Tag Archives: power of music

Harmonies of Heaven and Earth

Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin, the 1995 reissue paperback from Inner Traditions, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Joscelyn Godwin Harmonies of Heaven and Earth from Inner Traditions

“What lies beneath the surface of music and what gives it its transcendent power? For many people, music is the primary catalyst for experiences of expanded consciousness. Musicians and lovers of music—all those who have ever reflected on its inner reality—feel that a true philosophy of music cannot deal with physics and psychology alone. It must include the universal and mystical aspect of which Plato, Kelper, Rameau, and Novalis wrote, and of which Wagner said: ‘I feel that I am one with this vibrating Force, that it is omniscient, and that I can draw upon it to an extent that is limited only by my own capacity.’ The spiritual power of music surfaces in folklore, myth, and mystical experience, embracing heaven and earth, heard as well as unheard harmonies.

Joscelyn Godwin explores music’s perceived effects on matter, living things, and human behavior. He then turns to metaphysical accounts of the higher worlds that are the birthplace of Harmony, following the path of musical inspiration on its descent to Earth, and illuminating the archetypal currents that lie beneath Western musical history. A final section gives the fullest account ever published of theories of celestial harmony, from Pythagoras to Rudolf Steiner and Marius Schneider.” — back cover

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Music, Mysticism and Magic

Music, Mysticism and Magic: A Sourcebook by Hermetic Library fellow Joscelyn Godwin, the 1988 paperback from Arkana, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Joscelyn Godwin Music, Mysticism and Magic from Arkana

“‘At the highest levels of music little changes: it is always the same vehicle for voyages to another world, the same revelation of divine and cosmic laws, the same powerful tool for self-transformation, as it was in ancient and even in prehistoric times’&mdask;from the Preface

This anthology brings together over 2,000 years of the perennial wisdom associated with music—its spiritual, philosophical, mystical and magical dimensions—in writings spanning the ages from the ancient world to the twentieth century, from classical, Judaic, Islamic, Christian and secular civilizations.

The writers range from composers, philosophers and novelists to monks, Kabbalists and astronomers. Plato and Plutarch, Kepler and Chateaubriand, Balzac and Gurdjieff, Schopenhauer and Stockhausen, Wagner and Schumann, Rudolf Steiner and George Sand are only some of the distinguished names included. Yet the common ground they share is astonishing: the power of music to awaken the spirit and trigger magical and mystical experience recurs throughout their writing.

From Cicero’s account of the music of the spheres and the medieval hermit Richard Rolle’s mystical experience of canor—a continuous state of song which welled up in him unbidden—to the utopian socialist Fourier’s use of music in a recipe for ritual magic, this sourcebook leads us far beyond current limited views of music as mere entertainment or emotional stimulus.”

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.