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Loreology: Stories and Lore that Move Us Forward

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Craig Chalquist, PhD

When I practiced psychotherapy, whether with individuals, couples, families, or groups, I often saw how a shift in a client's guiding stories - tales they told themselves about who they were and what was important - opened a portal out of life-constricting stories and into healing.

Education, business, administration, justice, consulting: always the same dynamic wherever I worked. Help people understand what their guiding stories are made of, and options never imagined immediately come into view. Then lives and organizations change.

Shaped in part by my doctoral work in philosophy, Worldread is a growing set of enactable stories about our place in the world, within ourselves, and in relation to one another. As such, it is a wisdom path that can also serve as a spiritual path for the non-religious. Its lore combines inspiring speculative fiction with ancient Hermetic principles, Transcendentalist symbol-tending, and core insights from the world religions before they hardened into monolithic institutions.

Worldread is a path not of precept, but of play. If it were a ministry, it would be called the Way of Earthly Reenchantment.

Loreology refers to the craft of exploring the limits and possibilities of the personal and collective lore we navigate by in order to deepen, expand, or outgrow it. This includes understanding the keystone stories by which we live. I have practiced this craft in a variety of roles before I had a name for it. My preference is to shift from noun to verb and call what I do loreologizing. It has five phases: Exploration, Integration, Transmutation, Application, and Evaluation. The root metaphor is reenchantment. The root archetype is the Mage with a dash of Bard.

Do you long for a path of meaning apart from either traditional religion or dry atheism? Loreologizing can give you that if you go deep enough with it. You have plenty of tools to work with: nature reconnection, dreams, personal myth, terrapsychology, writing your story like a new work of fiction...The result is a personal, embodied, reenchanting philosophy not to believe, but to believe in.

What's even more exciting is the possibility that we can loreologize together.

Think about organizations as different as Star Trek conventions and Salmon Nation, an experiment in place-rooted organization spanning northwestern states and even nations. Each stands on a body of lore: handed-down knowledge, image, ritual, tradition, and fantasy. Each bypasses barriers of culture and language to meet around a common vision.

That's what a loreway tries to do: an imaginative body of fictionally framed narrative and personal practice that fills out a mythic-feeling story arc and provides life guidance via ideals, a sense of play, fun, and meaning to participate in. There are other examples, including Incredible Edible and the Wakanda Dream Lab. Two millennia ago, Gnosticism served as a wisdom loreway in the Eastern Mediterranean by retelling tales out of Genesis.

We need one more term to denote a loreway designed to be visionary and aspirational. (I avoid "utopian" because it implies an undesirable passive end-state of perfection.) A loreosophy is a body of lore (mythic, archetypal, fictional), celebration, and practice offering a story for meaningful, inspiring, and collaborative living on Earth. No creeds, no authorities, no original sin; rather, an adventure in perpetual performance, with commands replaced by life-transforming experiences.

Worldrede represents the beginnings of a loreosophy. Its goal is Terrania, the just, pleasing, safe, advanced, equitable, and Earth-honoring world society I feel confident we can actually build if enough of us playfully conjure it into existence.

Although just at the start of its run, Worldread does come with some resources. A few examples:

  • A packet of storytelling practices.

  • An emblem of Terrania: Earth, with Africa, home of our species, in the center.

  • Motto of Terrania: “Many Voices, One Earth.”

  • A Terrania Charter to be expanded and signed within the Terrania Accords establishing worldwide governance (Assembling Terrania Cycle).

  • A Declaration of Enchantment.

  • The Ten Lamps of basic observations about cosmos, Earth, and our place.

  • Ethics: Fivefold Caring (of personhood, people, place, planet, possibility); also, an ethic of self-respecting do-no-harm as exemplified in the tale “Knight of Peace.”

  • 4Rs of adaptation: resiliency, reenchantment, repair, renewal. We can’t reach the future without these.

  • Enchantivism as one form of story-based change-fomenting and transrevolution.

  • The free offering Tales of Terrania Rising.

If we expect to survive, let alone flourish, on this world we have altered, we must recover the capacity for dreaming together and seeing where that takes us.

Check out these blogs to learn more about loreologizing.

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