Craig Chalquist, PhD
Enchantivism describes the many ways we make lasting change by telling inspiring stories about our relations with ourselves, each other, or our ailing but still-beautiful planet; sharing our reflections and inviting others’ on the relevance of these stories; and then letting the stories impel creative and thoughtful responses to how things are. The stories can be narratives, displays of imagery, humor, even dance and ritual. So: inspiration, reflection, and response.
Another way of saying it is that enchantivism is depth philosophy, a practice of imaginative change through inspiration.
All my professional work has reflected enchantivist philosophies and approaches, even before I coined the word in 2017. Below are some examples taken from the primary topics and areas I've taught, consulted, workshopped, presented, and published in.
Loreology: Storied Paths of Reenchantment:
Loreology is my primary tool for studying our keystone fictions - the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of us, our relationships, work, conflicts, worldview, etc. - in order to expand them beyond their stuck places into new possibilities and opportunities. Loreology also offers the possibility of "world conjuring": imagining new and more satisfying ways of being in the world. The fiction I write is an example of world conjuring. Overall, loreology is a form of education toward openings, imaginings, and new possibilities.
The Way of the Sage:
I've been a student of wisdom all my life. Having practiced psychotherapy, held a number of administrative roles, taught in higher ed for nearly two decades, presented on leadership, and pursued PhDs in depth psychology and then philosophy, I am creating a series of lessons on applied wisdom: what wisdom is, why we should value it highly, how it makes change in the world, and 20 ways to practice it.
Reading the world as a chorus of presences, symbols, and voices is where my work in ecotherapy, ecopsychology, and terrapsychology meet. Out of work with colleagues and graduate students came Terrapsychological Inquiry, a qualitative research methodology for exploring how the things of the world - hillsides, rivers, seas, the elements, and the built environment as well - live in our moods, conflicts, and dreams. My philosophy dissertation touches on interpretive nature traditions such as Hermeticism, Transcendentalism, and Ecopoetics. World dreaming is when events outside of us, especially those of global impact, show up in our dreams. Tellusgnosis refers to the ecospiritual uses of terrapsychology.
This is activism that is not like activism. It involves no attacking, blaming, guilt-tripping, danger-seeking, or other heroic strivings. Inspirational Activism is for post-heroes, former heroes or non-heroes who perform, tell tales, or enact playful roles to contrast undesirable conditions in the present with alluring future possibilities. It is creative, storied, playful, and enchanting. It leans on inspiration because inspired people - heralds of hope - can do anything.
Motifs, images, and even characters from folklore, including mythology, come back to life every day: in our dreams, in strange events, in troubled relationships, and in the news. For example, look at all the mythic terms in finance: Invisible Hand, castles in the sky, angel investors, unicorns, Witching Hour. Your cell phone contains powers once attributed to a wizard's wand. Knowing when we relive an old story liberates us to get creative with it. Part of this is work on our personal archetype and myth: the deep story behind our biography.
In all this I get glimpses of what science fiction author Gordon R. Dickson referred to as the full-spectrum human: a conscious and responsible member of a species come of age. That is our long-range goal.
I stand forever in awe of how deep learnings coincide with deep imaginings, and how these bring a sense of reenchantment to how we work and live. The world brims with magic, meaning, and mystery. At any time, we can rejoin the Great Conversation with the voices and presences around and within us.