some magic lives here…

holy water drenchingWe arrived at Tirta Empul Temple (Holy Spring Water Temple) as some sort of religious ceremony was underway. I’ve tried to find out more but Google has not been my friend this time. The tour guide in his poor English said it was to bring luck but given the abject, deep concern of the boy’s relatives it appeared more like a purging ritual.

An old lady in a heavy jacket for the weather who is best described by the term ‘witch doctor’ covered the boy with flowers then shook holy water all over him. She talked incanted almost continually and occasionally seemed to berate the relatives.

When the boy was thoroughly bedecked with flowers and wet through the relatives wrapped him up tight in cloths and the rattan mat he lay on, and crouched with their hands along his body. After some more ranting from the old lady she decided he could be let out. Fortunately he didn’t suffocate in the meantime.

He was helped up, seeming really dazed and out of it. Things weren’t over for him yet though. The old lady put something in his mouth. It was like he was being made to swallow it, but it was hard to see. She seemed to have her whole hand in his mouth. Twice she fainted and relatives had to hold her up.

After a while whatever was in his mouth came out and everyone was very relieved. The boy was then helped out of his shirt, no doubt to bathe in the spring.

Unfortunately, we had to depart and missed the end, but witnessing this much was amazing. Old traditions alive and well in Bali.


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