It’s that time of year again - the children are on holiday, for 6 weeks! When my children were younger (they’re 33 & 24 now) the summer break was always a mixed bag, lots of high energy & excitement eventually leading into lots of frustration & boredom. And for the grown ups, a time of hard work honing creativity & organising skills to pro levels. Lots of fun spending time as a family together, discovering the wide variety of things on offer close to home & further afield & always the challenge to find interesting & engaging things to do which we’d all enjoy together.
We do often have requests from people who visit us at the Chiron & love the experience if it would be OK to bring their children along to our Healing Sound sessions & it always creates a bit of a dilemma for us. We love that you want to share the experience with your children & yes, of course, they will love it & don’t we know all too well that young people get stressed, we have to acknowledge that the world they inhabit is a far cry from the idyllic, lazy, sun-filled, summers which pass in a hazy, soft glow that we often see portrayed in those gorgeously nostalgic films we see from time to time. Our children, increasingly, have to navigate a high pressure culture fuelled with unrealistic expectations that they struggle to navigate & live up to. So yes, we know that what we share at the Chiron can be so valuable for youngsters, a little time out of the madness & busyness to slow down & be still with themselves & with you, with nothing to do, nowhere else to be, just find that lovely, easy space within to connect with & nestle into, it’s perfect to reconnect on an altogether ‘softer’, more loving energy.
Everything in us wants to say ‘YES’ immediately, but we are also aware that part of our job is to hold that space in a way that everyone who enters feels welcomed, safe & nurtured. The things we have to consider then are; is the youngster genuinely interested in the experience (or is it more that the parent feels it would be good for them, or that it would be something different to do together & fill a few hours), we know how powerful Healing Sounds are & sometimes the vibrations of the Gongs can be very intense, in our experience, an hour can be just too much & sometimes overwhelming for them, especially as a first experience, and we also have to balance the experience of others attending which might be spoiled if youngsters weren’t able to fully relax into the full hour of sound & of course, as parents, don’t forget that you won’t be able to be fully present if part of your awareness is focused in that ‘supervisor’ role which will effect the depth of relaxation you’ll get.
Taking all that into consideration over the years, we’ve scheduled some Holiday Sound Sessions which take into account all of the above. ‘Old Heart - Young Heart’ sessions are shorter (30 mins) & that gives the children an introduction & the opportunity to discover how they feel about Healing Sound & how the sessions are structured & conducted, they are cheaper (a real consideration if you might be bringing yourself + several youngsters), they are dedicated to children & parents so everybody attending will be understanding & unphased if there’s some fidgeting & settling, it means that we don’t have to impose an age limit (though very young children/babies might be uncomfortable with some of the deeper vibrations, but it is the perfect opportunity to try it out & see how it goes) & it also means that you can observe the effects & get a feel for how the sounds work (or not) for your children. We also spend a little time after the session introducing the youngsters to some of the sound tools we use which they usually love (& they might get a chance to rattle a rattle or drum a drum) - we love to turn people on to how amazing Healing Sounds are & the younger the better.
We, & those who’ve joined us, absolutely love these sessions, they are full of energy, excitement, happiness & interest & we can all simply relax and get the most out of the experience together. Check the schedule for ‘Old Hearts - Young Hearts’ & if you’d like to come & join us, we’d love to see you.
After over a year of visualising and planning we have just completed construction of our new 3m copper pyramid over the main sound chamber. there is a large double terminated quartz crystal in the apex, and it all centres over where two ley lines cross in the middle of the building. We owe big gratitude to Wayne Greensmith for the help and advice in making this manifest in physical reality. Come and get swept up in the vortex.
Venus, an old fashioned goddess.
It`s taken me a long time to find a connection, through the gong, with the energy of Venus. Through hundreds of hours of playing, the best I could find was a nice sound and even then only sometimes. Lately, though, I played the gong with some early Paiste mallets from about the 1980s. They brought out the best in sound and I began to `feel` a sense of presence in the gong, but as if from behind a closed door.
I was being shown the ornate outer entrance of a temple. Stone pillars carved in the shape of the Goddess on either side of doors painted in reds and white. It occurred to me that Venus was an old-fashioned Goddess, in the nicest way. She would sit regally in the inner sanctum of the temple and expect visitors to come to her. It was not her place to seek retainers. Suitable worshippers would, instead, be allowed the honour of access. The question remained, how to open the door?
People had tried bringing presents and alms, for piled around the wall at the front of the temple were gifts of gold and jewels and rich embroidered cloth. It was obvious that these had not bought entrance for eager devotees as they were still on the outside. So, if gifts from the material world were not enough, maybe simple Love would be the key. I looked around me for inspiration on how to symbolise the love for a deity. Beyond the walls of the temple were rose gardens, and then the land fell away towards a large ancient city in a valley. The banks of the hill were otherwise bare.
I picked a single rose and kissed it, before holding it out towards the entrance. To begin with nothing happened. Then there was a creaking sound and the heavy wooden doors slowly opened. Within was a foyer filled with ornate furniture and bowls of succulent fruit. Beyond was a passage and I was drawn to make my way down in semi-darkness. There was the distant sound of music wafting around the corners. Gently the light became brighter again and the music louder. The walls opened into a chamber of infinite beauty. In the centre was ……………
Playing the Sun Gong has always brought about a feeling of sadness within me, but the gong has been reticent to help me explain this. It doesn`t feel right, after all, the sun is the source of power within us. It is the source of abundance on this Earth and it gives light so that we can see the phases of the moon and the other planets. We should be celebrating this and the sun should be a part of this joy as we dance in the warm light.
So recently, I asked it again and the beautiful harmonics from the surface were disturbed by a cry of anguish. A flare of heat leapt from the surface and surrounded me in a ball of angry heat. Yellow flames licked at my face in a threatening way and I was fearful for the consequences. The Sun was venting a frustration born out of many millennia of being misunderstood.
Since the advent of life on this planet it has looked after us. It has provided for our needs and it has supported all the planets in the solar system. As a race, we have worshiped it and given thanks for everything we receive. We do celebrate the sun in many ways. However, we look on it as a permanent source of everything we consume from food to energy. We think it will always be there, like children perceive a benevolent parent. A child cannot conceive of the loss of a parent, even in adulthood.
The sun showed me a vision of the future, of it`s lifecycle. Then, I understood. The Sun has a life span, starting with it`s birth from cosmic material and ending with death when it burns out. We must understand that it is just like us, it knows it will die someday. It wanted me to know more though.
At some point it will expand in an uncontrollable ballooning of material and settle into a final stage of existence before death. In this catastrophic event, it will devastate the near planets, including Earth, it will kill it`s children. The Sun knows that this tragic future is mapped out and it cannot avoid the truth.
The Sun is sad that this will eventually happen, it is sad that we don`t see it`s vulnerability as well as it`s final death. We just take, take, take.
I, for one, will now see the star in a different light and give thanks for it`s life as much as the warmth it gives us. The gong now plays differently, it is more mellow although the odd solar flare from the rim reminds me to appreciate it in the right way.
The cross on the centre of the Nibiru gong has always felt significant, not just in reference to the origins of the name. I focus on this whilst playing and meditate on the feeling of standing at the cross roads. This is the place where anything and everything is possible, the place where you can turn through all degrees of the compass and have an infinite number of choices. Which way to go?
I was recently playing the gong in this way and was astounded by the sensation of the `unknown`. Our future is unknown, the position of Nibiru is unknown, the meaning of the gong is really unknown. So what do we know? Of course, we always know what is in the present, in the `now`. So maybe this is the gong representing the power of NOW which is the only moment in time that we have any real power at all. I asked the gong to show me what it really meant and set the intent to receive.
Nibiru took hold of me and placed me on the cold dark frozen surface. A sea of black ice that reflected just the stars around it and so appeared all but invisible. Then in my mind I heard the words “So where are you now?” I felt disorientated as there were no visible references, everything was strange and frightening. I screamed “I`m lost!”
Then the voice gently said “Are you really? You are only where you could be, where you ought to be, at any point in time. You are `here`, wherever that `here` is. Wherever you are is the right place to be.”
Then WHAMEE, the penny dropped. Of course. We are always at the centre of our own universe. Wherever we are, the universe stretches out equally in all directions.
So what, I wondered, is the significance of the cross roads. Again, the answer was hidden in simplicity. No matter which way you turn, it will always be the right path, just a different journey.
Thank you Nibiru
As we`ve said before, a gong is a gong but at the same time isn`t a gong. To most people, it is simply a piece of metal that makes a nice sound when struck. To us, it is a powerful tool which creates vibrations we hear as sound. A gong also carries a narrative with which we can communicate with the subconscious. Underneath all this, we believe the vibrations also reach us through the ether or akasha and touch us spiritually.
Today I played a gong and was touched by Mercury.
Mercury has a complicated palette of sounds which swirl and mix with each stroke. If they were colours the gong would have a psychedelic surface of dancing rainbows swimming in a deep purple sea. Each mallet strike sending a flare of energy outward into the room. Sometimes these sonic energies take form as voices, as choirs singing in an unknown but angelic language.
Today, as in a dream, I was aware of a beautiful young man beside me, his skin a light golden glow and his blond hair waving backwards as though facing into a wind. He lightly moved behind me and reaching forward took gentle hold of my wrists. His hands were hot against mine, palms that had been close to the sun`s surface. With his guidance the mallets skipped over the gong and the voices within rose to fill the room.
Releasing my hands, he then gently caressed my throat and the warm fingers left a feeling of comfort inside and out. My breathing felt easier and my body eased out a long sigh as though years of tension were released past my vocal chords. I opened my mouth and breathed in the rich deep vibrations from the gong until I could feel them coiling around in my chest. Then I breathed out and heard the most wondrous sounds issue from my mouth. They swam around in front of my face, creating a mask of pure vibration. I looked into the polished central part of the gong and could only see the golden face of Mercury in place of my own. I took another deep breath and opened my mouth wider to sing out in praise of life. The sounds streamed out like water under intense pressure, pouring forward in an intense jet that seemed to go on forever. I could feel the physical world quiver and shake in my proximity and my song joined with the infinite number of voices that form the background sound of the Universe.
Then, I allowed the mallets to strike more slowly and gently, gradually letting the sound die away, until they hung limply at my side. The room shuddered and returned to normal. I looked around at the recipients lying on yoga mats around me and they rested or slept in absolute peace. Oblivious to the miracle that had just taken place in the room.
Playing the Moon gongs manifests the two-masked goddess. As I play, I close my eyes and know that she is there beside me. Wearing a long dress of silvery metallic material which sparkles and shines with even the smallest amount of reflected light. The dress clings and highlights the voluptuous curves of her figure as she moves gently with the upward swell of the sound from the gong.
She holds the mask with one face towards me, the mask is dark and mysterious, her features barely perceptible in perpetual shadow. The mask draws me in to examine the face closer, to look into the eyes and see the cosmos beyond. I am forced to consider our small presence in the infinite universe and to see the futility of living through the ego which tries to inflate our importance. Then she takes my hand in the cold blue light and shows me a scene of incredible abundance, one where there is no lack on our world and others. We have enough substance in our lives to live in whatever way we want and our dreams can become reality. We just need to dream big and to create our future one atom at a time without thought of lack.
The she twists and rotates the mask so that the other face is outward. It is beautiful and bright and full with the joy of being alive. The eyes shine with bright white light which illuminates the room and reflects off the other gongs, throwing dark shadows where it can`t reach. She begins to dance, swaying her hips with abandonment and reaching her free hand over her head to shape mudras of happiness. I am hypnotised into dancing with her, a dance of celebration for everything positive in our lives regardless of how small or large they are. The shadows dance in time to her movement and move around as she circles the room.
The cycle of one side of the mask followed by the other continues with the playing for what seems like centuries. Then …..
I open my eyes.
I am in the room with the gongs and hold a mallet in my hand. Outside the moon swings through the sky.
There’s one gong absolutely pulsing with potential, the frozen Uranus. Slowly playing the fundamental note lowers you gently through the clouds to the light blue frozen sea of water and methane, the coldest place in the Solar System. When you play Neptune and Uranus together there is a deep throbbing beat of interference between the two, like an awakening giant. Planet Earth also quivers like a connected electron, Mother Earth and Father Sky caught in the everlasting net of love. The magic of vibratory mechanics or the connection between immense energies through the ether.
If the methane clouds ever lifted and let the sun through the whole planet would explode in a rapidly expanding cloud of vapour. The giant would find freedom from it’s frozen bonds. Every mallet strike shakes it, wakes it a bit more, brings it closer to escape. The potential is enormous.
I see a phantasmagoria from my past. A big black bull I used to know who was kept in a field close to my home. Every time I walked by he would stomp the ground with his front hooves, the vibration carrying through the ground to my feet. His breath would puff, hot and steamy, in regular cycles like an old steam train. His eyes blazed with anger and frustration. A powerhouse of trembling muscle under the black shiny hide. I would view him from the safety of the road.
However, my safety depended on his belief. His belief that the single strand of wire in the fence was impenetrable. He could really just push through at any time but his beliefs kept him trapped in his own world, the only universe he knew.
Uranus reminds me of this. Our beliefs hold us back. The potential for change is so close we can reach out and touch the profound future. We just don’t do it as that last step forward seems too much. Just like the bull, Uranus is so close to immense expansion. Just like the bull we are so close to that sudden and dramatic change that could alter our lives forever.
As I play Uranus, I dive through that last barrier and feel the freedom of escaping the small field in which I have been living. The joy of freedom flows out into the room and envelops everyone. Just for a few minutes the potential of everything is enormous. This is what we have to work with, the knowledge of potential. When we return from the journey to Uranus, the knowing is what we can work with. Of course, in our human form, it’s so easy to creep back behind the fence, to fear the unknown, to very quickly lose the memory of what is possible.
Grasp it while you can.
I have always wondered about Jupiter, a gong that is more like an acquaintance than a friend, what is it all about? Standing in front of Jupiter, I would ask for guidance, then create the sounds and let them go without feeling. It’s especially difficult because he’s sandwiched by the mighty Saturn and the powerful Mars. Recently, though, it hit me like a thunderbolt - crash!
The answer had been there all the time. I played in trust, trust that whatever I was doing was what was required, trust that the cosmos would work through me and in trust that the energies were as they should be. In other words, I was already in a place of unconscious understanding, just as Jupiter expects.
So, now the time spent with Jupiter can be more playful and I don’t have to try. The storms on the surface are now exhilarating and not full of fear. The size of the planet is comforting rather than challenging. I fly through the surface clouds, surfing on the upper waves of a helium sea. I can enter the centre of the red eye observing the hurricane around me. It’s a place of absolute stillness in the centre of the greatest storm in our solar system, a storm that could rip you apart in a second if you believed it would.
The Jupiter gong takes me into a place of trust, a place that gives me the understanding that I can step off the edge and the Universe will catch me. Playing the gong in this way allows the positive vibrations to fill the space and touch everyone who is open to receive.
However, this is a place we have to keep re-visiting in order to reinforce the message. Trust is so easy to mislay in our physical condition. We all need to book a regular flight to Jupiter.
John and June Shapter, Healing Sound Practitioners and founders of The Chiron Institute UK