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 hasn’t 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, that’s 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 hasn’t occupied since just before the American Revolution. So, it’s 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 that’s what grabs people’s attention and makes the news: war, political turmoil, foreclosures, recession. But there’s an upside to the change that’s 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 what’s the trick to doing that? It’s what you always do to outfox Pluto — don’t hang on, just hang loose. Literally. If you’re looking around to grab the new direction, you won’t, because you can’t see it and you can’t say it until it has actually arrived. If someone is saying it’s this way, it’s not. If someone is saying it’s that way, it’s not. The essence of Pluto is that you can’t tell until it’s over, and then you’re right there, sitting on it, where you never noticed you were all along. You find yourself dancing to a new tune that you hadn’t recognized was a tune at all, because that’s how Pluto rings the changes. While you’re dodging the toppling old trees, the new grass is growing up under your feet.
Bell ringers know it, and it’s so cyclical, so planetary. The very term to “ring the changes” 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 can’t 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 what’s going to happen and try to make it happen. You can’t make Pluto do anything – it’s the other way around. Right now, contrary to the self-imaging, envisioning recipes of The Secret, if you’re painting a picture of yourself and your future as you think it’s going to be, you’re painting yourself into a corner. Let the picture paint itself and include you, and you’ll realize it was there all along, and so obvious.
That’s how to take a year of universal turbulence, with the planets all topsy-turvy, and turn it to your own ride of a lifetime. Don’t buck the tide, surf it, because it’s going somewhere, even though you don’t know exactly where that will be. When in doubt, don’t 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 come…
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, “Solstice Bells”) 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):