Theosophy and the Society in the Public Eye

Theosophy and the Perfect Piano

References to Theosophy often appear in unexpected places. One of those is the following autobiographical account:

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey, by Perri Knize (New York: Scribner, 2008). “In this heartfelt, lyrical memoir, a woman’s unstoppable passion for the piano takes her across continents and oceans in search of the elusive sound of a perfect instrument—and reminds us that following our dreams can transform our lives at any age.” 

From chapter 21, “The Anthroposophist”:

“I have something for you,” Carl says, sounding excited, and he presents me with the shopping bag. Inside are several books. “Keep them for as long as you like.”

I slip the books out of the bag and sit down on a piano bench to look them over while Carl goes up to the balcony to make some phone calls. The books are well worn and are obviously from Carl’s personal library.

The first one is Music Forms by Geoffrey Hodson. A fleur-de-lis sketched in colored pencils decorates the torn dust jacket. On the flyleaf is written “Theosophical Publishing House of Madras, India.” Inside are color photographs of strange organisms. They look like puckered mollusks or the mouths of sea urchins, unidentified matter in bizarre formations. I read a caption:

"These shapes, leaping and gyrating like dancers in a frenzied ballet, are some of the dynamic “sculptures” created during a series of experiments that demonstrate the amazingly diverse effects produced by vibration."

I open the next book, Healing and Regeneration through Music, to these words:

"The human organism is a sounding board. The physical body of man is a musical instrument that is either in tune with celestial harmonies or in dissonance with them according to the degree of health, well-being, and advancement of the individual."

In Clairvoyant Investigations, a Theosophical Society paperback, I open to this page:

"While performing, every true musician is brought into relationship with the Ghandarvas, or archangels of creative sound, and can become a channel for their uplifting influences. Musicians are thus presumed to be effective agents for creative energy, which, particularly if it is of a more spiritual nature, is poured forth into the world and into peoples lives. There are several more books in the same vein." [pp. 265-6]


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