A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting a coppersmith and singing-bowl maker Ton Akkermans from Holland who has been teaching me the art of making my own singing bowls and healing instruments which now accompany me on musical meditations, sound-weaving concerts and in sound healing sessions.
Ton has worked as a copper- and blacksmith most of his life. He recalled his experience as a blacksmith in other lifetimes and cultures, creating singing bowls and metal instruments in ancient Tibet. His memories as a master bowl-maker in Tibet showed him how each bowl was made very intentionally in deep meditative work – each for a very specific purpose – be it to accompany one monk on his spiritual journey of awakening or for a specified use in a temple or village. Some of the larger and very powerful bowls were hammered by several master craftsmen – maybe even over generations – only at certain times – imbuing them with special vibrational tasks for different times.
Ton was guided to start crafting singing bowls and other healing metal instruments that specifically vibrate with frequencies needed for this Time now, which now he dedicates his life to. He gives bowl making workshops, sound healing concerts and sound workshops with his many handcrafted instruments. He also teaching about re-tuning the old bowls that have been brought from the east to the west for new purposes in this new time we are in now.
Ton at the forge
I have trained with Ton for many years now and he has asked me to assist with the teaching of the crafting of bowls and sound instruments. A few years ago I have been joined in the bowl making passion by Quentin Cowen and we set up a bowl-making forge, project and school together near Salisbury, UK
During December 2012 I had a strong sense that as we move through this portal in time where multiple cosmic cycles were ending – making way for the emergence of a new cycle with a new frequency, that we need to create instruments that carry and sound frequencies and energies for a new time and can assist us to tune ourselves to the vibrational platform of the next era.
I saw that I needed to make a singing bowl to sing us into another level of vibration:
As I described in a previous account of the bowl making journey – my experience of forging with fire, metal and all the elements, what I see, feel, sense and experience is mostly a reflection of the process I am working with as it is mirrored in the making process.
‘When I put the plate for the new bowl into the fire the clock strikes 12 on the 6th Dec 2012. It calls me to pay attention: While the brass plate is in the fire I align from the heart centre. My glowing heart flame connects with the heart of the Earth and the heart of the galaxy. I sense the heart as the still-point and centre for transformation. I see the centre of the vortex around which all planets, the whole solar system and galaxy are realigning and shifting into a new frequency. I ask this new frequency to be imbued into the metal as the fire brings it to glowing gentle pink.
In my first round of hammering – spiralling out from the centre – I feel a strong core being established, but then my experience of having the frequency of the core spiral out and flow through all the places right out into the furthest reaches of the periphery feels like really hard work. The metal is jumping, bucking like an unruly stallion, warping and twisting. It seems the metal hardens so fast I need to summon all my strength and power to do the hammering.
So I take it back to the fire to ask for help and assistance; I sense the dragons, those mythical beings of great power that work with the causal planes of existence. They are present immediately – ready to assist and co-create. I am especially aware of a great black dragon, who I know assists with deep transformation. I feel the power in my belly and lower chakras.
The fire is raging – I feel the dragon’s breath – consuming old structures that cannot be a part of the next level of creation – transforming, digesting and realigning the energies, out of which a platform for the next level of creation gets established. We are ready to co-create together.
I see that from this place of alignment, power, passion and ruthless love that knows the abyss new creations can come forth:
This time as I start the hammering – (having cooled and cleaned the now shallow plate) – I feel many beings – including the dragons – present to co-create this new vibrational platform for creation. From the centre out we move step by step. I can feel the shift rippling out to the very periphery of the universe as I hammer out to the periphery of the bowl. Moving around the periphery I feel myself gathering the strands from the edges of the universe and then as I spiral back in I feel many beings/ energies/ intelligences who are all a part of this ‘gear shift’ in the universe, the galaxy and the solar system moving with me – bringing strands to weave into the bowl as a frequency. As all are coming closer in towards the centre as I spiral in there is a huge intensification and amplification of the energy! I sense I need to take it back to the fire.
(The plate has now become a bowl – the hammering with all this assistance was so much less effort than in the first round!)
As I take it back to the fire for a third time, the fire has a very different quality. This time it is soft and gentle and of a different frequency. It feels like it is the frequency of having passed through the eye of the needle, through the vortex and through the still point. As the soft glow spreads from the centre of the bowl outwards I feel grace spreading gently. I sense the frequency of earth being reborn and all of us being witnesses, midwives, and space holders for this miracle.
Now when I hammer I feel the vibration of the heart of Gaia spreading, spiralling out into the periphery – with grace. And as I spiral back in I sense all life/ all intelligence that is in resonance with this heart vibration respond – weaving and co-creating new dreams of life and limitless possibilities into Gaia’s energy field. These are in relationship and contact with other life in the galaxy – complementing to create in beauty, love and with heart intelligence. I feel so much joy as I hammer (or it hammers me?)
I take it back to the fire one more time to release any limitations my own perception might have placed in the bowl and I invite the limitlessness… The fire lets the bowl glow in all rainbow colours.
To complete the bowl I now need to hammer and smooth it from the outside over a metal mushroom. As I hammer – again I sense many presences taking part, much assistance wanting to come in for everyone who is willing to come along in this step of shifting gear. Much help and assistance is woven into the vibrational body of the bowl – I sense the possibility for humans to be assisted to step into the unknown – to realign the separate ego self to the greater Wholeness in trust and the knowing that all co-creators of the universe are here to work and create with us in joy beauty, love and grace.
The alchemical journey of making of a singing bowl
In our practice of crafting new singingbowls for this time we reconnect to the tradition of the ancient bowl makers of Tibet who worked the bowls in meditation and prayer, infusing it with the spirit of the purpose it was made for. We perceive the process of the work with the elements of fire, metal, water, air, wood to be an alchemical process of transformation and incarnation. The incarnation – coming into form – of a very specific and unique frequency.
Our focus is not so much on the particular tuning but more on the quality, purpose and essence of the sound.
My own journey with making bowls has evolved over the last few years as I have been crafting bowls for my own work and others who have asked for healing bowls and bells.
Making a bowl is an adventure I become deeply immersed in:
The fire is crackling, the flames licking around the golden disc – a round piece of brass destined to become a singing bowl. It had been carefully chosen, cut out of a larger plate and filed into a smooth precise circle to get to this stage of being in its first fire, where it leaves its past behind and begins its new destiny as a singing bowl. I close my eyes listening to the fire and think of the person who has asked me to craft this bowl. For the purpose of this writing I will call her V. I feel joy, I see cherry blossoms and flowers. It’s spring in my inner vision while on the outside high summer is surrounding me. An uplifting energy. The golden disc in the fire changes colour, many colours – absorbing the rainbow before it glows and I take it out to cool down.
It’s blackened now and I need to clean it before I start the process of hammering.
Ash, air, water, acid all play their part in the early life of this singing bowl.
Before I start hammering I connect with V in prayer that it may serve her highest good and evolution in the frequency it brings through.
As I start hammering – spiralling out from the centre of the disc to the periphery and back into the centre – I am still filled with joy, cherry blossoms and nature and very soon a beautiful shallow plate stands before me.
As I continue working I perceive on the inner levels a shape that had been held in a particular form for a long time popping open like a flower bud, As I keep working and hammering – spiralling in and out – I perceive the flower opening to reveal a great light inside in form of a pistil and stamens– again like the inside of a flower. They grow and I feel that this is connected to V – who I am inwardly working with – beginning to stand up in her own power, light and authority. I perceive a little brown speck on the side of the pistil and wonder what it means.
I decide to stop and arrange to talk with V who lives halfway across the world at the next possible time.
When we get to talk she completely understands the images and she knows exactly what the brown speck means. In her life she is being challenged by circumstances at work and in her private life to step up into her authority and take her power but at the same time she is hugely challenged by all of the difficult issues.
I decide to take it slowly with this bowl. Big processes are at work here, time is needed for them to play out and integrate. We decide that we weave into this bowl the intention that the bowl may assist her and others with its frequency to be able to stand in their fullness and find the highest expression for her/their innate gifts, so they can shine and be fully expressed and received and make the greatest impact.
A few weeks later I take the bowl back to the fire with this intention and ask for grace in this process. The fire is strong. It dances with the bowl with both strength and gentleness.
As I continue the hammering, the bowl deepens. I feel V’s warrior spirit. We are reaching deeper into layers of her unconscious as the metal stretches and expands beyond its easy comfort-zone of the first rounds. Now the sound is also in stretch-zone. (I have frequently experienced that if the making of a bowl works with a deep process it invariably goes through a stage of ‘chaos’, where the sound is awful, dissonant, the shape a little crooked and you wonder whether it’s ever going to make it through!) This one is no different.As the hammer deepens the bowl, stretches the metal, I feel I’m riding waves of turbulence, but there is also determination, trust and strength. We ride the currents of turbulence for another couple of weeks before I feel the energy shift and I know I can pick it up again and bring it into the next level of coherence.
It has become a beautiful deep balanced shape of half a sphere in which it stabilizes.
With feedback from V I get that she really has been stepping into a new role in her work, has empowered herself in other areas of her life, taken big steps and decisions and is continuing to do so.
I now start to work on the bowl from the outside. I use a wooden hammer over a metal mushroom anvil to smooth out all the bumps. I am sensing a lot of support arriving for V as I work. Gifts being passed to her that she will now be able to use as she is coming into accepting her power and authority.
As I put the bowl into the fire for the last time – not in order to work it further but for it to release any of the struggle and receive the blessing and strength of the fire I find a sweet smell in this fire. Laurel leaves have found their way into the kindling. Wow. The smell is uplifting. I realize laurel is woven into the wreath of Victory. V, you are victorious!
The sound is magical. My feeling is that every time I play it, a doorway opens. The lower note provides the warm container and the high note reaches way up into the stars, activating the remembering of the gifts we have brought with us.
It’s mysterious. Not an interval I would have conceived or chosen. A tri-tone stretched over another octave – bridging the visible and the invisible, the conscious and the unconscious into a sound that is both warm and at the same time creates heightened awareness and alertness – a powerful assistant to raising consciousness – stretching us out of our comfort zone into alert strength and presence.
V is deeply moved. The journey has been a lot bigger and deeper than either of us expected when we set out.
I am also deeply moved by the journeys I get taken onto in the forge and the grace with which the elements work with us when we invite them and allow ourselves to be the instruments in this grand orchestra of the universal symphony.