The Theosophical Forum – February 1938

MUSIC OF THE SPHERES (1) — R. M. MacAlpin

To most of us, "Music of the Spheres" means the study of the tone and pitch ratios of the planets, from the sun to the Zodiac, and of the stars. This is a good technical start; but when looked into more deeply the doctrine of the Music of the Spheres indicates, for the human musician, a noble place in the universal scheme.

Esotericists regard every atom in the universe as a vibrating sphere of slowly unfolding, or evolving, consciousness; Space in motion. Hence, the atoms bonded together to identify a material object or a perceptible force are vibrating in relative harmony. Flowers, grasses, and trees "sing" as they grow. The minerals, a kingdom in a deep lethargy on this plane, also have their long-wave "breathing" tone. The atoms in beasts and birds can express their collective symphony through vocal chords, while the atomic chorus that makes a body-vehicle for a man may have its voice directed by thought, feeling, desire, and will, toward environmental organization and control.

If we can accept the elements, Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Ether, as conditions maintained by the harmonious activity of atomic entities, we have five more choirs of "cosmic musicians." Still more subtle is the music of the "kingdom" of thought-substance which man organizes into formative images.

Taking only these perceptible conditions and processes, we find ever-performing grand opera, symphony, oratorio, and dance Music of the Spheres. If we agree that eternal Space is at all times a great fulness, then our study is limited only by our own ability to wonder, to imagine, and to expand. Old myths, legends, and fairytales of heroes who have acquired the gift of "element-language," and have talked with stones, plants and birds as well as with the sylphs, nymphs and gnomes of the air, water and earth, are based on forgotten depths of the Music of the Spheres.

Regarding this "element language," here is a pregnant message for the human musician. H. P. Blavatsky, in her profound book, The Secret Doctrine, quotes from an ancient treatise:

It is composed of sounds, not words; of sounds, numbers and figures. He who knows how to blend the three, will call forth the response of the superintending Power . . . sound being the most potent and effectual magic agent, and the first of the keys which open the door of communication between Mortals and the Immortals. — I, 464

All these observations indicate the study of the "intermingling hierarchies" that are the fulness of Space — but this is for the philosopher rather than for the musician. Carrying our theme into the human kingdom, we see, in a symphonic group, every member as a sphere of individualized thought, feeling, desire, and will, whose inherent nature causes him to be a musician — a transformer of sound from the subjective to the objective rates of vibration.

Three major influences draw these human spheres into the cosmic condition called a chorus or an orchestra. The most subjective of these is the call and need of humanity. Whether music be accepted as entertainment for the ear or as rhythm for the feet, matters not a great deal; either method is but an approach to the inner man who craves an occasional bath in, and as, the Music of the Spheres; the universal language wherein differences are harmonized into a rounded-out sense of well-being.

The designing intelligence is the composer of music, whom we may call the "point of departure" from the subjective to the objective planes. His work deserves a special monograph on the subtle conditions and processes of the kingdom of thought-substance. The third, or operative influence, is the conductor of the group; he being the synthesis of all the intelligent "spheres" that vibrate according to his interpretation of the composer's design and of humanity's appreciation. Chief among the symphonic "body-building" influences are the music-teacher and the instrument maker.

Thus a chorus or an orchestra is seen to be a link between human consciousness and some of the most profoundly interesting mysteries of universal Being and Becoming. The composer whose musicianship is supported by some philosophic depth will probably transcribe basic themes from the Music of the Spheres, producing human music that outlives generations. The conductor who is himself a sphere of radiant thought-induction into which his performing spheres can gather in comfort and give of their best, is a great benefactor, whether or not humanity realizes it. He and his group become as a musical solar system — a "home" to the finer intuitive perceptions of the human heart.

Some recent experiments showed that an animal-trainer's voice, transmitted over a microphone to his beasts, exercised no command; but his personal appearance brought the beasts under his sphere of influence. Does not this support the idea that humans are spheres of radiant energy? Who knows what the symphony of whirling atoms in the spirit, mind, and body of a man may convey to the beast consciousness? What composer, listening for inspiration from his Muse, has heard the rhythm, melody, and harmony produced by our humanity, in its eternal process of "becoming'?

Perhaps some gifted composer will see possibilities in these paragraphs, and will strike out into more direct transcription of the Music of the Spheres than we have had in modern times. Some wealthy patron of the fine arts should offer a substantial prize for the best symphonic interpretation of "Space, being and becoming a Universe."

On Being Human

Every part of a man's being should receive its due meed of cultural work. I do not believe that the human heart, the human hearts in the world, can be best reached by a man who has no heart himself. I do not believe that a man who does not understand the problems of his fellow human beings can help them. I believe that it is only when we are fully and truly human, and rise above our humanhood occasionally into the deeps of divinity welling up within us, that we do our best work, for that means that we understand the human hearts around us. Our heart then beats in sympathetic rhythm with the pain in others" hearts. We understand it. But believe me, we can rise above the pain into the peace and quiet, and thereby become efficient in help. — G. de Purucker

FOOTNOTE:

1. From The Baton, Los Angeles Federal Music Project. (return to text)


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