Vol 4 January 2004       

Orpheus Leading Euridice
from the Underworld
by Corot
The Sacred Geometry of Sound
by Healer/Musician
Ani Williams

 
 

Sacred Geometry and the Structure of Music

Legend recounts how Orpheus was given a lyre by Apollo. By playing his lyre, Orpheus produced harmonies that joined all of Nature together in peace and joy.

Inspired by this Orphic tradition of music and science, Pythagoras of Samos conducted perhaps the world's first physics experiment. By plucking strings of different lengths, Pythagoras discovered that sound vibrations naturally occurred in a sequence of whole tones or notes that repeat in a pattern of seven.

Like the seven naturally occurring colors of the rainbow, the octave of seven tones — indeed, all of Creation — is a singing matrix of frequencies that can be experienced as color, sound, matter, and states of consciousness.

This correlation of sound, matter, and consciousness is important. For as Stanford physicist William Tiller has proved, human consciousness imprints the space and matter of the universe. It is our intent that gives the direction and quality to Creation.

I believe that this matrix of Creation is waiting for us to sound the most harmonious vibrating chord — to sound the universe itself into a perfect, idealized form.

The Music of Atomic Shapes

The Platonic solids, basic shapes of Sacred Geometry, are five three-dimensional geometric forms of which all faces are alike. And each platonic solid represent one of the five elements of creation, as follows:



  1. Tetrahedron — Fire
  2. Cube — Earth
  3. Octahedron — Air
  4. Dodecahedron — Ether
  5. Icosahedron — Water

These five Platonic solids comprise the alchemical dance of the elements and of Creation itself. My introduction to the spiritual power of sound began with an experience of this truth.

This happened many years ago, when I was studying with Michael Helios — who is for me a reincarnated Atlantean wizard. Helios discovered the musical proportions and corresponding tone scales for each of the Platonic shapes. He even tuned his keyboard to specific frequencies in order to achieve exact proportions.

During his presentations, he would play the scales and geometries of each shape, without disclosing to his listeners which geometric shape he was playing. Participants meditated on each piece as he was playing it, and then described which of the shapes they had experienced.

The results were extraordinary. Every Platonic solid was correctly perceived, felt, and "seen" during each of the five musical meditations. As a participant myself, this was my first experience of realizing the power of musical transmission and its potential to specifically re-order creation.

This is exactly what the ancient mystics and scientists had always been telling us!

The Dodecahedron, the Universe, and the Human Form

When Michael Helios played his five compositions, I was most profoundly affected by the Dodecahedron. This shape can be seen to represent the order of the heavens and also the perfect mediation between the infinite and the finite — the sphere and the cube.

So let us look more closely at this as one example of the sacred geometric forms that permeate Creation. Through seeing the simplicity and complexity of the Dodecahedron in its relationship of shape and sound, perhaps we can intuit the rest. And through understanding our relationship to the Dodecahedron, perhaps we can begin to sense our own place within the Divine Song that is Creation.

The Dodecahedron is comprised of twelve pentagonal faces. It represents the fifth sacred element, the divine potentiality known as "ether."

Considering that the Dodecahedron is made up of five-sided faces, it is fascinating that quantum physics researchers in the US and France have recently concluded that, based upon measurements of cosmic waves left over from the so-called "Big Bang," the universe itself is a Dodecahedron!

human body forming a pentagramBesides the fact that there are five platonic solids and five corresponding basic elements of life, it can be shown that the entire human race is joined in these same basic sacred proportions. For the physical body, with the arms and legs spread, is overlaid by a pentagram, with the fifth point being at the top of the head and the reproductive organs at the exact center.

And each of these points also relates to the number five: five fingers at the terminus of each arm, five toes on each leg, and five openings on the face. Additionally, we each possess five senses of physical perception.

So the Golden Mean proportions of the cosmos and our body temples are closely aligned with the harmony of the musical fifth.

If we can imagine the dodecahedronal-pentagonal shape of this One Song that is the universe, together with the pentagram geometry of the human body, we find inherent in both a divine proportion and a potential for harmonic perfection. The universe and humanity ARE singing geometries. And it is we ourselves who embody the geometry of the cosmos!

Phi and the Musical Fifth

To follow this discussion, we first need to know that the Golden Mean and the Pentagram are closely related. For the angles of the five sides of a Pentagram are at a ratio of exactly 1.618 — the Golden Mean ratio, known mathematically as phi.

The fifth is the interval found in most sacred music, and has a powerful harmonizing effect on the human energy system. It is the first harmonic sounded by a plucked string, and is what gives the note its depth and beauty. Its sacred sound is the hallmark of the Gregorian chant. In fact most divinely inspired music, including some New Age music and that of indigenous cultures, is built around the musical interval of the fifth.

This music-geometry connection is well stated by Goethe, who said, "Sacred architecture is frozen music." The same is true of the "architecture" of the human body.

It was Pythagoras who first described the fifth interval that has come to be universally recognized for its beauty. It is "an archetypal expression of harmony that demonstrates the 'fitting together' of microcosm and macrocosm in an inseparable whole. The fifth is a beautiful sound because it demonstrates how the universe works."[1]

And in building the phi proportions, along with those of the other musical intervals, into the designs of cathedrals and temples, the architects also are building in the effects of the musical intervals upon which the sacred proportions are based.

These effects, immediately experienced as harmonious, powerful, and centering, can be experienced first-hand when one enters a Gothic cathedral or an ancient Egyptian temple. Being inside such a space helps us to access other dimensions of consciousness. It is the same experience that is reached through listening to sacred music.

The Circle of Fifths and the Chakras

By applying the principles of progression to the harmonics of the fifth, we come to the Circle of Fifths: a musical sequence that prefigures the harmonic relationships of the human energy system. For the Circle of Fifths delineates the chakra system in the human body.

As we know, each chakra is a spinning wheel. Here, we will also note that each chakra comprises, in both sound and color, a literal mandala of geometries.

The musical tones and colors traditionally associated with the chakras are: C (root) red, G (throat) turquoise, D (belly) orange, A (brow) indigo, E (solar plexus) yellow, B (crown) magenta, and F# (heart) green.[2]

The interweaving of the chakras that we get by applying to them the Circle of Fifths represents a more complex system than the traditional, linear progression. And it is interesting to note that in sound healing, the connections between these "chakra harmonics" reflect a strong correspondence between our issues.

For example, in the Circle of Fifths progression, the root chakra (sexuality, survival, and money) is directly connected to the throat chakra (our expression; speaking our truth). And by working with these two chakras, we find that we can heal survival issues.

The Circle of Fifths and the Fibonacci Sequence

In the Circle of Fifths we see another way in which the musical scale is related to Sacred Geometry, for the musical progression is an exact parallel to the Fibonacci sequence.

As we know, the Fibonacci sequence starts with the number 1, and proceeds by adding the two previous numbers. So the second number in the sequence also is 1, then 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, and so on. And a graph of this sequence almost exactly matches the spiral graph of the Golden Mean sequence. One is finite, the other infinite. "As above, so below."

Fibonnaci realized that the natural branching, flowering, and spiraling forms in Nature followed the same uniform laws found in musical scales, for his sequence mathematically predicts all of the intervals that comprise the chords of music.

Note A A D F E C E C# F# C# D F
Interval root octave 4th aug. 5th 5th minor 3rd 5th 3rd 6th 3rd 4th aug. 4th
Fibonacci ratio 1/1 2/1 2/3 2/5 3/2 3/5 3/8 5/2 5/3 5/8 8/3 8/5


Sacred Geometry and the Chanting of Our World

Plato, discoverer of the "Platonic" solids, believed that music was the strongest of all life's influences. In his treatise the Temaeus, he describes the numerical (vibrational-musical) creation of the physical universe and the soul that animates it. He called upon his students to activate the ancient shrines and sacred temples of the earth with sacred song, employing "perpetual choirs" in order to echo the harmonies of the Heavenly Choir.

Plato's Republic describes the cosmos as being held together by eight spinning "whorls," like a giant spinning wheel with eight feminine weavers sounding the fabric of Creation. Each of the whorls contains a planet. And on each planet is a siren who sings her particular note and emits her specific color.

The work of German astronomer and mystic Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) focused on the five Platonic solids, their harmonic ratios, and how these shapes correlated with planetary orbits and sound frequencies. He found the musical tones of individual planets, and the musical scales of planetary movements. As Stephen Hawking reports, Kepler was even able to determine that "four kinds of voice are expressed in the planets: soprano, contralto, tenor, and bass."

In finding the music of the cosmos, Kepler showed that life forms on Earth follow the same harmonic principles as those found in the stars.

Temples of Sound

Similar knowledge has come out of the hermetic tradition, which saw its Western resurgence in the beginning of the second millennium. During this time, hundreds of Gothic Cathedrals were constructed across Europe, all inspired by this Eastern hermetic knowledge that had just been rediscovered by the mystical order known as the Knights Templar.

Excavating Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, the Knights Templar discovered vaults of hidden artifacts and scrolls that described the alchemical sciences of sacred geometry and architecture and their relationship to sound, astronomy, and genetics. Ancient sacred relics also are said to have been found, including the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, and secrets pertaining to Mary Magdalen and a Holy bloodline.[3]

Inspired by this material, the great Gothic cathedrals, including Chartres, Notre Dame, Salisbury, St.Denis, and Cluny, were designed and built using the principles of sacred geometry and harmonic acoustics.

Chanting and Millennial Shifts

Sacred music and chant is always with us. But surges in its popularity occur at the crucial millennial turning points. This was so during the beginning of the first millennium, at the inception of Christianity, and during the era of the Grail Romances, which began around 1000 AD. And now today, as we forge a new paradigm and write our "script" for the next one thousand years, chanting has again come into prominence.

The sacred architecture employed in the medieval cathedrals reflected specific acoustical properties that were conducive to the constant rounds of perpetual choirs maintained by the monks.

Author John Michell, who has researched the tradition of "perpetual choirs" in ancient Britain, reports that these choirs were maintained in at least three sites: Glastonbury, Stonehenge, and Llantwit Major in Wales. Together, the sites form the rim of a circle in the landscape, with the center at an old Druid site called Whiteleafed Oak.

Michel found that these sacred sites were equidistant from each other, and that their individual locations corresponded to sunrise points and sacred proportions.[4]

Similarly, sacred sites in other cultures also were laid out in geometric relationship to each other, and were maintained with sacred music and chant, synchronized with the seasons and cosmic cycles.

Emotion, Sound, and Form

Science is only now beginning to discover these interrelationships of sound and matter.

Launching the new science of cymatics, Swiss researcher Hans Jenny (1904-1972) conducted experiments showing that inert powders, pastes, and liquids, when animated by audible, pure tones, would form into flowing patterns that mirrored those found throughout Nature, art, and architecture. He showed that there was a correlation between sound and form — that, in effect, the matter of the universe is a physical manifestation of vibration.

And as several articles in the Spirit of Ma'at have reported, Dr. Masaru Emoto has proven over and over again, through photographing water crystals, that there is a geometrical correspondence between human thoughts and emotions and the very shape of the matter that surrounds us. Water, Emoto has shown, "treated" with love or beautiful music, undergoes molecular change into beautiful, harmonious geometrical forms. And the same happens in reverse: chaotic or "negative" thought and emotion cause the crystals of water to become unformed and unlovely.

These ideas are modern reflections of timeless principles well known to all ancient and indigenous cultures.

As Billy Yellow, a Navajo medicine man, sums it up: "Our task is to chant the world, chant the beauty. The world is a reflection of our chanting."


Ani Williams does private one-on-one sessions, conducts workshops on Sound Medicine, teaches people to be aware of the sounds in their lives, and focuses on the use of specific tones and group chanting.

She also performs worldwide and records her music, including the "Songaia Sound Therapy" CDs, which focus on specific tones for bringing in one's stressed or missing tones. She is a regular contributing writer for Four Corners magazine, and many of her healing stories are included in the North Atlantic Books publication Earth Walking Skydancers.

A dear friend to many of us who create the Spirit of Ma'at, Ani played for us on our night of departure upon the Southwest Pilgrimage, bringing the power of sound to our sacred journey. And her article on the healing power of sound was featured in our October 2002 issue about "The Music of the Spheres." For more information, please visit Ani's website at AniWilliams.com, contact her by email at Songaie@earthlink.net, or phone her at 928-204-1124.





Footnotes

  1. McIntosh, Stephen Ian, The Harmonic Lyre
  2. F# because each note in the Circle of Fifths creates a fifth interval based upon the preceding note. So each note is four whole tones up from its root. When we get to B, or the crown chakra, since there is no half-tone in the musical scale between E and F, the fifth interval takes us to F#. The half-note progression from B is B#-C, C#-D, D#-E, F-F#.
  3. All of this is reported in great detail in the best-selling book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, and Richard Leigh. See also The Bloodline of the Holy Grail by Laurence Gardner.
  4. Michel, John, Dimensions of Paradise.

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