TO THE 

METAPHORICAL KEY

FOR THE

TOWER OF SONG

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This page is designed to provide a conceptual "key (through the Gypsy Scholar's literary conceit) to unlock the grand metaphor and "see what I mean" by the acoustic architecture of the archetypal Tower of Song

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The TOWER OF SONG  is  one of those mysterious objects that's many different things to different people, but to some people, like the Gypsy Scholar, it's an altered state of mind shamanically “sung into existence." 

Through the Orphic magic of Re-Vision Radio, the TOWER OF SONG  is the resonating figure of speech you can virtually walk into.

"If you know that a life of supreme beauty is possible how can you help but want to enter it?"~Terence McKenna

 

Thus, the Gypsy Scholar's favorite countercultural philosopher (who had great hopes for the soul-manifesting and dream-manifesting, World Wide Web) may have had the TOWER OF SONG--located in that "Invisible Landscape"--in the back of his (psilocybin) mind when he invited us to see what he means:

 

"It is a broadcasting entity with a wisdom-laden voice from a Logos-mind that speaks to you." ~Terence McKenna

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"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

"From my retreat and view

Make my own break through

And I might see things new

From my retreat and view

There's visions to behold

Treasures to unfold

Home away from home

From my retreat and view...

There's bargains of the soul

Dreams that do unfold

Now I know it's true

From my retreat and view

There's bargains of the soul

Treasures to behold

Some time to start anew

From my retreat and view."

~ Van Morrison

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The TOWER OF SONG: a Romantic edifice

 

What kind of "tower" is it? Is it that imaginal sanctuary for those poetic-prophetic "ringers in the tower" of nineteenth-century Romantic era? Is it that eternal retreat of Soul for that Romantic "visionary company"? --that angelic muse-haunted place? Could it today that creative sanctuary where "the poetic champions compose," "a retreat and view," or that "tower down the track" where popular singer-songwriters repose? What is the mysterious Key/Key to the Tower of Song's secret identity? 

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What Is 

The Tower of Song?

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Again, this webpage is designed to aid listeners to “see what I mean" by the TOWER OF SONG; to present a range of its metaphorical meanings.

Called by different names throughout the centuries, the archetypal tower of the poet-prophets or visionaries of the race can be viewed as "Monuments of unageing intellect" and "Monuments of its own magnificence" (W.B. Yeats). Therefore, the way the Gypsy Scholar sees it, is that The TOWER OF SONG is the answer to Yeats' prayer-song: "gather me / Into the artifice of eternity."

"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

 

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 called "Golgonooza" (a city of Art). This is why I refer to the Tower of Song as that "Golgonoozan artifice of eternity" in my "Re-vision RadioManifesto."  [See bottom of this page for more on "Golgonooza"]

"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." --Northrop Frye

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However, in order to appreciate the full range of the multifarious meanings of The TOWER OF SONG, one must broaden one's comprehension of what is meant by "SONG"--since it is also is of a metaphorical nature. 

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Orpheus ("El Maestro," 1536)

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Orpheus

Angel of Imagination & Music

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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:

"And twenty-seven angels from the Great Beyond / They tied me to this table right here in the Tower of Song." (Leonard Cohen, "Tower of Song")

 

"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, "Contacting My Angel")

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, "Care of the Soul")
 

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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” (Jan Bauer) and that we can even go there through the gateway of song to the "Invisible Landscape" of the Tower of Song.


"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 the program accomplishes it's goal--to put the listener into the Tower of Song--and you suddenly find yourself in the acoustic architecture of the angel-haunted Tower of Song, "You know you're in the right place."

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Or is The TOWER OF SONG today that imaginal tower of the psychedelic counterculture; the tower of the neo-Romantic "Visionary Company"?

 

"It's a broadcasting entity with a wisdom-laden voice from a Logos-mind that speaks to you." (Terence McKenna)

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"Our minds are doorways into an infinite labyrinth ... a kind of Borgesian library of infinite possibilities...." (Terence McKenna)

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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's TOWER OF SONG 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. This could be the City of Imagination that William Blake called "Golgonooza." This is the imaginal space of "infinite possibilities" that is the musical architecture of the TOWER OF SONG. 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.

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The Ancient Archetype of the Tower

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"The Tower of Babel" (Brueghel, 1563)

The Tower of Babel

 

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"). Yet, 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 BCE, the ziggurat was demolished again, this time by the Xerxes Persians. The Babylonians named their tower "Bab-Iloe, " ("Port of God"). Could this be translated as "The Portal of God"?

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TOWER OF SONG

from a Variety of

Metaphorical Perspectives

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to help listeners "see what I mean"

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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 like a throne,
Axis of everything, green's apogee.
~Wallace Stevens, "Credences of Summer"


All day, I had wandered in the glittering metaphor
For which I could find no referent.
~Robert Pen Warren, "Time As Hypnosis"

I live my life in growing orbits

which move out over things of this world.

Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.


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.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, "Book of Hours"

The Tower is a kind of representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired. 

~C.G. Jung

I discovered an Invisible Empire of the Air, intangible, yet solid as granite.

~Lee De Forest (“Father of FM Radio”)

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

 

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