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Spirituality through music

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     I scrolled a bit in this section and found a post about spirituality, but I thought I'd inquire a bit deeper and open up some more discussion. For anyone reading, or even willing to participate: What role does your metal (or any other music) play in your spirituality? I ask because I, myself, find music very spiritual, specifically metal, and I was wondering how other people thought about this topic.

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I don't consider myself a spiritual person. That being said I can't deny there's something about music (or at least the music I enjoy) that is truly special. Music has helped me get through some very challenging times in my life. Times where I felt isolated and beyond depressed music was my only means of relief. It was a means of escaping that crushing loneliness and despair. If I'm to be very honest were it not for the way music impacts me I almost certainly would have committed suicide.

 

I suppose music is my spirituality. It is something I can turn to like others turn to their faith, family, or friends. Whether it be Vivaldi, Robert Johnson, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, or Death I know music will always be there for me and it will continue influencing my life in a very profound way.

 

Very recently I've realised that sentiment is what drives me to keep playing my guitar. I hope that when I begin crafting my own music it impacts others in the same way.

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On 7/29/2016 at 9:54 PM, Fabulousdisaster88 said:

For me, metal is a hobby, a fun thing I just really enjoy. However, it is also therapy, anger management and at one point in my life a treatment for depression.

I can totally relate man. I've had my battles with depression too. Without metal, I wouldn't have had anything to identify with. It was and always will be a big help for me in terms of mental wellness.

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17 hours ago, RelentlessOblivion said:

I don't consider myself a spiritual person. That being said I can't deny there's something about music (or at least the music I enjoy) that is truly special. Music has helped me get through some very challenging times in my life. Times where I felt isolated and beyond depressed music was my only means of relief. It was a means of escaping that crushing loneliness and despair. If I'm to be very honest were it not for the way music impacts me I almost certainly would have committed suicide.

 

I suppose music is my spirituality. It is something I can turn to like others turn to their faith, family, or friends. Whether it be Vivaldi, Robert Johnson, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, or Death I know music will always be there for me and it will continue influencing my life in a very profound way.

 

Very recently I've realised that sentiment is what drives me to keep playing my guitar. I hope that when I begin crafting my own music it impacts others in the same way.

I definitely can relate with that. I use that same feeling for motivation to play guitar too. But yeah music makes me feel more spiritual than anything else can. It helps me feel more whole every day and assists me emotionally and mentally.

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For whether on not I find spirituality through music, it depends on what the song is about. For example, Metallica's "Holier Than Thou" reminds me that I shouldn't judge people, because I also have flaws. I find spirituality in this song, because it represents a Bible verse: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." 

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23 hours ago, MetalheadFromBama said:

For whether on not I find spirituality through music, it depends on what the song is about. For example, Metallica's "Holier Than Thou" reminds me that shouldn't judge people, because I also have flaws. I find spirituality in this song, because it represents a Bible verse: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." 

I agree, it depends on the content and atmosphere of the song and what it means to you. Nice connection :)

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Haha, big barrel of fish there... Yeah, metal used to be my spirituality, I guess.  I opened up with the spiritual stuff a few years ago after getting high and listening to Yes (which is DEFINITELY "spiritual music," if you can dig it...), and now I find that metal occupies a very particular area of that whole region.

I mean, if you think about it, spirituality and music have been tied together since they started... People originally would have sung out of joy, and joy is really at the core of spirituality.  Even nowadays many "spiritual" movements in (and outside of) religions have a big emphasis on singing and dancing as a means of celebrating life, God, whatever it is they talk about.  I kind of feel the same, I suppose - I like to celebrate things through music, and I find metal is definitely one of the most "celebratory" styles out there in that it's no-holds-barred, off the wall, totally ecstatic and primal shit.

Used to be hardcore anti-religion blah blah blah kind of thing, but that's its own kind of spirituality - usually it's an anti-form, anti-dogma thing, preferring to be "unspiritually spiritual."  With the right interpretation of what the word means, spirituality is what everything's about.  So at that point, yeah, music is definitely a vehicle for spirituality.  I've had a lot of what I've later realised were "spiritual experiences" just through listening to music.  Nightside Eclipse and Burzum, Altars of Madness, some parts of Maiden, Bathory, all of these have had profound effects on my state of consciousness at specific points in my life.  Music is powerful shit!  :)

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14 hours ago, welkyn said:

Haha, big barrel of fish there... Yeah, metal used to be my spirituality, I guess.  I opened up with the spiritual stuff a few years ago after getting high and listening to Yes (which is DEFINITELY "spiritual music," if you can dig it...), and now I find that metal occupies a very particular area of that whole region.

I mean, if you think about it, spirituality and music have been tied together since they started... People originally would have sung out of joy, and joy is really at the core of spirituality.  Even nowadays many "spiritual" movements in (and outside of) religions have a big emphasis on singing and dancing as a means of celebrating life, God, whatever it is they talk about.  I kind of feel the same, I suppose - I like to celebrate things through music, and I find metal is definitely one of the most "celebratory" styles out there in that it's no-holds-barred, off the wall, totally ecstatic and primal shit.

Used to be hardcore anti-religion blah blah blah kind of thing, but that's its own kind of spirituality - usually it's an anti-form, anti-dogma thing, preferring to be "unspiritually spiritual."  With the right interpretation of what the word means, spirituality is what everything's about.  So at that point, yeah, music is definitely a vehicle for spirituality.  I've had a lot of what I've later realised were "spiritual experiences" just through listening to music.  Nightside Eclipse and Burzum, Altars of Madness, some parts of Maiden, Bathory, all of these have had profound effects on my state of consciousness at specific points in my life.  Music is powerful shit!  :)

Good points! I've had very similar thoughts. And, yeah, "Altars of Madness" feels very spiritual for me.

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That's a good point. I hadn't thought of music and spirituality in that way. Certainly from my experiences with catholicism singing hymns and shit was a big part of that. I never connected with that sort of stuff and never will. For me music is about a connection. If you get that it's special and a song, album, band, transcends the phrase music to become something more.

 

Actually in truth funeral doom does something really weird to me. I find myself getting totally lost in it. Almost like a trance or meditative state. I can't describe it but fuck it's incredible.

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I've definitely had similar experiences with all kinds of music, from Deicide to Burning Witch to Swans to Bach organ music to field recordings of folk singing. I won't call them "spiritual" experiences because I don't think we have "spirits", but that's not really the important thing here - regardless of what I call it, music has a lot of power over my mental state. I usually listen to more cerebral stuff, or listen in a more cerebral way; usually I'm not seeking out that state of ecstasy anymore. In metal, in particular, I find it to be a fleeting sensation, but I think that's what I like about the music I like the most: being carried from moment to moment, like walking up a mountain and coming to various vantage points, or walking down a long hallway and catching glimpses into different rooms. As much as I enjoy those moments that catch my attention, I like the mental workout of following some of the more technical music I listen to, which is a much more "in-the-moment" feeling. I suppose that, in writing my own music, I'm trying to learn how to orchestrate those different kinds of listening and create an experience that leads people through them. It may have even worked on occasion, in some of my best songs, but there's no magic recipe for me and I'm honestly somewhat at sea with my newest material. At sea in many ways at the moment, so I suppose it's just an honest expression of where my life is... and that's the heart of true art, right? Right? :D

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So that's your way of hinting the next BH will be completely bonkers?

 

I'm with you though. I do still find myself looking for that real energetic, almost joyous, feeling from music now and then (mostly during the summer months). For the most part though I just let my mood or the weather dictate what I listen to and see where it takes me. Inevitably it does take me places because all the stuff I like has that power.

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I'm not sure what you'd call this but whenever I feel depressed or alone I always turn to metal. It's the best therapy I've ever had. It makes me so grateful for the artists who pour their hearts and souls into making music. I feel moved mostly by black metal, because I love how raw and real it is. But yeah, it's like an escape and a form of therapy for me. And yes, I can totally see how one would feel spiritual while listening to metal. Metal is my wonderland.

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I'm with you on the "therapy" lately - it's been a bit difficult adjusting to our new place since we moved a couple of months ago, and somehow that's rekindled my appreciation for thrash, the faster and angrier the better. I can feel myself calming down as I listen to it.

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Interesting topic. For me there is no doubt that music has a spiritual aspect to it. It's not just background noise or something to listen to in the car for me - like it is for a lot of other people. There is something transcendent about certain types of metal.

Whether it's Dissections 'Storm of the Light's Bane' or Anathema's 'Alternative 4', music contains aspects of the luminous that I would describe as spiritual. I get this from classical music as well. 

Having said this, however, there is certainly a lot of metal that is less emotionally based and it doesn't really do a lot for me when it comes to spiritual responses etc. 

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I'd first ask you what your own personal definition of 'spiritual' is, because I personally find it to be a loaded word with many uses/definitions. 

I do understand finding 'spirituality' within music, and have heard the word used many times before regarding music, so I'm going to assume that in this context it is meant to describe a feeling of utter connectedness/present-ness in a specific way that is otherwise difficult to feel in the midst of modern-life contraptions, and generally tedious to describe or define. 

A lot of different doom songs/bands do this for me in significant ways, but I've definitely experienced it in other genres/sub-genres. Atmospheric Black is another one, or even Depressive. The song 'Awaiting The Fire Or Flood That Awakes It' by Falls of Rauros definitely pulls me in, in this way!

Some songs or bands will get me to this place more so than others. Some echo a inter-personal meaning that I naturally project upon, some reflect something ethereal and magical, some are humming notes that linger in a way that I cannot splice simply to myself but understand on a deeper level (hoping that makes sense).

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To me, music in general is a spiritual, mental, metaphysical, purely physical, scientific, emotional journey. So much so that I became a professional musician to learn more about it and delve deeper into it. Music is my main religion for sure

Music definitely moves me in a spiritual sense. Metal music specifically (and punk as well) has taught me much about spirituality, especially views on religion, that has defined my current spiritual state. 

My dad was pagan growing up, and my mom was Lutheran. I always identified with the naturalist.animist side that my dad had,so I ended up leaning more towards that growing up. We are Swedish in heritage, so I also identified with the Norse mythos. As a young'n, I also found a lot of reference to that in the music I loved, so it was a natural fit. I also got into and studied Western Hermetic Magik, as well as Kabbahlism and other esoteric studies - a lot from the imagery and lyrics of heavy metal, and that has shaped my spiritualism as well. Through these studies, I also found Eastern religious viewpoints as well.

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Well, here is the post that will likely get me ran out of this forum. lol.

I'm a Christian. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord when I was 12 but made no real commitment until I was 23. What actually drew me in was Christian metal. Bands like The Showdown, Becoming The Archetype, Demon Hunter, etc. Christian metal played a huge role not only in my re-dedication but also in my growth.

Bands that are not Christian have, at times, even played a role in that as well. Some songs, whether the band's intention or not, actually do run parallel to Christian outlook and many bands do have a positive message.

 

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On 11/15/2018 at 12:58 AM, Stringfellow_Hawke said:

Well, here is the post that will likely get me ran out of this forum. lol.

I'm a Christian. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord when I was 12 but made no real commitment until I was 23. What actually drew me in was Christian metal. Bands like The Showdown, Becoming The Archetype, Demon Hunter, etc. Christian metal played a huge role not only in my re-dedication but also in my growth.

Bands that are not Christian have, at times, even played a role in that as well. Some songs, whether the band's intention or not, actually do run parallel to Christian outlook and many bands do have a positive message.

 

A lot of metal music is spiritual and with transcendent and supernatural themes, so what you say is true. In this world of abject materialism, I think Christianity is actually closer to some of the occult themes of metal music than, say, a trip to the shopping mall. 

An engagement with the 'other? A sense of awe at an powerful yet ultimately unknowable force? A blood-soaked sacrifice and raising from the grave for the redemption of a people who little deserve it? Metal. 

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On 11/16/2018 at 3:37 AM, Requiem said:

A lot of metal music is spiritual and with transcendent and supernatural themes, so what you say is true. In this world of abject materialism, I think Christianity is actually closer to some of the occult themes of metal music than, say, a trip to the shopping mall. 

An engagement with the 'other? A sense of awe at an powerful yet ultimately unknowable force? A blood-soaked sacrifice and raising from the grave for the redemption of a people who little deserve it? Metal. 

 

Of all the responses I could have gotten to this, this one tops any I could have expected lol.

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Yes, it is possible to channel the Musica Universalis into audio form. But, obviously, the Music of the Spheres can only be captured on rounded physical medium such as compact discs and records. This explains why cassettes and mp3s are no good.

Or maybe modern science is right: random insignificance manifested in meaningless material form begetting only more random insignificance, eternally unchanging for no reason whatsoever. A universe comprised of monotonous ones and nihilistic zeroes.

But, alas! I tried the scientific method but oh-the-horror of my journey when I realized my empirical steps behind traced a pattern of presupposed logic; that infernal abstract law, and the manifestation of metaphysics before my eyes. O cursed philosophy! Like a full moon rising to match the fulminant lure of alchemy!   

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I don't know if that counts as spiritual, but metal releases energy in me like nothing else and puts the biggest grin on my face. For example, every time I hear the opening of Night Witches by Sabaton. That's me grinning like a kid in a toy store. My former music teacher in high school said she rarely ever met a person who is willingl to give himself up so completely in the service of music. I'm literally a different person when I sing or play. When I sing, I am full of energy and light. It is like a cleansing for my soul. So is listening to (some) music. Sometimes when I listen to music it's so wonderful that I wonder why I ever do anything else in my free time.

@Stringfellow_HawkeRob Rock's "Millenial Reign" is one of my favorite metal songs. I'm not Christian, but the lyrics are just so epic, and it's rare for a metal band to sing of one thousand years of peace, usually it's the opposite.

 

 

 

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All music can be transformative. Mostly, I find metal to be motivational. It is positive, active music. Very masculine energies, which are great for endeavours which require physical exertion and getting things done. Metal is probably the most passionate music genre I can think of.

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