Jakob Böhme (1575 – 1624) was a Christian (Lutheran!) German mystic and theologian. By trade he was a shoemaker, but inspired by visions he wrote numerous theosophical volumes that were important influences on John Milton, Ludwig Tieck, Novalis, William Blake, Schelling Schopenhauer and Hegel.
Böhme’s theosophical system is enormous, so in this blog entry I only consider one concept of his. One central idea is that there are two principles infusing human life: love and wrath. Wrath is of course the discordant, divisive and destructive principle whose most virulent incarnations are Satan and his demons, but Wrath takes hold in this world through human beings, who represent the battleground between the realm of darkness and Wrath below, and the realm of light and Love above.
So, according to Böhme, our divine purpose is to transmute this wrathful energy into Love.
According to Böhme, one way to effect this transmutation is through prayer, which is not simply petitionary, but rather a communication between the Divine and the human–a manifestation of the divine in the human world. As in Buddhist and other teachings, this transmutation is accomplished by direct contact with all the stress of human life.
But Music also has the power to transform Wrath into Peace. Perhaps it is going too far to say that music can go the full distance of transforming Wrath into Love, but even defusing Wrath into Peace is a big step in the right direction.