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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Bell


Bell: A hollow device usually shaped like an inverted cup with a flared edge. It commonly has a handle that rises straight up. Most often made of metal (although other substances such as glass or ceramic may be used), it usually has a small weight hanging from the center of the interior so that when the bell is swung the weight, known as a “clapper,” hits the inside of the bell and causes a ringing tone. Alternatively, the bell may not have a clapper and a separate stick of wood or metal, sometimes in the shape of a small hammer, is used to hit the outside of the bell and cause it to ring.

Bells are used to indicate the beginnings and endings of rituals or sections of rituals. In some traditions they are used to call spirits while in others they are used to scare spirits away. By their shape they are considered to be representatives of the Goddess.


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