Mood Music: The Intertwining of Sound & Mind
by Saint Reverence
The Universe is composed of energy. Every religion and philosophy has their own interpretation of that energy and its source, but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't have a word for it in some capacity. Whether they call it God, Science, Nature, or simply The Universe, nearly everyone has a sense of life's energy - the "higher power" from which they seek guidance and direction (whether consciously or not). As occultists, many of us are attuned to that energy and can tap into it, and even alter it, directly.
This is, in fact, the basic premise behind many of the arcane arts. Astrology aims to understand the motion of the Universe's energy; numerology studies the amplification of it; divination utilizes and manipulates the energy. Life's energy is absolutely essential to occult practices - and perhaps the purest manifestation of that energy is music! Musicology seeks to connect to the energy of the Universe.
Music is created from vibrations rippling through the Universe at varying frequencies and resounding within the cosmic energy. We refer to certain chords and keys as sounding happy or sad, depending on the frequency at which the Universe is reacting to those vibrations. Humans also tend to associate slower vibrations with sadness and grief, while faster vibrations are akin to happiness and excitement. Music is, therefore, just as directly in tune with the Universe's energy as someone pulling tarot cards. It is that relationship to the Universe which makes music a perfect tool for divination, inspiration, and altering one's mood.
One of the most fun ways to divine an answer to a question using music is to put your library on Shuffle and interpret the first song that plays. Full disclosure here, I still maintain an iTunes library for all my CD rips, but I get that pretty much everyone (including myself) has moved on to streaming, so you'd want to use your biggest/most diverse playlist. Using hyper-specific playlists can skew your results; if you're asking a love question, your '90s R&B playlist isn't going to be much help. If you're asking a love question and shuffling your Pop playlist and your first song is Drunk In Love, you'd most likely have a yes! On the other hand, if you got Adele's Someone Like You, it's probably safe to take that as a no. Sometimes the first song you get might not apply, in which case you would re-ask the question and shuffle again.
Another simple way to use music as a divination tool is to enhance your meditation sessions with it. Meditation can be useful on its own as a way to forge a deeper connection with the energy of the Universe, but when you add music that heightens vibrations and aligns with the Universe, you can access a clearer view of the self and the mind. Ideally for this application, you would use synth-based ambient music with no beats or percussive elements - even piano music and some synth tones can be too abrasive for meditation (in another post I will discuss some of my favorite music for meditation, and share a playlist link for you to try at home). Once you have selected your music, focus on its vibrations and envision them aligning with your own in harmony. Now that you're on the same wavelength as the energy of the Universe, you can tap into it and explore your thoughts more extensively!
In addition to divination, you can also use music as a simple tool for inspiration and focus. We've all seen that 24-hour "lo-fi hop hop beats to study to" livestream on Youtube at some point, but there is a certain merit to the concept. While everyone's tastes are different, we all probably think of similar genres when we think of "study music" - light classical, subdued acoustic singer-songwriters, jazz, anything you might hear in a cafe or bookstore. "Study music" tends to be quiet, mid-tempo and not too intricate so as not to distract the student from the material.
Personally, at my day job, I like to listen to metal because the chaotic music helps me get in tune with the world at large. As a typically withdrawn person (and as an Aquarius), it's sometimes difficult for me to make sense of the world - so blasting complex/aggressive music into my brain reminds it that dissonance and chaos are normal and acceptable. If I can make sense of challenging music, I should be able to make sense of the world too. When I need to focus on something creative I'm doing, I prefer to listen to drone, ambient, or post-rock so that I don't get distracted or tripped up by listening to vocals if I'm writing (right now I'm listening to a curated playlist of ambient Western music). These genres also help induce a meditative state that helps creativity flow.
Music can be a key to a higher level of connection to the Universe, but also a deeper bond with yourself and your soul, as you learn to understand your moods and the way music affects them. You will begin to notice patterns in the music you listen to throughout the years and how those correspond to your patterns of growth and progress on your healing journey. You may also see how your tastes change over time and serve as benchmarks for your life stages - you probably don't listen to the exact same music you listened to in high school. When you see and understand these patterns, you can use them to your advantage and be more prepared for your upcoming life cycles.
For more on working with cycles, see the Archangel Haniel blog post on Haus Of Reverence. Also, I will be offering playlist options in the Saint Reverence store - available now! Thank you all for reading, and I hope that you can start working music into your magick!