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Observations placeholder

Bosher, Adrian - The rock gongs



Type of Spiritual Experience


The rock gongs are used for various environmental purposes.


A description of the experience

Lyall Watson – Lightning Bird

Gently curved slabs of stone many feet across were strewn about.  Some were lying flat, some propped up at an angle on those beneath them, others still tenuously attached to their parent domes.

Boshier noticed that several of the slabs were grooved and dented like good Swiss cheese.  The hollows were too small to be used as grindstones and too regular to be the result of natural weathering by wind or water.

He looked to the old man for an explanation.  What he got was a broad gap toothed grin.  Then the old man stroked one of the stones with his stick, making a soft resonant sound.  He then rummaged about beneath one of the rocks and came up with two somewhat phallic stones, each a little over a foot long.

Moving over to the largest and most battered of the giant rocks, the old man raised the small hammers high above his head and began to pound at it, hitting each time precisely in one of the worn hollows.  Suddenly the air was filled with sound, each blow producing a vibrant harmonic hum, as clear as a bronze bell.  This lingered on to overlap with the next partial tone, mingling with it and merging until the whole hill began to throb with a deep disturbing fundamental note

Boshier was standing on one of Africa’s legendary rock ‘gongs.


On several occasions African drummers skilled in the use of wood and skin talking drums have been taken out to try the old rock gongs.  They are invariably unimpressed and begin with little enthusiasm, but soon find that the rocks are surprisingly well tuned.  By striking direct or glancing blows at the ancient and appropriate spots, they are even able to produce and transmit some of their complex drum language messages.

The best of the ringing rocks can be heard for many miles. 

The source of the experience

Bosher, Adrian

Concepts, symbols and science items



Cup and rings

Activities and commonsteps