An exploration of the vibrational qualities of the physical world by Mark Stephen John.
The Tones of Carbon
By Commons:Robert Lavinsky – File:Diamond-and-graphite-with-scale.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39385953
This recording is a sketch of the tones of carbon done by Xochi John on cello, Maya Bennardo and me on violin. There are two versions, one that is instrumental and another with a voice over with a poem by Rumi. Maya is a member of the new music duo, ANDplay – http://andplayduo.com/about/ . Xochi is a cellist and Alexander Technique teacher – http://www.xochijohn.com
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
The Essential Rumi: translations by Coleman Barks ©1995 http://www.colemanbarks.com
Carbon sound sketch with words.
Carbon sound sketch without words– A 7 minute meditation
Carbon is the 6thelement in the periodic table. In the human body oxygen, carbon and hydrogen are 93 percent of the mass of the body and 96% of the atoms. Here are some data from Wikipedia: Oxygen 65% of the mass and 24% of the abundance; Carbon 18% of the mass and 12% of the abundance; Hydrogen 10% of the mass and 62% of the abundance.
We are a carbon-based life form, and almost all life on Gaia is connected to this element. Carbon is in use everywhere within the body. Fats, muscles, proteins, connective tissue, cell walls, DNA, RNA, nerve cells – everywhere. The carbon that we use as fuel in the form of oil, gas and coal took between 100 million years and a billion years to form. It was how our earth stored the excess carbon that made the earth too hot to support life. Another way to look at this is that every day we release 11 million years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. The earth has a “fever” and fevers are used to burn off life that is unhealthy for the organism. Hmmm!!!
Carbon is soft enough to write with (graphite) and it is also diamond, one of the hardest natural substances. It is an element of transformation and connectedness. As carbon based creatures walking upon the earth, we also can be that soft and that hard. Is it from the carbon? Diamonds heated to a high temperature in pure oxygen transform to carbon dioxide—they simply evaporate! So given enough heat and oxygen we too can transform, even the hardest heart.
Diamonds have been used for millennia, 2500 BCE in China, 1500 BCE in India. The stone was often found on statues in India used for eyes or the third eye. The current mythology of diamonds being a crystal of love and devotion seems to be a more recent manifestation of the marketing industry. Early use focused on the diamond’s hardness as a tool. The formation of diamonds is an exploration way beyond the scope of this article, but, totally worth exploring if you have the inclination. Let it suffice to say that diamonds are formed at great pressures and temperatures at between 50 and 450 miles below the surface of the earth. There may be a diamond stability zone under the crust of the earth where the conditions are perfect for their formation. If so, we have a crystalline layer of diamonds floating in a shroud around the mantle that is collecting and converting the energy of this planet.
Terry Tempest Williams writes in When Women Were Birds. http://www.coyoteclan.com
“But what thrilled me most was the fact that millions of meteors burn up every day as they enter our atmosphere. As a result, Earth receives ten tons of dust from outer space. Not only do we take in the world with each breath, we are inhaling the universe. We are made of stardust.”
Another source of diamonds are meteorites. Microscopic diamonds formed in an unknown star. As we breathe, we breathe diamond dust, diamond stardust. Is it any wonder that we look to the stars with longing as our diamond infused breath longs for home. The stars are a cradle of creativity. All of the elements we know are first formed in a star. It seems that the misogynistic patriarchy has usurped the womb of the universe for itself and claimed that the Sun is our Father. When in reality, She is our Mother. We have so much to forget before we remember.
There is a delight in following a stream of thought, seeing where it meets the next body of thought and how they dance together. The following composition is with my daughter, Xochi John (cello), Larry Stephens (percussion) and me on violin. The field recording is simple and done as a single take. The poetry of Rumi is translated by Coleman Barks. [Click his name to see his website.] Below is the new recording as I seek to find consonance in these colors and combinations. At the bottom of the post you will find the first sound sketch, if you are interested. Feedback is aways welcome. Sharing is enthusiastically embraced.
Where Everything is Music
Where Everything is Music
Don’t worry about saving these songs.
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.
We have fallen into the place
Where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up,
there will still be
hidden instruments playing.
So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.
Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.
This is a repost of Heart-Healing-Oxygen and it still feels relevant today.
One of the joys of writing and researching for a blog is the ability to follow a muse or take a tangent only to be delighted on how applicable it is to my current work. While participating in an equinox gathering at Serpent Mound in the non-glaciated part of southern Ohio, I met an individual studying herbal medicine. She highly recommended the work of Stephen Harrod Buhner. Initially, I didn’t see how this related, but never the less, I looked up his work. Before I knew it, I had ordered from the author, “The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature” and “The Transformational Power of Fasting: The Way to Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Rejuvenation.”
These two books have a wonderful perspective on perception, healing and the interrelationship- interconnectedness of humans and the world. On page 111 of “The Transformational Power of Fasting” Buhner quotes Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “The body is best understood as a being in its own right, one who loves us, depends on us, one to who we sometimes mother, and who sometimes is mother to us.” Buhner continues, “We begin to trust what the body can do, and so we step back and let the body do what it has always been capable of doing. We allow it to go where it uniquely knows to go. We drop the reins on its neck and allow it to take us home. …It is the first and best friend that the Universe has given to us, and it is through the body, not in spite of the body, that we find the luminous and the ineffable that our souls need to be whole.”
What Buhner expounds upon in great detail, employing extensive research, challenges the very core of the modern quasi religious belief system of how we are related to the earth, the plants and each other. Concerning the direct perception of nature, he writes, “Scientists have, by removing all meaning, intelligence, and soul from matter, caused the abandonment of this capacity of the human. We have been colonized by a particular kind of thinking.” When the paradigm of science that sees species, organs, environment as discrete, identifiable, controllable and dis-related systems, the true interconnectedness is missed.
Just because we can’t sense or measure all of the frequencies or vibrations around us does not mean that they are not present. “For Universe is not a place but an event, not a collection of solids but an interaction of frequencies. Not a noun but a verb.” As we feel our connection, the solid becomes plastic, the unchangeable has the potential for returning to its state of balance. Vibrations entrain as they interact, and balance is the underlying principle of health.
When healing is viewed from a heart perspective, there is a significant change in the approach towards disease. “Our heart intelligence is still working at a six-year-old level while our mind intelligence is absurdly further ahead.” Our linear education has given us this predilection for missing the connections. I keep hearing how things are ‘out of the box’ — education, science, business, medicine. The truth is, there is no box.
Once, while sitting in my inner city back yard late at night, looking at the stars, there was a drunken argument from the next house. All of the other words were muffled except, “You aren’t god, you never were god and you never will be god.” I laughed as I wondered when he would realize that they were both god. However, when it comes to linear thinking both in and out of the box, there is no box, there never was a box and there never will be a box.
We have forgotten our heart. “For the human heart is vastly more than a muscular pump-it is one of the most powerful electromagnetic generators and receivers known, It is, in fact, a highly evolved organ of perception and communication.” Healing takes on a radically old perspective, a point of view that reflects back to our roots of humanity. Most of our time as a species on this planet has been one of connections, recognition of our kinship with plants, stones, mountains, indeed, all aspects of our material plane. Because spirit is not measured, does not mean it is not there. Because we have forgotten our thinking heart, does not mean it does not think.
“So What” — (The question that always got me into trouble in school.) — How does this relate to Oxygen and the tones from its spectra. Do these tones and colors help the body to heal? At this point, I am not sure, though, I am following a feeling that as we find vibrations that are in tune with the elements, we will be able to better resonate with them.
With the colors of the oxygen spectral fingerprint, the reds are the lower tones and as the tones get higher, they move towards the blues and violets. I am enjoying playing with these tones and I am continually fascinated by their inherent consonance. Here a sound sketch of Oxygen.
Pictures by Linda Deslauriers
Rumi in the Key of Hydrogen
Hydrogen, the most abundant element, the lightest known element, the element that is in every part of our body is the framework for this composition. As I work with the tones from the elements, I find a beautiful consonance between the colors. It is quite mind bending to step out of my experience with tuning based upon 440 Hertz and the equal tempered tuning of the piano, and, into tones that are vibrating from, into, with, the world around us.
My intent is to create music that is healing for us and for the planet. As I held this intent I wondered how I could approach combining tones from the elements and words. The human voice and words add so much to music. I have decided to begin with the Poetry of Rumi as rendered by Coleman Barks. This is my first attempt as I find my voice and merge it with the tones of the colors.
Let me know what you think.
Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?
The Essential Rumi: translations by Coleman Barks ©1995 http://www.colemanbarks.com
Dancing Particles in the key of Hydrogen
After what seems like an inordinate amount of time, I have finished working through the elements of the human body. The question now is what to do with this body of work? Or is it, work of the body? While traveling in Europe the summer before last visiting a dear family friend, her partner listened to the ideas behind the project and said, “Oh, Art!” That certainly helped to put this all in perspective. If it is not full of art, then it is probably missing the point. The initial idea to make a scale of the earth has transformed into turning the electromagnetic colors of the elements into individual element scales. Played together, they are not too consonant, but internally, many of the colors are internally harmonious.
Now is a time for forming a small ensemble and doing some recordings that highlight the quality of the amazing light harmonics. I am interested to see if I can communicate this new scale system to a group of musicians who have not the slightest idea how to put these tones into a traditional context. I will certainly keep you posted to when I have the next phase started.
Here are some of the most important things I have learned while following this thread of inspiration:
- Our entire world is vibrating and hence everything an has an electro-magnetic interaction.
- That means we are constantly exchanging our energy with everything around us.
- Consciousness extends minimally to the cellular level and most likely to the molecular.
- First Nation religion extends this to what we consider inanimate. I agree.
- Healing is the process of removing hindrances.
- Vibrational healing with crystals, aroma, ceremony, sound, light, tinctures, touch, all are different vibrational modalities that accomplish bringing the organism back into balance.
- The first thing the earth does when it has been harmed is begin healing. This includes bringing plants and microorganisms to the site of harm to begin the process. Gaia employs a sophisticated vibrational skill.
- Likes attract. Focusing on what you want to see will attract what you consciously work on. I am trying to figure out how to apply this given the current trends.
- Love harmonically brings living systems into balance.
This is the last element in this series that I am analyzing. Lead, Pb, (plumbum-Latin), element 82 is the second heaviest stable element. It is soft, malleable, blue-white element that tarnishes quickly in moist air to a dark grey. It may be the first metal that was ever smelted at approximately 7,000 BCE. The Wikipedia article was quite interesting the perspective of history, qualities and toxicity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead
It was established as toxic in the late 1800’s and is quickly integrated if ingested or inhaled. Basically, lead is toxic to every system of the body, especially the nervous system, though it is incorporated into various enzymes and mimics the elements it is supplanting causing biological havoc.
Alchemy is the oldest and first of the 7 metals of alchemy. It is related to redemption and transformation. Saturn’s metal is lead. It symbolizes contraction, stability, structure and materialism. Again, there are many aspects of the alchemical qualities and as a start; this is an article that was well written. https://theorderofthequest.wordpress.com/alchemy/saturn-lead/
Gold is the 79th element and one of the heaviest naturally occurring elements. It has been known since ancient times and artifacts from the ancient Ur (modern Iraq) civilization have been found and dated to 3,800 BCE, or 5,800 years ago. It is a shiny, soft, yellowish red, heavy malleable and ductile element. A one-gram piece of gold can be hammered into a one meter square sheet that is semi-transparent. It is one of the least reactive elements and will not react with oxygen at any temperature. It is resistant to heat and acid except “aqua regia” (nitric acid and hydrochloric acid) which will dissolve pure gold.
Because of its long association with humans and their crow like attraction to shiny things, it was an object to collect, adorn, barter and obsess over. Alchemically, gold is the symbol of transition to love, virtue and compassion. Interestingly, gold is considered a transition element within the periodic system. Vitality, life, health, radiance, wisdom, clarity, unification, virtue and light are all qualities associated with this element.
Though it is also considered to be biologically inert, some salts of gold are used to treat inflammation from arthritis. If pure gold is ingested, it is not absorbed or processed by the body at all.
Iodine is the 53rd element of the periodic table. It is a black, shiny, crystalline solid that melts at 237 degrees Fahrenheit, just above the boiling point of water and boils at 361 degrees Fahrenheit, a good temperature to roast beets. Interestingly, it is important in the stability of the ozone layer and there is a relationship between atmospheric iodine and oxygen-based reactions with sodium, potassium and chlorine. It sublimes directly from solid to form a violet gas.
The human body has about 20 milligrams of iodine and is important in the thyroid production of T3 and T4 hormones. It is the heaviest element commonly needed by living organisms. Seventy percent of the body’s iodine is stored in other parts besides the thyroid gland. It is yet another essential element that has sketchy information about its role in human physiology.
Molybdenum is the 42nd element in the periodic table. It was apparently known to the ancient civilizations, though was often mistaken for lead as they have similar appearances. It does not appear as a pure element in nature or an easily identifiable mineral, hence, there is no alchemical symbol for this element. More is written about molybdenum in its role in earth functions and the water soluble forms are important in the initial development of life on the planet.
There is not a lot of definitive information about how molybdenum is incorporated in the living sphere. It seems that humans and bacteria need trace amounts. It is associated with the sulfur balance in the body and important in liver detoxification. The molybdenum based enzymes are important with this function. They also cleanse nerve cell transmitter molecules and keep the nervous system working in balance.
Arsenic is a metalloid meaning that it has characteristics between a metal and non-metal. It is number 33 in the periodic table. The references to arsenic go back to ancient times with numerous cultures using arsenic compounds, it is rarely found in a pure state. Our name comes from the Greek. Zosimos, the Greek Alchemist, (circa 300 AD) describes working with arsenic. Alchemical records show that it was recognized as a poison, but also it was used medicinally in small doses. It was the poison of choice for the royalty in medieval Europe and had the title of the, “Poison of Kings and King of Poisons.”
Although some references state that arsenic is used in the human body, I could not find any clear evidence that this is so. It has been added to the feed of commercial meat producers to increase weight. Poultry producers have used it extensively; the birds aren’t going to live that long anyway—yuck! It is mostly used industrially, as a semi-conductor- when you throw away that phone chances are it contains arsenic. It shows up in treated lumber – don’t use treated lumber for play structures or raised vegetable beds! – food, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and drugs. Because of this, most of us have measurable arsenic in our bodies. It is especially prevalent in water. I just couldn’t find much to commend this element for humans, plants or animals.
Zinc is a metal and number 30 in the periodic table. The earliest record comes from India about 3,000 years ago. The alchemist, Paracelsus, is thought to have named the element. Alchemical names include philosopher’s wool and nix alba. In current metaphysical texts zinc is related to the planet Mercury, the heart chakra, heart, circulation, respiration and nervous system. It helps harmonize and integrate the body systems.
It is an essential mineral for the human body with about 2 to 3 grams in each human body. Zinc is considered an essential trace element for humans, animals, plants and microorganisms. In fact, it is the only metal that appears in all enzyme classes. Between 100 and 300 different enzymes require zinc and up to 3,000 out of 100,000 proteins contain zinc.
I have included a representation of “zinc fingers” helping to read sequences in DNA. (See Wikipedia for credits.)
Zinc Sound Sketch
I am consistently amazed by the qualities of elements and their interaction with life. Mendeleev, when he organized the elements in the periodic table by their qualities put them in a system that, quite often, aligned them in a manner that also reflected human attraction to those elements. Copper, silver and gold are all elements that are in the same grouping, and, they are also found in pure form on the earth. Hence, they all have had a significant impact on the psychic attraction to people. Humans do love shiny, malleable metals.
Copper is one of the ancient metals. There are indications of its use 10,000 years ago and evidence of it first being refined 7,000 years ago. The first alloys include copper. The name comes from Latin-cuprum. It is a soft, malleable metal that has a high thermal and electrical conductivity, second only to silver. It imparts a blue or green color in minerals such as: azurite, malachite, and turquois. Like silver, it is an anti-microbial substance and bacteria cannot live while in contact with copper. Copper handrails, doorknobs and cooking surfaces all prevent the spread of virulent microbes. Also, it is one of four metallic elements with a color other than silver or grey.
Copper is essential for life. It is part of a respiratory enzyme, it is found in the liver, muscle and bone. Copper is considered an essential micronutrient with an average of about 0.1 grams in a body. Some crustaceans use copper instead of iron to transport oxygen.
In the realm of alchemy, Copper is ruled by Venus. It is connected to the nurturing aspects of women, love and lust, charisma, feminine beauty, artistic creativity, affection, curing and balance. It is a healing metal that teaches about living a fulfilling life.
Copper Sound Sketch
Nickel is very similar to cobalt, though there is no known role in humans. Recently, the biological role in some microorganisms and plants has been established. If those microorganisms are in the human body and there is an excess of nickel in the body, then there can be some toxic responses to these organisms. Navy beans can contain this element. Interestingly, it is believed that a substantial amount of nickel arrived on our planet via meteorites. Early cultures used nickel with iron to make a non-rusting steel and also added it to glass to create green glass. Also, the Peruvians identified it as a type of silver.
Nickel Sound Sketch