Metaphysics of Sound
To The World
by David Mosley
In our society, the eye is valued over the ear. Most of us would
say that the eye is more accurate than the ear, but we would be
mistaken. The eye's susceptibility to illusion becomes clear if
we bear in mind that there is a hole of considerable size in the
retina. There should be a blank spot at the center of everything
we perceive with the eye, but there isn't. Instead, the brain fills
in the missing information and we are totally unaware that we are
not seeing what we don't see.
Physiologists, interior designers, painters and illustrators know
very well the many ways the eyes can be deceived. We are all familiar
with the term "optical illusion". The auditory illusions
that exist are so rare that language has not developed a similar
term it's not needed.
Think about the times when you've looked for something that was
in plain view, or tried to find someone in the middle of a crowd.
You can scan several times before the target of your search registers
and you lock in on it. Think about how many times you are able to
immediately identify the voice of someone you know, even in the
midst of commotion, even being unaware the person is present.
Every room has its own sound, its 'eigentone'. This is the result
of sound-waves being reflected by opposite walls, and is to be found
where the resonance between sung and reflected sound is heard most
readily. That can be ascertained by singing various notes in the
room concerned. The next time you are in the bath, sing or hum different
notes until you find which one rings out the strongest.
We live in a culture in which seeing dominates and hearing is devalued.
Scientists have generally focussed their attention on the visual
aspects and have given much more energy studying the eye than the
ear. Much has been written about the psychological and physiological
problems associated with both the 'eigentone' and the 'eigenfarbe'
(the inherent color) of a space while much care is given to how
a room looks, little, if any, is given to how it sounds. 'Visible'
garbage is carted away in trucks while 'audible' garbage remains.
It is interesting to note that seeing is a yang sense embodying
the sun and masculinity while hearing is a yin sense embodying the
moon and femininity.
Our earliest recorded musical traditions provide insights on how
sound and music were used to achieve and maintain an equilibrium
"The notion that the power of music, especially the intoned
word, can influence the course of human destiny and even the order
of the Universe, goes back to the very oldest surviving form of
Indian music, namely, the music of the Vedas. The intoned formula
is the pivot point of the whole elaborate structure of Vedic offerings
and sacrifices. It is the power of the words, enunciated with
the correct intonation, that determines the efficiency of the
rites: a mistake may destroy everything. The priests claim that
by their activity they not only uphold the order of human society,
but maintain the stability of the universe. By means of well-conducted
ceremonies they have compelling power over the Gods themselves.
The instrument that conveys that power is the word." - from
Volume I of the New Oxford History of Music
embodied within its tones elements of the celestial order which
governed the entire universe. All audible sound, including music,
was but one manifestation of a much more fundamental superphysical
Sound. This fundamental Primal Sound was synonymous to that which
the Hindus call OM. The Chinese believed that this Primal Sound
was, though inaudible, present everywhere as a divine Vibration.
It was differentiated into twelve lesser Sounds or Tones. These
Cosmic Tones were each emanations of, and aspects of, the Primal
Sound, but were closer in vibration to the tangible, physical world.
Each of the twelve Tones was associated with one of the twelve zodiacal
regions of the heavens.
In the viewpoint of the ancient Chinese, the notes of all music
contained an essence of transcendent power. A piece of music was
an energy-formula qualifying the sacred power of sound in different
ways. Each composition exerted specific influences over man, civilization
and the world. The extent to which music was aligned to cosmic principles
simply cannot be overstated.
Today we are surrounded by numerous sources of sound to which we
scarcely pay any mind: the humming and whining of appliances, computers,
copy machines the explosive roars of lawn mowers, leaf blowers,
automobiles, airplanes the drone of air conditioning and heating
systems. To the ancient Indian and Chinese practioners of sacred
music, the din we are subjected to would be held as the cause of
disease, disintegration, and corruption a breakdown of civilization
resulting from being out of alignment with the divine.
We can begin restoring the balance personally by becoming aware
of what we hear and consciously choosing what we listen to. Find
a place where you can close your eyes and listen to natural sounds
rather than those associated with technology. Incorporate the use
of sound in meditation. Learn to play an instrument if you don't
already know how, and play for your own enjoyment.
and your soul shall live - Isaiah.
The ear is the the way - The Upanishads.
Berendt, Joachim-Ernst, The
Third Ear: On Listening to the World Element Books 1988)
Judy, Stephanie, Making
Music for the Joy of It: Enhancing Creativity, Skills, and Musical
Confidence (Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. 1990)
Gardner, Kay, Sounding the Inner Landscape: Music as Medicine (Caduceus
___________ Sounding the Inner Landscape. Companion audio tape.
Return to Article Index
The Zodiac Arts
Moon Phase Journal
by Daniel J. Boorstin
the greatest book by one of our greatest historians,
The Discoverers is a volume of sweeping range and majestic
interpretation. To call it a history of science is an
understatement; this is the story of how humankind has
come to know the world, however incompletely. Daniel
J. Boorstin first describes the liberating concept of
time--"the first grand discovery"--and continues through
the age of exploration and the advent of the natural
and social sciences.
Celtic Book of Days:
A Daily Guide to Celtic
Spirituality and Wisdom
by Caitlin Matthews
Celtic method of blending spirituality into everyday
life is revealed in a collection of Celtic myths, prayers,
lore and spiritual sayings based on the Celtic year.
Enjoy an excellent, well-illustrated collection of Celtic
wisdom which provides inspirational moments for each
A Writer's Book of Days:
A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse
for the Writing Life
by Judy Reeves
Essene Book of Days 2004
by Danaan Parry
20 years, the Essene Book of Days has called forth the
wisdom of the Essenes in a personal journal for your
own spiritual development and well-being. For each day
of the year, there is a full page containing daily and
seasonal information, room to write your own thoughts,
morning meditations and evening blessings.