Enchantment. By my definition, a vivid sense of belongingness to a rich and many-layered world, a profound and whole-hearted participation in the adventure of life. Enchantment is a natural, spontaneous human tendency – one we possess as children, but lose, through social and cultural pressures, as we grow older. I believe that it is an attitude of mind which can be cultivated: the enchanted life is possible for anyone. The enchanted life is intuitive, embraces wonder, and fully engages the mythic imagination – but it is also deeply embodied, ecological, grounded in place and community. To live an enchanted life is to be challenged, to be awakened, to be gripped and shaken to the core by the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary.
My blog has seen a lot of changes over the years. ‘The Art of Enchantment’ is the latest incarnation of what was most recently ‘Myths and Metamorphoses’, formerly ‘Singing Over the Bones’, and before that, ‘Re-enchanting the Earth’. Whatever its name, I’ve previously used this blog mostly to write very occasional longer articles about my work in the field of psychology and mythology. Those articles will continue (you’ll find them in the ‘Articles’ category) but now, as part of my own practice of the art of enchantment, I aim also to offer a small note, quote, or reflection here most days that I’m online. Those notes can be found in the ‘Diary’ category.
Dr Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction, a psychologist who has specialised both in neuroscience and narrative, and a mythologist with a specialisation in Celtic Studies. Her unique approach to working with myth, fairy tales and folklore highlights the insights these traditions can offer us into authentic and meaningful ways of being which are founded on a deep sense of belonging to place, a rootedness in the land we inhabit. In early 2017 she founded The Hedge School: both an online space and a physical location in Connemara, for teachings in myth, wild mind and enchantment.
Sharon is the author of The Long Delirious Burning Blue, a novel which the Independent on Sunday called ‘hugely potent. A tribute to the art of storytelling that is itself an affecting and inspiring story’, and which The Scotsman called ‘powerful (reminiscent of The English Patient), filmic, and achieving the kind of symmetry that novels often aspire to, but rarely reach.’
Her nonfiction book If Women Rose Rooted offers up a new Heroine’s Journey for this challenging age of social and ecological crisis, and was described by bestselling novelist Manda Scott as ‘mind-blowing in the most profound and exhilarating sense … an anthem for all we could be … an essential book for this, the most critical of recent times.’ If Women Rose Rooted was a 2016 Nautilus Book Award winner. Her latest nonfiction book, The Enchanted Life, was published in February 2018. She is now completing a collection of original fairy tales about shapeshifting women, Foxfire, Wolfskin, which will be published in autumn 2019. A further collection of stories about bird-women for young adults, Old Crane Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Bird, will be published in late 2020.
Sharon’s articles have been published in a wide range of popular and academic magazines and journals. She is the recipient of a ‘Creative Scotland’ writing award, and is an experienced lecturer and workshop leader; she has also performed at a number of cultural events and festivals, from the Edinburgh International Book Festival to the Dark Mountain Project’s ‘Uncivilisation’ Festival. From 2013 to 2017 she was the founder and editor of EarthLines Magazine, described by Jay Griffiths as ‘a deeply intelligent publication’, by George Monbiot as ‘a rare combination and much needed’, and by Robert Macfarlane as ‘a real point of convergence for many thought-tributaries and philosophical paths’.
After several years as a crofter in the north-west of Scotland and the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Sharon returned to Ireland in 2014, and in 2017 traded an old stone riverside cottage in Donegal for a house among the hills, lakes and seaweed-strewn tidal inlets of the Connemara Gaeltacht. Here, following her practice over the past couple of decades, she looks after hens and bees and grows her own vegetables and herbs. Her experiences on the westernmost edges of the Celtic fringe give her a unique perspective on the psychology of belonging, and our relationship with place.
I am represented by Kirsty McLachlan, at David Godwin Associates.