The Music of the Moon: Re-Enchantment and the Biggest Crime in History

More money, more sex, more status, more possessions, more gratification. That’s how too many people in the modern world would answer one simple question: “What would you like in your life?” When I asked myself that question, I was surprised by speed and naturalness with which the answer came to me: I’d like more stars and more butterflies.

Stealing the sky

To put it another way, I’d like more enchantment. Stars and butterflies are beautiful, mysterious, spirit-lifting, thought-provoking, and seemingly oblivious to human beings. They exist for their own sake. And yet what would they be without us? One summer I saw a bright rainbow across a field of horses. The rainbow was beautiful, heart-lifting, awe-inspiring. But the horses had their heads down, grazing. Horses don’t gaze at rainbows. Or follow the flight of a butterfly. And when night falls, horses don’t lift their heads in awe to a clear, star-jewelled sky. Nothing in the animal kingdom does, except for human beings.

Stars and trees seen from Luhasoo bog in Estonia (image from Wikipedia)

But fewer and fewer humans gaze at the stars and watch butterflies today, because light pollution drowns the night sky and butterflies have collapsed in numbers. I would say that light pollution has been the biggest crime in history. After all, it has stolen the sky from millions of people across whole continents. Reversing that enormous theft should be a priority of any serious and sane government. A clear sight of the night sky wouldn’t just restore to us the awe and majesty of the stars and moon: it would re-connect us with those long generations of our ancestors who watched and wondered and worshiped. There’s wisdom in the night. And brain-shaking power. Ancient Greek had the beautiful adverb ἀστέροθεν, asterothen, meaning “from the stars.” It also had the awesome adjective ἀστροβρόντης, astrobrontēs, meaning “star-thundering” and used of the god Mithras.

Poisoned by modernity

Modernity has stolen those ancient astral awes and inspirations from us, staining the night with light. And it’s stripped the day of another ancient source of beauty and otherness: those winged wonders known as butterflies. Reading A Curious Boy (2021), the autobiography of the British scientist Richard Fortey (born 1946), I was lost in wonder and envy at this description: “Small tortoiseshell butterflies, whose caterpillars feed on the common nettle, made orange clouds at the edges of fields.” (p. 65) He’s writing about the 1950s and goes on to say that, because nettles are now common: “Small tortoiseshells should be everywhere. Instead, [their] population has fallen by three-quarters in thirty years. The word ‘baffling’ has been used in official reports.” (p. 66)

Small tortoiseshell butterfly on the concrete of a car-park, Dorset, England (image from Wikipedia)

More nettles, fewer butterflies — baffling! But it isn’t truly baffling. It’s a poisonous by-product of modernity, of the industrialization of farming and the countryside. And it’s an excellent example of what the great German sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920) called die Entzauberung der Welt — “the disenchantment of the world” that accompanied the industrial revolution and the rise of modern science. Ironically enough, the very word “disenchantment” is an example of what you might call the disenchantment of the English language. Entzauberung is pure German, but English lost its native ways of talking about magic and now uses French. And to my ear “dis-” is an ugly, bureaucratic prefix.

Re-enchant the familiar

So “disenchantment” is disenchanted. Which is appropriate enough. But if we had a native way of expressing the concept — “untivering” uses the same roots as the German — we wouldn’t know what we were missing. As John Lennon once sang: “You don’t know what you’ve got till you lose it.” When Richard Fortey was a boy in the 1950s, he perhaps wasn’t as enchanted by the actual sight of “orange clouds” of tortoiseshells as some of us, in the butterfly-bereft 2020s, can be by the mere thought of them. Similarly, do native speakers of German rejoice in the richness and rootedness of words like Entzauberung? No. Most of them don’t. It’s simply the word for that concept in German. And are they delighted by the consonant cluster that begins the word Zauber, pronounced tsow-ber and meaning “magic”? Again, no. But I’m not a native speaker of German and I love the ts- of Zauber, zeitig, zierlich, meaning “magic,” “timely,” “delicate.” It sounds to me like a little bell tinkling.

If you call that twee, then fine: I love the consonant cluster tw- in English too. Or I’ve learned to love it: we can re-enchant the familiar and learn to delight in what we once took for granted. If you don’t know the adjective twee, it means “excessively sentimental, pretty or coy.” It may come from a childish pronunciation of “sweet” (I like the consonant cluster sw- too). Winnie the Pooh (1924) is twee. You could even say it’s toxically twee, in the case of the Disney adaptation. But that book by Kenneth Graham (1859–1932) was an attempt at the re-enchantment of the world, at the reversal of the industrialization and urbanization that began to trample on the world in the Victorian era. Here’s another attempt at re-enchantment by a greater writer:

But where a passion yet unborn perhaps
Lay hidden as the music of the moon
Sleeps in the plain eggs of the nightingale. (“Aylmer’s Field” [1864])

That’s Tennyson (1809-92), who could conjure more with ten words than lesser writers can with ten thousand. I think Tolkien was a lesser writer. But a greater maker. And, born later, he saw even more clearly the harm done by the iron hooves of modernity. And by its glaring, glowing eyes. That’s why two things were so important to Tolkien: the trees trampled by the hooves and the stars banished by the eyes. Trees and stars are central to Lord of the Rings (1954–55), Tolkien’s flawed but literally fabulous attempt at the re-enchantment of literature:

Away high in the East swung Remmirath, the Netted Stars, and slowly above the mists red Borgil rose, glowing like a jewel of fire. Then by some shift of airs all the mist was drawn away like a veil, and there leaned up, as he climbed over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the Sky, Menelvagor with his shining belt. The Elves all burst into song. Suddenly under the trees a fire sprang up with a red light.

‘Come!’ the Elves called to the hobbits. ‘Come! Now is the time for speech and merriment!’ (The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [1954], Book 1, chapter 3, “Three Is Company”)

Menelvagor is the real constellation Orion, perhaps the most easily recognizable star-shape and surely the most awesome. Tolkien has sharpened my appreciation of Orion with that singing phrase “Swordsman of the Sky.” But Tolkien was a Christian and also knew the power of a single star. When the magi came from the east in the Gospel of Matthew, they were following one astera, one star. And when it brought them to the birthplace of Jesus, “they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” Was that Christian star an inspiration for a later passage in Lord of the Rings, when the overlooked and despised hobbits Frodo and Sam are starved and despairing amid the thorns and rocks of Mordor, poisoned realm of the Dark Lord Sauron? I think it must have been:

The land seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises, but there was no sound of voice or of foot. Far above the Ephel Dúath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. (The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King [1955], Book 2, chapter 6, “Mount Doom”)

We can say the same of Clown World: it’s a small and passing thing. Its ugliness and evil will not endure. Starlight and the music of the moon will outshine and outsing the cacophoty and cacophony of modernity.

20 replies
  1. Tom Carberry
    Tom Carberry says:

    On a more esoteric level, the nephilim looked like clowns to some. One can find a lot on this subject with the google. JRR Tolkien, or John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, bears the name of the son of Esau, Reuel, one of the most maligned figures, along with Cain, in the OT. Few wonder whether they deserved their negative reputations. Esoterically, Cain killed Abel because Abel sacrificed his own son to YHWH. Esau, or perhaps Isa, bears the same name as Jesus of the Christians, and had a twin brother Jacob, the same name as James (Anglicized version of Jacob), the twin brother of Jesus. Dreams and wonders exist but we have learned to tune them out. Why do we believe the narrative as given to us? Because to doubt it puts us in the box with “crazy” people, stupid people without education.

    • Weaver
      Weaver says:

      Some people lack the ability, motivation, confidence, or situation to think independently.

      I enjoy being a nuanced contrarian. I prefer talking with blue collar people who are free to speak honestly. A white collar worker making 600K a year won’t risk his job, if it’s at risk anyway.

  2. Tim Folke
    Tim Folke says:

    This essay resonates with me. I have always preferred living in the country, as close to true wilderness as possible among the wild animals, clear skies and the beauty of forests.

    Personally, cities give me the creeps and I have always wondered why someone would opt for life in the city over that of Nature.

    • Weaver
      Weaver says:

      Cities are so much worse, now. We have social media, now.

      People post things about one another, record one another: Everything is uploaded, and it hinders employment.

      People are obsessed with who is “good” or “bad,” obsessed with how much money others make. They’re always monitoring, judging, uploading. You can’t have a conversation in a city, and few even realize the enormous risk of being recorded. Security cameras everywhere. Phones everywhere.

  3. Rick Breit
    Rick Breit says:

    “I know that I am mortal by nature and ephemeral, but when I trace at my pleasure, the winding to and fro of the heavenly bodies, I no longer touch earth with my feet. I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.” – Ptolemy

  4. Anthony Aaron
    Anthony Aaron says:

    Uplifting … and thanks for that in these troubling times …

    Merry Christmas to you, Mr. Langdon … and to all the rest of US, too …

  5. Mark Engholm
    Mark Engholm says:

    The Entzauberung of the world, the appropriate term. When I
    think of Entzauberung , I immediately think of pornography, one
    of the most blatant “post-modern” varieties. It’s like having to
    watch fried chicken all day long, after which you automatically
    lose all appetite for this type of food from sheer visual oversa-
    turation. It’s the same with pornography and curiosity. However,
    there are even said to be people who even develop a veritable
    “addiction” to these lifeless images full of Entzauberung. Sick.

    Old English had a surprising amount in common with what is now
    called High German, although this is known to be a relatively mo-
    dern artificial language. Low German much closer to Old English.

  6. Mark Engholm
    Mark Engholm says:

    It is even possible that the European’s strong attraction to
    firewater (and all sorts of other drugs) is an unconscious
    attempt to re-enchant/re-mystify the all-too overly-explicit.

    After all, it’s not for nothing that they say: “When
    drunk, all women are beautiful, even your own.”

  7. Lord Snooty
    Lord Snooty says:

    Re “Entzauberung” is pure German, but English lost its native ways of talking about magic”:

    On the other hand, I believe there is no German equivalent to our “awe”; a word you are clearly fond of. German philosopher Rudolf Otto might have found it useful for his 1917 book “The Idea of the Holy”, but he did coin the splendid term “numinous”.

  8. Alan
    Alan says:

    Metaphorical hat is off to Mr.Langdon and many exceptional commenters here.Just a few points..Isa is generically pronounced …EES-ah….tho written as …Isa… most Islamic folk pronounce “Jesus.”
    For years many comments right here on TOO have been in and of themselves outstanding. Some of us hunger for a return to higher literary in the collective cultural subconscious
    European -american “us””…despise the odious onerous obvious Jewish communist dumbing down of American -english…the vile ersatz brainwashing of the normies by Jews..wef-blackrock often globohomosexual JEWS’. ..Yeah. Merry Christmas from us too ,fabulous Mr.Langdon..your elegant article has great charm..a perfect literary repartee to the Jew imposed. dissasociative. linguistic schizophrenia out there in the open tribulation of 2023.Also to prof.Kevin and staff at TOO….Merry Christmas

  9. James J O'Meara
    James J O'Meara says:

    Good news! “Disenchantment” is a myth.

    “To catch up those who are unfamiliar with my book, The Myth of Disenchantment is rooted in the following observation: Many theorists have argued that what makes the modern world “modern” is that people no longer believe in spirits, myth, or magic — in this sense we are “disenchanted.” However, every day new proof arises that “modern” thinkers do in fact believe in magic and in spirits, and they have done so throughout history. According to a range of anthropological and sociological evidence, which I discuss in the book, the majority of people living in Europe and North America believe (to varying degrees) in the following: spirits, witches, psychical powers, magic, astrology, and demons. Scholars have known this was true of much of the rest of the globe, but have overlooked its continued presence in the West.

    “So my book set out to answer the question: Where did this notion of de-spiritualized modernity come from? In other words, how did this mistaken belief set in? To explain, I traced the history of the idea that modernity means disenchantment in the birth of various intellectual disciplines, namely: philosophy, anthropology, sociology, folklore, psychoanalysis, and religious studies. In so doing, I discovered that the majority of theorists who gave the idea of disenchantment its canonical formulations were living in Britain, France, or Germany in a period in which spiritualism (séances and table turning), theosophy, and magical societies like the Golden Dawn were taking place as massive cross-cultural movements and, as I show from archival research into these theorists’ diaries, letters, and so on, these occult movements entered directly into the lives and beliefs of the very theorists of disenchantment themselves.”

    Best part: Carnap and Wittgenstein almost come to blows, as they get in a heated argument over which of them is a “real magician” and which is “a mere mystic.”

    • Weaver
      Weaver says:

      That’s right. We’ll be one mixed population, believing in whatever the elite programs us to believe. The elite will possibly retain an identity, maybe Jewish.

      We’ll be slaves. And biotech will be applied to us such that we hold little value, replaceable machines, like buying a new car or tv.

      But a nation state could be different. But not one based on the political ideas whites usually want.

  10. Bobby
    Bobby says:

    Thanks Tobias. Great stuff from you as always.

    I’ve been going back and forth a bit lately between the city where I live, and upstate to help out a relative who’s been having a hard time lately. I’m very much enjoying the stars at night and of course the fall was amazing up here. I will note that the sunsets in Coney Island can be pretty amazing also and they are also spectacular if you’re lucky enough to be in the right place and can see the Manhattan skyline, or watch the sun go down over the Brooklyn Bridge.

    I don’t have a TV in the city but my relative has one up here. There’s an English show called ‘Monty Don’. He seems to be this famous gardener in England and the show is all about English gardens, gardening and their history. It struck me how important these gardens and gardening are to white peoples. How much they cherish beauty. You’ve probably seen the show Tobias. Catch it if you can everyone.

    It was a great year for us imho. The whole world is staring Jewish supremacy in its ugly face and the masses are finally becoming aware of who the real bad guys always were and continue to be.

    It’s more important now that we all keep up the good fight and keep spreading our message and knowledge to anyone we can. If they have ears, let them hear.

    Merry Christmas, or Merry whatever you might celebrate at this time. God bless you Kevin for you’re continuing hard work with TOO, and the same to everybody else who contributes here.

  11. Arny Petersheim
    Arny Petersheim says:

    The ugliness and evilness of “Clown World” will not endure? Correct. Things will probably get even uglier and more evil.

    Let that prospect motivate you.


    the moon was there, the stars were there, the butterflies were there long before jesus was maybe (but probably not, as empirical evidence of his existence is, non existant) there. the bones of the article are spot on… but to not see that the root source of the separation on man from Nature, is abrahamic religion, is to be blind… to not see that the severing of european man from his own root stock as a people, was done (on purpose) by christianity, is naive at best… cognitive dissonance more likely…. christianity is “twee” judaism… for the cattle… we were not, we are not, a christian people… christians are like gays and vegans… they cannot possibly say something (even as intelligent as what TL is saying here about butterflies and the moon) without batting on about their ‘thing’… in this case some baby jew… in other cases, not having a decent diet, or not liking the other sex because you’ve had issues as a bubba… because, at a base level, their gut is telling them they are wrong… that their brain is making stuff up and it’s wholly unnatural.

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