Monday, June 6, 2011

Harry Potter: The Phoenix's Song of Lament

When the beloved Professor Albus Dumbledore dies toward the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore's phoenix, named Fawkes, sings a beautiful lament, described on pages 614-615:

Somewhere out in the darkness, a phoenix was singing in a way Harry had never heard before: a stricken lament of terrible beauty. And Harry felt, as he had felt about phoenix song before, that the music was inside him, not without: It was his own grief turned magically to song that echoed across the grounds and through the castle windows.

How long they all stood there, listening, he did not know, nor why it seemed to ease their pain a little to listen to the sound of their mourning, but it felt like a long time later that the hospital door opened again and Professor McGonagall entered the ward.

This is the power of beautiful music of deep feeling. Such music seems to be not only outside the listener but also within the listener's soul. Such music expresses the listener's feelings in a beautiful way--turns the listener's feelings, even if those feelings are very painful, into something of beauty. And in so doing, such music heals.

If one's soul has been damaged, one way to heal the soul is through music and other types of art. Art heals the soul. Music heals the soul.

I would say that anyone whose soul has been damaged by being abused or traumatized, or by abusing or traumatizing self or others, would do well to make music and other forms of art an important part of his or her healing. Such a person would do well to surround himself or herself with beauty. Prisons and half-way houses would do well to take note of this. So would hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes--any place that focuses on rehabilitation and healing.

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