For my birthday, Prior Aelred send me a book called Second Simplicity - The Inner Shape of Christianity by Bruno Barnhart.
I'm working my way through it slowly; it's fascinating but much of the vocabulary is foreign to me. But I came across the excerpt below and thought, "Yes! Yes! That's exactly right!", so I thought I'd share it.
Barhnart is discussing different techniques, such as silent meditation, for what he calls "going upstream," by which he means the process of achieving "a truly unitive experience, a movement beyond duality into oneness with divine Reality." He says:"Another way upstream is poetry. Poetic discourse knows the way to the Source that is hidden within words: the path within words to the invisible Word from which they originate. The words of the poem dwell within a bright little aura, a field of energy that participates in the energy that is beginning and end.
[He sounds very much like a witch, here!] The poem is an epiphany, a little eucharist of the Word in which the cosmic communion is momentarily realized."
OK, eucharist sounds very Xian, as does the capitalized "Word," but if you read "cosmic communion" without assuming that "communion"="eucharist" most witches would easily agree with his point.
Wicca has been described as an ecstatic religion, with rituals -- including poetry, drumming, dancing, and the Great Rite -- designed to induce ecstasy. Ecstasy is, I think, important for its own sake, but also for the reason that Barnhart describes. Ecstasy, which for me often comes from reading poetry, allows one to be aware that one dwells within (and is, in fact, a part of) an aura (I hesitate to call it "little" as Barnhart does), a field of energy that participates in the energy that is beginning and end. It allows one to realize the cosmic communion of everything. Absent that realization, on a cellular level, there's really no point trying to do magic, or read Tarot, or do any of the other things that most people associate with witches. Or, I guess, with any of the things that most people associate with monks.