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The Enchanted Outlook

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Fantasy

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Witchcraft?

Pictured here: Stacey, who is, incidentally, not a witch.
It took me six whole months writing a blog on magic to be accused of witchcraft and demonic influence. I can’t decide if that is a success or a failure on my part, since I thought it would happen much sooner. Perhaps it is a testament to the respectfulness and open-mindedness of bloggers on the whole.

While I try to make a point not to respond to those types of comments, this person did bring up a good point that I have been meaning to address. What do I mean when I use words like magic and enchantment? Truth be told, I haven’t delved into this much intentionally, because I am working on another project that goes into this distinction in much more detail and didn’t want to repeat myself too much.

My inspiration for this blog was primarily a quote from J.B. Priestly:

 

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”

 

In short, I use the word magic in a literary sense as a metaphor for happiness and I use the word enchantment to mean having an optimistic mindset, since an enchantment in fantasy means a change in perception. Fantasy literature has, in fact, used magic in this same context since the late 1800s and rarely uses it in the spiritual/religious sense of the word.

That said, I also understand that I have readers of all different spiritual beliefs. If my blog inspires you, whether it enhances your mental wellness, your spiritual journey, or your literary understanding, I am very happy to have you as a reader. I don’t believe it is my job as a writer to determine in what ways my writing will (or won’t) impact my readers, and truly, it is the responses and interpretations I didn’t even think of that make my keeping a blog worthwhile. So please keep reading, and may your days be filled with more magical moments than you can count.

Peter Pan Fly

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Enchanted Spaces: Bedroom Reveal

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This is the second room on my Enchanted Spaces journey, where I focus on one room of my house from the aspect of a fantasy novel and ask what that perspective can teach. I am also, incidentally, bearing in mind a different climate for each room in my house. The climate for my bedroom is forest.

Now, confession time: the bedroom is small, has inconvenient storage space, and is just not functional for our needs. It is often frequented by more piles of clothes and such than I can keep track of, even with a very minimal wardrobe. But today it is CLEAN!

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Plain white comforter (easier with a dog); Faux fur blanket I got for Christmas this year

So, forests. In fantasy literature, forests represent both a barrier and a place of transformation. There is a sense that, if you dare to enter into the forest, you will not come out of it the same. It is also a place of ancient wisdom that sometimes takes on a sentience of its own. I like the idea of having the place I sleep be a forest because to me, dreams are also a place of transformation, and represent that barrier between the conscious mind and the unconscious, the known and the mysterious. There is also this sense of tapping into a deeper, older wisdom as I sleep.

I would love to take this transformation further with a trickling fountain, evergreen-scented candles, a moss-style rug, and a deep blue ceiling painted with stars. However, I like slow decorating and I’m not a fan of big, fast, elaborate transformations or designs that are overly “themed.” For now, I settled on a new purchase of a whimsical pillow cover. Isn’t it sweet?

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There are so many fantasy stories about going into the forest that it’s hard to choose, but at the risk of stating the obvious, I have decided to focus not on a book, but on the musical, Into the Woods. In particular, there is a line that Little Red Riding Hood sings:

Into the woods where nothing’s clear, where witches, ghosts, and wolves appear.

Into the woods, and through the fear you have to take the journey. 

There are so many journeys out in the world that we can be afraid of taking, but truly, some of the toughest journeys happen from within. That is why I like to consider my dreams from time to time. I recently read that dreams help us to create new patterns and associations and to simulate things together that we might not connect with our conscious minds. In that sense, dreams may help us to live more imaginatively and to forge new paths, which can help with problem-solving.

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Other side of room; husband’s dresser and extra side table for storage

So tonight, I invite you to consider your sleep not as an annoying seven to eight hours of necessary checking-out, but as an opportunity to take a journey through the deepest forest of your mind and to find what inner wisdom may be there.

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My mom’s owl, hand-carved jewelry box, illustrated edition of The Hobbit
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Dog crate with quilt covering, extra boxes for clothes
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Cabinet with grandma’s quilts
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My dresser for clothes; I have a few hanging clothes in the hallway also
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My jewelry boxes; top was my mom’s; bottom a gift from my husband
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Print of my mom’s; re-framed in re-claimed barnwood
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Rewined Candles, my favorite!
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Sweet little birdie lamp from my childhood bathroom
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My hanging jewelry
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My bedside table, with my (ahem) favorite mug

Bonus: Somewhere in this bedroom, Wooly Bully, the mischievous trouble-making hedgehog, is hiding. Can you find him?

For more on my “stuff story,” check out this post on the guilt box. And if you missed it, check out my living room reveal.

Source: Encyclopedia of Fantasy: Forest

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Enchanted Spaces: Living Room Reveal

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I am very pleased to unveil a new series, Enchanted Spaces, which is all about perceiving space in a more magical way. I’m in the middle of tidying and revamping my house, and will focus on a concept from a different fantasy novel for each room. Bear with me here: I’m not a designer or a photographer, just a girl with a passion for re-imagining space. First up: the living room.

I have also been changing up the rooms of my home to reflect different climates. The feel for my living room is desert.  I had considered doing a before and after picture, but the problem with this was that I am a firm advocate in slow decorating and wabi sabi.

Slow Decorating is a concept I got from a lovely book called Simple Mattersalthough I am not sure that she uses the term by name. The idea is to buy simple, quality pieces that will stand the test of time and not to rush one’s decorating or to follow a trend. Think of a simple, quality, shaker-style wood dresser found at a thrift store that will never go out of style.

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese concept based on three principals:

  • Nothing lasts.
  • Nothing is finished.
  • Nothing is perfect.

Think of a beautifully simple old cracked pot that has many stories to tell. That’s Wabi Sabi. Pinterest is full of examples. 

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So, needless to say, there was no “drastic makeover” to show. The room is tidier and cleaner, things are in slightly different places, and I swapped a few things from my bedroom and this room. Most of the belongings I have I accumulated slowly over a long period of time; some actually belonged to my mother and grandmother and even my great-grandmother (for more on my “stuff story” read this post). The only new items I acquired for this reveal were a tapestry of my mom’s that my sister gave me as it didn’t match her stuff and a beautiful tree branch that I found on a walk.

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Family piano, mom’s tapestry from India, digital photo album
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Pottery my mother-in-law gave me, found tree branch

The concepts of slow decorating and wabi sabi reminded me a of the book (and film) Tuck Everlasting, which is precious if you haven’t read/seen it. It is about a family that doesn’t age, and about the importance of growth, change, and the juxtaposition of life and death. In particular, I thought of this quote:

“Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way it is.” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

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Canvas top from a decorative box (hides thermostat); dream-catcher from Cherokee Festival

My husband recently asked me why I read the same books over and over again. I explained to him that it wasn’t the books that changed; it was me. Therefore, I perceived the books differently and picked up different things about them. Similarly, I don’t look for drastic changes in my spaces, but as I change, I pick up different nuances, swap a coat of paint, add a new pitcher from a trip, take out that shelf that no longer speaks to me.

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Work in progress; childhood dresser re-vamp (Anthropologie knobs)

So you see, to me a space is something that is never remaining the same, but always evolving, moving, changing, and being re-imagined and perceived differently. It is a sense of growth that really makes a place interesting, but slow growth. I want my spaces to grow with me, neither faster nor slower than my own personal journey, because they are a part of me and a reflection of my own life story.

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Antique family steamer trunk; new-ish jute rug (Marshalls)
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Couch hand-me-down, pillow from my sister (Ten Thousand Villages), puppy (animal shelter; limited edition!)
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Mirror from my wedding registry, elephant jar (inherited), souvenir pitcher from my sister from Hungary
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Decorations from my wedding (Anthropologie), Simple Matters book

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Any thoughts about your relationship to space? What does your space say about you, or what would you like it to say?

 

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