Looking at sacred music from a Spiritualist’s viewpoint,I’m of the opinion that it’s a useful tool in lifting the spirit that dwells within us to a higher level, and that it helps us resonate with the Greater Spirit that lives without! Secular music so often provokes baser impulses that exist on a more physical and lower spiritual plane… So let’s take a look into the origin of written music in general and sacred in particular…
So I admit to writing this from my own pulpit as a Spiritualist Minister. I would offset that statement with a smiley face emoticon were it available. Now we know that there are many different kinds of Spiritualist meetings. You can attend Divine Services of prayer, praise and worship together with a medium communicating with loved ones in the spirit dimensions. She or he is there to give evidence from them that they have survived physical death, to members of the congregation in gatherings that express overt religious sentiments and loyalties.
Or you can observe mediumship in seances convened to have a more immediate contact. These demonstrations are more rarely given, although when successful they can provide s more physically objective sense of contact with the spirit realms. All these meetings differ between invited and limited numbers of participants, to gatherings open to the general public, assemblies either religious or no, or as secular plain demonstrations of mediumship and all points, places and venues in between and of various concepts and presentations.
EVOLUTION SINCE 1848
Now spanning three centuries, Spiritualism has evolved into a movement that reflects the highly individualistic spiritual experience of its adherents, and the anarchic and complex nature therefore of its many and various groupings. The New Spiritualists’ Society ( find it at http://www.newspiritualistssociety.com )seeks to allow a networking of those who share its declared views in an attempt to bring some order to this chaos, without coercion or imposing rules and regulations.
NOW FOR THOSE HYMNS!
Among the matters of the procedure, belief, proscriptions and prescriptions that are attached to each of these groupings, the debate around the singing of hymns has become a particular 21st century debating point, possibly overtaking the issue of reincarnation? Even some of the more traditional Spiritualist churches are lurching towards giving attendees song sheets with secular lyrics made popular by performers such as Abba, Robbie Williams and many other similar artistes.
The reason usually put forward for this situation is that those attending already know the songs, that hymns are perceived as old fashioned or sometimes, for one large Spiritualist organisation in the UK that maintains that Spiritualism is A religion apart from all others that ‘Christian’ hymns should not be sung. This proscription then should also be the case for the Jewish Psalms on which many Christian hymns are based. I would mention here that along with many Spiritualist pioneers including Marie St Clair Stobart author of ‘Gracious Spirit’ the ‘Healing Hymn’ and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife, that the NCSS maintains that we are a denomination of Christianity.
HOW THE MUSIC CAME TO BE WRITTEN DOWN
The Christian tradition, Christianity itself, is actually responsible for the system by which music is able to be written down and passed on to others. A much needed invention because of the difficulties encountered by any would-be singers or players of musical instruments who had not heard the originals, and who wanted to play or sing God’s praise or send up musical supplications thereto. It is also therefore responsible for producing a repeatable scale of electromagnetic frequencies and wavelengths that can be generated by the physical human body by which the spirit and the spiritual aspect of our Earthly lives are affected and improved.
It is likely of course, judging by the encoded formulae of the Biblical book of Numbers that the same frequencies were used by the Psalmist, musician and sacred song writer, David, the Shepherd King of Ancient Israel and others also mentioned as making music to the glory of God.
THE FIRST MAN TO ANNOTATE MUSIC OF ANY KIND WAS EXECUTED BY THE ROMANS
Whilst the alphabetical notation of music in general was first laid down in Europe by a Roman named Boethius who was later executed, what can be considered the first totally spiritually orientated notation was produced by a Benedictine monk around the time of the first millennium, 1000 AD/CE. Brother Guido of Arezzo (990 to 1050) was inspired by a spirit-filled hymn written by Paulo Diacono (720 to 799) around 770 AD/CE, to compose a special tune and used the syllables of the words that were to that major scale to represent the ascending notes. The frequency of these notes, of what is called the tonic sol fa or solfegge is said to contain the six core frequencies of the universe.
Each one connects our physical senses to the spiritual and spirit in the following order. The suggested impact on the Earthly environment both on a single individual or collectively by association with the sounds are:
Do 396 Hz = Releases Negativity. Re 417 Hz = Assists change and freedom. Mi 528 Hz = Miracles and Healing, is said to restore basic life strengths, even broken DNA. Fa 639 Hz = Connects brain activities. Sol 741 Hz = Promotes intuition, mediumship and creativity. La 852 Hz = Unconditional love and pure spiritual order. Si/Ti 936 Hz = Relates to the pineal gland and spiritual contact and communication.
This last note was added as the 7th using the initials of St John Sancte Iohannis. It was changed from Si to Ti by English church woman, musician and music teacher Sarah Glover in the 19th century to save confusion with the pronunciation of the alphabetic note C. Here is the Original Intercessory Hymn: Ut queant laxis, resonare fibris, Mira gestorum, famuli tuorum, Solve pollute, labii reatum, Sancte Iohannes. Ut was later changed to Do, the first syllable of Dominus (Lord, God). It might be well for Spiritualists having that greater understanding to ponder these facts that tie science to spirit and religious belief, and the words of that template.
In English it reads: So that we your servants may freely resonate within the very fibre of our being voice the acts that you do, cleanse the badness from our sullied lips, Saint John.
As you know, colour has frequency too, and the relative colours are interesting; Do = Red Re = Orange Mi = Yellow Fa = Green So = Blue La = Indigo Si/Ti = Purple Do = Ultra Violet All these frequencies enhance the spiritual experience.
For all these reasons, the New Spiritualists Society encourages all sacred music and songs in its meetings where music is included. There is a New Spiritualists’ Society Hymn Book compiled by Rev Nick Brown, available from amazon.com that includes a goodly few uplifting hymns and a couple of relevant articles. There are as many interesting and uplifting stories attached to the writing of hymns as the words and music of the hymns themselves. For instance, this is how The Lord is My Shepherd came into being.
This much loved hymn, sung at weddings and funerals alike, is derived from Psalm 23 written by Israel’s King David. This Psalm has also been translated into other popular hymns such as In Heavenly Love Abiding and The King of Love My Shepherd is. The words we use were written under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1650 it was a revised version of one written in 1643 and before that James the First of England, VI of Scotland, had recited his own version of the Psalm (annoying others it is said) in 1601 at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The metrical setting of the 1650 version was then set to music by Jessie Irvine who lived in Crimond in Aberdeenshire.
Crimond is also the most popular tune for those words since Ms Irvine composed it in 1859. Wherever hymns and sacred songs are played and sung, in whichever Spiritualist grouping, even those who set themselves apart from established religions, you will hear, and or see, this one. I’ll sign off in the old way that I signed my ‘Letter from the Editor’ in Psychic News for many years, Love, Truth and Light, Lyn