About “channeling”

February 25, 2007

artists1.jpgMuch of mankind throughout history has honored alleged communications from “beyond” whether that beyond be from God, Satan, long dead Saints, angels, or other creatures big and small. Although Christians don’t like to fess up to this, the Bible has a lot of channeled material in it. Anything out of the mouth of a prophet alleges someone or thing else using them as a mouthpiece–usually “God.”

It is perhaps no surprise that having come from that Judeo-Christian heritage, that I might at some point ask that question that Miss Peggy Lee asked us: “Is that all there is?” and look for other sources that aren’t 2000 years old. And I did.

Some of the first channeled stuff that attracted me was the complete works of Emmanuel Swedenborg. This dude had long discussions with angels all the time, and transcribed them all. I couldn’t get enough of him. He was even a respected scientist and scholar. But then I read the part where he described Jews as living in the “muddy” part of heaven (or was it hell?) and most of them devoted themselves the the jewelry industry, I closed the book, never to return.

My next heroine was H.P. Blavatsky who seemed to be devoted to esotericism for esotericism’s sake. She had access to several beings that passed through, or channeled “information” that helped her write her magnum opera, ISIS UNVEILED and THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Her successor, Alice Bailey, wrote at a stunning pace and continued promulgating the Theosophical doctrine, whatever that was. I read a whole variety of lesser known channels–The Great White Brotherhood, Elizabeth Claire Prophet (oy!), Edgar Cayce (yawn), the Ultimate Frontier group, and more. The best cosmology and philosophy of them all was The Urantia Book, although the book was “tainted” by an overzealous power hungry leader who allegedly tampered with most of the book. My last gasp of open-minded channel-surfing was the Kryon series, an entity around the size of a large house whose purpose was to adjust the earth’s magnetic poles and our awareness along with it. Wow!

In music there have been some composers associated with mystical traditions: Cyril Scott, Dane Rudhyar, Gustaf Holst, and Alexander Scriabin to name a few. Arthur M. Abell wrote, or made up his book TALKS WITH FAMOUS COMPOSERS and interviewed composers about their spiritual views and compositional habits. I have always loved what Brahms said about his inspiration in this book. The accusation that Abell’s book is pure fiction didn’t tarnish my memory of the book in the way that MADAME BLAVATSKY’S BABOON bruised my respect for theosophy, and how Martin Gardner’s URANTIA: THE GREAT CULT MYSTERY, and the 4-volume set of the SHERMAN DIARIES elucidated the corruption I hadn’t been aware of.

I came away with the realization that power corrupts. People control others through ignorance, power, and fear. Sheer steely will can make you powerful, regardless of how smart you are. We can and do believe anything. I know because I have. Not only that, but we love to persuade others to believe what we do.

Nowadays I keep my bullshit filter on high.
Speaking of which, Rosemary Brown’s lovely LP issued by Phillips came into my hands through some cosmic connection about 25 years ago. My friends and I have giggled over whether this “really” sounded like Schumann or not, or Liszt, or Beethoven, or Chopin. I learned only this year that she died in 2001. This seemed a perfect opportunity to have her return as a bossy manager for stranded composers in purgatory, or fermata-tory. And so now after Hector Berlioz has offered Rufus Wainright composition lessons for the past year, he has turned over the responsibilities of training Rufus to Charles Ives. The two are not getting along terribly well, but stay tuned.

I told Kevin about this new drama on my blog, but admitted that I wasn’t really channeling it. Kevin, who is spiritually open-minded came right back with “how are you so sure that you AREN’T actually channeling those composers?” I wasn’t sure what to say, except “well, I’ve done my homework on these people. I know what they’ve said and done and can extrapolate and imagine their opinions without too much effort.” To which Kevin only folded his arms, nodded his head, smiled and said “mmhmm, see?”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Elaine February 26, 2007 at 9:11 am

Thanks for reminding me about Abell. I also loved his “Talks with Famous Composers.” I too have spent quality time with Cyril Scott, and I also went through all the requisite Cayce stuff that was practially required reading in the 1970s.

As composers we are “channeling” all the time. Finding music in a text, or bringing a text to life as an opera involves using parts of our communicating selves that we do not really control. As practicing musicians we are in constant communication with the people who wrote the music we play, regardless of whether they are dead or alive. Some of the people I feel I understand the most intimately are people who died more than a hundred years ago because I live inside their music and read their words.

Roger Bourland February 26, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Good points Elaine–about composers already channeling–channeling our traditions. My friend John Hall called it “standing on shoulders.”

I never got into Rudolf Steiner btw, some of his work is intriguing, but it just seemed like a lot of effort to get

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