The esoteric – or hidden – meaning of bells essentially relates to awakening consciousness. We use bells in the real world to issue a warning, a reminder, a wake-up call, or in the case of the old town crier, to grab your attention before making an announcement.
Ringing bells are universally accepted to symbolically mean communicating with “spirits”. Bells are also said to be “the symbol of God’s Voice” and thus heralded as the arrival of a supernatural, or holy power.
This makes much more sense if you know the esoteric meaning of “Spirit” and “God”. They represent the same thing; supreme consciousness. In Jungian terms, Spirit is the collective unconscious or world of the archetypes.
I explain the symbolic meaning of Mind, Soul and Spirit in the Beginner’s Guide To Symbolism. It’s important to know the difference.
With that in mind, let’s take another look at the exoteric interpretations bells represent in symbolism.
Exoteric, by the way, means information that is deemed suitable for the general public. At worst, it’s misleading. Oftentimes is plain useless.
Symbolic Meaning of Spirits
If bells represent communicating with your higher consciousness, when you hear a bell, it’s a sign to listen to your inner wisdom. They are a symbol alerting you to the potential for self-realisation.
So when you read that “ringing bells drive away demons or evil spirits, the real meaning relates to exorcising old beliefs, attitudes, personality traits or perceptions that do not serve you.
Moments of self-realisation enable you to expand conscious awareness and cultivate a richer quality of life. Self-awareness is the light which “God” saw was “good”.
“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” ~ Genesis 1:3-4
This is why you often find bells on churches – “your body is a temple”. The body includes the brain. The brain is not the mind, it processes conscious awareness and separates consciousness the ego is not ready to accept.
You also hear the ringing of a bell to announce important moments, places, and events.
Churches ring bells at Christmas to announce the birth of Christ. Christ consciousness is a moment of realisation – which in terms of personal development is an important moment and event.