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.
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Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2018