The healing effect of words has long been recognised, as far back as 4000 BCE, early Egyptians wrote words on papyrus, dissolve them in liquid, and gave them to those who were ill as a form of medicine.
Also poetry for healing and personal growth, can be seen in ancient times when shamans conducted religious rites and chanted poetry for the well-being of the tribe or individual. The first known Poetry Therapist was a Roman physician by the name of Soranus in the first century A.D., who prescribed tragedy for his manic patients and comedy for those who were depressed. It is interesting that Apollo is the god of poetry, as well as medicine, medicine and the arts were at that stage closely intertwined.
Is poetry therapeutic for both the writer and the reader?
I certainly believe it is, reading and writing poetry helps you to think of new ideas and it can also dramatically change the way you understand old ones. It encourages a certain interconnectedness and helps establish a sense of community between yourself and others, and is a way of processing experiences and emotions.
Poetry, although typically a short composition, it is usually an emotional experience. The writer gets in touch with feelings they might not have known they had until it is actually written down on paper. Expressing how you feel is often difficult, it is especially hard to verbalise, through poetry, you can start to understand the obstructions you may have so it can be the beginning of growth, healing, and transformation. Writing poetry is a passion it alows us to tap into our authentic voices, which can lead to self-realisation.
Likewise reading poetry can have a similar positive effect, poetry allows the reader to see into the psyche of another person, comprehend what is on their mind and in their heart, this can open up the reader to feelings that they are themselves suppressing. So all in all it is good for the soul – so keep creating!
I have linked this post to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, the word being ‘PASSION‘