Sunday, December 09, 2012

Salty Music

I've always been fascinated by the music that different circles choose for their séances/sittings, and at every one, while some choices make sense, invariably there are some that never faileto surprise me. Every circle is its own culture—which I’m sure some paranthropologist is studying, somewhere. How can one ever possibly find the words to describe the fact that the culture is a blending of two astonishingly different lines—that of the Risen with terrestrial, embodied spirits—and in some cases, non-terrrestrial, embodied spirits? The music, then, is the result of a co-creative effort of all who are invested in the goals and agendas of the sittings.

My interest is especially keen because of my intense musical background as a classically-trained solo artist, which was actually my career as a child and young adult. This training included many years of intense and comprehensive cross-training in numerous instruments, cultures, theories and methods, including composition, accompaniment and directing. I am also blessed (or cursed) with perfect pitch to an exceptional 64th degree of tone. I know this because one of our piano tuners when I was a pre-teen had brought a then-innovative electronic tuning system—an oscilloscope—and he used it to test my discerning hearing.

I can still remember discovering with ecstatic joy the first electronically synthesized music in a ground-breaking album, “Switched-On Bach” by Walter Carlos—now Wendy Carlos. Finally I could hear something that my 64 degrees of tonality could tolerate! I would listen to it for hours with headphones, filling my head with it, tears running down my cheeks… I was 12 years old.

The combination of my other degrees of writing and journalism also makes for an exceptional skill in listening and analyzing music with lyrics—for words are music in themselves, even without music. The primary reason why I no longer engage in music as a career, or even listen to it all that much anymore—except for some very particular pieces of synthesized music—is that I’ve heard, with my spiritual ears, Risen music. It makes the greatest of our greatest sound like flat, tinny, childish attempts to talk underwater. The vast majority of it has some underlying tone—however faint or subtle—of sadness, which is not found in Risen culture. It is too painful for me to listen to most earthly music now.

I bring this all up—in all humility—merely to present my qualifications when it comes to commenting about the incredibly rich variety of music one will find in mediumship circles. In the bygone pre-electronic days, circles invariably sang without instrumental accompaniment—although those in spirit often played along with the many instruments set out for them to demonstrate, and often far better than an embodied person ever could! I have an old Spiritualist Hymn book, and most of the songs are fast tempo in major chords, almost marching tunes, designed to rouse the spirit.

Why music anyway? I ask this so that those so interested will not only ask themselves this question, but to ponder others, such as, which music? And even, what for?

When we listen to music, and especially sing (melodically or lyrically) the entire bioform—our body)—responds by changing its breathing and heartbeat, which in turn change the rate that oxygen and other chemicals enter, circulate and leave it. This effectively alters our consciousness as we leave the mundane world outside the séance room, and submerge into a different realm of being. All musical instruments are basically attempting to imitate and reproduce the human voice, and so the human voice itself is the most powerful way of changing the consciousness of self and others. Percussion instruments in particular are directly connected with the heartbeat and the flow of blood and other glandular fluids circulating through the bioform. Indigenous drumming is well-known for its effects on awareness and its ability to induce trance states.

Every culture has its own evolutionary response to the sounds and light around us. As an example, in our blog, originally posted 9/21/06, we cited a study in the 80’s of right brain/left brain responses to nature sounds, which revealed that “. . . Japanese and Westerners alike heard music, machinery and noise sounds in the right brain and language sounds in the left brain, but Japanese heard vowels sounds, crying, laughing and sighing, the cries of insects and animals, waves, wind, rain, running water and Japanese musical instruments in the left brain, the same as language, while Westerners heard these sounds in the right brain together with music and noise.” Crickets, the sound of rain, and even that of falling snow have always been able to bring me into fairly deep trance states quite quickly.

In my report of several sittings with the renowned Yellow Cloud circle in France, I briefly discuss their interesting choice of music, which was a mix of Native American drumming chants, Diana Ross, John Lennon, and other selections chosen by Risen and non-Risen intimate members of that circle. Spirit members tend to completely control and direct the pieces to be played, when and for how long, the volume, etc. Yellow Cloud’s team was no different, although it was a bit surprising to see that an ipod was used—which sometimes lit up way too brightly in the dark room, causing good-natured complaints from those in spirit.

So which music to select? There is no need to go into all the scientific studies that show how different music affects the growth and health of plants, and even human babies in the womb—I’m sure we have all read about them to some degree. But those in their circles can be sure that even the music they think they’ve personally chosen was actually orchestrated (pun intended) by their partners in Spirit. Yet, if we are in a depressed or gloomy state of mind, it’s better to stay out of the circle, just as it is to avoid picking the music. “Rainy Days & Mondays” by The Carpenters will probably not make for a very successful sitting.

As we pointed out somewhere in our book, nostalgia is a particularly attractive, but addictive and even toxic mood, and the music that makes us that way, while “taking us back,” will not take us forward, which is where the Risen are trying to help us move. While it can indeed bring about a purge and cleansing effect, it’s best to engage with such music outside the séance room. Ask the spirit members of the circle what they would recommend. Even if there isn’t yet a developed medium they can speak through, they will find ways to make their choices known—trust them.

As a rule of thumb, music that is written in major keys—particularly C, D, G, F, and B-flat—tend to uplift and carry the human spirit to higher states, quickly and usually effortlessly. Such compositions are very well suited to a séance. Music written in minor tones, with slow, dullish percussion, is best avoided, for it tends to attract elementals or devas, who love to play with any electronic devices being used for the séance! They are harmless, but once they get into a circle, like ants at a picnic, they can be hard to get rid of.

Finally, consider what the music is for; what is its purpose anyway? Simply, it is to raise the lower spiritual energies so that the higher ones can descend for a bit, and safely. And while the higher-vibrating energies are in place, during that time the Risen can effect changes in the lower-vibrating people in ways that will enhance and even evolve them. The music is to create a resonance between the two or more groups that will activate the Law of Like Attraction.

Consider the element of water from a molecular viewpoint: two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. There is nothing “wet” about them. Yet, when these unlike elements are brought together, the quality of “wetness” arises” seemingly from nowhere. When the same molecules are separated, “wetness” vanishes. What is “wetness” anyway? Where does it come from, and why are we able to sense and even enjoy it? Science avoids such questions, for there are no answers that fall within our current understanding.

Or take NaCl. The molecules of sodium and of chloride have nothing flavorful about them, but when bonded together, the quality of “saltiness” arises, only to disappear when the molecules are separated. Hmmm … maybe some old salty sailing ditties would be perfect for a séance!

In like way, when certain people—including Risen—are joined together, some quality or qualities arise, enlarging our world in tangible ways. Music is something that brings people together, bonds them, makes differences fall away, and creates new ties of strength and feeling.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

From The Archives: When The Light Bulb Goes Off

[Originally Posted 3/12/2006]

"The only strength for me is to be found in the sense of a personal presence everywhere, it scarcely matters whether it be called human or divine; a presence which only makes itself felt at first in this and that particular form and feature. . . . Into this presence we come, not by leaving behind what are usually called earthly things, or by loving them less, but by living more intensely in them, and loving more what is really lovable in them; for it is literally true that this world is everything to us, if only we choose to make it so, if only we live in the present because it is eternity."
— Richard Lewis Nettleship, Lectures and Memories, Vol. I, p. 72 (Macmillan & Co. Ltd, 1897.)

My terrestrial life has been increasingly filled with work (two jobs and a growing practice) and family (two kittens) and all the other things that serve the continual filling of the never-ending ocean of samsara.1 Hardly the down-winding road to retirement and liberation from maya! There's been little time to even look at this poor, lonely blog. Tim is around, of course, but I'm not always paying attention. Of course, those in spirit have their way of getting my attention, and their favourite way is to mess with electricity, mainly by causing light bulbs to blow out when I touch a lamp or go to turn on a light, or even just walk in the room. Poof! One of my colleagues who shares my therapy space finally found a discount outlet for light bulbs. The most recent attempt to get my attention is one that I've never heard or read about, and have only had happen a few times in my life, so just remember, you saw it here first.

For those who don't yet have aware access to their own mediumship abilities, I wonder how they might be able to comprehend an aware existence such as mine where each foot is in a different land. Or, more accurately, one mind here, one mind there. There's no doubt that most, if not everyone, has experienced weird and unusual things, but just let them go on by, as if they're just more of the driftwood of manifestation always passing through and out of our lives. But what if these weird and unusual things are messages in a bottle?

The message behind the gleeful destruction of light bulbs is, in my case, usually and simply, "We're here." And at other times, especially in the case of the newly-transitioned, it's "Oops, didn't know my own strength!"

The most recent attempt at getting my attention happened two nights ago just after a new bulb blew as I went to turn on a lamp in my office. After replacing it, I went to the closet to get my slippers (I work best in bare feet, but one must show some semblance of professionalism) and the sliding door, which is 8 feet high and very heavy, (I'm not a big person) heaved itself out of the track and came completely out of the door; in fact, the screw plates holding it in came out as well, and I was left dancing a waltz with the 4-segmented panels trying not to get flattened.

It wasn't until a few minutes later when I realized I couldn't fix it and had managed to prop it up safely, that I remembered this happening before, a memory probably stimulated by the light bulb event a few minutes before that, as well as a Rune reading a few minutes before that, advising me that "things in my life may be torn asunder". I remember seeing a few horror movies, usually about demon possession, when a door is torn of the hinges by an unseen spirit. My experience has not been that. If it weren't for past experiences, I would have assumed that the door was defective; but it wasn't. All told, I've only had a door come off in my hands five times in my life -- which still seems like a lot, doesn't it? I think so.

When I was 19 and living in an old farmhouse without any running water or indoor plumbing, it was clear the place was haunted. It had been deserted for over 50 years before I had moved in, but thankfully it had electricity. Many weird things happened there, but the first and one of the most dramatic is having my bedroom door come off into my hands one morning. The hinges didn't come off because the screws pulled out; the slide part of the hinges were just no longer in their holding places. Somehow, they seemed to have just come up and out by themselves. That night, more activity occurred in the room, including the loss of several light bulbs, and resulted in Barnabas the dog refusing to sleep with me for the next two weeks.

The same door thing happened to me twice in two dorm rooms in college, and the residence authorities were stymied enough to not make me pay for either one. It happened again a few years later in my apartment, with another bedroom door coming out of the hinges, with the hinges remaining securely fastened to the wall. My roommate didn't blink an eye, though, having lived with me long enough to know better than to try to figure it out. I know now that this kind of thing is directly related to the same kind of "energetic interference" that causes lights to flicker and blow out in my presence or when I touch them.

But to get back to the original idea — what's the message, if any, here? Are the Risen playing their own special version of The Price is Right? If so, maybe next time I'll take the box. All kidding and simple-minded ideas aside, the answer is not so simple, although the initial symbol — a door — is. Doors are for shutting in or out, for closing one in or out, to complete closure of a room. So removing a door implies the opposite of these, and creates a doorway. The complexity is that many physical doors in material reality occupy the same "space" as "openings" that exist inter- or alter-dimensionally. The geographies of the Risen — all geographies of all dimensions at all times — interpenetrate. Because of our particular perceptual focus, we hardly notice most of the constant change that is part of a material manifested life, primarily because we resist change and so deny it. Regarding the changes of other dimensions that are interpenetrating ours, we never notice the changes taking place, unless we're co-resonating with them. The only time most of us really notice is when we or someone else transitions from one geographical vibration to another, and experience also but erroneously known as "death."

In this most recent case of door-jinx, the messages are many, beginning with the surface message, "pay attention." Another factor that is driving the activity is that currently there are several individuals in my life who, within the last week, have had life-threatening experiences, including diagnoses of terminal illnesses and accidents. Because I resonate with these people so strongly, parts of my manifestation experience will react/respond to theirs.

This inter-reaction/response is also known as a "portent" or "to indicate, presage, or foretell." Portendere is Latin for "to stretch out before." Por, or per, is a simple prefix for "for" and ten is "stretch." This same Indo-European root, ten, is found in "tantra," from the Sanskrit tantram, which means "loom." Ten is also at the root of sitar, from the Persian for "string," which produces vibration and resonance.

A portent, while seemingly an omen or alert about something in the future, is really an indication about something already connected with the present, or interwoven on the loom of samsara. A weaving is of intersecting points, connecting many separatenesses into a greater tapestry of design. When one or more strings vibrate at similar or equal resonance, there is amplification, and another quality arises — as to what form it may take depends on who is there to receive and perceive it. As noted in earlier posts, this is seen in the event of simple atoms coming together to make more complicated molecules, whereby "something unseen and divine" descends to manifest something wondrously new and mysterious.

A Skeptic (with a capital "S") would have the idea that I'm seeing things that aren't there, without allowing for the idea that I'm seeing things that are there. Obviously, it's a matter of differences in perception, which hinges on particular beliefs currently being held before us like a lens of focus. Change the belief, and perceptions will change — which may seem to indicate that things themselves have changed — but actually they haven't. Nothing has changed except perception.

My light bulb and door events are many things to me — symbols; events; portents; hellos from heaven; tweaks on the nose; resonant amplifications. They are also indications of a Great Tapestry of design and purpose behind human events; eventually, these events become offerings to join with others for higher purposes, where "the threads for weaving are placed in our hands which it is our duty to weave with our highest skill and devotion."2 We are each an atom in our Universe, brought together with others into a Weaving that is utterly beyond our comprehension, but not our delight.

1 From the Sanskrit sam, "together" (to flow together, to go or pass through states, to wander"). Mostly, a great revolving door between life and death and a new life.
2 Raynor C. Johnson, Nurslings of Immortality, p. 271.