Though, in a related post, I bemoaned by difficulty with words as a non-verbal thinker and my appreciation of words because of this, I want to take a moment to speak of how powerful sound is in my life and as a follower of Apollon, who is himself a divine musician. I am very sensitive to sounds (including, to my daughter’s surprise, that annoying misquoito ring-tone which is supposed to be too high for adult hearing), and have a rich enjoyment of the variety of sounds that are found, which also influences my most eclectic enjoyment of music ranging from blues, rock, metal, country, goth, indie, ethnic world musics, classical, opera etc etc. I find that sound and its movement to be settling or exhilirating (depending on the type) and it therefore is a very much loved thing. When I was a youth I was asked if I ever had to loose either my sense of sight or hearing which I would prefer, and that was quite a conundrum, because as an artist I love the beauty of the world, but I think I would feel utterly lost if all the world went silent. I the end though I could not decide because I couldn’t imagine my life without either light or sound…these are the vibrations (as both move in waves) of life.
Apollon’s assocation with sound comes to me in my imagination as vibrations of movement. He is not the vessel of the music, nor is he credited with creating any of the vessels of music that he weilds, neither the kithara or pipe, for these are the inventions of his brother Hermes, but he is as the wind that draws the virbation of sound out. He brushes against the strings of the Kithara causing them to shutter and vibrate as the very leaves of Daphne’s laurel boughs shuddered and shook in the grasp of the Pythia, and the pipe releases its long sigh as his breath blows across it as it lulls the tributary death-song of Python.
He impliments the perfect harmonization in order to create the most divine manifestations of music by the currents of his vibrations. For the current is his. He is the current which draws the ship, and minerals, across the sea to its destination. His is the current of winds for which we know him most commonly as Telchinios, which I wrote of at length before. He is the current of light expanding across the world. He is the current of sound which, even as the light does, penetrates all things and even bring forth utterly destruction when used in such a fashion (i.e experiments with sound as technology for cutting, or even more simply the singer who is said to be able to shatter crystal with a cerain purity in an octave of her voice). Thus all these currents are born together of his domain and are connected to each other as different expressions of his power. None of them superior to another.
However, as I am focusing on sound, I shall now return to this subject. Music, as I have said, is a harmonic arrangement of these sounds. And I associate all music with him because all music is relayed through sound vibrations…even the drums which are not typically associated with his worship fall within this, as do the cymbals which are associated with his worship…especially in honor of his birth at Delos. He draws out the sound from the vessel, but also uses the mastery of harmonizing in order to create the music. The theory of the Theban Lyre is one which is very interesting in this contex because it suggests a relationship between the soul and the lyre and that the soul, according to a translation I read, is the product sound of the lyre, whose components are as the body. I, actually, have no problem with this idea, but I modify it a bit. I say that the lyre is not the physical body, but rather the “body”, or more accurately, the form, of the soul as I do agree with Socrates that the soul exists preformed before birth into the human body. However the beauty of the soul, and the acquiring of the harmonizing of the soul, is the eternal song of the soul. The soul as a lyre never stops playing, because the soul is immortal, which again I agree with Socrates on, and therefore since it is not the body the music, it is not terminated at death, which is where Socrates had issue with the Thebian Lyre.
However, as any raw musician though, as any beginner in music, we often start roughly by haphazardly striking upon the strings. We create sound, but we do not create music. As we gain experience we may create more and more appealing sounds, and we begin at creating the first songs, but have not mastered harmonized music. When the soul carries the harmonizations of its energies (the harmonized music of the soul…for the currents of music are currents such as energy and Apollon’s light is movement of pure energy, just as sound waves are as energy released) it has gained the blessings of Aphrodite, the mother of harmony, and is a developed soul that comes to the boundary dwelling of Apollon. Hence we see the tale of Marysas who challenged his pipes (like the lyre it would be another vessel of music and its music another example of the music of the soul) against the music of Apollon. As Apollon’s music is the divine perfect music that graces Olympos, he cannot of course “win”. But he was flayed by the god, and thus was stripped of his form, and reborn in another form, as a river god.
For this purpose, I love music and musical instruments, because I see them as very significant symbolically as the development which we undergo and as symbols of our souls, that which is guided and received by Apollon. For he is the god who gives us spiritual direction. Dionysos may walk beside us as we are learning mastery, and delights in our development and in the gaining of mastery…and encourages us at times to just play for the joy of playing rather than any objective towards attainment as expressions of ourselves, but Apollon is there more subtly like a conductor or better, the composer, who knows every sound and movement because it is all within his domain and is all touched by him. He is the mastery attained, and as such reasonably the leader of the Muses and a god associated with education in general. It is mastery attained though with the help of the other gods, and Dionysos traveling along side as companion of the development of the human soul. And for which Hermes may be attributed to the vessel, but not so much the mortal one, but as a god who is important in the divine vessels as the crafter of Apollon’s instruments. With Aphrodite bringing beautiful harmony prior, Hermes receives afterwards the newly born forms, as he receives the newly born children of the gods after all. And I see this played out with Kyrene, who is received by Aphrodite and adorned in the bridal gowns after having slain the lion (which can be attribute to her conquering the aggressive and instinctual parts of her nature as Socrates describes the taming and of the bad mannered horse of the chariot), who then marries Apollon, and then births the god Aristaios who is received by Hermes. I see the harmonic music of my modified Theban Lyre well at work here.