Soul-Cleansing Balinese Rituals to Prep You for the New Year

We, Luxe Nomads, can be a gluttonous sort. We love to travel, live it luxe, and have no qualms about a bit of overindulging (sampling local cuisine is our guilty pleasure!). So, although we might be good nomads most of the year, it shouldn’t be a surprise that every once and a while our gluttony causes us to lose a few karmic points. Lucky for us, Bali has a few deep, soul-cleansing rituals designed to help us wash away our sins. Read on to discover the ways you can purify your spirit during a Balinese escape.

Read also: 7 Alternative Spa Treatments in Bali You Should Try

Meet with a Balian

If you’ve seen or read Eat Pray Love, then you’re already familiar with Balians. These traditional healers work with the divine to cleanse, treat illnesses, remove any curses put on you and to channel your ancestors (who can be quite the problem if you’re not being good to them).

Balians are viewed with the utmost respect, so if you decide to visit one, make sure you dress appropriately by wearing a sarong and temple scarf, never ever touch their face and definitely don’t point to your feet.

Also, sessions tend to be public; you’re not shut off from any others who happen to be around – expect to be watched with great interest. Balians may do things like set objects on fire, draw on your body, poke you with sharp objects or, our personal favourite, spit on you.

It’s advisable to make an appointment with a Balian if looking to receive treatment. Many locals see Balians for their ailments, much like we do with our doctors, so we need to respect their time and not just wander in off the street. There are a few reputable healers in Tabanan and Gianyar, but they’re not online – to find them, you’ll have to speak with the local people in each village.

Wash Away Turmoil with a Melukat Ritual

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A Melukat is probably the most popular and readily IG-able cleansing Balinese ritual you’ll find. It’s said to wash away turmoil and any sickness acquired from negative karma in this life or any other life you might have led.

Although tourists might partake of the Melukat on any given day, the best time to clear your chakra would be on the Kajeng Kliwon (a day in the Balinese calendar believed to have magical powers and occurring every 15 days) or during the full or new moon.

The best place to go for a Melukat in Bali is at a natural water source, at the meeting point of two rivers, beneath a waterfall or at sea. Pura Tirta Empul in Gianyar is one of the most popular spots for a Melukat. Here, a long rectangular pool carved of stone is fed by 12 fountains. Legend has it that the spring feeding the temple was created by the god Indra after his forces had been poisoned to bring them back to life.

As part of the Melukat, visitors are dressed in tightly wrapped sarongs, and women additionally wear a traditional lace shirt tied with bright cloth. Once dressed, offerings of flowers and sweets are placed in a basket, woven from banana leaves, and presented to the gods. From there, it’s time to enter the water and wash away life’s ills.

Protect Yourself with a Rerajahan

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A Rerajahan is not so much a purification method (although purification is involved!) as it is a talisman to protect you against outside forces – which could definitely be handy if you’ve racked up a little too much negative karma!

These talismans can be made from a number of different materials, depending on its purpose. Everything from plain paper to particular cloths to bone and precious metal can be used for a Rerajahan. The selected object is then either drawn on or carved into by a Brahman (mystic).

To get started, the Brahman will discover what your intentions and needs are. You’ll then need to be cleansed, most often through bathing. Once clean, the Brahman will sprinkle you with holy water, after which time you’ll be invited to pray. Only after you’ve been purified will the Braham begin work on your Rerajahan.

There are many different types of these talismans. Some examples include the:

  • Lingga Buana – This talisman requires silver and is considered the guard of the home. It’s meant to protect the family from disease.
  • Bhuta Totok – This Rerajahan, painted on cloth, is to be buried at the border of your home to protect against thieves. This one is not meant to be taken lightly though, asking for one directly is said to result in the illness or death of any thief.
  • Rajah Berare – Another painted Rerajahan, this one is designed to cure disease and act as a guardian of the sick. It should be doused in water each day and placed nearby the person in need, so the talisman knows who to protect.
  • Sanghyang Ganga Osah – Carved into a metal, the Sanghyang Ganga Osah is used to bring peace to the holder. It also doubles as a protective talisman that keeps evil away.

How are you cleansing your soul?

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Elisabeth Forsman

Our predictably unpredictable adventure nomad, Elisabeth is the yogi who wants it fast, the ultra-runner who prefers taking a hike, and the swimmer with a fear of lap pools. A consummate lover of all things outdoors, she’s on a perpetual quest to get those around her outside and moving.

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