The Light of the Renaissance part 7

The Power of the Church:

In the 5th century A.D. around the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, much of the temporal and spiritual power was taken over by the Catholic Church. In those days it did serve as a stabilizing power on the country plagued by invading forces from the north and the east. The church also imposed the same stabilizing power on music performed within its walls, declaring that music should act as a “servant of religion”. As has been described, “music was created according to guidelines imposed by the Church. Out of this tradition emerged plainchant, a monophonic genre of music that was cultivated virtually unchanged for centuries until the de-velopment of composed polyphony in the High Middle Ages, circa 1000—1400”.9 The plainchant was sacred for so long because, according to church belief, it provided the right atmosphere for quiet reflection and prayer. And this is certainly true if anyone has ever sat in a sanctuary while listening to plainchant in the background. If one is open to this style of music it can have a quieting effect on one’s consciousness. And this is why no instrumentation was allowed in the church until the invention of the pipe organ and the development of polyphony. Music really began to evolve in the 14th century with the inspiring works by Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377). He was followed by Josquin Desprez (1440—1521) who helped develop the music of the Catholic Mass; then Giovanni da Palestrina (1525—1594) and Claudio Monteverdi (1567—1643). These were among the most prominent of the group of new composers and forerunners of the Renaissance. They helped prepare the consciousness for the coming revolution by preparing the way for Haydn, Handel and J.S. Bach.

Taken altogether, the 16th century saw the beginning of a tsunamie of creativity that quickly spread across Europe. No longer confined to the clergy or intellectuals among the nobility, the creative impulse began to arise from the people themselves. Esoteric students will see this as a result of the new incoming energy flow of the third ray of Active-Intelligence and Adaptability which began to manifest in 1425. When a particular ray is in manifestation many souls on that ray line are drawn into incarnation and contribute their talents to the evolutionary unfoldment of consciousness helping to move thinking out of any old ruts it may have fallen into.

The third ray is the ray of the abstract thinker, the philosopher and the mathematician. Through the influence of the third ray we see the beginning of that field of study which would later be referred to as “science”. In its relationship to the human senses it stimulates vision. As it has been written: “By means of the eye of God light shines forth upon the way of the sun, the path of the planets, and the path of man…”.10 The third ray influence seems likely to have inspired Copernicus with his new sun-centered theory; and even was influential in the invention and development of the telescope. Likewise, “the path of man” was dramatically changed by the actions of Luther, leading to the Protestant Reformation and multiple new expressions of Christianity.

​9 Robert Greenberg, Ph.D, How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition, p. 1
10 Alice Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1, p. 133

(to be continued)



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The Light of the Renaissance