Poetry and Spirituality

Poetry is, like all the arts, one of the great manifestations of the human spirit.

Poetry and Spirituality

Before writing, and perhaps before the word, poetry already existed in a latent state. In the magma of the Spirit.

It is possible that the primary sounds -the scream, the whisper, the prayer, the cry- because they are the expression of very ancient and deep feelings, are at the base of poetry.

Also the crack of the first tools, stone on stone, the splash of the waters of a river, the waves of the sea, the whisper of the wind, the rhythm of the moons or the seasons, have to do with the essential rhythms that move poetry, which are the rhythms of the universe.

Poetry, a strange language, full of images and symbols, is one of the forms that strangeness and amazement bring before the world.

The language of poetry is that of the world, everyone’s words, but its meaning is new, newly discovered: it is of the world, always from a new point of view.

The origin of poetry is both conscious and unconscious. It is born -we would say- from an intuition of freedom and a talent to express; not to say this or that, but only the essential: an essential word in time, as Antonio Machado used to say.

Poetry is always about mystery, it sometimes solves an enigma, and that mystery is its reason for being, the end of the poem. And more than creating, it discovers something that was already there. Its power is therefore that of transparency, to be able to see through the veils to show a humble and resplendent truth.


The Pond Lotus

opens, closes,

it is defoliated


Sometimes the poem shows the path of detachment from the self that writes until its annulment by immersion in one’s own naked reality, “outside the nest”. I especially like this one by the Swedish Tomas Tranströmer:


Fantastic to feel the poem grow

As I shrink.

Grow up, take my place.

It moves me.

He throws me out of the nest.

The poem is ready.


As in the initiation to the Mysteries, the mind, or the ego, never knows what is going to happen in the poem, where the path will take us. The result is a revelation that was not in the first intention.  Pure magic, we would say, yes, pure magic, like the rainbow, born without cause of light and rain.

The poem, like the Gnostic path, requires longing and intention. It only rains outdoors.


I don’t say my song

But to whom I go.


Thus ends the Romance of Conde Arnaldos.  The Other who goes with me is the mute interlocutor of my word, my witness and my friend.

Poetry is a path of personal evolution and aesthetic wonder. The spiritual path bears in itself the seed of the ultimate truth, the poetic par excellence, the wonderful daily life, as the surrealists said, the end of the division between world, man and God.

There is a continuous movement, a continuous metamorphosis: I am not yesterday’s; the world I see is that of consciousness in its process of transformation, from force to force, from light to light.

There is the willingness to welcome, to be welcomed, to surrender. A receptive and alert attitude that precedes the revelation.

Says the Portuguese Fernando Pessoa:


Sit in the sun. Abdicate

And be king of yourself.


There are no expected results, but evidently, in both experiences there are results beyond all intention: as in music, there is a fusion in the tone and in the octave, between the one who says and the consciousness that is revealed.

A poet is rarely a scholar: his knowledge, if he has any, is pure intuition, pure act, without intermediaries. One goes on the edge of the knife with the only weapon of his detachment, of his surrender to the spirit of the word:


I will die in Paris in a downpour

a day of which I already have the memory.    (Cesar Vallejo)


Something profound has been transmitted, a feeling that cancels out all rules of meaning, but that possesses a truth.

Being a human manifestation, poetry depends absolutely on the state of consciousness of the one who says it and transmits it.  Each poem vibrates on a scale and a tone in the firmament of consciousness.

When poetry expresses an elevated Gnostic consciousness, as for example in Juan de la Cruz, Rumi, Lao Tse, it also describes states of the way, a revelation of that way or even an instant of that way:


Where did you hide, Beloved

and left me with a moan?

How the deer fled

Having injured myself.

I came out after you crying out,

And you were gone.


Like the spiritual path, the very process of poetry is therapeutic and liberating. Even alchemical: a seemingly painful experience is transmuted into revealed word. Once the poem is brought to the surface, the dragon is thrown into the abyss.

Poets are human beings, and, like everyone else, unstable in their humanity and aspiring to perfection by the Spirit itself. The spiritual poet, the person who goes a spiritual path and expresses it in his verses, abounds in sparks of that perfection he longs for, that kingdom that guides him from the depths of his being.

The way to which the Mystery Schools invite us is that of the spirit on the move, call and destruction of the old, the act as expression of purity. “Solve et coagula”.

In the same way, as Isidore Ducasse, Count of Lautrémont, said, the end of the poem is the practical truth. In both cases, the alchemy of giving birth, returning to the light that was given to us, works:


In the beginning was the Word.

And the Word was with God.

And the Word was God.

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Date: September 22, 2020
Author: Pedro Villalba (Spain)
Photo: Bessi - Pixabay CCO

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