The sound of the world-soul

Creation - a symphony

The sound of the world-soul

Sleeps a song in things abounding

that keep dreaming to be heard:

Earth’es tunes will start resounding

if you find the magic word.

Joseph v. Eichendorff

The trace and sound of the world-soul have had a long history. In ancient times Pythagoras the Greek was one of those persons who perceived something which no longer appears to be in our conscious thinking. This something is the “Harmony of spheres”. Nowadays this would probably be seen in a rather more matter-of fact, rational and scientific manner, and would be called “background noise”.

Pythagoras spoke of “immortality” and “transmigration of souls“. He knew about the course of the heavenly bodies. He heard the Harmony of Spheres. Was he clairaudient? Very probably he was. He experienced a soul-moving event with his inner ear. Markus Tullius Cicero said:

Music incorporates every single living thing, because music is the soul of heaven itself.

Music is based on vibration, tone and number. The world of tone – likewise the world of colour and shape – is affected by vibration and number. The correlation between macrocosmos and microcosmos can be demonstrated by showing mathematical figures linked harmoniously together. Since numbers, tone and music are closely interwoven, the idea of a Harmony of Spheres as once seen by ancient folk now has received a new meaning and is able to be clearly understood.

Numbers as Qualities

According to the ancient folk, numbers were not seen as elements of calculus, but were rather regarded as qualities, elemental forces and ideas that impact our lives. In this context all beings have their own individual sound, numbers and qualities. The expression “Harmony of Spheres” was universally recognised in the Middle Ages. Music was divided into 3 categories:

Musica mundana    –           Music of the universe

Musica humana      –           Melody of man

Musica instrumentalis   –    instrumental music

One could say that the vibrational frequency is hinted at with the “magic word” in Eichendorff’s poem named at the beginning; this vibrational frequency connects the human body (in its physical and subtle levels) with the vibrations of the cosmos. Johannes Kepler formulated his view of a vocal cosmos, 2000 years after Pythagoras:

Creation itself constitutes a wonderful symphony. The supreme harmony is God and He has imprinted an inner harmony of his own image onto each and every soul. The spherical as a harmonious object represents likewise the Holy Trinity: The Father is the centre, the Son the surface, and the Spirit is the distance from the centre to the surface. Without any soul existence there can be no harmony. The Earth is ensouled and thus great harmony is generated – not only on Earth but also between Earth and the celestial bodies.

In his book Harmonies of the World Kepler compared the terrestrial globe with the body of an animal. The soul of the animal corresponds to the “natura sublunaris” (= sublunary plane) on planet earth, the ensoulment in its creative processes.

The soul of the earth is to be seen analogously to the soul of man.

Harmony, he felt, was the oneness and the band of entirety, the adornment of the world, the crown of creation.

In the prologue of Goethe’s Faust it says:

The sun resounds in age-old fashion / in brotherly spheres of rival calls.

Music and soul development

Bruno Walter, a well-known 20th century conductor, wrote in his book Of Music and Music-Making that the ancestral music of spherical tones could not be heard by corporeal ears, just like that. He said he was convinced that this source enabled him to get to know and understand the development and essence of music as an elementary power over people’s souls. He said man was influenced by spherical music; ever since he came into existence, the organism swayed to the beat of the melodic vibrations and rhythm. Thus man is inherently musical.

In this context Walter recognised the adherence of music to the cosmos. He traced back the development of music to the soul development of man, and said that from here spread the unfolding of his inner gifts to other cultural domains. The bringing into existence of great musical works illuminates the power of creation – which is available to man as well. Music, Walter continued, is the language of the soul, which presupposes transcendental powers. The composer accomplishes his work through lively and spirited sounds.

Some composers consciously perceived the process of creation within their works. They described themselves to a certain extent as being a channel for inspiration from a Higher Sphere. Thus music at the same time becomes an own individual entity. Bach and Mozart without a doubt drew their inspiration from the highest fields of vibration. In texts that Bach made to his music notes we can read the words Soli Deo Gloria (honour is due to God alone) at the end of every one of his compositions. Beethoven gave it a ceremonial expression:

The Heavens praise the glory of the Eternal; their resonance propagates His name.

Music – a message

Music – fading tones and eternal primordial sounds – is a message from ex-terrestrial transcendental regions that indicates the existence of an all-encompassing essence. Some people will then understand that mankind can hardly have any more direct access to discerning the logos and how it operates than through music. It is music that gives us a resounding concretization of a divine, creative and regulative being.

Achim von Arnim wrote the following about the artistic process:

My realm is where art is a singular nature; here is where my roots will grow unendingly: they grow in the past right back to where everything began, they grow in the future up to the point where the world will be renewed – that is my homeland.

Finally a few words from Pythagoras again that illustrate the quality of the triad of spirit, soul and body, which consists of mutual friendship and fraternity:

Friendship of Gods and men, through piety and mindful worship, friendship of the doctrines towards each other, friendship of the soul with the body, display of friendship of what is gifted with reason towards everything which is not, through philosophy and its spiritual outlook; friendship between the varied people by properly understanding the concept of nature, friendship of the mortal body within its own self, pacification and reconciliation of the opposing forces, which are working within the body.

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Date: January 1, 2019
Author: Hermann Achenbach (Germany)
Photo: Robert Fludd/ BW

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