Monday, August 31, 2015

Ionian Roots

Ionian Roots, 5 x 7", watercolor and Neocolor II
One of the outcomes of studying to become a healthcare musician is that I am seeing connections that I had never noticed before. The world seems to favor certain patterns and in their beauty, repeats them over and over again.
   While focusing on the musical modes, I realized that they could be naturally paired with the 7 chakras, or energy centers of the human body. That idea was spurred on by a chart created by Kay Gardner for her book, Sounding the Inner Landscape. An obvious starting point is that the Ionian Mode is typically described as C major. The musical pitch assigned to the Root Chakra in Gardner's book is C. Aha!

Iconic Ionian

The Ionian mode is neutral to the  Western ear. It is made up of a progression of notes which we anticipate; think of do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do. We could consider it as the baseline of diatonic scales. You can read a little bit about the Ionian mode in my blog from March 19, 2015, Iconic Ionian. The scene I painted to represent the Ionian mode contained all the elements needed for human life. These elements also appear in the most universally appealing paintings, so there is something fundamentally and materialistically necessary about the Ionian mode. Stella Benson, in her book The Gift of Healing Modes, points out that this mode is sometimes referred to as a "maternal" mode. it provides the sense of a "safe haven".

Likewise, the Root chakra is home to our founding energy. Our lives are grounded in the elements necessary for life and these elements are the concern of the Root chakra. For me, this makes a connection between the Ionian mode and the Root chakra. The chakras are linked with colors from the spectrum (vibrations, once again). At the lower end of the spectrum is red. The Root chakra absorbs the color red; and according to Kay Gardner, it transmits a turquoise color. Recently, in a discussion with friends, it was suggested that the perfect representation of the Root chakra could be beets, with the red root bulbs and turquoise (green) leaves. That will have to wait for the autumn crop! In the meantime, I invite you to join me on this exploration of the musical modes and chakras.

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