As of January 2017, we have suspended our monthly meetings in Longmont, Colorado.
For more about why, see the January 3 Reflection (Blog) post.
You can, however, use this website to learn how to practice Lectio Poetica on your own. Or send an email, and we'd be happy to help you. In addition, if you'd to bring a retreat or workshop on Lectio Poetica to a local group or organization, just let us know.
Poetry as Sacred Text
"More and more, humanity will discover that we have to turn to poetry to interpret life for us, to console us, to sustain us . . . Most of what passes with us for religion and philosophy will be replaced by poetry."
- Matthew Arnold (1880)
A conversation with your own soul
Lectio Poetica is a contemplative practice that originated in the monastic tradition of the West, and resonates with the meditative traditions of the East. It is, in essence, a form of conversation with your own soul. With poetry as our "sacred text," Lectio Poetica is appropriate for seekers of any worldview.
Lectio Poetica is based on an ancient practice known since at least the 4th century A.D. as Lectio Divina (sacred reading).
Originally, Lectio Divina involved the slow, quiet reading, repetition and contemplation of a sacred text - often the Psalms, which are ancient Hebrew poems - with the intent of listening deeply for the "still, small voice" of the divine within. By the 11th century, the practice had been formalized in four steps or "movements" designated by Latin names - Lectio (Reading), Meditatio (Ruminating), Oratio (Responding), and Contemplatio (Resting).
We have added three more steps to the traditional process and given them Latin names as well - Preparatio (Readying), Conversatio (Relating), and Incarnatio (Realizing). For more details, see "The Practice."
As we practice it, Lectio Poetica involves the reading and contemplation of poetry - any poetry, not just sacred poetry - with the intent of bringing us into deeper conversation with our own souls, our true selves, our inner source of wisdom and guidance, whether one considers that divine or simply the human heart. What's the point? To discover answers to our own questions, solutions to our own puzzles, and next steps on our own sacred journeys.
Poetry is especially helpful in times of stress, transition or confusion, as a gentle, intuitive and creative approach to change, growth and self-discovery.
What makes the process "sacred" is not so much the content or message of the poems, but the care and attention each practitioner brings to the text . . . and to his or her own soul. Lectio Poetica is a practice for men and women of all ages and worldviews, theists and non-theists, "physicists" and metaphysicists alike.
We invite you to make Lectio Poetica a regular part of your meditation practice, using the guidelines elsewhere on this website. See what happens. And let us know!