We just had session 5 of the Consent-Based Education course, which is Living and Learning, Creativity and Flow, and for it I shared some resources relating to the unschooled masters project. As an optional between sessions activity, I suggested folk in the group could do a micro UMA, on whatever they wanted, as a way to get into the groove of their own self-directed education, and also as a support to their deschooling process (you can hear more about deschooling via the UMA experience in this podcast that I recorded with Pam Laricchia).
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to do one myself!
Here is the brief I shared with the group:
Create a ‘micro unschooled masters’, in two weeks. It doesn’t matter where you end up, or what form it takes, but as a suggestion for where you start: write your intention for it, and your why. Let yourself be led either by something that currently lights you up inside and ignites your curiosity, or something that makes you feel mad and is a problem you want to understand and solve. If you want to really push your deschooling during this, share each and every part of the process in the public domain– Session 5, CBE Course Nov 2021
So I am going to respond to that brief here, and use this blog as a place to document my micro-UMA. Here’s the intention and why for what I am going to do….
Over the next two weeks, I am going to explore the use of sound generated by bells and bell like percussion instruments, in folk and spiritual practices. I’m also interested in their symbolic representation, and stories that might exist around them and their use. I’m going to blog here what I find, and my reflections along the way. I’m hoping by doing this, to enrich and deepen my understanding of these things.
When I was young, I used to ring in a hand chime and then hand bell team. I did this from the age of about 9 – 14. I stopped when I was 14 due to having ‘less time’ due to exam pressure and other extracurricular commitments, and maybe because my priorities shifted at that age and it just seemed right to stop. Prior to that I had practiced in a team once a week, and loved it. I’m about to be moving to a new village, and a couple of weeks ago noticed on the village’s community FB group, that they were looking for people to come and ring the big church bells. I got excited at the thought of this, and then it got better when I commented on the post and and it turned out that there is also a set of hand-bells, that are not currently being used, but I have the chance to start a new team.
Recently I’ve been suffering a lot with psychic attacks, related I believe to the nature of my work. Nothing that I have tried to do (yoga, water, protective shields, meditation, rest, magic work, bodywork, nature immersion etc etc), either to protect myself from them or surrender to help the energy move through, seemed to help. The last one was really debilitating over a number of days and made me seriously consider if I could carry on with my work in the way that I have been doing – I felt so vulnerable to these unpredictable, dibilitating and horrible feeling experiences.
Last week, I was on a trip down to Devon, and was in Totnes. On the train there, listening to Yoga for Witches by Sarah Robinson, I had this thought about getting some witch bells for the door of the house. I held off ordering them, because I thought, of all places, I might be able to pick some up in Totnes. Anyway, I walked all over town looking for bells, and didn’t find any. A few days later, I was in town again, and this time, I visited a music shop at the top of the hill that I had missed before. In there, I found a few single hand bells, but I also found the most amazing tongue drum, which is like a big ball bell made of metal, that has tuned parts, that you can play with beaters or your fingers/hands. There were three of these tongue drums, of different chords, and I was allowed to play with them. To my surprise, it was the highest pitched tongue drum that resonated with me the most. The folk in the shop said they nearly fell asleep as I was playing! I knew without any doubt I needed to get the drum. So I did!
I believe that this lovely instrument was the piece I needed in the puzzle to help me stave off the messed up energy that was coming into my field, and help me be safe, balanced and sustainable in my work. Honestly, it feels like a life changing miracle, to have it. Nothing else I found could touch the weird shit that was going on – this belldrum (I’m going to call it) seems to cut straight through it in the most effortless way!
It has caused me to reflect on my early years of bell playing – did I in some way at that time know/feel that being in that sound was helping me keep clear and fresh from an energetic perspective? Perhaps that was what kept my interest in playing and kept me coming back for more? And what a funny syncronisity that in the space of a month I found my way to a set of hand bells, and then also this amazing bell ball, just when I needed it. I feel so happy and lucky to be open to these things and the process of exploring and trusting the tiniest hints of curiosity even when you don’t really know why or where it is headed. What a blessing.
So, in light of all of this, I would like to learn more about how bells and bell like sounds are used and have been used for energetic and spritual reasons.