forced out of us. It was taught out of us. 

Mark: Right, right. Yeah. And you know, when you think about it, teaching children not to have fun, that's, that's kind of. Deep wrong. I mean, that's, that's not a minor thing. That's, that's really a deep wrong and yes, people need to be able to function in the world and all that good kind of stuff. They need to be able to kind of tamp it down and focus.

But the story that they tell themselves, What they're doing and why that's their business. And I don't think that taking away that kind of joyous creative imagination approach to the events of our lives is doing anyone any favors.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: So we really recommend that you kind of give this a shot. It imagine in your own life, what are the things that you have to do you don't really like to do? And how can you reimagine those as something that is adventurous and exciting and even mystical. 

Yucca: Yeah. How can you, if you were the author, the narrator of the story that you. What details would you be focusing on to what are the things? Because you can take the same scene, the same events in life, and then how it's told what is noticed paints completely different pictures. 

Mark: right.  We've been using a lot of, sort of illusions to fantasy role-playing games in this conversation. And, and I don't think that that's accidental because. One of the things that fantasy role-playing games allow us to do is to exercise that fantasy and imagination part of ourselves. Because I mean, theoretically you could describe most Dungeons and dragons campaigns in a very tedious pedestrian way as well, but why would you do that?

The point of it is to be having a really amazing time. Well, The point of our lives is to be having a really amazing time too. And don't let anybody tell you any different you know, we've, we've addressed this many times, you know, part of, part of the deep nature of being a pagan is really approaching the world in a fundamentally different way than the mainstream culture, which is so unhappy and violent.

And. Bigoted and all those things that we really don't want to be. So, this is another, another piece, another technique that we can use to magic up our the, the circumstances of our living.

Yucca: Hmm. Well, as always, we love hearing from all of you. If you have suggestions comments, questions, you can always reach us@thewonderpodcastqueuesatgmail.com. That's queues as an questions. Q S so the wonder podcast queues, the tml.com. 

Mark: Yes. And we would love to hear from you and love to hear any of the reframes that you might have done after hearing this podcast you know, simple or routine or tedious activities that you've turned into. Cool adventures by reframing what they mean. We'd love to hear about that. So thank you so much, Yucca for a great conversation, 

Yucca: likewise, mark. 

Mark: and we'll see you all next week.