Anima Mundi (The Soul of the World)

ANIMA MUNDI, Song for solo voice and lute, music John Baird, Lyrics Sebastian Hayes   

I am all that is, has ever been,
Neither god nor man created me,
I am all that is, has ever been,
All that you know, all that you hear, all that you see.

 Darker than dark and yet lighter than light, before time had  begun, I  was there alone. 

I am in the springtime quickening,
I am hidden in the winter sky,
In the heat and blaze of summertime,
I was not born, I do not change, I cannot die.

I am nearer than the air you breathe,
I am farther than the farthest star,
In the air, earth, fire and water,
All that you feel, all that you sense, all that you are.

Lighter than light and yet darker than dark, after time is no more,  only I will remain.

I am all that is, will ever be,
Neither man nor god created me,
I am all that is, will ever be,
I am the same, I am the same, eternally.


“The One remains, the Many change and pass”


Plutarch (25 – 125 AD) relates that the inscription above the gateway of the Temple of Isis in Thaïs, Upper Egypt, read :

     “I am all that has been, is, or will be, and no mortal  man has ever lifted the hem of my garment.”

The belief that the world and everything within it emerged from a Being which has always existed and always will, and that nothing and no one is completely cut off from this source,  is one of mankind’s oldest and most persistent ideas. We encounter it in the Tao Te Ching, in the Hindu Upanishads, in the Neo-Platonic philosophy of Plotinus during the later Roman Empire, in the writings of certain medieval Christian mystics, in Sufism, in the Jewish Cabbalah, in the poetry of Wordsworth and Shelley and in contemporary Goddess worship….

The musical theme of Anima Mundi made its first appearance in Incidental Music composed by John Baird for a performance of The Tempest ; it also appears as the melody for Persephone’s song  in Sebastian Hayes’s play The Pomegranate  Seeds, and above all in John Baird’s massive choral work, Omnia performed (under the title Gloria) in Westminster Abbey in 1994.

A CD of this song, price £10, sung by Evelyn Tupp with Mike Fields playing  the medieval lute accompaniment  can be obtained from Sebastian Hayes   or  tel. 01747 851573

Download and listen to the first part of Anima Mundi.

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