|"I was not conscious of leaving the body, but woke up out of it. It was not a dream, for the consciousness was an enhanced one, as superior to the ordinary waking state as that is to the dream state. I became conscious of what, for want of a better term, I must call music; gentle and sweet it was as the tinkling of snapping water in a rocky pool and it seemed to be all about me. I saw no figure, nor wished to, the contentment was supreme. The effect of these sounds was unutterably sweet, and I said to myself, "This must be the voice of God." I could not endure the happiness, but lost consciousness there and returned unconscious to the body and woke next morning as though nothing had happened."
So wrote J. Arthur Hill in his 1918 book Man Is a Spirit. He is describing a sound many astral travelers and participants in near-death experiences have reported: a swelling, lovely music of almost cosmic beauty and power. "What I heard has never left me??"the music, oh, the music!" one woman wrote of her encounter with astral music. "I shall never, never forget??"I would gladly die tomorrow if I could, if only to be able to hear what I heard."
The music is almost always described as of the kind that might emanate from some huge cosmic symphony. It begins faint and distant, then grows ever louder until it seems about to engulf the listener in an ocean of harmony.
Sometimes voices may be heard, but seldom can the words being sung be understood; the voices seem more distant than the orchestral accompaniment. The music can also be discerned??"although far more rarely??"when one is in the physical body; but often this happens in the proximity of an astral projection, for example at a deathbed vigil, where the departing soul is about to enter the astral realm.
In a turn-of-the-century case, an old woman lay dying while her daughter sat by her bed with a nurse; the son dozed in a nearby room. Suddenly both son and daughter heard what the former would call "the most beautiful majestic chords, as if every olden note of melody was being played on some heavenly instrument??"music far exceeding what we had ever heard." The nurse heard
nothing, but as the music died, so did the old woman.