Oct 162010

In the foreground stands the dual conception of God, which takes on undeniable importance from the data concerning the king of the world. According to this ancient tradition, a superior divinity (0/0), not further defined in this context, ordered our world initially on clearly established principles embodied by an intermediary, the King of the World, who was charged with supervising them.

One of the most significant aspects to emerge is an implicit dualism symbolised by the concepts of peace and justice. We have just stated that these words conceal polarised values, one positive and the other negative. It is well known that the construction of the world on the basis of two antithetical principles is an age-old concept: it is best known as the yang and yin of Chinese tradition, but also forms an important element of Pythagorean philosophy.

It must be emphasised that this dualism does not issue from the highest divinity (0/0) but only from the demiurgic one (1/1), in other words, that this dualism is by no means all-encompassing, but merely proper to “our”  world. This involves a fundamental problem shared by all religions and philosophies and considered insoluble until now: the question of an explanation for evil in the world.

Fabre d’Olivet discusses it extensively in connection with Pythagorean ideas, though admittedly he is also unable to solve it, and refers only to ancient esotericism. We believe, however, that we are justified in treating this question too, in the light of the Lambdoma, since, as we have shown, the Lambdoma appears to be in very close agreement with the features of the King of the World, and hence with our world’s own principles.

Since in ancient traditions this cosmic dualism is mentioned in paired terms such as say and night, light and dark, etc, we can immediately assign everything negative, or evil, to one side of the Lambdoma (the”left”, as it were). If we look more closely, however, at the acoustic series, a new fact reveals itself: the overtone and undertone rows that give the diagram its apparent external symmetry are not equal principles in nature. As a natural law, only the overtones exist: it has never been possible to demonstrate undertones.

Therefore the so-called undertones rows of the Lambdoma are merely reflections, introduced susequently as it were: inversions of the mathematical law of the overtone row. They can be re-created not only in numbers, but also in the individual tones easily produced on a monochord. Unlike the overtone row that automatically appears at every generation of sound, however, the undertone row does not exist as a holistic natural phenomenon.

Consequently the second “negative” principle of the Lambdoma is only a derived one, extracted from the positive law by way of inversion (reciprocity) and thus artificial. We could almost apply t he same words metaphysically (and the justification for that we have already provided above). Accordingly, the evil in the world does not proceed from the highest divinity (0/0), nor is it an equal partner in a strict dualism, but it derives secondarily from a superior good by way of inversion. In other words, the evil in the world is in no way a property to be derived directly from God, but is o nly something “ordained”: intended, as it were, for our world, and having a very specific function.

Rufolf Haase, Harmonies and Sacred Tradition, from Cosmic Music, Musical Keys to the Interpretation of Reality edited by Joscelyn Godwin

  6 Responses to “Lambdoma”

  1. Very interesting, touching on the ancient gnostics. It does sort of ring true and deserves further contemplation.

  2. I have a couple of Dr. Godwin’s books – if memory serves I have The Mystery of the Seven Vowels and Harmonies of Heaven and Earth. He doesn’t address rhythm in depth. There’s plenty of help out there for studying intervals and scales as one ‘half’ of the traditional science of music, but if one wants to study the other ‘half’ – rhythm – there isn’t a whole lot.

  3. Hmm, are you able todescribe more what it is you are trying to find, an answer to a particular question, i mean, that somehow pertains to rhythm?

    A couple of things sprang to mind when you mentioned rhythm (just be assocation). One was the Happy Hunting Grouds (red Indian paradise) and the other was the Kybalion

  4. I just searched for ‘rhythm’ on this site and a few things popped up, including a couple of extracts from the Kybalion that might have one or two nuggets in there….

  5. Graham, in the context of rhythm you may find Guenon’s essay on The Lanuage of The Birds interesting:


    This brings us back directly and very clearly to what was said above about the “language of the birds,” which we can also call “angelic language,” and of which the image in the human world is rhythmic speech; for the “science of rhythm,” which admits of many applications, is the ultimate basis of all the means that can be brought into action in order to enter into communication with the higher states. That is why an Islamic tradition says that Adam, in the earthly Paradise, spoke in verse, that is, in rhythmic speech; this is related to that “Syrian language” (lughah suryāniyyah) of which we spoke in our previous study on the “science of letters,”∗ and which must be regarded as translating directly the “solar and angelic illumination” as this manifests itself in the center of the human state. This is also why the Sacred Books are written in rhythmic language which, clearly, makes of them something quite other than the mere “poems,” in the purely profane sense, which the anti-traditional bias of the modern critics would have them to be. Moreover, in its origins poetry was by no means the vain “literature” that it has become by a degeneration resulting from the downward march of the human cycle, and it had a truly sacred character.7 Traces of this can be found up to classical antiquity in the West, when poetry was still called the “language of the Gods,” an expression equiva lent to those we have indicated, in as much as the Gods, that is, the Devas,8 are, like the angels, the representation of the higher states. In Latin, verses were called carmina, a designation relating to their use in the accomplishment of rites; for the word carmen is identical to the Sanskrit karma which must be taken here in its special sense of “ritual action”;9 and the poet himself, interpreter of the “sacred language” through which the divine Word appears, was vates, a word which defined him as endowed with an inspiration that was in some way prophetic.

  6. profound truths to which we all knowingly or not adhere to , rhythm of life ,love is harmony,harmony is bliss .hearts beat to a constant rhythm and such ,i like these thoughts .

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