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)
You can practice Lectio Poetica alone or in a group. In our local gatherings, we use all seven movements described below. If, however, you practice at home with a poem of your choice, you will, of course, skip step 5. Feel free to adapt the movements as you see fit.
When we meet as a group, we always gather in a circle with a candle at the center, representing the illumination and insight that we seek, both in solitude and community. Generally we give the process two hours.
If you're alone, take sufficient time to discover your own contemplative rhythm. Slow down, go deep, and listen to the voice of your soul. You might be surprised at what it has to say, given a chance.
The Seven Movements of Lectio Poetica
(For an example of how this process works in real life, see "Lectio Poetica: A Personal Experience," Oct. 15, 2012 blog.)
1. Preparatio (Readying)
2. Lectio (Reading)
3. Meditatio (Ruminating/Repeating)
4. Oratio (Reflecting/Responding)
5. Conversatio (Relating)
6. Incarnatio (Realizing)
7. Contemplatio (Resting)
© Jay and Barbara Valusek