Magick Rhythm Workshop

Fr Battuo
August 2013

Since beginning to acquaint myself with the tree of life and its correspondences, I have been enjoying feeling around for the musical dimensions of its aspects, and thinking about how to add musical layers to ritual and ceremonial work. With this in mind, a quintet of us gathered at my place for some sound exploration.
 
We chose our instruments, and to warm up, began by passing sounds around our circle. Simple and easy and fun! We began with one sound each. One person begins by playing a single, short sound. The next person plays their sound, thereby establishing a tempo. The idea is to hold the tempo steady as the pulse travels around the circle. A looped melody emerges as the different pitches/timbres of the instruments repeat their sequence. Going in the opposite direction produces a different melody. We tried this at different tempos, everybody having a turn at starting, and at setting the tempo. We also had a crack at moving the pulse around the circle as fast as possible, sacrificing steadiness for speed, and enjoyed the natural variations of our wonderfully erratic reaction times. Mistakes are impossible.
 
Next we tried a piece where each of us establishes our own pulse - at any tempo. The object is to maintain your own tempo without being sucked into the orbit of somebody else’s - a challenging task! When this piece is working at its best, it seems to me to reflect an ideal Thelemic state, a cacophony made beautiful, as the apparent chaos is underpinned by each person maintaining their own tempo through force of will.
 
We then moved onto experimenting with magick squares. We each drew a simple shape on our own 3 x 3 square. Numbering the squares 1 through 9, and so using a nine beat cycle, we sounded on the beats that our shape intersected. An interesting hocket emerged. We then looked at a 5 x 5 square, as there were five of us. Fr Sifr drew a shape on the grid. We each took a row, and in a five beat cycle played the score. Another interesting hocket emerged.
 
We had a brief look at an exercise called the Rhythm Pyramid. This exercise is fundamental in establishing a stable “inner clock,” and can be applied to the Tree of Life. A basic pulse is set up, with the aid of a metronome. We begin by playing in unison with the external pulse, Ones (Kether). We then subdivide this pulse into Two even beats (Chokmah), then Three even beats (Binah) and so on down through the tree, increasing the subdivision of the pulse by one increment each time (4s, 5s, 6s etc..). As each subdivision is explored, one may meditate on its corresponding Sephiroth.
 
We had a conversation about the planets that rule the days and hours of our weeks, and how rhythms could be devised to reflect this celestial backdrop to our ceremonial and ritual work.
 
There is so much to discover, and plenty of space for your collective experience to inform this exploration. I think we are covering some new and wonderful territory here.