We would like you to meet Lenny, the newest member of our team. Lenny is assisting us in creating `binaural`, or BN, recordings and live streaming of sound sessions from The Chiron. He is very shy and doesn`t say a lot, but is a good listener.
We all know that there is nothing like being in the physical presence of the gongs when experiencing a Sound Immersion or Gong Bath. However, BN sound allows you to surrender to a very immersive experience.
The literal translation of the word "binaural" means ‘of, relating to, or used with both ears’. There is a lot of confusion with `stereo` sound and with `binaural beats`. We will be working with binaural beats, and look for this too in future recordings.
Conventional stereo recordings do not factor in natural ear spacing or "head shadow" of the head and ears, which are things happening naturally as a person listens. BN recording recreates the way sound flows over the face and to each ear in turn. When played back through headphones, the listener experiences sound with 3D depth, distance and position of the sounds. We are also working in linear time, so this is true 4D sound. With your eyes closed, it`s difficult not to believe you are actually there!
There are various levels of BN recording, but to be true 3D sound a full mannequin head is required with the microphones deep within anatomically correct ears. Anything else is `pseudo binaural`. We have invested in the best, in order to give you the most awesome experiences. Look out for the `BN` mark on our future CDs and also on the live-streaming. We expect the first live event to be on Saturday 9th September with CDs out later in the year.
A short example of our BN sound can be found here - remember to use headphones and keep your eyes closed.
`Keep calm and carry gong`
Gong Puja for PeaceThe next big event is coming up on Saturday 23rd September & really is a date to set into your diary. We’re hosing our 4th annual ‘Gong Puja for Peace’ & those wh’ve joined us before, have been eagerly awaiting the date & are already snapping up their places, it’s truly one not to be missed.
Although, as always, we have no particular religious affiliation, in the Hindu tradition, worshipers bond with the divine through the puja. The purpose of the Puja event is to create an atmosphere in which humans and spiritual beings, (including our own higher or divine self,) can enjoy communion with one another & a puja serves to bring the former and the latter together on an energetic level. Being part of a Puja event is always a very special & wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.
Each year we set aside the closest Saturday evening to World Peace Day to dedicate a whole night’s gonging to such a deeply personal & sacred connection in the name of Peace - & as always, we donate all the profits to a Peace Charity, each year we have gifted an average of £300, which is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation & support of child soldiers from war torn areas across the globe - if we believe that children are our future, I’m sure you will agree that this is such a worthy cause for us all to support & as a very small charity, our donation will do an enormous amount of good.
We’d love you to join us & be part of the Chiron’s ‘Peace Revolution’ & all you have to do is come along (in your pj’s or onesie), settle yourself down (you can bring a camping matress & pillow/blankets or a sleeping bag) & snuggle together with the dozens of others who attend, & drift in & out of sleep whilst a team of very dedicated Gongers will gently gong the whole night through - we’ll strike the 1st stroke at 11pm & the last at 6.30am - then we’ll share a cuppa & a croissant before we greet a brand new day with Peace Vibrations resonating in our hearts & minds. It’s a night to remember & tickets are selling fast - for the more dedicated Peace-hearts amongst you, there are a limited number of places for you to join us for a workshop in the afternoon to learn the basics, help us to prepare the Sacred Space, welcome all our guests & be part of the love & excitement which overflows & then be part of the playing team - we’ll tag-Gong all night & you’ll have the opportunity to play for approx. half an hour at some point in the night & that’s always a life-changing experience.
Go to this page for booking and info
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.
John and June Shapter, Healing Sound Practitioners and founders of The Chiron Institute UK