Demistifying The Excessive Gong Woo Woo

The whole Gong, Singing Bowl and sound healing world is so inundated with nonsense these days. I've worked in the percussion industry off and on for over 40 years. I've also been a music journalist for the same length of time. In both capacities I've been involved in products and product descriptions. In those years, I've seen a lot of embellishment in product descriptions, but nothing compared to the whole sound healing/therapy industry. Talk about woo woo bull shit…

There have been a number of recent Facebook discussions on some of the fairy tales people tell when selling Gongs, Singing Bowls, or other instruments used for sound healing/therapy.

Just to set the record straight, I am reposting some of the verified facts to dispel some of the untruths out there:

  1. Singing Bowls are NOT from Tibet. The ones you have are most likely made in Nepal, India, or even Pakistan. [You could have one from Tibet, but probably NOT]
  2. Singing Bowls are NOT made of 7 or 10 metals. Sorry folks, they are mostly made of what is known as bell bronze, which is  an alloy of between 77-80% copper and 20-23% tin. Yes, there are usually trace metals, because the copper and tin are not pure, but they are so small and do not add up to a bowl being 7 or 10 metals.
  3. Yes, there are some bowls made with more metals, but they are rare and you most likely don't have one.
  4. Crystal Singing Bowls are made of glass/sand. That's it. Any sort of added gold, silver, ruby, etc. is merely a very thin coating applied to the bowl.
  5. Gongs, whether made with bronze, brass, nickel-silver, iron, aluminum, etc. are just metal discs that have been formed/forged with heat and hammers.


Sorry folks, that's just the way it is. The magic is in you and how you work with these instruments, not the instruments themselves. 

Here's an example of what I mean. This was recently posted on Facebook about a new Gong, apparently named the 108 Gong:
108 GONG
Colour: N/A
Chakra: All.
Pitch: Between G# ( 52Hz) and A (55Hz)
Rules: The connection to our divine group domain
Character: Ancient and welcoming.
The 108Hz tuned Gong works on our connection to the upper realms. A well established energetic place within the Naad this frequency invites to sit at the side of numerous saints, Angels and Gurus. The 108 Gong draws our duality into one supreme place. It levels and aligns and brings us to a place of high connection with our soul parts. 108 has many estoteric connections; The distance between the earth and sun equals 108 times the diameter of the sun. The distance between the earth and the moon equals 108 times the moon’s diameter and finally the diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the earth. All Buddhists accept the Buddha Footprint with its 108 Auspicious Illustrations. 108 is the numerical equivalent of OM, in sync with the rhythms of time and space and represent perfect totality. The Sri Yantra symbol on the face of the Gong is a sacred geometry diagram formed by nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate out from the central (bindu) point. The two dimensional Sri Chakra, when it is projected into three dimensions is called a Maha Meru, and links all perfect natural rhythms together in harmony and unison. Four isosceles triangles with the apices upwards, representing Shiva or the Masculine. Five isosceles triangles with the apices downward, symbolizing female embodiment Shakti. Thus the Sri Yantra also represents the union of Masculine and Feminine Divine. Because it is composed of nine triangles, it is known as the Navayoni Chakra. In total 108 points to this symbol. There are too many 108 connections to list here but suiffice to say this is a deeply meditative and powerful Gong.

Whew! What in the world does all of that mean? Sounds like the writer fell into a pit of hyperbole and barely escaped alive. I dare you to read through that description and keep a straight face, or to even understand what it all means. 

If you are the maker of the Gong, or the writer of the description, I'm sorry, but that description is a lot of nonsense. Mind you, if you want to believe all that and work with it, you are completely free to do so. I just can't buy into it all.

Planet Gongs of the Damned

My personal Jupiter Gong

I love the Planet Gongs. In fact, the Jupiter is my favorite and I use it all the time. Here is the description of the Jupiter and it's attributes:
The Jupiter gong resonates at the approximate musical note of F#. Jupiter represents expansion, abundance, optimism, and evokes the benevolent father.Zodiacal Rulership: SagittariusJupiter Qualities: Joy, optimism, generosity, expansionJupiter Therapeutics: Addresses hip disorders and liver issuesJupiter in Ceremony: Used for the realization of spiritual aspirations, for embracing the inner teacher, and for pushing boundariesThe planet Jupiter marks a transition in our solar system from solid surfaces and defined cores to gaseous and atmospheric domains where matter is still in the process of becoming. When we sound the Jupiter gong we stimulate growth at our most outer limits, where we have yet to define goals and set boundaries. It vibrates us into an awareness of ourselves as participants in the greater body of life, engendering feelings of abundance and a sparked recognition of the unlimited resources that surround us. The Jupiter gong may be used to stimulate consciousness, bringing awareness to universal issues of philosophical, spiritual and mythical importance. It helps to cleanse stagnant liver energy, aiding in the release of suppressed anger and supplicating addictive attachments to the material world. As a ceremonial gong it unites groups of individuals to be of “one mind” in order to achieve goals for the common good.

Now I've had my Jupiter for at least 15 years, and I've never once felt anything as described above. I just think the Gong sounds cool. I love using it in my sessions because it has a very strong fundamental tone (F#2) and happens to blend well with my other Gongs (this is the most important thing to me, that all my instruments harmonically work together). The only thing I found magical about it are the sounds it makes and how those sounds make me feel. 

After doing thousands of sessions and concerts over that past 20 or so years, one thing I've found to be consistent is that everyone experiences a Gong/Bowl/Bell their own way. Perhaps someone will feel that the Jupiter “vibrates us into an awareness of ourselves as participants in the greater body of life,” but I think most people won't. In fact, I always have time after my sessions for Q&A and sharing, and I've yet to have anyone describe their experience with the Jupiter in any terms similar to the description above.

That's the fact, Jack! - Bill Murry in ‘Stripes.’

Where The Real Magic Happens

As I wrote above, The magic is in you and how you work with these instruments, not the instruments themselves. And that's how I roll. 

When I present a session, I use various forms of alchemy, sacred geometry, prime numbers, the 5 classical elements  and a few other things. But none of this is in the instruments I use. I bring it all to the table. And because of that, I can use any instruments or combination of instruments to do what I do. I can get the same results using borrowed instruments as I get with my own, because all the magic comes from me. The Gongs/Bowls/Bells are just vehicles for my process. They are metal vessels that allow me to work with the beliefs I hold. It's also not important that the people at my sessions know what I'm doing and what forces I'm working with. All that matters is that they find something that they can use out of what I offer.

Don't ever forget that the magic is always within, not outside of yourself in some material object. 

Be the magic…

~ MB

Chop Wood / Carry Water / Play Gongs™ / Be magical

* A quick disclaimer: Since this is my blog, it is also my opinions. You are of course free to believe whatever you want and to use whatever ideas work for you. I do.

Over the past 9 years and 3 different blogs, I've written almost 500 blog posts. That's a lot of my time and energy devoted to putting my thoughts and ideas out there on the internet for you to read. If you've enjoyed reading them, and have gotten value out of them, please consider a donation. You'll be helping me keep writing for hopefully another 9 years. Thank You ~ MB.


  1. I very much agree ! The gongs or bowls transport along their longitudinal/scalar waves the player's intention and thoughts.

    « At present, people are not aware of the action of metals upon psychic energy, but in antiquity there was a great understanding of this. Magnets, and also alloys made of seven, eight, or nine metals were studied. As you know, many images were fashioned using alloys of metals, and instructions were given to worshipers to touch them with their hands. Thus, under the guise of a reverent act, a beneficial effect on the psychic energy of the worshiper was obtained. These primitive practices are no longer followed, and they have not been replaced by anything rational. Astrochemistry is recognized, radioactivity and magnetism hold the attention, but these are all directed only upon the body, whereas the most essential, psychic energy, is forgotten. Notice how colored glass, used as a filter, acts on the psychic condition. Metals and their combinations will act still more strongly.However, psychic energy does not depend on metals; in its nature it is closer to light. Metals are conductors of psychic energy. Metals do affect psychic energy; they do not accumulate it, but act to regulate and protect it.One will have to pay attention to psychic energy. »

    Agni Yoga, 1929, §486


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