Definition: Change ringing is the art of ringing a set of tuned bells in a series of mathematical patterns called "changes". It differs from many other forms of campanology (such as carillon ringing) in that no attempt is made to produce a conventional melody — Wikipedia
Anyone who hasnít been totally asleep knows the buzzword for 2008 is change. All the political candidates on every side of every issue are promising it. Astrologers are predicting it. Stock market analysts are afraid of it. It would seem this is the year when everything becomes different, the old dies and the new comes tumbling in.
For astrologers, thatís indicated by Saturn and the nodes switching signs, the usual yearly change of Jupiter (this time into Capricorn), but above all the generational change of Pluto into Capricorn, a move that planet of ineluctable change hasnít occupied since just before the American Revolution. So, itís easy to predict change of all sorts, especially along the Capricorn-Cancer axis which is all about political and business structure and how it affects how and where we live at home. Wherever you are, Pluto is ringing the changes and we all will be dancing to the new beat.
Most of the predictions have been pretty dire, because thatís what grabs peopleís attention and makes the news: war, political turmoil, foreclosures, recession. But thereís an upside to the change thatís going on, too. After years of talking up the environment while drowning in oil prices, pollution, and global warming, suddenly a greener way of life seems within reach, if not quite yet grasped. There really is a non-petroleum car in your future, along with all kinds of gentler ways of coaxing energy out of the environment, from the timeless power of the sun, the winds, and the water to the renewable energy of life itself. This new generation will see a totally different way of life rise up as the old one collapses or is dismantled through necessity.
The trick is to stay out of the way of falling objects in the process and learn to ride the rising tide into the new reality — to catch the wave, literally the wave of the future. And whatís the trick to doing that? Itís what you always do to outfox Pluto — donít hang on, just hang loose. Literally. If youíre looking around to grab the new direction, you wonít, because you canít see it and you canít say it until it has actually arrived. If someone is saying itís this way, itís not. If someone is saying itís that way, itís not. The essence of Pluto is that you canít tell until itís over, and then youíre right there, sitting on it, where you never noticed you were all along. You find yourself dancing to a new tune that you hadnít recognized was a tune at all, because thatís how Pluto rings the changes. While youíre dodging the toppling old trees, the new grass is growing up under your feet.
Bell ringers know it, and itís so cyclical, so planetary. The very term to ďring the changesĒ comes from the practice of church bells being rung according to a rotating, mathematical formula so that all possible combinations of the bells are eventually sounded, like the continual repositioning of the planets over the eons. As the ringers finish one combination, the head bell ringer (like Pluto) calls a new change and suddenly the whole order is rearranged. At first the new change seems like chaos, because you canít pick out the new pattern. Then, as the sound cascades over you, you begin to sense the repeating theme and the rising swell, as deeper bells (like outer planets) sustain their rolling tones, the mid-range bells (like Jupiter and Saturn) march along with certainty over the top of them, and the higher ones (like the Sun, Moon, Mars, Venus, and Mercury) beat a shrill cadence above it all. Each time the bell-ringers progress the pattern, you can feel the change resonate in your bones.
And the trick — yes, that trick — with Pluto is not to impose your image of whatís going to happen and try to make it happen. You canít make Pluto do anything Ė itís the other way around. Right now, contrary to the self-imaging, envisioning recipes of The Secret, if youíre painting a picture of yourself and your future as you think itís going to be, youíre painting yourself into a corner. Let the picture paint itself and include you, and youíll realize it was there all along, and so obvious.
Thatís how to take a year of universal turbulence, with the planets all topsy-turvy, and turn it to your own ride of a lifetime. Donít buck the tide, surf it, because itís going somewhere, even though you donít know exactly where that will be. When in doubt, donít make bets and hang on them, be the one others are betting on (so what do they know?), spend your time steering your own boat, letting the tide do the rest. And above all, attend carefully to the music as it shifts from perceived chaos to obvious order, from one moment to the next. There really are glorious tidings to come, but you have to listen for them — as the celestial bells are already ringing in the changes of a generation to comeÖ
Find out more about change-ringing and listen:
Lots more info plus virtual bell-ringing software:
Great explanation, sounds and video:
Change-ringing recordings (lots):
But a great music video (Jethro Tull, ďSolstice BellsĒ) to go with it here:
The science of church bells video report:
Trinity Church change-ringing bells:
Change-ringers at practice:
Ringing in 2008 in Swanage, with bell-ringer actually calling the changes (great example):