THE DREAMFLIGHT TRILOGY

A Commentary by Herb Ernst

GENERAL NOTES

To me, "intuitive music" is music that has, at its core, inspiration from one's Inner, or Higher, Self.  It is more than merely a mental construct.  I believe that intuitive music, in its purest state, can be recognized by simple but elegant melodies, beautiful harmonies and clear, open, "cleansing" timbres.  Certainly, the basic inspiration can be modified, rearranged or "reinterpreted" by the rational, intellectual mind to fit a preconceived structure or pattern in order to conform to traditional, accepted styles and forms, but the risk is that the original sensitivity and sincerity of the music can become diminished or even lost altogether.

 

The Dreamflight Trilogy is a collection of music whose themes were derived while I was in a meditative state.  Some pieces were played in their entirety only once, without composition or rehearsal.  Others came in "sections" and were only later arranged into a particular chosen sequence.  Most music, when it came to me, had with it visual images and an intensely personal, emotional content.  The music has become, for me at least, a form of nonverbal communication with a greater Universal Reality which I cannot adequately express or describe in the limited realm of words.  In this sense, perhaps the proverbial "voice of God" is really referring to music!

 

The Dreamflight Trilogy is the result of an attempt to capture via recorded media the sounds, images and feelings I perceive while in a meditative state.  It is only "channeled" in the sense that I try to become sensitive to the higher direction available from the Source of All Being.  As far as I am aware, no other disembodied "entities" are involved.

 

I created/composed/discovered this music in its purest form with the resources — physical, mental, emotional, psychic, spiritual and even financial — that were available to me at this time in my development.  It is unlikely that it would have manifested in this public form at all without the support and dedication of some very close friends and "travelers on the Path."  For this I am most grateful.

 

 

THE ARCHETYPAL SYMBOLISM OF DREAMFLIGHT

 

May 1986

 

The Dreamflight album cover art painted by Siegfried Semrau shows one white dove with an olive branch in its beak, flying at night in the light of a full moon.  The white dove symbolizes open innocence; the olive branch symbolizes Peace; the full moon in the night sky symbolizes the intuitive aspect of consciousness that is the primary focus of the music on the album.  Taken all together, the image represents an intuitive, peaceful flight of consciousness into the dream state where the mind can be calmed and centered.

 

Dreamflight begins with "Awakening Stars," for me an image of a peaceful twilight, the sun having set and the iridescent golds and blues filling the sky.  At first only a few stars shyly show themselves, but then, as night falls, the sky becomes alive and vibrant with their twinkling light.  The xylophone-like chime timbres suggest the clarity of starlight and are heard extensively throughout the piece.  The flute, carrying the melody, to me represents the listener — or the "experiencer" of the twilight — who is about to begin the "flight" into the dream state — or, more appropriately, the "borderline state" between objective and subjective/subconscious awareness.

 

The image shifts to a Grecian-like temple (symbolizing balance, nobility, wisdom and learning) majestically standing on an ocean shore with the last rays of sunlight turning the white marble a golden pink.  Inside the temple are the Vestal Virgins, performing a sacred ritual:  tending the Eternal Flame.  They each light their single candle from the hearth in the center of the temple, and the temple is filled with a soft, gentle, warm, golden light.  The music "Candlelighting" reflects this image in the female choir sounds reverberating in the columned halls.

 

The scene now shifts to the outside of the temple, where the moon is bathing the ocean with its silver, shimmering light.  The voices of the singing women in the temple can still be heard over the sound of ocean waves.  Both are powerful, yet gentle, in their expression.  This is the inspiration behind "Sea Quest."

 

The sky is now filled with stars against a deep color of blue, almost black.  The listener/experiencer is now free to fly into the night, beyond the confines of the Earth and into a space that could at once be far away or deep into the heart of one's Soul.  The strings of "Liquid Indigo" are intended to resonate with the listener's "heartstrings" of the Soul!

 

The listener/experiencer, after having made this contact, is renewed and returns to the Earth — or objective consciousness — with a simple, clarified sense of purpose and an awareness of inner nobility and divinity.  In "Celestial Descent," the solo, delicate flute, followed by an increasingly strong accompaniment, symbolizes this return of the listener/experiencer with a restored sense of Oneness (i.e., the integration and balance of the physical, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual facets of one's being).  The title "Celestial Descent" comes from the idea that, through attunement, sincerity, love and perseverance, one can open oneself to higher (i.e., "celestial") inspiration that enters (i.e., "descends") into the otherwise mundane consciousness for greater awareness and peace of mind.

 

"Celestial Ascent" is archetypal, in that its structure is simple yet powerful, its harmonies are natural and gentle, and its timbres are pure, clear, and complete in themselves, all of which enable the listener/experiencer to raise the consciousness (i.e., "ascent") into the higher, more noble (i.e., "celestial") realm of awareness.  This is intended to provide an effective preparation or "positioning" for "Voyage into Silence" which immediately follows.

 

THE ARCHETYPAL SYMBOLISM OF "VOYAGE INTO SILENCE"

 

This piece of music was specifically composed and arranged to facilitate one's reaching an attunement with one's Higher Nature.  By the use of tonal symbols, the music conveys certain feelings and suggestions, intended to increase one's sensitivity to the presence and influence of one's Inner Self.

 

Since water is the symbol of consciousness and eternity, the sound of ocean surf begins the spiritual journey.  Then a far away, choir-like sound is heard, based on the ancient chant “AUM, RA, MA, OOM” voiced on the notes F, A flat, G, and F.  A flute melody, written in the key of F minor, arises over a slow, rising and falling resonant bass sound that suggests rhythmical breathing.

 

A bell-like xylophone sound begins to echo the melody, with each echoed phrase occurring on a higher octave, suggesting a spiral of Ascension.  A trill-like sequence of notes, symbolizing the vibrations that are the foundation of all mundane and arcane expression, forms the basis for the continuing journey.  A single, fragile oboe begins a simple seven bar melody, which is then built upon twice by violins and then four times by a cathedral organ:  a total of seven repetitions of the seven bar melody.

 

Symbolizing strength and immutability, the powerful cathedral organ plays the chords of the ancient chant (F minor, A flat major, E flat major, F minor), based on the melody notes F, A flat, G and F, in turn based on the words AUM, RA, MA, OOM.  Soon, though, the music mellows into a flowing, gentle sound.  The celestial choir is now more pronounced; singing the notes of the chant, symbolizing the close presence of the Inner Self.

 

Now, about twelve minutes into the music, the cadence changes.  This change symbolizes a falling away of the physical awareness and an entering into a higher state of consciousness.  The timing of the change is significant, as it divides the music into two basic time-length segments, approximately in the ratio of the Golden Section (i.e., 1.618 to 1.0).  [For more information on the story of this profound mathematical principle known to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Renaissance artists and architects, see The Divine Proportion by H. I. Huntley (Dover Books) or Secrets of the Great Pyramid by Peter Tompkins.]

 

The choir now fades away and the cadence becomes slower and s-l-o-w-e-r and s—l—o—w—e—r until time — the "Prima Materia" upon which all manifestation is based — comes to a halt.  Music is used to manipulate TIME WAVES.  Of great significance is the fact that the spiritual world knows no limitation of time — it is eternal.  The fundamental difference between the world of the Outer Self and the world of the Inner Self is that the two are separated by the AWARENESS OF THE PASSAGE OF TIME.  In other words, as the Outer Self loses the awareness of the passage of time, it is enabled to come into attunement with the Inner Self and the whole universe of NONTIME, NONSPACE and NONLIMITATION — the universe of the Inner/Higher Self.

 

The music then fades into total silence — the ultimate meditation music.  In silence, all sounds are possible.  In mental and emotional peace, all awareness is possible.  The goal of the music is to bring the listener/experiencer to this relaxed state of passivity and openness to inspiration arising from the Inner Self.

 

The silence, then, is actually the crescendo of the music:  not so much "silence" as it is a kind of "invisible music."

 

Finally, a gradual arising of sound gently brings the listener/experiencer back to objective awareness.  The music returns to a slow, regular cadence approximating that of a relaxed heartbeat.  The melody, though, is no longer in the F minor key originally heard; now it has been transmuted into the relative key of A flat major (i.e., both F minor and A flat major share the same key signature — four flats).  This transformation symbolizes the attainment of a profound sense of Inner Peace through the harmonious bridging of the opposite polarities of positive and negative.

 

At the end, the sound of the ocean surf (i.e., worldly consciousness) returns, thereby finishing the journey, closing the circle and completing the cycle.

 

 

THE ARCHETYPAL SYMBOLISM OF DREAMFLIGHT II

 

March 1988

 

The Dreamflight II album cover art painted by Winnie Rich shows two white doves (one representing the Dreamflight album and the other representing the Dreamflight II album) and a full moon in the lilac-colored evening sky; all together, these elements create an image that symbolizes the intuitive, introspective, meditative polarity of the music.

 

Dreamflight II opens with a minor arpeggio of bells tumbling down from a very high register, gaining in speed and complexity as it reaches its nadir, and then swinging back again, attaining its zenith, to begin another wave of cascading sound, as choir and symphony strings join in the chorus.  The bells symbolize Cosmic Inspiration, or arcane Cosmic Thoughts, descending from a Higher Love-Intelligence to enter into the mundane world.  The bells return to their Source (the high registers), symbolizing both the ebb and flow, like a great breath, of Cosmic Energy from the Higher Love-Intelligence to Its manifestation, as well as to reaffirm the close, binding tie of the material world with its Creator.  Thus begins "Gaia's Song," a simple, heartfelt melody expressing, in its plaintive sincerity, the affinity of the Living Earth to its loving Creator.

 

The next piece, "Galaxy Delight," suggests, in its ascending and descending chromatic scales of bells, a myriad of twinkling stars being swirled about (almost playfully!) by a Cosmic "Guiding Hand," turning the galaxy in space to allow its splendor to be seen from all directions in the universe.  And why not?  An object of such beauty deserves to be displayed in all its sparkling-diamond finery by its delighted Creator!

 

A fantasy of floating, in complete awe, through a glittering maze of towering, opalescent crystals reflecting rainbows from a multitude of polished-mirror facets, inspired the piece "The Crystal Forest."  Allow yourself to experience a wondrous peace as you become immersed in the glistening world of gleaming, jewel-like halls!

 

The three pieces described above are intended to enable the listener to relax and attune with deeper levels of consciousness in preparation for the next piece, "Ancient Castles, Secret Mists," an impressionistic tone poem used to provide a sonic stimulus to uncover repressed memories (i.e., "secret mists") from their old, almost impenetrable subconscious repository-citadels (i.e., "ancient castles").  In order to work through (and hence, be free of) the hidden, shadowy mental/emotional complexes that drain our energy when we struggle to keep them buried, they must first be exposed and acknowledged before they can be released and dissolved by the Greater Light of Spiritual Understanding.

 

This process of cleansing the mind and heart of repressed negative mental and emotional energy through attunement with the nonjudgmental Universal Love-Intelligence is musically symbolized by "The Light of Forever."  A first step in the process of mental and emotional cleansing and purification is that you must first love yourself enough to forgive yourself.  The freedom derived from self-forgiveness will open you to the healing forces of the Universal Love-Intelligence.  Once this is done, true healing can then take place.  (All of this is in preparation for the healing meditation that follows later.)

 

It is midnight.  Visualize a beach with sand so white that it sparkles even in soft moonlight.  See gently glimmering stars suspended in the sky, so bright and clear that you feel that you could almost touch them.  A massive, slowly rolling ocean stretches out before you, seemingly without end, and, on the horizon, the stars are reflected so perfectly in the water that it cannot be precisely discerned where the ocean stops and the sky begins.  You stand alone amid a vast display of untouched, powerful but calm, natural forces, held like a breath in a magical moment of time.  The ocean represents the infinite power and depth of your Inner Spiritual Self.

 

The midnight hour represents the borderline state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep, that moment when the night ends and the day begins; that moment when the two separate minds, the objective/subjective consciousness and the subconscious/ supersubconsciousness, are perfectly balanced and are as one mind.  The reflections on the water, causing the sky and ocean to appear as one, symbolize the spark of divinity from the stars (i.e., the pure Love-Intelligence) radiating down and merging with the ocean (i.e., your Inner Self), imbuing It with Divinity.  You and the Divine Love-Intelligence are one, holding in common the purity of your Inner Self.  This is the message of "Midnight Ocean Reflections."

 

Divinity has traditionally been symbolized by a light or halo surrounding a person of object.  In "Silver Aura," this effulgence is musically described:  the strings represent the streaming, shimmering radiance of the spiritual Life Force, while the tinkling chimes represent the same energy, but focused and concentrated into directed Conscious Thought.

 

"Midnight Ocean Reflections" is intended to place the listener into an introspective state of mind.  "Silver Aura" is intended to direct the listener, while in this reflective state, to become open to spiritual and inspirational impressions coming from the Inner Self — to "focus the attention on Divinity," so to speak.  This prepares the listener for the special healing meditation that immediately follows.

 

"The Healing" is the real focus of Dreamflight II.  The previous music is intended to relax the listener in order to establish a state of harmony and/or inspiration and then to create an open state of mind so that listener will be receptive to any beneficial energies, impressions of ideas that may now be received while in this meditative, healing state.

 

"The Healing" was a very powerful experience for me.  As I was playing the synthesizers one evening, the music flowed as an accompaniment to an image that unfolded in my mind, almost like the way a soundtrack accompanies a movie, but on a much more vivid and personal level.  A scene appeared of a lonely, heartbroken leper who had just been driven from a village, sitting beside a calm brook, feeling dejected and hopeless — in stark contrast to the harmony of the natural beauty around him.  But the leper is unaware of this, lost in his own despair.  As he is gazing into the mirror-like water, seeing his appalling condition, suddenly a light shimmers off the water, causing the leper to look up.  To his amazement he sees a glorious figure standing on the bank on the other side of the brook, gently smiling at him — with no condemnation, or fear, or anger — only Love.  The leper sits transfixed at this vision, unable to move.  As his despair and loneliness melt away, he lowers his head in reverence and sees his reflection in the water below — but this time, he doesn't see a ravaged visage:  instead, he sees himself whole, clean, perfect, healed.  He pulls down the shroud from about his head, rummages through his bandages and discovers that his entire body has been restored.  He looks up again at the figure across the brook, but the person has vanished.  He looks again at his own reflection, stunned by its perfection.  The mysterious entity is gone, but the healing remains.

 

Healing occurs when an inharmonious condition is returned to its natural state of intrinsic harmony.  The healing process, of course, can apply to conditions other than physical:  mental, emotional and situational states are all part of the human milieu that can be restored to harmony by being open to the direction given by the Inner Self.

 

The music is played with only string timbres (symbolizing radiant energy), and then is repeated for maximum effect.

 

The album ends in peaceful reverie, a kind of Requiem to mark the transition (or "death") of the old, limited, inharmonious patterns of thinking and to prepare for the New Beginning — the beginning of a new life experience when the Truth of one's personal Divinity is finally accepted and the ability to create one's reality through the power of consciousness is at last recognized and achieved.  This is the knowledge through which one's new "Life Symphony" can now be composed.

 

A slow, simple cadence is heard:  first with only choir, then with added chimes, then with violins, and then with orchestra.  The music builds in intensity, symbolizing the growing power of the listener as the realization of the true Divinity of Self begins to blossom in consciousness.  Then, the music symmetrically "builds down" as the orchestra, then violins, and then chimes are sequentially withdrawn, leaving only the choir.  The effect is that of a great, slow wave building up and then waning away, like the cycle of a life first being created, then growing in power and complexity, and, upon recognizing the value of simplicity, ultimately returning to the pure Source from which it came.  The music rises up and fades away like a kind of musical prayer.

 

Originally, I had intended to name the piece "Reverence."  However, I once told my former wife that if I ever came up with a piece of music that she was especially fond of, I would name it after her.  The name "Shannon's Song" reveals her choice.

 

**

Perhaps it should be noted that the number "two" (or "2" or "II"!) played a role in the development of this, the second Dreamflight album.  The number "two" represents polarity or duality:  e.g., male/female, left/right, active/passive, positive/negative, Outer Self/Inner Self, etc.  Musically, several songs' themes were played twice ("Gaia's Song," "The Crystal Forest" and "The Healing").  Also, "Shannon's Song" is composed of two separate melodies that were repeated and built upon.  The result of the interaction of two equal but opposite polarities (i.e., the balance maintained between the Outer Self and the Inner Self in the borderline state of consciousness) prepares the listener for the creation of a manifestation on a different level:  in this case, Dreamflight III — which leads us to…

 

 

THE ARCHETYPAL SYMBOLISM OF DREAMFLIGHT III

 

November 1, 1990

 

The Dreamflight III album cover art painted by Winnie Rich shows three white doves, each one representing one of the albums of The Dreamflight Trilogy, arranged in a spiritual triangle with the apex pointing down, not a physical triangle with the apex pointing up, symbolizing that the music is coming from a spiritual plane.  In the center of the three doves is a fully blossomed rose, symbolizing the soul completely open and expressing its divinity unhindered.  The doves and rose are suspended in the sky, the sky representing the freedom and limitlessness of the eternal Cosmic Love-Intelligence.  The glow behind the doves and rose represents the Universal Life Spirit that underlies all Creation.

 

Dreamflight III completes The Dreamflight Trilogy.  At the risk of oversimplification, Dreamflight facilitates relaxation; Dreamflight II facilitates meditation; and Dreamflight III facilitates inspiration.  (The step beyond inspiration is the facilitation of exaltation — the goal of the follow-on album Lightrider — which is currently in progress.)  Of course, the goals of these albums do overlap, in that elements of relaxation, meditation, inspiration and exaltation can be found in each album.  The thread that unites them all, though, is the uncompromising pursuit of beautiful melody, balance and intuitive heart-feeling as a direct expression of contact with the Higher Self.

 

Dreamflight III opens with "The Enchanted Dance," a graceful, yet powerful, waltz symbolizing the eternal dance of Life (i.e., the interaction of forces of opposite polarity, resulting in all the manifestations and experiences encountered in Life).  The vigor of the music abates near the end, letting the dancers catch their breath — providing a moment to reflect on their Life journey as they prepare for their next experience.

 

"Crystal Echoes" is a kaleidoscopic flash of musical light, full of high-frequency chimes intended to stimulate the higher "Life Force" centers (i.e., "chakras") of the body, in preparation for experiencing the rest of the music on this album.  (Headphones are highly recommended to facilitate this "opening"!)

 

"Prima Materia" is in reference to the "prime material" of the Universe:  Love.  It starts out powerfully, grandly, but somewhat darkly, in a minor key, before it awakens to the beauty of its own divinity.  As the music continues, a transformation occurs:  There is a shift of tonal forces from a minor key (i.e., focusing within) to a major key (turning outward) as the "awakening" begins.  The gentle love energy opens to full expression in the unfettered sweetness of the flute's song as the "material of the Universe" achieves its "prime" expression.

 

"Song of the Rose" opens with a flute, continuing the feeling expressed in the previous selection.  However, the music becomes more and more powerful, the melody being carried by an impassioned piano.  The rose symbolizes the unfolding soul expressing itself in a physical world, being met with all the challenges that that endeavor implies.  "Song of the Rose" is dedicated to all people who have suffered and sacrificed in the pursuit, protection and perpetuation of Truth.  It is significant to note that the music ends with a quiet, peaceful grace that affirms that, in spite of all obstacles, Truth, being in harmony with the Universe, cannot be stopped.

 

"Ascension" follows from acknowledging Truth.  The faraway choir comes ever closer, suggesting that awakening to one's divinity is imminent.  The music bursts forth in a roar of cathedral organ and a "breath-of-fire" cleansing wind sound as all doubt, fear and struggle is swept away in the transfiguration process.  But how does one "ascend"?  By being free of the encumbrances of negative emotions and limiting belief systems.  And how is that achieved?  By …

 

"The Freedom of Forgiveness"!  This song begins quietly but gains momentum and confidence as it progresses up the keyboard, finding joy in its ever-increasing freedom as negative emotional shackles are released.  It is important to realize that there is a self-interest in the forgiveness process.  Many people believe that they should forgive others — AND THEMSELVES!! — simply because it's the "right and moral thing" to do, and that they should "let bygones be bygones."  This often results in only repressing grief, guilt and anger, in turn resulting in unhappiness and ill-health.  The real value of forgiveness lies in the freedom of the heart and mind that results when the grief, guilt and anger are at last relinquished.  It is not necessarily easy, often taking years of effort and processing — but the freedom is worth it.

 

The freedom of forgiveness is symbolized in the sparkling, free-spirited joy and enthusiasm of "Shimmering Wings," the chime timbres once again stimulating the higher Life Force centers.

 

"The Monastery" provides a respite in the journey of The Dreamflight Trilogy to awaken to one's Inner Power.  (The chant sung in this piece is the same one heard on "Voyage into Silence" on Dreamflight!)  The intention of the reverent music is to prepare the listener to receive...

 

"The Song of the Soul."  This piece, played only once as a free-form improvisation, came straight from the heart without any thought to composition, musical structure, or intellectual conceptualization.  It is the quintessence of what The Dreamflight Trilogy is all about:  an intuitive expression of joy when one experiences attunement with the Higher Self, or the God Within.

 

***

 

Dreamflight is intended to facilitate the attainment of a relaxed, reflective state [i.e., for RELAXATION].

 

Dreamflight II is intended to facilitate the actual attunement with the Universal Love-Intelligence, the Source of all Creation [i.e., for MEDITATION].

 

Dreamflight III, the end of the Trilogy, celebrates this communion and the Oneness of all Being as one awakens to a greater sense of one's personal power [i.e., for INSPIRATION]!

 

Lightrider, the next step after The Dreamflight Trilogy, is a musical expression of the joy and power of Life once the integration of the Inner, Outer and Higher Selves has been achieved [i.e., for EXALTATION and PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT!

(Lightrider is currently in progress and will be released when it is ready to be released!)

 

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