Pagan Studies

Learn how Classical Music harbors subliminal and not-so subliminal Pagan messages.

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Rhythmajik: A Lemon?

So, a friend let me borrow a book to review.  It’s called ‘Rhythmajick’ and on the front it says: Practical Uses of Number, Rhythm, and Sound.  by Z’EV.  I sat down with my drum one day and opened the book, looking for inspiration.

If I had a picture of myself scratching my head, I’d attach it to this post.  You see, I’m a musician and I know how to read music.  I’m also an educator and I know how to teach music.  A lot of people learn music by rote instead of reading it, so it can be hard to write about music if you don’t have the notation. 

Z’EV doesn’t have the notation.  He’s got the Qabbalistic Tree of Life and numerical correspondences down pat.  But so far, in the book, the first rhythmic exercise doesn’t have any explanation of beat, rhythm, rests, tempo, meter, or duration.  Not even in a form that would be easy to understand by a ‘rote’ learner.  The correspondences are for numbers and they are unconnected to any known rhythmic patterns, tempi, time signatures, or other rhythmic terms.

The book has exercises in it that are based on…wait for it…drawing sigils with pen and paper.  Not with playing a drum.  Rote memorization does play a part, but only of what number corresponds to what sigil.  I find it really hard to believe that this book is 50 dollars on Amazon.  

The book does provide an example of a beat pattern, but it uses  x’s, dots, and dashes without an explanation as to how long each one lasts.  I would like to see a discussion of where to strike on the drum, loudness, softness, crescendi and ritardandi and other musical terms. That means there is no way to reproduce what the author is talking about with 100% accuracy unless I contact the author, and that’s fishy to me. This makes me wonder about the validity of the musicianship of the author.

It’s fishy because I already have an uneasy feeling about the Qabbalistic Tree of Life and other Western Esoteric practices to begin with. I've done research on several figures involved in it, and I don't wish to practice a method that is linked with an Abrahamic tradition. 

As for the musicianship of the author, coupled with lack of musical information such as notation or tempo, it appears to be more of a “look at me, look at me, I’m smarter than you because I can count” situation.  I think the author wants to be contacted because they want to feel special. 

As a book of correspondence theory, however, it is interesting and informative.  I could very likely come up with my own interpretation of what is being represented in the book with little trouble. 

But I think that RHYTHM was left out of this book on purpose, so the author could have some attention. I was disappointed with this book.  It is more Majik and no Rhythm.  Not very practical.



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Amarfa has been studying the occult, wicca, and paganism for 17 years and counting.  She has been a musician since age 5, studying first guitar, then accordion for 10 years, placing 2nd in her division in the 1995 ATARI/ATAM New England Regional Competition,  and has been studying voice for 9. She has directed small early music ensembles, performed publicly, and starred in local theatre works, particularly the World Premiere of Nightsong, a musical theatre piece with direction and book by Jon Brennan and music by Kari Tieger and Kevin Campbell, as well as composing a musical of her own and writing music in her spare time.


  • Travis
    Travis Sunday, 11 May 2014

    Hahaha Yes Yes YES to all of this.
    Im actually working with a musician to produce some sound scapes for meditation on the Tarot. We looked up some musical magic stuff and the information we found was appalling (something like "Dorian modes are dark and spooky and were influenced by Jimmie Hendricks and jazz", im paraphrasing but that really was the gist of it).

    I think that because music has such an artistic and near spiritual pull that can appeal to someone without musical training, people think that writing a book about music and magic(k(kaka)) is free game and don't need to pay attention to theory since they're writing a spiritual text. While it's fun to feel groovy and transcendent and all that with some new media soundtracks playing in the background, scholarship and theory is what makes music the incredible, outstanding thing that it is.

    I have very little musical training. When I listen to my collaborator talk about music, Im in awe of his expertise and the way he can bend music to create a totally new thing. Truly, an act of magic. Yet, without his understanding of music, he wouldn't know how to create the complexities and nuances needed to cultivate the grand experience of listening to his music.

    So yea... musical theory and notation... it's good and stuff.

  • Amarfa
    Amarfa Monday, 12 May 2014

    Something I do recommend is a book by Joscelyn Godwin, titled "Music, Mysticism and Magic." It's a series of excerpts from early history to the present, focusing on the spiritual and magical aspects of music, and how to achieve the "harmony of the spheres" via scales and modes. It's hard to get into if you're not familiar with the terms that the ancient philosophers used in order to describe music-diapason, diesis, diatessaron, etc.

    Dorian mode is an Ancient Greek mode found in the Dorian area, not unlike the Dorian columns one finds in architecture. It's WAAAY older than Jimi Hendrix, and it's been used by millions of people before Jimi Hendrix was born. Dorian Mode influenced Jimi Hendrix's songs, not the other way around, and hopefully your collaborator pointed out the absurdity of the resource to you! :)

    Anyone who doesn't think they need to pay attention to music theory or music history is in for a shock if I review their book! :)

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