Pythagoras - Iamblichus's Life - Healing music
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Iamblichus – Life of Pythagoras [translated by Thomas Taylor]
Conceiving that the first attention which should be paid to men, is that which takes place through the senses, he established that to be the first erudition which subsists through music, and also through certain melodies and rhythms, from which the remedies of human manners and passions are obtained, together with those harmonies of the powers of the soul which it possessed from the first.
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 contriving mixtures of certain diatonic, chromatic, and euharmonic 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, supineness, and vehemence. For he corrected each of these by the rule of virtue, attempering them through 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 perturbations and tumults, and purified their intellective power from the influxive 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.
The source of the experiencePythagoras
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Fury, overwhelming rage and anger
Sleep deprivation, insomnia and mental exhaustion
SuppressionsListening to music