Common steps and sub-activities
Using bells and gongs
Bells and gongs can be used to invoke spiritual experiences. They also have symbolic meaning, so yet again we are in the complex situation of not knowing always whether the word is being used symbolically or literally.
Symbolically it acts like a musical instrument. And is related to sexual stimulation. Big bells are sexually powerful men who are capable of spiritual experience via considerable sexual stimulation! Pan was probably a big bell.
Smaller bells are also used by a host of shamanic peoples as both a way of inducing a trance like state, but also a helpful way of ensuring they come out of it again, bells can act under certain circumstances like a sort of beacon for the out of body traveller.
Even more complexity. People can also sometimes hear bells during spiritual experience.
But here we are interested in the literal use of often large noisy bells to provoke a spiritual experience. Because this works via resonance, the sound must, yet again, be a reverberating multi and low frequency [infrasound] tone or tones, a long low vibration that acts to resonate the organs.
The action is not entirely dissimilar to that produced by cathedral organs, which is why churches have bells. A bell ringer is symbolically someone who is, through the thread or cord accessing the bells of heaven through the bells of heaven!!
A tuned bell can achieve a number of different effects via resonance. And so can a gong. The making of a gong is a precision task and you should be able to see from the following description that the aim was to produce very specific effects and frequencies.
“A gong (Chinese: luó; Malay language or Javanese language: gong-gong or tam-tam) is a percussion sonorous or musical instrument of Chinese origin and manufacture, made in the form of a broad thin disk with a deep rim, that has spread to Southeast Asia - a type of flat bell. Gongs vary in diameter from about 20 to 40 inches, and they are made of bronze containing a maximum of 22 parts of tin to 78 of copper; but in many cases the proportion of tin is considerably less. Such an alloy, when cast and allowed to cool slowly, is excessively brittle, but it can be tempered and annealed in a peculiar manner. If suddenly cooled from a cherry-red heat, the alloy becomes so soft that it can be hammered and worked on the lathe, and afterwards it may be hardened by re-heating and cooling it slowly.
In these properties it will be observed, the alloy behaves in a manner exactly opposite to steel, and the Chinese avail themselves of the known peculiarities for preparing the thin sheets of which gongs are made. They cool their castings of bronze in water, and after hammering out the alloy in the soft state, harden the finished gongs by heating them to a cherry-red and allowing them to cool slowly. These properties of the alloy long remained a secret, said to have been first discovered in Europe by Jean Pierre Joseph d'Arcet at the beginning of the 19th century.
The gong is beaten with a round, hard, leather-covered pad, fitted on a short stick or handle. It emits a peculiarly sonorous sound, its complex vibrations bursting into a wave-like succession of tones, sometimes shrill, sometimes deep. In China and Japan it is used in religious ceremonies, state processions, marriages and other festivals; and it is said that the Chinese can modify its tone variously by particular ways of striking the disk”.
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