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Hermes Trismegistos - Stolcius (Viridarium Chymicun 1624)  Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As above, so below, as within,
so without, as the universe,
so the soul…

Hermes Trismegistus

We read together chapters from the book, 'Man in the Cosmos' by Christian Wertenbaker and developed a feel and an understanding for the main topics covered, including the diverse subject of patterns in nature, art and architecture.

These ranged from the geometric shapes found in abundance all around us in nature, to those created in the artistic designs of many of the world’s greatest heritage sites, such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

We discovered a shared interest in music and underlying vibrations, as well as patterns, unseen and perhaps unheard, but certainly felt in music.

As a group we broached the complex topic of musical overtones and the harmonic series and became interested in learning more about these subjects in relation to our own inner self-development and inner search. Our group members spanned over six countries which gave us a broadened perspective each time we met.

Harmonic partials on strings

We collected examples of patterns in nature surrounding us on our daily walks, and from objects in our homes, and viewed them together under the lens of a digital microscope.


We were particularly struck by how the violin strings appeared under the lens and how in actual fact they are wound or coiled, as opposed to just being a straight line.

Close up detail of violin string

“I wondered how this affected the sound of the notes played on the string. My curiosity encouraged me to listen to music with a more detailed understanding of the unseen visual patterns of sounds emanating from stringed instruments. It felt like an opening of a door onto another level of appreciation for music.”

A visit to a butterfly farm revealed examples of such symmetrical beauty to us.

This symmetry is apparent and visible in nature, but often unnoticed.


We read about symmetry and broken symmetry in nature and reflected how we have never really paid much attention to this before.

“Slowing down and paying attention to the abundance that nature has to offer was a feast for all the senses. I observed the patterns of the fruits and vegetables in my kitchen – their skin, leaves or interiors. Stopping to look at each leaf, flower, and tree with a new curiosity, as if I now saw a whole new world of patterns, perfectly guided by universal laws, was a particularly beautiful experience.

This led us to question what else in our lives we take for granted, and how perhaps there are other mysteries waiting to be discovered. 

Music, Overtones and Vibrations 

We became interested in music and the unseen vibrations in and around us. Together, we explored sounds in a new way. We tried to listen actively.

“I find it amazing when plucking a string that it can vibrate in so many parts at the same time.”

Within the vibrations of a note, there are other smaller vibrations that are occurring. In theory, this process goes on indefinitely, so you have an infinite number of harmonics: the overtone series.


It forms the basis of how we structure music. It is a concept that mostly goes unnoticed and is not commented upon and yet lies underneath so much music that we hear, listen to or play.

Vibration modes (frequency, Resonance, Harmonics)

One single note can hold all the tones in itself. We became curious about the seemingly hidden qualities of music that touch our emotions.


With a little preparation beforehand, such as sitting quietly, we began to be more attentive and present. We experimented with listening to just one note being played, then playing some of the harmonics present, but unheard, for example the fifth note, the third or the octave. 

“This is where the written material we had read as part of the group became alive for me.”

We looked at visual representations of this, for example, sound frequencies being applied to a metal plate, with salt added. The salt formed various patterns depending on the frequency of the note and shape of the plate.


We were amazed by the effects of the vibrations on water and how it formed patterns with the beat of a drum.

The texture of water under the influence of vibration in 432 hertz

We listened to a recording of a tree that had been sliced and played as if it was a vinyl record on a record player. 

“It was such a mesmerising sound, as if the tree was recounting its life span, haunting and chilling, yet it spoke to us with its never heard before voice.”

Old wooden oak tree cut surface

In our studies, we developed a strong interest in frequencies and in particular where they resonated within the body. Vibrations can correspond with different parts of us that share the same frequency of vibrations. This creates a resonance, that we can sometimes feel if we are present enough and open to receive something. 

Nepal Buddha copper singing bowls

When listening to a piece of music with attention, we became aware of the effects inside us: noticing at times a particular sensation, a reviving of something. This was different from the usual associations that spring to mind when we hear music.

"The music became a kind of nourishment for us all. It revived something in me."

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