RELIGHTING THE LAMP

 

    Combinations of theatre, music and medicine have been on the planet a long time. Many of the rites in the Egyptian religion of Isis and Osiris were done as participatory theatre pieces in which actor-priests and priestesses led the people in song and movement, telling the famous stories in precisely-calculated sequences of colors, dances, incense and tea, and musical instrument families (with the heart corresponding to the flute, the throat to the brass, etc.).  The very long life of this ritual – from the middle of the 4th Millennium BCE to the 7th century CE, well over 4,000 years – may indicate that the people who kept it alive so long did it because they really enjoyed the experience and looked forward to their next very pleasant time for inner cleansing, alignment and lift.

      Whatever reason for their longevity, the healing theatre rites of Isis and Osiris were not suppressed completely by early Christianity, even when Christians could seize and burn the library of Alexandria in 395. The old ceremonies did not stop until Islam took Egypt, and Egypt’s religions.

     Another early experimenter with sacred music, poetry and dance was Pythagoras, who prescribed the musical modes and choreography of the games and festivals held at his school in Crotona, Italy – a safer place than Greece at that time for a teacher of spiritual energy and freedom. Pythagoras is said to have healed the maladies of hundreds of people by playing glass bowls tuned to exact pitches of sound, and also to have experimented with the healing properties of other instruments. He and his disciples were persecuted. His school was ultimately burned. Much of the new knowledge he created was lost, and has had to be reconstructed since.

     The stories of American government action against researchers in the healing properties of sound and vibration would fill a book, and they have. Robert Anton Wilson’s The New Inquisition. There are many other stories besides the ones Wilson tells, including that of Dinshah Ghadiali, inventor of the Dinshah system of color healing.

     There are rumors that very effective new fusions of color, sound, aroma and other cell doors were worked out during the late 1920’s in, of all places, Germany with the Nazis on the rise. Those who had been about to release this knowledge in publication, lecture and ultimately performance, chose to suppress it, for fear that it might be misused, and it has not surfaced since, except perhaps in the sonic researches of Dr. Arnold Keyserling in Vienna.

 

     For more on Egyptian Ritual Theatre, see When It Rained in Egypt.

     For Holistic Theatre, see The Play of Freedom.

 

Copyright 2002 Dan Furst

 

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