The Law of Octaves: A Key to Realizing Your Goals

by Phillip Mountrose and Jane Mountrose

(This article was excerpted from an issue of the Getting Thru to Your Soul Newsletter. To find out how to subscribe, go to

Wouldn't it be nice to know a common pattern to all success? In that spirit, we want to introduce you to one of the "Obstacles and Opportunities" from our new Awakening to Your True Purpose 5-tape audio program with study guide. In this audio program, we present a number of obstacles and opportunities, which identify common pitfalls to self-awareness and spiritual development, along with the opportunities inherent in overcoming them.

The Armenian philosopher George Gurdjieff presented the "Law of Octaves" as a universal law. According to this law, every process we undertake is on either an ascending octave, which is helping us to progress, or a descending octave, which is causing us to regress. And within the flow of each octave, there are periods of movement followed by periods of rest, which are called "intervals."

As such, the concepts of "octaves" and "intervals" identify opportunities and obstacles that are built into any process. With awareness, they can help us to deal effectively with periods of success and failure in our lives, and to progress steadily toward our goals. This is particularly relevant to living your true purpose, because it explains why people often fall short of realizing their dreams.

The Law of Octaves is illustrated in the seven-tone musical scale. Each step, or musical note, can be understood as a vibration. The first three notes - do, re, and mi - proceed without resistance, representing a period of easy progress on an ascending octave like reaching toward a goal you have set for yourself. This corresponds to the time when you enthusiastically start a project. Between mi and fa, you encounter the first interval, which is a natural time of rest. This is when something interrupts the flow, and attaining the goal becomes a challenge.

When this interval happens, many of us shift our focus to something else, in part to avoid the difficulties. There is nothing wrong with a change of pace; in fact, we may also make the mistake of trying to force our way through resistance when it would be better to wait a bit for it to subside, which it inevitably does. Intervals can be a natural resting place amid the bustle of life. In a period of activity, they may be inviting us to turn your attention inward, to digest more of what we have learned, so we can then go out and expand again.

The key with intervals is, of course, to return to your goal when the time is right to make further progress. Unfortunately, after becoming distracted, many people lose sight of the goal, fail to bridge the mi-fa interval, and never make much progress toward their goals.

Returning to the theme of obstacles and opportunities, the obstacle here is that it is easy to forget the goal when we hit an interval. The opportunity is to take a break, while remembering the goal, and return to the octave when the interval has ended. This is where the need for conscious participation comes in. Bridging the gap and staying on course requires awareness.

As mentioned, the first interval in an octave is called the mi-fa interval. Once you pass through it, you have clear sailing for awhile again. The initial excitement of embarking on a new project is generally a thing of the past now, as you move productively forward toward your goal. This takes you through fa and si until you are almost completed with the octave, at the si-do interval. Now you have almost completed the process and just need to wrap up the final details.

In the law of octaves, this is a critical time, when many who have successfully bridged the mi-fa interval become distracted and fail to complete the octave. It explains why so many projects are completed poorly. Awareness is again required to complete the octave. But finishing completely is important, because the completion of one ascending octave leads to the next ascending octave, while failure to complete the octave sets us back. And, as with the mi-fa interval, the key is to recognize the interval, take a break, and return to the finishing touches.


So far, we have just focused on ascending octaves, with positive energy flows. It is equally important to recognize descending octaves, with negative energy flows. At times, we all find ourselves in these descending patterns, when nothing seems to be going right and it seems like they will last forever. Here, the law of octaves tells us that there will be a break in the downward flow at the mi-fa and si-do intervals. When the interval arrives, we can change direction and start a new ascending octave rather than allowing the octave to carry us down further. As with ascending octaves, the key is awareness.


We are all involved in a number of different octaves at any time. An octave may just last for part of a day, as with preparing a meal or cleaning the house, or many years, as with attaining a college degree or having a career. And, of course, within the octave of having a career, there are many smaller octaves. This Law of Octaves is harder to perceive in seemingly more abstract and large-scale processes like fulfilling your true purpose. Yet it helps to recognize that long octaves tend to have large intervals and bridging them successfully provides tremendous rewards in living our true divine purpose.

We noticed the law of octaves in our own lives last year, just before 9/11. We felt that we ere losing our sense of direction. Everything was fine externally, but something seemed to be missing and we couldn't tell what it was. This interval in living our soul's purpose was really a natural period of rest. It was one part, or phase, of the ongoing series of octaves related to fulfilling our true purpose. Once we realized that we were in an interval, our perspective changed. We took some time off, did some processing and meditating, had some fun and renewed our commitment at a deeper level, so the octave could continue on course without deviation when the time was right.

When 9/11 arrived, our direction again became clear. Understanding of the Law of Octaves and connecting with the synchronicity of life saved us a lot of aggravation and allowed us to feel renewed in our commitment when our energy was again required following 9/11.

The Law of Octaves is very practical. It clearly shows how things can turn into their opposite as each interval can lead to another deviation and on and on. If we are losing sight of our goals at the intervals, we may be putting a lot of effort into going nowhere. On the other hand, taking breaks at the appropriate times and completing octaves connects us with the synchronicity of life, and we can reach our dreams with relative ease.

Being aware of this cosmic law of octaves provides an opportunity to view your life more soulfully and to progress positively on life's mysterious journey.

About the Author

Phillip and Jane Mountrose are spiritual counselors/coaches. To subscribe to their free monthly newsletters, learn about their leading-edge holistic healing books and tapes, certification courses and degree programs, visit

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