Pythagoras - Iamblichus's Life - Music and healing
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Iamblichus’s Life of Pythagoras – Iamblichus [translated by Thomas Taylor]
He likewise devised medicines calculated to repress and expel the diseases both of bodies and souls.
And, by Jupiter! that which deserves to be mentioned above all these particulars is this, that he arranged and adapted for his disciples what are called apparatus and ‘contrectations’ - divinely contrived mixtures of certain diatonic, chromatic and enharmonic melodies, through which he easily transferred and circularly led the passions of the soul into a contrary direction, when they had recently and in an irrational and clandestine manner been formed; such as sorrow, rage and pity, absurd emulation and fear, all various desires, angers and appetites, pride, supiness and vehemence.
For he corrected each of these by the rule of virtue, attempering them though appropriate melodies, as through certain salutary medicines. In the evening, likewise, when his disciples were retiring to sleep, he liberated them by these means from diurnal perturbation and tumults and purified their intellective power from the influsive and effluxive waves of a corporeal nature; rendered their sleep quiet, and their dreams pleasing and prophetic.
But when they again rose from their bed, he freed them from nocturnal heaviness, relaxation and torpor, through certain peculiar songs and modulations produced either by simply striking the lyre or employing the voice.