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Ringing the Changes Date Published: 2/08/2007 by John Townley
Bio: John Townley John Townley

Early in his astrological career, John Townley introduced the composite chart technique for analyzing relationships in his book The Composite Chart, and twenty years later wrote the definitive work on the subject, Composite Charts: The Astrology of Relationships. He has pioneered techniques for astrological cycle analysis and proposed a new, physical basis for astrology. He is also the author of Planets in Love, Dynamic Astrology, and Lunar Returns, has been the president of the Astrologers' Guild of America, was the editor of The Astrological Review, and is a contributor to professional and popular astrological magazines. His books have been translated into seven languages.

John is also a well-known journalist, elected member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, historian, preservationist, performer, and record producer. He can be regularly found, camera and microphone in hand, covering cultural and technology events ranging from the Consumer Electronics Show to the Toy Fair, from international music festivals to ocean sailing races. When he's not behind the camera and microphone, he's in front of them, performing at maritime concerts in the U.S. and across Europe.

He's written for:

The Mountain AstrologerDell Horoscope
ConsiderationsFortean Studies
Streaming Media MagazineThe Warsaw Voice
Flying Your WaySexology Today
Sea HistoryThe Mariners' Museum Journal
Northern MarinerSea Heritage News
South Street Seaport ReporterDigital Cinema
Surround ProfessionalRecording Media
EQ MagazineProSound News
eDigitalPhoto MagazineThe Toy Fair Times
World Of EnglishIntelligent Transportation Systems Daily
Firefighters' QuarterlyThe Rappahannock Record

He's been featured on:
the BBC, CBC, PBS, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNET and Granada radio & TV, Polish National Radio/TV, Voice of America, Armed Forces Radio, and cable TV.




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



Ringing the Changes

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.

Celestial Bells

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):



© Copyright: John Townley





Other articles by John Townley

Townley, JohnInterview with John Townley

Townley, JohnTips for the Tempests of 2007!

Townley, JohnMars-Uranus, Redux

Townley, JohnThe Personal Void-of-Course Moon

Townley, JohnWhich Side Are You On?

Townley, JohnStars Over Lebanon: An Interview With Carmen Chammas

Townley, JohnDark Days: The End of the Beginning

Townley, JohnAspects and Orbs

Townley, JohnThreads of Destiny

Townley, JohnDarning Your Threads ... Rectification by Association

Townley, JohnThe (Not So) VOC Moon

Townley, JohnOf Time and Tide, and the Flowering at the Flood

Townley, JohnPlanetary Order I: ... rising ahead of the Sun

Townley, JohnPlanetary Order II: ... all your ducks in a row

Townley, JohnPlanetary Order III: Islands in the Sky

Townley, JohnGift Signs for the Holidays: Thoughts that Count

Townley, John2008 Primaries & Beyond: Composites and the Candidates

Townley, JohnA New Presidential Paradigm?

Townley, JohnThe Battle Finally Joined: Obama vs. McCain

Townley, JohnAbove Us, The Waves – The Post-Election Weather Observer



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