“Generally speaking, color is a power which directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another to cause vibrations in the soul.”
(Written and originally published 2002 in a New Age church newsletter in San Diego – I never received a copy of it so cannot mention its title. Revised on 6/18/11)
an image I created of Hathor, a goddess of music
Music as Medicine
Music is a universal phenomenon that is orchestrated by every living thing in existence, each with its own unique vibratory rate. From babbling brooks and nightingales, a favorite opera singer to a purring cat, from a plant to a quartz crystal, life sings to us all the time, pouring forth hues of emotion, as well as the many impressions and translations of the cosmos.
We acknowledge the powerful influence of music when we say that something “strikes a chord” in us, even if it apparently has nothing to do with music. But music has myriad forms, styles, and applications, one of which is medicine. In addition, Nature provides us with all the herbs, colors, sounds, and music that we can possibly imagine and more. As musicians we don’t create music on our own but in unison with Creation itself. We weave together different threads and notes to create a tapestry of sound. Each song becomes an organization of various vibrations, colors, moods, and sometimes words that harmonize together and travel throughout time and space.
It has long been known that musical notes each carry colors as well as sounds, which have very real and tangible effects on our different levels of being. We all need music in some form, or we would possibly die. As Nietzsche phrased so eloquently: “Life without music would be a mistake”…But just like food, we each have different musical tastes and even needs. Music nourishes, and is an expression of both our physical bodies and the deep cores of our Souls.
In the past couple of decades, Music Therapy and Sound Healing have become more widely available for sick, troubled or convalescing people, with profound results. Studies have shown that the effectiveness of the Music Therapy is increased when the music is played live. A harp for example, is said to resonate to and awaken the energy of the Soul. For a person on a sickbed, it is just the sound to ease their fears, gently enliven their spirits and remind them of their connection to all of Life.
An acoustic guitar can similarly soothe a sad or suffering person on a spiritual level, and may awaken the level their inner sense of joy. A flute can comfort a frazzled mind, or even put one in an amorous mood, which is why some Native American men often used flutes to lure their mates to them. The Greek cloven-footed satyr Pan seduced young nymphs by the sound of his panpipes, and Krishna was said to possess some similarly seductive musical prowess. Some music can even relieve physical pain.
On another note (no pun intended), certain music can seem to stir up painful memories and feelings, and yet the purging that takes place often leaves us psychically renewed. The power of music can override words and many forms of therapy so effortlessly as it temporarily opens even the most closed hearts. It sometimes comes unbidden, and leaves us in raw states we are not accustomed to, for a while. Through music, we may in some ways feel as though we are reborn.
I believe that each instrument is a portal to another realm; a realm of feeling and color. When one or more instruments are played together, a merging of worlds takes place, a sort of swirling, pulsating, opalescent dance. The interlacing layers of music display their unique nuances with each other, with the facilitators and partakers. It is all about interaction. This is why we often feel exhilarated when we attend a concert. The rush of adrenaline experienced is due to more than the excitement and energy of being in a crowd. It is the music taking everyone into different and merging worlds, elevating their moods, pulsing and evolving within their psyches. Ecstatic dance is based on the same principles of sound and light. Sound and light both create movement, and that movement creates even more movement, and so on. The more movement that is going on, although not necessarily physical or visible, in any given situation, the higher the vibrations. The higher the vibrations are, the closer to residing in a state of Divine bliss and enlightenment.
Sickness is a kind of stagnation. An illness develops when a part of us is not moving, or having difficulties doing so. It has become temporarily stuck or blocked, resulting in pain or discomfort. If we can tap into those blocked places within us with conscious awareness and compassion, and to activate them with color and sound, we would become more of who we really are, and what we came here to be. Pain would generally lessen, and in some cases it would even disappear.
Some sports can even been seen to be based upon the principles of sound and color, in that the athlete, a runner for example, is running so fast that the mind has become elevated. So elevated that is does not fear, or brood, or analyze. The mind of the athlete in motion has become engaged in a kind of tempo that includes a hidden mantra, whether they are aware of it or not. It is ever-reaching toward the light, faster and faster, whether this occurs via pavement or through the woods and meadows. As the heart beats fast and steady, the intent behind rigorous movement not only tones the body but the mind and Soul. So in a way, some athletes are musicians of a different kind, causing an electric wave along the Earth that subtly affects us all.
The sound of a harp may help our muscles unwind and prepare for dreamland. It can be so relaxing that if we closed our eyes with the music we could sense ourselves in another realm, radiant and pastel, perhaps highlighted by soft misty lavenders and blues.
In a different spectrum, the sound of an electric guitar often “wakes” us up and energizes, giving us the sense of electrical currents running through our beings. It is just as possible to get transported to another realm with the sound of an electric guitar as with a harp, or a drum. The colors of electric guitar music that often appear to me are usually vivid yet swirly, flaming in colors like fuchsia, indigo, and sparkling metallic hues. An electronic song can be like riding through the galaxy in a dragon-driven chariot. Dub-step music, with its deep drum & bass “wompiness” often brings my attention to the way my heart connects with my root, as my root connects to the heart of Earth.
mandala image I created of a septagon, a geometric shape that is associated with harmony & music
Just like colors and numbers, music has far more categories than most of us can keep up with. Before categories there are the elemental influences for the different types of sounds and instruments. For example drumbeats are very grounding, as drums represent the Earth element. Flutes and whistles are Air instruments. Cymbals and compositions are resonant with the Fire element. Strings and harps are often considered to be of the Water realm. All instruments however are interrelated in their elemental makeup. Then within each styles and category of music, there are the moods that any given type of music is aimed at or happens to elicit.
The same song, just as in a painting, will evoke different feelings for each person exposed to it. There is so much we do not realize about the power of sound, that if we all did we most certainly would be more careful of the things that come out of our mouths day after day, and how they are expressed. Words and sounds are energies that grow with repetition. They multiply, entwine, and expand. They have shapes, colors and patterns. Just what exactly defines a word or a sound? It has many mediums. It is the feeling behind what we say and do that is creative, for good or ill. Feeling (vibration) tends to define every aspect of our existence.
We are not always aware of how music affects us, until we either find ourselves in the immersed in it, or purposefully slide a music CD into our stereos. Nonetheless music surrounds and resounds within and without us, in every environment, both melodic and chaotic. Sometimes when we feel uncomfortable in our environment, it is because the various frequencies, colors and notes are clashing with one another, creating an atmosphere that seems to make ones spiritual eyes and ears bleed, and the discordance extends to the rest of our bodily functions. To live in harmony one must be aware; in tune with how they feel and how different sounds and colors affect them.
Some people believe that hard rock, rap, industrial, heavy metal and the like, are harmful to the energy field of the listener, due to the distorted, polyrhythmic and/or aggressive tones. From what I have observed, this is only true if the person does not particularly love or enjoy what they are hearing. For that matter, even certain classical songs can grate the nerves of some people. Not everyone appreciates the cry of a violin, or the resonance of a tuba. One of the things that probably nauseates many of us is hearing the “elevator music” often played when we’re on the phone-line of some business, waiting with baited breath for a human voice to come through. Poor remakes of old classics (often laden with subliminal messages) – totally “kills” the mood for many, and yet it lulls other people into hypnosis because it plays on familiar frequencies and tends to keep them in outmoded patterns. The way it has often made me feel they might as well play recorded screaming of toddlers! Elevator musak – I get a visual of dull orange and regurgitated green. Blah, not what I call music!
Music and Colors
Here is an exercise, which can help one to become more aware of how they associate each sound and color, and the way it makes one feel. To begin, have a set of colored pieces of paper or cards handy, and have at least seven different colors. Also have a pen handy, a bell or chimes, or some kind of instrument, and a radio nearby that includes a CD player close by with a CD of your choice. Start with the bell or chimes. Ring or jingle them for a few seconds with your eyes closed. What colors do you see? Write down any impressions on the colored piece of paper that seems to match the sound. If you don’t have the appropriate color paper, a white card is suggested. Sometimes you’ll see several colors together, and they will have strange or geometric patterns. Write all of it down. Now, use your voice. Hum a wordless tune, or just say “Auuuuuuuum”. Experiment with as many sounds as you can, including those on the CD, and write them on the colored pieces of paper. You may notice a shift within the next few days with how you respond to your environment. You may suddenly feel like you need to change something, or you may become fascinated by the rich diversity around you. This experience can expand your awareness of music and color and therefore your ability to live in balance and harmony.
Ask anyone who has ever taken psychedelic drugs while listening to music, and they will very likely recall not only hearing, but “seeing” the music. If they were born in the hippie era they probably saw a lot of paisley music while listening to Pink Floyd. One of the ways the drugs altered their mind is that it possibly temporarily amplified their psychic faculties, including clairvoyance which may have allowed them to see the flying, swirling patterns of a favorite rock song. It may have been bubbly, striped or even plaid, with neon flashes and spiritual epiphanies in the background. Even though the person was “tripping” when they saw these details of a song, they were probably very real impressions – as real anything else you see when look around or read these words.
A very inspiring and enlightening movie that demonstrates the power of sound and music is called Touch the Sound, featuring Evelyn Glennie, an amazing percussionist who happens to be mostly deaf. It captures the way she experiences the world of sounds, perceiving and resonating with the vibrations even though she cannot actually physically hear them.
The chakras are said to be associated with specific colors. Each of the vowels in particular has strong effects on different organs of the body, and their corresponding chakras. They are generally seen as follows:
A : “ay” as in say – Heart (Green)
“a” as in cat – Throat (Blue)
“aw” as in straw – Solar Plexus (Yellow)
E : “ee” as in see – Brow & Crown (Indigo & Violet)
“eh” as in rent – Throat (Blue)
I : “I” as in eye – Medulla Oblongata, Crown (Violet/White)
“ih” as in fish – Throat (Blue)
O : “oh” as in is no – Spleen, Navel (Yellow & Orange)
“aw” as in lot – Solar Plexus (Yellow)
U : “oo” as in blue – Base (Red)
“uh” as in rush – Throat (Blue)
Music and Vibrational Essences
Music works very well in conjunction with vibrational essences, both in the production of the essences, and when taking them internally to increase their effectiveness (See my article, Harp & Fairy Vibes). One may increase the potency of an essence or elixir by reciting a relevant mantra after taking it. I often use different sounds to augment certain essences, or even base the whole essence on a particular song or instrument’s vibration, using crystals to augment the sound. To “drink” our music is yet another way to integrate it into our Souls. Like a magical elixir, it inspires us further…
I hope that this has inspired you to create and/or to listen to the music that is flowing within and around you. Allow yourself a few moments to wander through a timeless, musical realm. While you do, the music may reveal to you the hues and mysterious dimensions of their sacred ever-shifting geometries…
Copyright by Yerevan S. Yacoubian