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The Story of the Harp

Eygptian Harp

Let them praise his name in the dance:
let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
Psalm 149:3, The Bible.

The harp is one of the oldest known stringed musical instruments.  Images dating back to 15,000 BC of harp-like instruments have been found in cave paintings in Ariège, Les Trois Frères region of the French Pyrénées.  The word ‘harp’ or ‘harpa’ originates from the Anglo-Saxon, Old German and Old Norse words, meaning ‘to pluck’.

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Transition from 2011 to 2012 and the Galactic Alignment

Astrological and Numerological Associations

Space-1Two main number vibrations are in effect each year: the universal year which is currently 2012, and the last two digits, i.e. 12 in this instance.  In the current year of 2012 therefore the main vibrations will be 5 (2+0+1+2) and 12, which also incorporates the vibration of the number 3 (1+2).

The previous year of 2011, a universal year 4, related to matters concerning the laying of foundations for the next 5 years.  The reason for this is that the sequence of numbers from 1 to 9 are the base numbers supporting all other multiples and combinations of number vibrations.  The midpoint of 1 to 9 is 5, which is a turning point at which the cycle begins to return to the beginning of the cycle at number 1.  The number 5 is therefore a vibration associated with major changes of direction which are based on the structures that have, or have not, been laid down in the previous year.

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The Winter Solstice

Dawn at Solstice

“In seed time learn,
in harvest teach,
in winter enjoy.”

William Blake

The winter solstice is generally celebrated on the 21st December, although the astronomical date changes from year to year.  This is the longest night of the year and, symbolising the rebirth of the divine spirit of life, it has been a time of celebration since prehistoric times, with religious and social festivities across all cultures.  Ancient people considered the winter solstice, also known as Yule, as a very important time, with the end of this period now celebrated as Christmas Day.

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Healing Henry with Music and Voice

I first met ten year old Henry, when he was referred to me by his paediatrician because she was concerned about his deteriorating health and intuitively wondered if Henry was still grieving for his grandmother, who had unexpectedly died twelve months earlier. Henry had had a close relationship with her and both he and his mother would have been traumatised by her sudden disappearance from their lives. I was told that Henry used a wheelchair because of poor mobility and coordination. His paediatrician believed that his understanding of speech was limited and I was told that Henry made sounds to communicate rather than words. He had a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder.

Henry must certainly have been struggling to make sense of his change in circumstances because his mother, her partner and her sister had recently moved into his grandmother’s house, which was full of memories for them all. Henry’s mother was having difficulty coming to terms with her loss and each was adjusting to living together for the first time in somewhat bizarre circumstances.

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Crotchets, Quavers and MUSIC

 

I was talking recently with Peter, a friend of mine whose daughter had started learning to play the piano a couple of years ago. When I asked how she was doing, he told me that she was progressing well and still enjoyed playing, but she was worried about the Grade Four Piano Exam that she was due to take soon. “The trouble is,” he explained, “she struggles with reading music.”

Girl-Piano I mentioned that Paul McCartney has always acknowledged that he can’t read or write music and that his music is constantly being played and performed all around the world. He’d even composed the orchestral music for a ballet that was recently premiered in New York. “That’s all very well,” Peter replied, “but you don’t need to pass piano exams to be a pop musician!”

A little later, I was reflecting on that conversation and in particular his worry that “…she struggles with reading music.” Reading music – what a strange phrase! Surely music is what we hear when aesthetically pleasing and harmonious sounds are combined together? The more I thought about it, the more absurd the concept of reading music appeared. We don’t talk about artists listening to a painting or humming a sculpture and yet musicians, who work with the medium of sound, are expected to learn how to read and write music if they are to be taken seriously as a musician.

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Play and Pause

Theatre

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women
merely players;
They have their exits
and their entrances,
And one man in his time
plays many parts…”

William Shakespeare

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Nature’s Healing Music

Lake District“There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.”

Lord Byron

In times past, mankind lived closer to nature, dwelling in small towns and villages, without the stimulating hustle and bustle of urban city life.  As a result, people were more in tune with the sights, sounds, scents and cycles of nature, the knowledge of which was passed down from generation to generation as a part of the journey of life.  In the present day, it would appear that the further we have moved away from nature and an understanding of her cycles, the greater the levels of stress we experience in our daily lives. + Read More

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Numerological and Astrological Associations of the Master Number 11

AndromedaWith the date of 11.11.11 at hand, many people are wondering what this means and what we can expect of such an auspicious date, if that is what it is.

The ‘11th hour’ occurs on the astrological clock in the sign of Sagittarius.  Sagittarius’ area of influence includes religion, philosophy, foreign countries and foreign cultures, the law of the land and language. + Read More

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My name’s Norman

Norman was a forty eight year old man with learning disabilities. He was small and thin and looked permanently worried. I was told that his vision had been severely impaired for three years because he had sustained detached retina in both eyes at the age of 43. Norman had refused to stay in bed after the operation and as a result his vision had not returned.  He had grown up in a large asylum hospital from the age of six.  He was discharged from the hospital in the late 1980s. When we met he had moved to a small group home in the community with two other men., where he received 24 hour monitoring and assistance.

Norman’s care staff, were concerned because he was becoming increasingly disinterested in walking and was in danger of losing his mobility. His behaviour was also causing concern because although he enjoyed being outside on a summer’s day and would stand at the garden fence in the sunshine, his mood would change if he was disturbed and he had a tendency to lose his temper and kick over the pots and pull out the flowers. + Read More

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The King of the Waters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some years ago, I worked on a project at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, researching into ten particular trees, one of which was the alder. Recently, I was walking along the local canal in the autumn sunshine and stopped at one of the locks to rest my aching feet.  As I leaned on the wooden arm, I suddenly recalled two nuggets of information.

The first was that canal structures were traditionally made from alder wood. The second was that putting alder leaves inside your shoes is soothing for tired feet.  As alder trees grow by water, I looked around, trying to recall the shape of the leaves and wondering whether to give the remedy a try. + Read More

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