This page is designed to provide a conceptual "key" (through the Gypsy Scholar's storehouse of literary conceits) to unlock the meme of--and "see what I mean" by--the acoustic architecture of the Tower of Song
The TOWER OF SONG is
one of those mysterious objects that's many different things to
different people, but to some people it's an altered state of mind shamanically “sung into existence." Thus, everybody knows why Re-Vision Radio's
favorite counter-cultural philosopher (who had great hopes for the
soul-manifesting or dream-manifesting, world-wide-web) may have had the Tower of Song--located in that "Invisible Landscape"--in the back of his mind when he told us to see what he means:
"It is a broadcasting entity with a wisdom-laden voice from a Logos-mind that speaks to you."
"This is an absolute necessity for anybody today: you must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually wonderful will happen." ~ Joseph Campbell
Moonlight (Thomas Cole)
Romantic Landscape with Ruined Tower (Thomas Cole)
Well I'm higher than the world And I'm livin' in my dreams I'll make it better than it seems Today.
And I'm higher than a cloud And I'm living in the sound I'll make it better than it seems Today....
Higher in my mind I'm going leave these blues behind And I'll find what I find Today....
Yes, I'm higher than the world And I'm livin' in my mind I got to hold on to what I find Today.
Just a little bit higher Little bit higher.
(Van Morrison, 'Higher Than the World')
Thus (in seeing what I mean), what I mean about the TOWER OF SONG is that it's a "singing school" (W.B. Yeats) of Soul, where the "poetic champions compose" (V. Morrison)--those "sages" (philosophers) or "singing-masters of my soul. " Songs are to be viewed as "Monuments of unageing intellect" and "Monuments of its own magnificence" (W.B. Yeats). Therefore, The TOWER OF SONG is the answer to Yeats' prayer-song: "gather me / Into the artifice of eternity."
Works of literature also move in time like music and spread out in images like painting. The word narrative or mythos conveys the sense of movement caught by the ear, and the word meaning or dianoia conveys, or at least preserves, the sense of simultaneity caught by the eye. We listen to the poem as it moves from beginning to end, but as soon as the whole of it is in our minds at once we "see" what it means. More exactly, this response is not simply to the whole of it, but to a whole in it: we have a vision of meaning or dianoia whenever any simultaneous apprehension is possible. --N. Frye
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
--Yeats, ‘Sailing To Byzantium,' from The Tower, 1927
The myth of Byzantium as a magical city where life was entirely
transmuted into art inspired Yeats to some of his finest poetic
flights. The poet entreats the sages—the singing masters—to gather his
soul into immortal art, symbolized by the prophetic metallic bird that
sings "To lords and ladies of Byzantium / Of what is past, or passing,
or to come." From Yeats’ letters and prose commentaries, we know that
he viewed Byzantium as a sort of heavenly realm which, through its art
and architecture, will last eternally. As Yeats himself puts it,
Byzantium was a place where “religious, aesthetic and practical life
were one.” Yeats' conception of the magical city and the "artifice of
eternity" was probably inspired from William Blake, whose "City of
Imagination" was more particularly called "Golgonooza." This is why I
refer to the Tower of Song as that "Golgonoozan artifice of eternity"
in my Manifesto, which I read to open the radio program. [See bottom of
this page for more on "Golgonooza"]
What Is The Tower of Song?
Again, this webpage is designed to aid listeners to “see what I mean" by the Tower of Song; to present a range of metaphorical meanings of the Tower of Song.
Orpheus--'El Maestro,' 1536
"Song refers not particularly to the field of music but to the intangible yet determining and affective element of creative moments illuminated from within by the lamp of spiritual meaning. It serves as a broad metaphor for inspiration in its many forms--poetic, artistic, moral, political, spiritual, intellectual, philosophical, and so on."
Angel of Imagination & Music
Do you see what I mean, now?
The TOWER OF SONG . . .
What kind of "tower" is it? Is it that imaginal sanctuary for those poetic-prophetic "ringers in the tower" (Yeats) of yesteryear? Is it that eternal retreat of Soul for that "visionary company"? --that muse-haunted place where "the poetic champions compose"? Or is it, today, that "tower down the track" where popular singer-songwriters repose? What is the mysterious Key/Key to the Tower of Song?
"The Lonely Tower" (Palmer, 1879)
Oh let my Lamp at midnight hour Be seen in some high
Lonely Towr, Where I may oft out-watch the Bear With thrice great
Hermes. —Milton, 'Il Penseroso' (1633)
"The Tower at the Stony Wood"
"The Tower of Babel" (Brueghel)
This fantasy tower was supposed to reach to the heavens (some 300 yards high). But There is evidence that the Tower of Babel actually existed ("Bab-Iloe"). But in all fairness it was not built as Bruegel thought, nor was there punishment --"confusion of tongues"-- for building it. Ancient clay tables tell of a ziggurat, a temple tower in the form of a terraced pyramid of successively receding stories. In Babylonian cuneiform writings it appears that this tower was built to reach the heavens, to Marduk. So it is possible that our Biblical story finds its origin in Mesopotamia, as does the story of the Flood. Destroyed by the Assyrian King Sanherib in 689 BC, the Marduk ziggurat was reconstructed by Nebukadnezar II. In 478 BC the ziggurat was demolished again, this time by the Xerxes Persians. The Babylonians named their tower Bab-Iloe, "Port of God."
I found myself in a tower, whose foundations were sunk so deep into the earth and whose top was so lofty, reaching up like a spire into the sky, that my whole existence already seemed bound to be consumed in climbing up and down in it . —Nerval
If you can't sleep and are searching "in the middle of the night" for the Tower of Song,
it's one of those in-between places that cultural anthropologists call
"liminal," or "threshold," zones—in between sleeping and waking, night
and day (at the midnight witching hour), inside and outside—that are
located at the crossroads of dreaming and reality, where the laws of
time and space and causality (instead, synchronicity) are attenuated.
The Tower of Song is that imaginal place
other than the one of our daytime routine—"a somewhere else, where we
also long to belong and need to go to from time to time." Thus everybody
knows that "we are reminded of this place by a song we hear on the
radio” and that we can even go there through the gateway of song to the
"Invisible Landscape" of the Tower of Song.
The TOWER OF SONG . . .
Or is it that imagnal "tower" of the "visionary company" of the counter-cultural present?: "It is a broadcasting entity with a wisdom-laden voice from a Logos-mind that speaks to you."
Our minds are doorways into an infinite labyrinth ... a kind
of Borgesian library of infinite possibilities.... (Terence
although he longs for this third world as his natural home, [man] only
catches brief glimpses of it. For it can only be focused by a kind of
mental eye.... All the same, this third world is a place; it is there
all the time, like China or the moon, and it ought to be possible for
me to go there at any time.... It is fundamentally a world of pure
meaning.... (Colin Wilson, 'Exploring Inner Space')
"eye of imagination"
The TOWER OF SONG is the place where Imagination reigns.
From the Gypsy Scholar's "Re-Vision Radio Manifesto & Visionary Recital": The
purpose of the RE-VISION RADIO program is to help guide its
listeners—“in the middle of the night”—in searching for, by following
the song, and entering into that long-abandoned Romantic “Lonely
Tower,” situated in that alternative mental dimension—the “invisible
landscape.” “Oh let my Lamp at midnight hour / Be seen in some high
Lonely Towr, / Where I may oft out-watch the Bear, / With thrice great
Hermes.” Because RE-VISION RADIO is broadcast from this ancient Tower
of the “Visionary Company,” where “the poetic champions compose,” in
the midnight hour “those funny voices” whisper: “You can call my love
Sophia, / I call my love Philosophy.” And, since the beginning of real
Philosophy is the “sense of wonder,” Everybody Knows that the “sense of
wonder” with radio is all in the mind’s eye—radio as Theater of the
Imagination—, making RE-VISION RADIO the alternative radio concept that
lets you see what it means. And what it means, by way of the Romantic
“Arts & Sciences of Imagination,” is that Golgonoozan “artifice of
eternity”— The TOWER OF SONG.
[Check out bottom of this page for an actual blueprint of William Blake's Golgonooza.]
Once in the Tower of Song, we realize that we can create our ideal world through the Imagination; creating the external structures of our visionary thought-forms in colors and music--places of beauty and wonder and joy; rainbow cities on the horizon of history. Perhaps the City of Imagination that William Blake called "Golgonooza." This is the imaginal space of "infinite possibilities" that is (at its highest level) the Tower of Song. "Our minds are doorways into an infinite labyrinth ... a kind of Borgesian library of infinite possibilities...." This realization of the City of Imagination is the "impossible dream" of those "singing masters of my soul" (W. B. Yeats)--those "poetic champions" (Van Morrison)--who "compose" the Romantic "Visionary Company" ("Singers & Keepers of the Dream") of the Tower of Song.
The TOWER OF SONG is where you hear the perfect union of the spoken word and music. This is because the mythical musician-magician Orpheus is the archetypal Music Master in the Tower of Song.
From the Gypsy Scholar's "Re-Vision Radio Manifesto & Visionary Recital": RE-VISION RADIO, questing back—”way, way back”—in search of the magical power of music, with the archetype of Orpheus as its guide, broadcasts a Musekal Philosophy (by way of the ancient “Sicilian Muse”), which is the perfect union of words and music broadcast through the Essay-with-Soundtrack—the Orphic synthesis of what has been called the “Infinite Conversation” & the “Endless Melody.”
THE TOWER OF SONG'S "Infinite Conversation" & "Endless Melody"
Music from the Tower of Song sets you free
The Lovers’ Familiar is built upon an allegory of "The Castle of the Soul" (the Tower of Song), which has various floors and compartments. In one compartment there is a feminine being called The Veiled Idea. She possesses secrets that will assuage, and it is she who can impart magic. As the "Beloved," she is an object of contemplation and a mystic vision. —Persian Mystical Allegory
Our Lady of the Tower
click to know more about Our Dark Lady of the Tower of Song
What Does the Grand Metaphor, or Meme, of the Tower of Song Stand For?
The Tower of Song is that imaginal place where you can make contact with the visiting Muse, or Angel:
"Contacting my angel, contacting my angel / She's the one, she's the one, that satisfies / Contacting my angel she's the one that satisfies / She's the one that I adore." (Van Morrison)
Or, again, the Tower of Song is that imaginal place where you can contact the Daemon, out of a "need to find a place for soul":
"Being in accordance with your Daimon (Eudaimonic) [is to] live in a place where Daimon feels at home. You know you're in the right place. Knowing what your Daimon wants [is] finding out where the Daimon is and if it's at home. [And being in accordance with the Daimon is] being at home and being somewhere else, not about being in the perfect spot for the Daimon." (Thomas Moore)
So, what is the Tower of Song?
The Gypsy Scholar (as psychic archeologist), like Indiana Jones, is on a quest to discover this ancient and mysterious momument, with its acoustic architecture. And after many failed attempts, he in fact did discover its whereabouts and managed to enter within its dark chambers and encounter its wonders. The problem is you can't stay in it for long before suddenly disappears. So the trick is not just finding it, but how to stay in it; to make it "his natural home."
And although he longs for this third world as his natural home, [man] only catches brief glimpses of it. For it can only be focused by a kind of mental eye.... All the same, this third world is a place; it is there all the time, like China or the moon, and it ought to be possible for me to go there at any time.... It is fundamentally a world of pure meaning.... (Colin Wilson, 'Exploring Inner Space')
So, if you suddenly find yourself in the acoustic architecture of the Tower of Song, when listening to the program,
"You know you're in the right place."
TOWER OF SONG
from a variety ofmetaphorical perspectives:
Muse & Poet
And Shelley had his towers, thought's crowned powers he called them once I declare this tower my symbol; I declare This winding, gyring, spiring treadmill of a stair is my ancestral stair.... —W.B. Yeats, 'The Winding Stair and Other Poems'
I shall find the dark grow luminous, the void fruitful when I understand I have nothing, that the ringers in the tower have appointed for the hymen of the soul a passing bell. —W.B. Yeats, 'Per Arnica Silentia Lunae'
... man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, unless Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing For every tatter in its mortal dress, Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnificence .... —W.B. Yeats, 'Sailing to Byzantium' Have you not heard, have you not seen that corps Of shadows in the tower, whose shoulders sway Antiphonal carillons launched before The stars are caught and hived in the sun's ray? ...
And so it was I entered the broken world To trace the visionary company of love, its voice An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled) But not for long to hold each desperate choice...
The steep encroachments of my blood left me No answer (could blood hold such a lofty tower As flings the question true?) -or is it she Whose sweet mortality stirs latent power?-
And through whose pulse I hear, counting the strokes My veins recall and add, revived and sure The angelus of wars my chest evokes: What I hold healed, original now, and pure…
And builds, within, a tower that is not stone (Not stone can jacket heaven) - but slip Of pebbles, - visible wings of silence sown In azure circles, widening as they dip
The matrix of the heart, lift down the eyes That shrines the quiet lake and swells a tower… The commodious, tall decorum of that sky Unseals her earth, and lifts love in its shower. —Hart Crane, 'The Broken Tower'
What in the midst lay but the Tower itself? The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart Built of brown stone, without a counterpart In the whole world. The tempest's mocking elf Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf He strikes on, only when the timbers start. —Robert Browning, 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came' ["The Tower is Dark because it stands for the possibilities." Harold Bloom.] It is the natural tower of all the world, The point of survey, green's green apogee, But a tower more precious than the view beyond, A point of survey squatting llike a throne, Axis of everything. —Wallace Stevens
The Tower is a kind of representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired. —C.G. Jung
All day, I had wandered in the glittering metaphor For which I could find no referent. —Robert Pen Warren
I discovered an Invisible Empire of the Air, intangible, yet solid as granite. —Lee De Forest, “Father of FM Radio”
I live my life in growing orbits which move out over things of this world. . . . I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, and I have been circling for a thousand years, and still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm or a great song. —Rilke
To shift metaphors from music to architecture, which I guess is not inappropriate since architecture has been called “frozen music," the bridge I tried to build between the esotericism of the past and the science of the present. —William Irwin Thompson
Look, Reader, how my theme would scale the sky! Marvel not, therefore, if with greater art I seek to buttress what I build so high. —Dante
There is no architect Can build as the Muse can; She is skillful to select Materials for her plan. —Emerson
... Orpheuslike we build, by means of the word, temples of wisdom and science that may suffice for all reasonable creatures. —Paul Friedlander
[Orpheus’ Song] Behold the night of the New Song. It has made human beings out of stones, human beings out of beasts. Those, moreover, that were as dead, not being partakers of the true life, have come to life again simply by listening to this Song. —Alexandrian Neoplatonist & Orphean Philosopher
Magical songs that are given to them [the shamans] by the spirits. —Terence McKenna
I had to build a library of sounds in my head. Something to fall back on. —Jazz musician
[Nightsong] In songs and dances, the performers oppose class and racial oppression and at the same time rework dominant images to symbolically reconstruct their “home”, an imagined world of Zulu rural tradition and identity.
Qawwali [devotional music] is closely identified with Sufism. At a Qawwali assembly, Sufi devotees gather under the guidance of a spiritual leader to experience states of mystical love and divine ecstasy through a ritual listening to music.
Milarepa--Listening in The Tower of Song
The Buddha was born, says the Lalita Vistara, as the savior of mankind, but he forgot himself. Some angels came and sang a song to rouse him. And the burden of the whole song is that we are floating down the river of life which is continually changing with no stop and no rest.
Milarepa, Tibet’s greatest yogi and singer, hand raised to his ear, is in “the attitude of singing his songs of realization.”
Dark Lady of the Romantic Tower of Song—Sophia Magdalene—is the
Goddess-Muse of Eternal Wisdom & Wit and ancient Lonely-Tower
Libraries. [from Re-Vision Radio Manifesto & Visionary Recital ]
William Blake's Golgonooza
The Tower of Song is the main tower in Blake's "City of Imagination"
Blake believed that all imaginative and creative acts, being eternal, go to build up a permanent structure above time, which he called the four-gated city of "Golgonooza." When this imaginal structure is finished, nature, its scaffolding, will be knocked away and human beings will live in it. Golgonooza will be the "City of Imagination" (or the "New Jerusalem, a city yet a Woman"), which is the total form of all human culture and civilization.
"The construction of a character or identity out of life is part of the attempt of Albion [the archetypal Poet-creator] to emerge from time ti eternity as one Man who is also a City of God. Thus the imagination exists immortally not as a person but as part of a growing and consolidating city, the Golgonooza which when complete will be the emanation or total created achievement of Albion, Jerusalem. In this world we can draw no real distinction between the individual and the social aspects of any creative act, and in eternity even the appearance of a distinction vanishes. The term 'identity' expresses at once an individual and a social integration."--N. Frye
. . . all that has existed in the space of six thousand years: Permanent, & not lost not lost nor vanishd, & every little act, Word. work. & wish. that has existed, all remaining still In those Churches ever consuming & ever building by the Spectres Of all the inhabitants of Earth wailing to be Created; Shadowy to those who dwell not in them. meer possibilities: But to those who enter into them they seem the only substances For every thing exists & not one sigh nor smile nor tear, One hair nor particle of dust, not one can pass away. --Blake, Jerusalem
Like Golgonooza, the Tower of Song can only be seen by the Imagination--"Four-fold Vision"
For Golgonooza cannot be seen till having pass’d the Polypus It is viewed on all sides round by a Four-fold Vision, Or till you become Mortal & Vegetable in Sexuality, The you behold its mighty Spires & Domes of ivory and gold --Blake, Milton
(For Blake, "Polypus" was a simile for an aquatic sea creature with tenacles, like a jellyfish or squid. It became a symbol of the organism of human society in this fallen world and its false religion; the antithesis of the "Brotherhood of Man." "The false worldly religion which organizes and motivates the Polypus is materialistic and corresponds to the Twenty-seven Churches." For Blake: "O Polypus of Death." When Blake writes in Milton that "Golgonooza cannot be seen till having pass'd the Polypus," he seems to mean that before the City of Imagination can be seen human society must be taken into acount--before the creation of art is possible.)
T.S. Eliot observed about Blake: "He knew what interested him and that made him terrifying." Blake's "Interest" was the "Interest of True Religion & Science." This "Interest" was also to be a "golden builder" of that utopian City of the Imagination, which he called "Golgonooza.” It was to be built through his "visionary studies;” by "Mental Studies & Performances" and "The Labours of Art & Science.” The Gypsy Scholar calls this Blakean visionary building the “Tower of Song.”
In the TOWER OF SONG one can hear "those funny voices" way, way up there speaking/singing about the "archaic revival." In vision-questing back, "way way back," the Gypsy Scholar attempts to mix logos and mythos--dialectic and song--to achieve an Orphic experience. Thus, the Gypsy Scholar takes his (radio) cue (cue--1. "anything that serves as a stimulus to speech or action; a hint or guiding suggestion; to prompt; 2. Archaic. frame of mind; mood; 3. to insert, or direct to come in, in a specific place in a performance; 4. to search for and reach a track on a recording") from that most psychedelic of all philosophers, who implores us to enter into that [fractal?] visionary state of "see what I mean" (of which he believed could be facilitated through cyberspace websites: "You can show people your dreams").
The Gypsy Scholar has teased his listeners/viewers with the query, "What is the Tower of Song?" So, now, when you see what the Gypsy Scholarmeans by the TOWER OF SONG, it may be, in the last analysis, just what you mean by it.