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Observations placeholder

Godwin, Joscelyn - Music, Mysticism and Magic - The Sound of the Sun



Type of Spiritual Experience


Also worth listening to and completely different The Sun Rising from The Beloved

A description of the experience

Professor Joscelyn Godwin – Music Mysticism and magic

Although hearing the planetary music is usually reserved for those in supernatural states, there is widespread and recurrent tradition that the Sun, at least, makes sounds which are audible [without needing to be in a supernatural state – not in heavy trance].

The Indians of the Peruvian Andes, who have a cosmological system as rich and as complex as any in the Old World , say that the sun makes a sound on rising.  The Greek historian Strabos writes of the sound which it makes on setting in the sea between Spain and Africa, beyond the pillars of Hercules.  A curious Jewish tradition, reported by the Italian rabbi Moscato [16th century] is that Joshua heard the pleasant melody of the Sun in the middle of battle with the Amoritas and was seriously distracted – which is why he said 'Sun stand thou still upon Gibeon' [Joshua 10:12] meaning 'stop singing'.....

A passage in the Talmud regards the Sun's noise as something to be taken for granted ….. unnoticed by its very familiarity with the din of the Nile cataracts, the Catadupa, to which classical writers often compared the music of the spheres ….. The medieval Grail poem Titurel [says that] 'the sounds of the rising Sun surpassed the sound of strings and the song of birds, as gold surpasses copper in value'.  And Goethe, in the Prologue to Faust, has Raphael say at dawn 'The Sun sounds forth, in age old fashion'.

If we do not hear it ourselves perhaps we should listen to the Dawn Prelude of Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe …. or … imagine the Sun's sound as a single piercing note 'a distant sound that seems to come from the sky, the sound of a twanged string mournfully dying away'.  That is the  mysterious off stage sound that comes twice in Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, itself suggestive of the 'Cry of Memnon' – the sound like a snapped string which the rising Sun used to evoke from the Colossus of Memnon in Egyptian Thebes.  Perhaps it is the sound of the archer god Apollo  twanging his bow, as he sends out his arrows of light.

The source of the experience

Godwin, Joscelyn

Concepts, symbols and science items


Sun and Moon

Science Items


Activities and commonsteps