Cosmic Harmony

Published on by Catherine Toulsaly

The three rings of Love and Light. Each for a maiden so pure and bright. Winter, Spring, and Fall.

Happy is the Lady of Flowers to have the man of her dreams, her hair like black silk, her skin like golden sun flowers, her words that flow like crystal clear rivers, her smell is lilacs and honey. Sweet to taste. Luscious is she.

Precious is the Lady of Snow. So fragile and clean. Pure in heart and clearly serene, her pale white skin twinkles in the night, her hair is curly. Love at first sight of the Stellar star night. Her words are cold but her heart is warm enough to kindle a fire. Her lips enticing to love. To welcome new life and Spring.

How great is the Lady of Colors to hold all three rings. Of Love and Light. To give them out and not think twice. Her voice is Music to Ones ears to make a Man fall head over heels. She knows the time to love and she knows the time of fear. She paints the leaves and the sky. She moves like a beautiful dance. She knows the time to be cold; she knows the time to be lukewarm. Her hair is of burning fire. Lovely is she and always in my heart is tied with three rings. Platinum, diamond, and gold.

I give to One of them. Never to part. The One I love across the hall left her clothes in my heart. The One that walks in the nights hall hides to Ones dismay. I look for the One I love just to find there all from Heaven above. I can smell the One in my dreams. At first sight is everything. How can I love another so beautiful and stellar? Free me from these earthly desires with a halo above my head. I pick the One in Heaven instead even though he hides in the dark, dying from a broken heart...

Three rings of Love by Hunter Anderson

Melancholy, or the Spirit of Man in Search of the Secret of the Universe. This Dürer’s etching, dating from 1514 according to the numbers in the square in the top right corner, depicts man contemplating the nature of the world in the state of melancholy, which in medieval times was associated with black bile and the planet Saturn. The winged man prefigures Johannes Kepler’s interrogations as he calculates how to express the underlying harmony of the cosmos using spheres and polyhedra. The bright light in the sky is the great comet that was observed in the winter of 1513-1514 (Jean-Pierre Luminet, Science, Art and Geometrical Imagination)

Melancholy, or the Spirit of Man in Search of the Secret of the Universe. This Dürer’s etching, dating from 1514 according to the numbers in the square in the top right corner, depicts man contemplating the nature of the world in the state of melancholy, which in medieval times was associated with black bile and the planet Saturn. The winged man prefigures Johannes Kepler’s interrogations as he calculates how to express the underlying harmony of the cosmos using spheres and polyhedra. The bright light in the sky is the great comet that was observed in the winter of 1513-1514 (Jean-Pierre Luminet, Science, Art and Geometrical Imagination)

 

I do prefer poetry, for poets are drawn to sensible harmonies. Poetry senses bits of feeling, describes what the eyes of the mind see, turns ideas on their heads, and whispers sounds of freedom. To the caterpillars unaware of butterflyhood who believe that all experiences can be explained rationally, the irreverence of poetry leads the way. In the midst of fragmented reality where everything we encounter becomes one thing or another, with each thing outside the other, and all things separate from one another, authentic wholeness flows into the whole through the parts and back again.  

This two-year blog has been an interstice of unreason and will be briefly felt, then passing in the timeless Universe. It has undertaken a long work of understanding and incorporating an infinite number of points of view on the nature of the bond between the Universe and Consciousness. It is meant to initiate a dialogue with sensitive beings and creative souls and will continue to unfold like an imaginal puzzle that makes sense on one level, nonsense on another. I let readers decide where reality hides and fiction lies and I thank those who have joined this dialogue. Your perspective on the subject is inspiring.

 

Allen Ginsberg entered a state of reverie while reading William Blake’s poem ‘Ah Sunflower’ in his New York apartment. The atmosphere changed and he heard the voice of Blake read out the verse. He spent his life trying to recapture that feeling through poetry, altered states and spiritual practices, recognizing that Blake was his guru.

William Rowlandson,‘“Interstices of Unreason” and the Imaginal: an Exploration’

 

Lately, I wonder whether the Universe communicates with sounds of music, sounds that cannot be uttered in words. As with Boethius who assigned a specific pitch to each planet, could the Earth be a soundscape made of ringing rocks responding to echoes of singing stars and faraway planets? There is a buzzing in our ears of multiple flows into one flow, strings of the Universe. Our inner infinity, endless depth within, reflects the endless depth of the Universe. Human Consciousness meets that of the Earth and the Sun and the Universe in the imaginal realm where imagination takes on genuinely transcendental capacities that allow making contact with what appears to be an entirely different order of mind or consciousness.

 

The Earth is one whole, living system: aspects of its cosmic environment impinge upon it, and effects in the terrestrial geology create further effects in its meteorology. Changes in its magnetic envelope can funnel further influences back to its geology. The whole system, as it resonates. All those forces and reactions play back and forth, creating responses, changes and echoes in all terrestrial structures and processes, from the most dense to the most subtle.

Paul Devereux

 

Indeed, I see the Universe as a symphony of lights and sounds played on the keyboard of time. Paul Devereux talked about earth lights -- geophysical-based manifestations of consciousness. They are not just products of the interaction between earth energies and the human witness, writes Simon Wilson, they are created by the interaction of countless cosmic forces, on the one hand, with the tangled workings of consciousness on the other. There is a discreet resonance within us of the whole cosmos, a music of rhythm and harmonious motion everywhere. 

 

 

To Eduard Heyning, the idea of ‘star music’ is a gateway to a different understanding of the Universe and a vehicle for a shift to another level of consciousness. In our search for the heart of the Universe, the depository of its soul, one fundamental principle of Pythagorean thought is the music of the spheres connecting music, mathematics, and celestial phenomena. Do stars, galaxies, and other bodies and aggregates like filaments make noise by friction as those emanations of light and sound rub on particles moving through the medium of spacetime?

Poets feel the emotion of time stirring the soul of the Universe. They listen to the pulsation of its heart, the murmur of its soul that is, in the words of Timaeus, interfused everywhere from the centre to the circumference of the Universe of which it is also the external envelopment. The body of the Universe is visible, but the soul is invisible, and partakes of reason and harmony. The individual soul needs a human body, just as the soul of the Universe must have the Universe as a body, and when the human dies, the human body returns to the Earth, and the human soul returns to the stars. Even in the Earth, there is a soul, wrote Johannes Kepler in his work Harmonices Mundi (1619).

 

Therefore, there shine forth in the soul of the Earth a kind of image…of the whole firmament, the bond of sympathy between heavenly and earthy things.

Johannes Kepler, The Harmony of the World

 

Ptolemy’s Harmonics synthesized musical learning on a scale comparable to his astronomical work. Boethius bespoke a philosophy of number that seeks to describe the order of the Universe as it was known at the time in its most basic terms. When we talk about fundamentals of reality, it seems that we have been looking for them all along. Today, what we call theory of everything was yesterday a theory of harmony whose goal was to combine mathematics, geometry, music, astronomy, and philosophy. The growing knowledge of our ever-expanding spatiotemporal surroundings has, continually, shifted the focus of our attention, but our intent remains the same. Poets and musicians alike rather have the expression of this order rendered into musical terminology while mathematicians, and scientists in general, wish to transcribe it into mathematical terms. The ultimate question is whether we all are fools trying to find order in the workings of a clueless Universe that reveals itself by expressing itself. Idealists look for harmony; realists just want to make sense of it all. I wish to go back to that sort of authentic wholeness in our search for answers.

 

Figure of Lady Philosophy crowned and seated on a throne with seven maidens who represent the disciplines of dialectic, rhetoric, grammar, music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy (Herrad of Landsberg Hortus Deliciarium, f.32)

Figure of Lady Philosophy crowned and seated on a throne with seven maidens who represent the disciplines of dialectic, rhetoric, grammar, music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy (Herrad of Landsberg Hortus Deliciarium, f.32)

 

Boethius distinguished three forms of harmony. The first kind, musica mundana, derives from the heavenly bodies’ harmonious movements, the balance of the four elements, and the seasons’ cyclical succession. Later on, in the footsteps of his predecessors, Kepler intended to reveal the harmonies in nature and in the motions of what was known at the time of the Universe. He proposed elaborate theories, beyond counting numbers, that connect geometry to music. He defined a string (chord) to be “not the line subtended by an arc of a circle, as in geometry, but any length which is capable of emitting a sound.” As a sound is elicited by motion, he added, a string is “to be understood in the abstract in reference to the length of any motion whatever, or to any other length whatever, even if it is conceived in the mind.” He asserted the necessity of the soul in order to establish the essence of harmony. Therefore, Kepler instilled a metaphysical ingredient in the relationship between numbers, geometry, and music.  

 

For it is indeed difficult to abstract mentally the distinctions, types, and modes of the harmonic proportions from musical notes and sounds, since the only vocabulary which comes to our aid, as is necessary to expound matters, is the musical one.

Johannes Kepler, The Harmony of the World

 

During the Romantic era, absolute music was defined as something that “cannot be heard with the ears, because it is pure form.” It is an abstract construct, “an idea that can be imposed on any object.” Eduard Hanslick writes that in the psyche of the one who listens, the beautiful in music unites “with all other grand and beautiful ideas.” Music affects the psyche as a “sounding reflection of the great motions of the cosmos.” And as Arthur Schopenhauer pointed out, we may regard the phenomenal Universe and music "as two different expressions of the same thing, which is therefore itself the only medium of their analogy, so that a knowledge of it is demanded in order to understand that analogy.” If regarded as an expression of the Universe, music “is in the highest degree a universal language, which is related indeed to the universality of concepts, much as they are related to the particular things.” Schopenhauer went on to say that music is the direct copy of the will itself. We might just as well call the Universe “embodied music as embodied will.”

 

…the sound of ‘star music’ will always elude rules, notation, recording, or reflection, because its truly magical, extratemporal quality is only present in the moment of its performance, and in the awareness of those who are really present.

Eduard Heyning

 

Cosmic consciousness is a shadow inside the Universe. It defines the vibratory nature of all the bits of experience that compose its music. Musicians like Eduard Heyning bent an ear to hear sounds of harmony externally and echoes within. How to make music in tune with the cosmos is their neverending quest. While, for some, the Universe displays a geometric structure, shaped like a dodecahedron with flat mirrors reflecting endlessly, for poets who are tamers of imagination, the Universe is a poem and humankind, a forest of walking brains. 

 

Nice complementary article by EarthSky posted on January 25th, 2021 with an artist's animation posted on YouTube from the Southern European Observatory.

 


If I was to say what you seek is already here. What you have longed for is written in every star and planet. Every mountain and valley. Your self-conscious thought bound to the light that it has seen when in your mind was manifested in a very majestic scene the image of every single thing. Everything has its place and its time like clockwork in thought that preexisted time. Consciousness is only after the sub-thought that you exist and I am existing, for I am implicit. “I don’t remember how I got here. I don’t remember where I came from. But when I get to where I am going, I will remember to hold my head up high. I may remember my birth, my life and death... but you will recall all the rest. Has this dream stopped?”

Hunter Anderson

Mircea Eliade, Two Tales of the Occult

Kripal, Authors of the Impossible on Frederick W. H. Myers

Johannes Kepler, The Harmony of the World, translated by Alistair Matheson Duncan, E. J. Aiton, Judith Veronica Field

Boethius, Boethian Number Theory, A Translation of the De Institutione Arithmetica by Michael Masi 

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea

Eduard Hanslick's On the Musically Beautiful, A New Translation by Lee Rothfarb

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