Why singing bowls are not designed to do space clearing

Singing bowls have a beautiful sound, but they are not designed to do space clearing.  The effect they have is very different to the way that space clearing bells works.

Singing bowl

It’s often claimed that singing bowls are made of a special alloy composed of seven metals that correspond to the seven major planets: gold for the Sun, silver for the Moon, mercury for Mercury, copper for Venus, iron for Mars, tin for Jupiter, and lead for Saturn. This mystical combination sounds very alluring, as if such an object would be imbued with the powers of the solar system. However, it is nothing more than a marketing ploy.

Debunking the seven metals myth

According to Himalayan Bowls founder and author of The Singing Bowl Book, Joseph Feinstein, ‘singing bowls do not contain seven metals at all. Extensive metallurgical testing has proven that singing bowls, as well as handbells, are made either from bronze (copper and tin) or brass (copper and zinc). There is no mystical property to the metal.’

The Balinese bell-makers I work with confirm this. Bells are made from a special type of bronze that contains more tin than usual bronze. They sometimes add a small quantity of 22-carat gold when making temple bells for Balinese priests and priestesses, but after testing thousands of their bells over the last 20+ years, I have discovered that this is no guarantee of superior quality of sound. The best bells are nearly always those that are made of pure bronze.

Why singing bowls don’t work for space clearing

The idea that singing bowls can be substituted for bells to do space clearing is also a New Age myth. They are very different to bells, both in the sound they make and in the effect they have.

A singing bowl consists of a metal bowl and a mallet. The bowl is held or placed on a cushion in the palm of one hand, and the mallet is held in the other hand. To produce a sound, the mallet is placed in contact with the lip of the rim of the bowl and slowly circled around it to produce a continuous melodic sound.

I’ve tried space clearing with singing bowls and the sound can certainly be very beautiful and does fill the centre of a room. However it does not amplify areas where there is stuck energy in the same that a Balinese bell does, it’s not possible to direct the sound into the walls and corners in the same way that you can with a Balinese bell, and most importantly, it cannot be used to shatter energy imprints in the same way that a Balinese bell can. Singing bowls are also quite heavy and require the continuous use of both hands, whereas a bell can be held in one hand and can easily be carried from room to room during a space clearing ceremony, opening doors with your other hand as you go.

For all these reasons, I do not consider singing bowls to be a space clearing tool, and do not recommend their use. They do not clear energies. It’s not what they were designed to do.

So what are singing bowls good for?

The sustained sound of a singing bowl can be used to induce states of relaxation and well-being that can assist with certain types of healing. I’ve heard that some people use them for meditation too, but have never figured out how this could work since complete silence and physical stillness are essential to achieving the high states of consciousness that are the aim of meditation.

In relation to space clearing, the only possible use of singing bowls would be after a space clearing ceremony, to help to maintain the vibrancy of the space. However, this can be done even better through maintenance space clearing techniques, using bells.

The sound emitted by a singing bowl is wonderfully blissful but horizontal and unconscious, whereas Balinese bells have a beautifully clear, resonant sound that can be used in much more awakened ways to harmonize, verticalize, and transform the superastral space of a room.

Restoring integrity to a space

Verticalization is an important principle in spiritual work because it is through this that integrity is restored to spaces. You can see the two principles of verticality and horizontality very clearly in the shape and function of the two objects. A bell is vertical. It can be actively rung and its sound can be willfully directed to clear stagnant energies and shatter imprints. A singing bowl is horizontal and its sound cannot be directed — it just ripples out in horizontal waves that travel where they will. There is no comparison between the two.

I’ve visited homes that have been space cleared by a well-intentioned person using a singing bowl instead of a Balinese bell and to be perfectly frank, it would have been more effective if they had gone around the property with a feather duster. Space clearing is just not what singing bowls are designed for.

Other space clearing myths
Why smudging is not a space clearing technique
Space clearing and salt

Related post
What’s so special about Balinese bells
The history of Balinese space clearing bells
Why Balinese bells are the best kind to use for space clearing

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is the world's leading authority on space clearing and a leading expert in clutter clearing. Her first book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, has sold over one million copies in 16 languages, and her second book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, has sold over two million copies in 26 languages.

13 Responses to Why singing bowls are not designed to do space clearing

  1. Dear Karen,

    Thank you for this article, which is interesting as always. What I find interesting about singing bowls is that (at least in Germany) they are often called Tibetan singing bowls. Well, I have been practicing Tibetan Buddhism for several years now and I have never met any Tibetan teacher, monk/nun or Lama that has any clue of what these bowls are to be used for! Tibetans use bells, cymbals and any kind of trumpets in their ceremonies but never any singing bowls. So calling them Tibetan singing bowls is just a marketing gag (given that whatever is Tibetan seems to be associated with being mystical and esoteric in some way).

    Also, just like you, I have no idea of how these bowls could be used for meditation, except for acoustically marking the beginning and the end of the meditation session, but for this purpose, any normal cymbal or bell would be more than sufficient.

    The only use for these bowls that I have experienced to be really beneficial is for singing bowls massage, where bowls with different frequencies are placed on or around certain parts of the body and one lets the air vibration “massage” the body. I have done it a few times and found it very beneficial, so, even if it has nothing to do with space clearing, I would be interested to know your opinion on that.

    Thank you and thank you for this really interesting newsletter!

    1. Thanks for your comments. Singing bowls have a lovely sound, which could even be described as intoxicating. It’s fine to use them for pure acoustic enjoyment, and there are ways to use them for body healing too.

  2. I have worked with both a Balinese bell for nearly 20 years and a Tibetan bowl (not one of the now mass produced ones) for nearly 30 years. I agree that the energy and intention of each is different, but as they have worked with me clearing, imbuing sacred space, guiding on meditational journeys and a whole lot more, I would not work without either as a package. Sometimes we have to work with what works for us and without any dogma attached.

  3. I do not agree with your premise yet part of it is correct. There are conflicting theories about the origin and useage of the bowls. I have been working with singing bowls for 20 years and my partner since the 1980ies. His original research into the Bowls stems from an interview with Lama Thupten Lobsang Leche and his translator at the Swyambunath monastery in Nepal mid-1980’s. Both Lama’s were a wealth of information and it was they that identified the composition of the 7 metal alloy used in the ancient Bowls. I would say that direct teaching is the most accurate. In so far as space clearing and any other kind of healing the bowls work in concert with other sacred sound instruments and its task is alignment of energy- not clearing. The tingsha is the instrument best used for clearing, the ganta/dorje for moving energy and the bowls for harmonizing. That, plus correct intention creates the foundation for clearing space. No one instrument alone has the magical properties to do all this.

    1. Thank you for your input. Perhaps singing bowls used to be made of a 7-metal alloy but scientific testing of modern singing bowls has proved conclusively that this is no longer the case. And there is no value in having a 7-metal combination anyway because the best quality bells are made of bronze (copper and tin).

      Concerning space clearing, I have experimented in depth over many years with different tingsha cymbals and Tibetan ganta bells with dorje and have never found any that were effective for this purpose. They do not have the ability to shatter etheric debris and astral imprints in the way that Balinese bells do, or to harmonize energies as top quality Balinese practitioner bells can do. I appreciate your many years of expertise but unless you have witnessed first-hand a space clearing conducted by me or one of the practitioners I have trained, it would be impossible for you to know how utterly different Balinese bells are or even the extraordinary changes that space clearing can actually bring about.

  4. Looks like a matter of opinion. I beg to differ from yours- respect the work you do, but do not agree. I could say the same about the work I do.. Best to just respect one anothers work and leave it at that.

  5. I attended a class at a yoga center using singing bowls. The instructor called is sound treatment. I was very surprised at the relaxing affect. The bowls had different pitches and length of sounds, and the instructor could change the volume. Until I experienced the sheer physics of sound in space, I would not have believed it could be unique. Kind of like someone whose never been told a joke and experienced the beautiful release of laughter!!! And I can definitely see how people could overdo. Moderation and variety in life is a good thing

    1. The example you have given helps to show the difference between singing bowls and bells. The sound of singing bowls can facilitate relaxation and opening whereas the effect of space clearing bells is always revitalizing and awakening.

  6. In some aspect, I’m certainly not going to say you are wrong, and I’m certainly not going to say you are right. When you play the bowl, or in a sense as I like to refer to it, when the bowl plays itself, you can feel certain tonal harmonic resonances on certain chakras corresponding within the body. You feel the bowl as it plays, as many may be able to relate from playing a bowl it’s almost as if you get sucked or drawn into it. Perhaps this is how it can clear space, by sucking the negative energies into it? Yet I’m not sure and I’m no expert in the lest. Yet the story behind whatever and wherever the bowl comes from or is made of is certainly nothing more than swill and filler in most and many cases. Thanks.

    1. Hi Jay – The new space clearing book Richard and I are writing will include a section about how space clearing works. It certainly doesn’t involve “sucking negative energies” into an object, as you suggest. Singing bowls have their uses, but they are not designed to do space clearing.

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