The Spirit and the Flute

The origins of the Flute are lost in history, but the theory is that the discovery resulted from a voice in the wind blowing across a reed. Whose voice was it? From earliest recorded times the flute was played both by the shepherd and as part of ritual. It appears in Sumarian, Iranian Orphic, Hermatic Tibetan and many other traditions.

In Egypt the first flute is shown on early slate dated 4 B.C.E. and pictures of the flute were commonly found from 26 B.C.E.

One of the names of the flute was Kheru or voice. The Egyptian Priests used them in their Liturgy and flutes have been found and tombs and burial sites, where they were probably were placed as symbols of life.

In Sumaria the ritual flute was called a Ti Gi which is thought to mean the Reed of Life. One of their Kings formed a cult for the flute, as it filled the temple with joy.

In China, it was called the Ti, and later named Hsaio, in honor of a King, who in playing duets with his wife Lung-Ho was said to draw Phoenixes from the sky. The Phoenix was often depicted as a flute, as we know meaning resurrection and life. Its presence often meant there was a great sage. The flute is also the emblem of Han Hsaing-Tzu, one of the eight immortals of Taoism, meaning harmony. In Japan, it was called the Shakuhacki, it was used by the Zen Buddhists sects as a form of chanting.

It is still used in Turkey in the Mystical whirling ceremony of the Mevlevi Dervishes. In India Krishna is seen playing the flute, and is called the divine player of the flute, whose song recalls home the souls wandering in disillusion. His flute is called the flute eternity crying to the dwellers in time. The Bouncers flute is still played in the Indian Tradition of spiritual Music.

The flute is unique in being the only instrument played by breath alone. Breath is commonly identified with life and with the soul. The spiritual power of the flute is given in the power of music, it is said that music gives the discipline that raises one to divine peacefulness and bliss, and through music you can reach the Gods.

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