Music Connects Us to the Divine

 Singing monks at Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, RussiaCanon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens

Though far from an expert I have an interest in mythology. Religions have, for millennia, used mythology to help explain the unexplainable. Since the enlightenment science has challenged the relationship many have had with religion and, as a consequence, weakened religion's power over the masses. But the power of myth is still very potent and, I believe, essential to understanding our relationship with the divine.

The Power of Mythology

Some folks have no problem with this challenge and have found ways, other than a literal interpretation of the written word, to connect with the divine through, what is for them, a more personal, authentic experience. They see myths as ways to engage an audience and, in doing so, explore a range of non factual truths that outline many of the moral and ethical issues that underpin our society.

In no way is it my intention to deride anyone's belief system. I have had the good fortune of growing up in a democratic country and freedom of belief is fundamental to my own world view. What's more I'm a firm believer in the value of mythology. However, I feel that many of our world's problems derive from the fact that so many people don't understand the true purpose and value of myth.

Mythology and Beauty

Let's move away from religion and look at Professor J. R. R. Tolkien's creation myth from the Silmarillion. For those unfamiliar with Tolkien's writings the Silmarillion is the history of the first age of middle earth, as told from the elvish perspective. Incidentally Tolkien, a colleague and close friend of C. S. Lewis, was a devout Catholic.

The Silmarillion is a beautiful read and, while not wanting to give too much away, let me just say that music was fundamental to the act of creation.

The Divine and I

That was very much in my mind when I listened to some inspiring songs performed by the group of Russian Orthodox monks pictured above in the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Outside of the landscape, or the expression of joy on the faces of young and old alike, music and photography provide me with links to the divine, however you choose to describe it.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru