Pitagorism and Sacred Science


This section collects both ancient "measuring" instruments that refer to archaic science, and others that, despite being built in the last two centuries, are based on rules and theorems belonging to the schools of Euclid, Thales and obviously Pythagoras (such as some works by Adriano Graziotti). By Science we mean "sacred science", that is, all those theoretical, experimental and applicative expressions men used to try to investigate themselves and the surrounding world, achieving sometimes contradictory results, but never keeping technique apart from philosophy, metaphysics, theology. A very large section dedicated to archaic science with hundreds of books, some of which are ancient and rather rare, is available within the Foundation.

Music, Dance, Rhythm

The Foundation, in addition to a collection of rare Opera records prior to 1940, exhibits some special instruments (Tibetan trumpets, shells, drums etc.), linked to a ritual and liturgical use. Porphyry, Iamblichus, Marziano Capella and others confirm the use of music for therapeutic purposes in the school of Pythagoras. From the same authors, from Plato and through the interpretation of ritual aspects in Egyptian papyri and tombs, we know for sure that the same also happened in Egypt. It is reasonable to suppose that the Vedantic sages have been able to do something similar. In various ways, all shamans use music for this purpose: there is no traditional culture that does not apply music healing techniques (on the subject of rhythm in music and architecture we recommend C. Lanzi, Ritmi e Riti, IV ed. , Rome 2020). Music has always been linked to an enchantment, to a conscious or unconscious perception of the harmonic and melodic succession and rhythm, that is, of the periodic proportional division of time and space. This operation is accomplished by the "symmetries". The change in the state of consciousness induced by music corresponds to a change in rhythm. Heart itself changes its beats inducing an emotional state or, vice versa: a change in the emotional stream is followed by a change in rhythm. In music, sacredly understood, as it is according to the principles of this Foundation, in addition to marking the time of the rite, according to many ethnomusicologists starting with Schneider and Kaiser, one can achieve the opening of the heart door. Ancient music is hardly separated from dance, which naturally follows rhythm. Rhythm in turn is cadenced by percussion (see Schneider's works). These are different states of harmonic vibration of matter, cyclical activations of energy states. Pauses of silence, sequences of qualitative and quantitative states, having harmonic relationships with the preceding and subsequent ones. Each man, based on his genetic history and experiences, has his own individual musical emotivity.

In Western music culture, which has greatly developed polyphony by creating melodies that converge into each other, an emotional code has been created. Therefore, still today, some music chords in a minor key are perceived more melancholic than others in a major key, etc. According to great ethnomusicologists, such as Schneider himself, this type of emotional perception is largely due to education and habit. Evocative power of music can become an amplifier of the imaginative activity like the music of film soundtracks, deliberately created to amplify the emotional tension of the images. While in the West, ritual music (through the work of Christianity) has almost universally abandoned the movement, in the East the unity of music and dance has been preserved for millennia. We have ancient canons that are still largely respected and, above all, practiced. The Nàtya Shastra, for example, reports the (very ancient) codification with which the dancers of the Shivaite temples performed their offering before the God, until they became his female counterpart. This text also speaks of Kathakali (this time performed only by male dancers) which summarizes, in 500 postures, the Sanskrit letters, associating them with various mudras. The Confucian text Techeou-li (or short text of yo-ki music), sometimes attributed to Confucius disciples themselves, clearly states that “rites and music are always united”. In Li ki (musical ritualistic treatise) it says: “there are rites to moderate the passion, others to enhance it ... Fixing a music and rules, this is the subject of the rites”. In Japan, among the pre-Buddhist musical codifications, the shintô rites called kagura are in turn rigidly divided into giga-ku (for processions), buga-ku (for the emperor) and sauga-ku (religious and profane, origin of theatrical forms). Both in Eastern traditions and in what remains of Western ones, the dancer-player-singer are often one person (especially in shamanic rites). In such cases, the way the instrument is played is of special importance and, having to follow the movements of the dancer, performs a choreography of its own.

The subdivision and the space-time rhythm are therefore the basis for the formation of the sacred space. Sound, form, gesture (partitions made by that man who knows the rhythm and the rite) put in relation cosmic entities with earthly entities. These acts allow the perception of harmonic homology between the various dimensions. In the ancient world, music and dance accompanied all the sacred moments of public life, especially the war. Every warrior dance consists of two characteristic stages. The first one, shamanic to some extent, prepares and guides the warriors: the dance is graceful and dreadful at the same time. The second one, takes place together with the battle which itself becomes a dance of death and life, where cosmic principles collide and meet, where forms rush against each other, with initiatory values.

Magical and Therapeutic Objects

“Religious” man creates magical, votive, propitiatory and protective objects starting from the his very appearance on earth. Many of the Egyptian talismans (displayed in another section) have a magical-protective function, as well as many other artefacts belonging to our Christian tradition. The ritual-magic object generally has its own symbolic charge coming from its shape and colour and possesses apotropaic and protective virtues, both because of the connection with a specific spiritual entity, and due to the “charge” conferred by the monk, the shaman, the priest , by the wizard, by the witch etc, at the time of its “preparation”; therefore any object can become “magical” depending on who owns it.

Magic objects often have geometric shapes inspired to archaic wisdom (yantra, polyhedra, polygons, etc.), that evoke either a beneficial “state” of being or an evil one which is then induced on the possessor or on the one who receives it (hence the important connection between geometry and alchemy, geometry and religion, etc.). Charlemagne and Frederick II carried, during their military expeditions and in their celebratory parades, crates of rings, somehow “magical”, so as to have the right one available to use for each occasion. In our library there are many books bearing magical “seals” of various kinds. These were at times impressed on parchment for special rituals, else simply drawn in the air by a “sorcerer” or a shaman, sufficient to evoke or invoke spiritual entities of different power . Many artefacts in the Museum have “also” a magical function, when by "magic" we certainly do not intend the work of charlatans, but rather the magna philosophia of scientists, ascetics, priests etc. such as Raimondo Llull, Albert the Great, Giordano Bruno, Isaac Newton and many others.