The Myth of Disenchantment

Speaking of wishing you a haunted Halloween yesterday, I'd like to make an observation about enchantment and disenchantment.

Here on the blog, and in Reviving Old Scratch, I lean heavily upon Charles Taylor's analysis that the West has been moving from enchantment to disenchantment, from the spooky to the skeptical. In Reviving Old Scratch I call this journey ScoobyDooification, as the journey from the spooky to the skeptical is traced in a single episode of Scooby-Doo.

But is it really the case that we've become less enchanted?

In his book the Myth of Disenchantment, Jason Ananda Josephson-Storm argues that we moderns remain very much enchanted. What we tend to take as disenchantment is really just a shift in enchantments. Yes, it is true that belief in God is on the decline, but that enchantment is just shifted to other areas.

As an example, last summer Jana and I visited Glastonbury Abbey in England with our dear friends Hannah and Becky. We've all heard about how Christianity in on the decline in countries like England. The church is struggling. But you've never seen a more enchanted place than Glastonbury Abbey. True, it was all occult, New Agey, pagan, Arthurian (legend has it that King Arthur had been buried at the Abbey), Fairie, Wiccan, magical, Eastern, Celtic, hippy, and on and on, but the place was dripping with enchantment.

Perhaps God is dead in England, but I know where I can buy ingredients for my next love potion.

And don't get me started on ley lines.

All that to say, have we really moved into an era of disenchantment?

Perhaps not.

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