One of the most memorable and profound experiences as expressed by our yoga and wellness retreat participants is a session with a Balinese traditional healer. Healers in Bali go by several titles such as Balian, Pemangku, Brahmana, or Pedanda. You may also hear them referred to as Peranda, Dukun, or Shaman.
Due to our keen interest in healing, wellness, yoga, meditation and such, we have been on a mission to meet and study with as many healers in Bali as possible. Over the last couple decades we have met numerous healers and have witnessed astonishing occurrences.
Not all have been remarkable or even worth mentioning, but many have, and certainly one of the most authentic and effectual, has been a certain Balian that does not wish to be publicized. Lets call him Balian Taksu.
A Balian’s primary obligation is that to his banjar or local village. He or she must tend to them first and foremost. In today’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love blogging world’, some traditional Bali healers become hyped and promoted with or without their blessing. Sadly, we have seen this happen too many times. Several years ago a Balinese healer sat in his small compound offering sessions to his neighbors, a film crew happened upon him, put him in a film, and now there are tourist busses lined up outside his home. He can no longer effectively see to the health and wellbeing of his village. We don’t want to see that happen again, so we will not print his name or location and the images have him obscured purposefully.
Bali Healer Methodology
The way Balian Taksu performs his healings is as such. There will be an initial meeting in which the healer will engage a range of techniques to ascertain the well being, imbalances and possibly past lives of the individual. He will study the person’s name, palm and aura. Balian Taksu then enters a trance state and invites Naga (The Balinese Dragon Spirit) to enter him. In a few minutes time, Taksu will share his findings. He may be able to derive significant life events, traumas, past lives, future events, warnings, etc. Many Balinese healers have the ability to derive this type of information. What sets the gifted Balian apart is the offering of a cure or direction~ a prescription, if you will.
Balian Taksu insists that I explain to our participants that he must reveal exactly what is revealed to him and he will not sugarcoat it. Certainly not all of his readings reveal undesirable aspects, in fact many are optimistic, but some may not be prepared to learn what may be transmitted.
One possible initial prescription may be a Melukat ritual. A Melukat is a spiritual cleansing ritual and part of the Manusa Yadnya (Balinese Hindu life events). Its purpose is to purify a human body and soul (as opposed to the cleansing ritual for a building or temple). It is said to wash away turmoil and sickness acquired from negative karma in both this life (prarabda karmaphala) and past lives (sancita karmaphala).
The Melukat Purification Ritual
In order to purify the aura and karma from past lives, align and clear the chakras, and remove disease, Balian Taksu will invite the individual back for an evening Melukat on an auspicious day such as Kajeng Kliwon (a day in the Balinese calendar which is believed to have magical power), purnama (full moon), tilem (new moon), or a variety of others. Based on information received while in trance, Taksu will determine the type and quantity of fresh flowers that will be soaked in holy water (tirtha) for use in the cleansing ceremony.
The seeker will sit on a stool opposite the shrine and vessel containing the sacred water and flowers (top image above). Balian Taksu will enter a naga trance, recite mantras and ask the participant to meditate on a specific concept or god. He will then ladle the holy water and now sacred flowers upon the head of the person seeking purification.
If it is decided that further purification is necessary, the Balian may prescribe a more intensive Melukat ritual that will take place at a confluence of rivers and waterfalls. Another auspicious day will be selected and we will all travel to one of Bali’s most resplendent locations, Jati Juih. I am comfortable revealing the basic location as finding the site is nearly impossible even with good directions. Jati Luih is home to some of Bali’s most famous and picturesque rice terraces.
After a breathtaking hike through the jungle and rice fields, we arrive at the river and natural springs. I will not reveal many of the particulars involved in this intricate and profound ritual but I will say after the ceremony many of our yoga retreat participants were brought to tears at the beauty and profundity of the ritual.
There are additional rites and ceremonies that may be undertaken which involve a deeper and more intense trance where Balian Taksu is completely overtaken by the Naga spirit. These rituals are dramatic and can be quite shocking to witness. They are used for extractions and not recommended for the casual traveler to Bali.
Please note: The suggestion of a Balian, Mangku or other traditional Balinese healer to undertake a Melukat is very much like a prescription written by a western doctor. A couple of our yoga and wellness retreat participants were disappointed that they were not asked to partake in the Melukat. Just as a doctor would only prescribe antibiotics for a person with a bacterial infection, a true Balinese healer would only suggest a Melukat for those in need.
For more on Balinese traditional healers, photos and details, please click Bali Healers and Wellness Retreats
For personal testimonials of Floating Leaf’s custom wellness journeys with traditional Balinese healers, click here and here
Could you benefit from a session with a traditional Balinese healer?
We have worked with dozens of Balians and healers in Bali over the last couple decades and have found a handful of what we feel are the most exceptional and gifted for a variety of treatments. We can schedule you with particular healers that excel in a modality that may benefit you. We must be discrete and discerning about the healers personal information and location as their primary duty is to their community. To learn more, please click here.
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