Hello Dear Family & Friends!
Thank you- Balinese)
to the stars
At daybreak flocks of large, stately white herons fly across the
sky in search of food.
This morning, during my meditation, I saw one lone white
heron flying twice as high as the others, sunlight shining on it
like a plane way up high, going in the opposite direction.
I said without knowing, “Bye Gami.
And then the news came.
Our dear Gami has gone flying!
We know this will be your best trip ever!
When I told Mr. Ketut my Mom had died he smiled. I had just
spent close to 4 months visiting her before and after Son, Kevin
and Laura's wedding. Good, quality, loving time. And
now she was gone.........................
Knowing a bit of the culture in Bali, observing throughout over 25
years of visits, I was able to say we will have cremation, then
ceremony when we return home. He understood. Sad at the
loss of a wonderful spirit on this earth we were glad to know she is
joyfully flying beyond. In researching the culture and beliefs
of the Balinese we found many similarities in their views of death.
Balinese live in a magical world of people, spirits,
gods and demons.
Oh what a tangled web we weave, if only to deceive; glorious,
stunning, colorful yet tangled. Religion and ceremonies
are woven into every aspect of Balinese daily life. Some
anthropologists believe the Balinese have no secular culture.
"From the Balinese point of view," says anthropologist John
Reader, "the entire universe is an expression of enormous
spiritual capability. Everything owes its existence to the power
of overriding spiritual forces; everyone must at all times
remain aware of their debt to these forces...its demands have
produced a society in which everyone knows their place—in all
senses of the term.
Balinese make offerings every day. Typically small clumps of rice
are placed on a banana leaf and placed around a family's house and
land. Flowers and fruit inside neatly folded palm leaf boxes are
left on the ground to appease evil spirits. Temple offerings consist
of beautifully-arranged stacked pyramids of flowers and food.
"Offerings for Brahma, the god of the hearth, are left at the
fireplace; another for, Dewi Sri, the rice goddess is left by the
granary; and still another is deposited by the cistern for Wisnu,
the god of water. Sometimes flowers are added to these offerings,
and on special days women weave little baskets and add sandalwood
oil and fruit to offerings of rice." In addition to these
daily offerings, rice and flowers are also left at roadside shrines
on special days. On any given day there is festival at a temple
somewhere and it can't hurt to leave an offering at as many of these
During celebrations Balinese wear headdresses and uniquely
folded head scarves, along with colorful saris and accenting
sashes.. During processions women carry trays of fruit and
flowers on their head. Large ceremonies are presided over by
Brahmin priests. Lower caste priests care for temples and
perform local ceremonies.
there is a problem the Balinese consult a pedanda, a high caste
Brahmin priest. If there is a problem with a shrine, for example,
the pedanda goes into a trance and transfers the ancestral spirits
of a shrine to temporary bamboo shrines until new permanent shrines
are built and the spirits can be transferred there on an
astrologically auspicious day. The pedanda often has long hair tied
in a knot at the top of his head. After one ceremony that appeared
not to work one pedanda stated, "The spirits continually remind us
we are fighting an eternal battle between good and evil.”
Mystics, healers and artists are just as essential to a typical
Balinese community as farmers and merchants. Those who have money
share it with those that don't and land is owned by the gods who are
benevolent enough to lend it to human beings for temporary use. The
Balinese spend about half their day taking care of chores for food
and shelter, and the other half is devoted to festivals,
processions, art making, dance and drama. Time is gauged from the
rhythms of nature and the stars rather than watches and clocks.
Shamans consult astrological charts, the Balinese calendar, amulets
and brochures in Bahasa Indonesian with titles like "How to Stop the
Rain." Young girl dancers are used to welcome the gods to the
Bali Life Ceremonies are an addition to festivals that are held
based on the Hindu Saka calendar and the complicated Pawukon
Calendar. While national holidays, Nyepi day and temple
ceremonies are of great importance , each individual life on
Bali must undergo several important ceremonies in order to
enter, live and leave this world. The first ceremony is held
even before the child is born while the last takes place when
the ashes of the deceased are scattered into the sea.
All these ceremonies are aimed at one purpose: protection by gods
and protection from evil.
ceremony of a Balinese takes place before he or she is even born. On
the 6th month of the pregnancy a ceremony
with offerings is conducted (pegedong-pegedong)
to ensure the well being and health of the baby. Once the baby is
born the afterbirth is to be placed in a coconut which is wrapped in
a white cloth and finally buried near the entrance of the parent's
For a short
period of time appropriate ceremonies are conducted regularly on
this spot. Between the
12th and 42nd day of the child's birth the
mother and baby are considered unclean. Therefore a series of
ceremonies take place in which both are purified in order to
participate in festivals and religious events. During this time the
god Sanghyang Pance Kumara is also asked to watch over the child and
to protect it.
105th day is one of the important days for the
child as only then will it be given a name. Also during this
ceremony (Telubulan) the baby is
fully welcomed into the family. On the first birthday (Oton),
which is according to the Balinese calendar on the 210th day, the
baby is allowed to touch the ground for the first time. Because the
ground is considered impure, the baby has always been carried around
up to this day. This day is again accompanied with a ceremony which
is big and takes place at the ancestral temple where families and
the community gather to celebrate.
The next ceremony in life takes place as soon as the child looses
his/her milk teeth (Maketus).
During this ceremony the responsibilities of Sanghyang Pance Kumara,
the God who has protected the child since birth are withdrawn. From
then on the responsibilities rest on the families' ancestors.
The festivals and life-cycle ceremonies stop for a while, until a
Balinese boy or girl reaches the age of adolescence.
In this period of life the important and painful tooth-filing
ceremony (Mapandes) takes place,
preferable before marriage. By filing away the sharp points of the
canine teeth the Balinese believe that human behavior such as lust,
greed, anger, drunkenness, jealousy etc. is removed from that
Several young Balinese can undergo this ceremony at the same
time and it is often accompanied with a lot of guests, music and
many offerings. It is one of the most important ceremonies as it
ensures a good reincarnation. Whether or not you believe this
reason for tooth filing, the Balinese have one of the most
charming, friendly smiles in Asia.
The next of the many ceremonies in life is marriage. Traditionally
the Balinese still marry at a young age compared to people on other
continents. While they are not pre-arranged the existing Balinese
caste system still has some influence on choosing the right bride or
You would expect that at this stage of life there will be a huge
Balinese wedding accompanied with excessive ceremonies. It's
possible if the bride and groom choose to celebrate this occasion
with their parents and other members of both families. This means
grand ceremonies which can cost a fortune.
They can elope. Eloping is more a show than the real thing because
the parents just pretend not to know. The Balinese way of eloping is
that the man and woman run off together and get married the next day
during a private ceremony. When they return the parents continue
their 'role in this play' and act as if they are outraged.
Ceremonies which take place soon afterwards are often without the
bride's parents as they still 'disagree' about the whole thing. But
of course all ends well as after 3 days the parents meet and another
ceremony takes place (Ketipat Bantal)
and the parents reconciliate.
As you can imagine it costs less compared to the first option. So
couples often choose to elope.
The final life cycle ceremony is the Balinese cremation (Pengabenan,
Ngaben or Palebonan). We have witnessed it several
times, each time different. If a family isn't wealthy they
bury the deceased, dig up the bones and wrap them in cloth, up
to 5 years later, and participate in a village mass cremation
involving sometimes 500 or more cremation effigies burned on the
same day. If a family is of better means they may
have a small private cremation service in the village for
family. The day is always chosen by the Priest after
consulting the astrological calendar for an auspicious day.
If the person is royalty, like one of the many district Balinese
Kings or their family, a large showy cremation ceremony is held,
where everyone is invited. We have witnessed several of
these spectacular ceremonies. The last with so many towers
up to heaven displaying the body, the whole float carried by
hundreds of men, almost tipped when rounding the corner.
The Balinese consider these final ceremonies as one of the most
joyous in their life. When the deceased is cremated his/her soul is
released and is able to continue the journey to heaven followed by
reincarnation. So instead of sadness, the entire ceremony is a
somewhat happy and loud spectacle in which the body of the deceased
is carried in a colorful tower to the temple of death.
To make sure that the soul of the deceased will not find its way
back home, the tower is turned many times in order to create
confusion. I'm always surprised that the tower is still upright
after being turned many times by dozens of carriers. The priest, who
is standing near the top of the tower next to the body is remarkably
always standing on both feet as well.
Once at the temple the body is placed in a sarcophagus which is
often in the form of a bull. The priest sets the sarcophagus on fire
to purify the deceased in intense flames. From dust to dust.
One final ceremony will take place 12 days after the cremation.
However it can take a bit longer for this ceremony to take place
since it's very expensive. During this final ceremony the
remaining ashes which have been placed in white and yellow cloth
are transported on a beautiful float to the sea. If the sea is
too far, then the ashes will be taken to a river which will
guide the ashes to the sea.
The Balinese people believe that the soul will return back as a
reincarnation of a new family member, such as the first baby born
after this final ritual. And from this point the ceremonies which
are part of every Balinese life start again from the very beginning.
In keeping with many traditions, bits of my Mom's ashes were
scattered in the ocean of Hawaii with family, in the forest on
the mountainside of Mauna Loa, in the calm waters of beautiful
Lake Toba, Sumatra, along the shores of Amed in Bali, and
finally placed in a plot next to my Dad in Wisconsin. Like
me, my Mom valued family and home but loved to explore the
world. She would have loved the idea of being placed at
home yet in some of the most beautiful and exotic places on
earth, places where we can swim with her and honor a life well
We Are All Made of Stars
“Do not miss me, because I will always be with you. In every
drop of rain that touches your tongue, in every breath of air
you inhale. In the tips of the leaves that you brush with your
fingertips as you pass by. I will be there, in every moment. I
am not gone, I am only altered, from this state of matter to
another. For a moment, for too brief a moment, I was the man
that loved you, but now that I am changed, I am the air, the
moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved.
You and I, and all of life, we were all born out of the death of
a star, millions of billions of years ago. A star that lived
long and then, before its death, burned at its brightest, its
fiercest - an enflaming supernova. But when it died, it did not
cease to exist; instead everything it was made of became part of
the universe once again, and everything that is part of the
universe will once more become part of us.
So do not miss me, because I do not die; I transform - into the
wind in the tops of the trees, the wave on the ocean, the
pebbles under your foot, the dust on your bookshelves, the
Wherever you look, I will be there.”
( Rowan Coleman, We Are All Made of Stars )
And so it
goes.........................................Next Bali, a deeper
look into this fascinating culture.
Until then let's remember to
keep our eyes focused up to the stars in the heavens and our hearts
towards the heavenly peace inside each of us.
Take care and Thanks for writing, we enjoy hearing from you.
[Source: "Man on Earth" by John Reader, Perennial
Libraries, Harper and Row]
[Source: "Ring of Fire" by Lawrence and Lorne Blair,
Bantam Books, New York]
Love, Light & Laughter,
xoxoox Nancy & Joseph
Dollar = 14,375.50
Indonesian Rupiah IDR
87 762 832 391
297,000idr low season
Lucky Paradise Bungalows
right side of road 400idr
On the way
out of town
along a flat
is the Green
Not a hyped
right on the
For a true Bali experience our friends Dan &
Sri rent out their magnificent villa. They have also have built a beautiful
apartment next to their home, in the countryside 10 miles from Ubud.
If you want to splurge a little, at the same time getting excellent
value for your money, give Dan a call or email him
He prefers long term stays but will pick you up in Ubud for a stay of 3 nights or longer.
It is easy/not expensive to call a car to drive you where you
need to go.
Take a walk
Lane, past Gauri's
right at end
of path past
Dayus on the
but within a
Bamboo forest, rushing river, in
the middle of Ubud! Take the alley next to Tino's Market (red
sign) across from the Lotus Cafe on the busy Main Rd. Once you
step through the stone gate (right side) of the family compound you
have discovered a whole new world. Experience Balinese family
life first hand while friendly Grandma Wayan and young Dad Kodek, Ani and Chica help you with
any of your needs. Stepping on to the balcony of your room
transports you to another
world - cool bamboo and rushing water drown out the busyness of the
central area of Ubud. (Doubles 150,000r/night - less for one
week or more /or for no breakfast. Hot water, simple, basic but clean
rooms. Free Wi-Fi.
Email: email@example.com Phone: (0361) 970854
Contact Nyoman for help finding
a rental, or driver or getting fresh coconuts daily, a tour local or
island wide, or just about anything. He will take you on his
motorbike for the going rate or go get something for you. A
great guy, helpful, wonderful smile, and honest. Call or email
him for anything you need. Tell him Nancy & Joseph recommended
phone # 081 999 021 295
An excellent health food store in Sanur (they also deliver to Ubud 2
times a week). Contact Hira or Deepok by email for details:
Fair honest and high quality control for organic produce, all with a
SATVIKA BHOGA ORGANIC & HEALTHY PRODUCTS SHOP open daily 8am - 8pm
Jl. Hang Tuah no 9 Sanur, Denpasar
tel. 0361 783 6741 dan 284 055
Complete selection of organic fruit and vegetables. Shop down
from Alchemy Restaurant in Penestanan. Best to stop by or order by phone
#0361 780 1839
Just past the Yoga Barn turn off is Pizza Bagus
(JL Raya Penggosekan) a tasty restaurant serving organic meals and
juices. Next door is a small health food store with unique
items. They are home to the excellent organic market - direct
from the farmers. Saturday 8-2 and across the street,
under the tree on Wed 8-1pm. Support this up and coming
Beji Ayu Spa
Down alley, kittycorner, from the playing field in town.
Good massage with warm showers. 120,000rp #62 361-970796
Moksha Spa - total quiet seclusion and good
massage at a great price. When coming off JL Bisma on
Sunset Lane (Across from Guardian Pharmacy) you come to a T.
Left is Guari's Restaurant; right is Moksha Spa and Villas.
Lane No. 3A Ubud, Jl. Bisma, Ubud, Gianyar,
Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Ubud Bodyworks, 25 Hanoman
Ask for Astri for massage. Relaxing to have a strong massage,
then a sandalwood scrub, hot flower petal bath (175,000r).
Followed by a cup of ginger tea, papaya and tamarind chutney in the
phone ahead: 62 361 975 720
Lotus Lane off of Monkey Forest
# 085237791477 Great relaxing massage amid sacred geometry shop for
only 70,000r/hr) Sister company of the mesmerizing Starship 22
Sacred Geometry store near Gautama
Jl Dewi Sita No 22
Sacred geometry is a pure language that transcends your religion
and cultural beliefs. Transmitting harmonious patterns of
frequency, which resonate with our original human blueprint.
This innate language exists beyond the reach of philosophy, past
belief or disbelief and transcends levels of awareness.
BALINESE SACRED GEOMETRY
When Bali Hindus, plan to erect anything from a small shrine to
an elaborate temple, they first perform a simple geometric
construction on the ground, establishing where east and west
lies and constructing a square from that point. Their final
construction is brought to life with prayers and religious
People experience many different feelings when looking at the
patterns of geometry glasswork and jewelery. There are secrets
behind the ancient symbols, which can be traced way back in
Asian and Egyptian history. Some of the wonderful artisans of
Bali have begun to incorporate these beautiful sacred geometry
designs into their craft.
Visa – Komang Suwini – Bali Budha (2-5 Mon-Fri.) Just
6281338644857 and +6285238100169
Good prices, reliable, must allow 10 full days to extend or renew a
visa. Best for longer stays to get a 2 month visa before
arrival - then you may extend 4 months before leaving. Or get
a 6 month or yearly social visa. Best deal is a one year retirement
(7.5 million p.p.)
visa if appropriate.
Komang works out of Bali Buda
every afternoon. The little extra they charge is worth not
having to go to Denpasar 1-4 times. Only once per year.
Neighbors Tour company
Pt. Gedong Sari Tour & Travel. Although we haven't used this
company it is owned by our neighbor, Wayan and he says he has good
tours phone# 973370
- over 90, sees people once in a while. When seeking a
healer please ask around. A few are great, a lot aren't
Indonesian Jamu is a unique system of
traditional herbal medicine that can be consumed on a daily basis
for both disease prevention and treatment of serious illness.
Jamu: bladder infection: kumis kucing
leaf or beetle nut leaf tea. Turmeric jamu - great for the immune system and even
Kasih Ibu Hospital, has a good
international clinic. In Kuta (200,000 to 300,000 for a half
day return trip by taxi) Alarm center: 361 223 036.
Take the Bus Parwista
down then a taxi or to get home you can take the bus from Jimbaran
then get off at the Batubulan terminal. Local bemos 30,000 per
person shared. By a couple extra seats and go sooner.
Hospital in Denpasar. Dr Wein - good orthopedic surgeon.
Ubud Health Care
Jl Sukma 37
# 0821 8888 2273
trustworthy clinic of a doctors in Ubud. If you call they will
pick you up.
Tirta Usada Homeopathic Clinic - At the
Ibah Hotel right before the bridge.
Tjok Gede - Prince of Ubud, great, talented homeopath.
Sayan Aesthetic Institute
In the Mansion Resort
+62 361 972 648
Great, careful dentist. Prices a little higher but she
does excellent work.
My favorite Seeds of Life:
Raw, healthy, vegan food and deserts. The best juice in town.
Such friendly helpful staff and the owner, Ben, interesting to talk
to. Try a juice, a raw pizza slice with salad or lasagna and
top it off with a chocolate torte or raspberry cheesecake.
Guilt free. Say Hi to Adi, Ketut, Sari, Wayan and the gang from us!
Just down the street: Warung
Siam for good Thai food
Further down JL Gautama, Soma's, Johnny and staff share
coconuts, juice, salads or entrees with you in a relaxing
courtyard away from the traffic.
Poopies Juice Bar
on Jl Bisma. I think they meant to put Poppies on the sign.
We saw this on a menu - I hope they meant fried crab.
Yoga Barn: (pet name the yogurt
On the circuit for worldwide yoga enthusiasts. Classes $10 but
they have free community classes 5:30-6:30 nightly. They have
peaceful grounds, treatments and a restaurant (with the BEST organic
buffet every Sunday 12-2 70,000r) First go to the free form
dancing from 11-12:30. Lively, pulsing, with a quiet spiritual
wind down. Clear the cobwebs then refuel on the buffet as you
visit with new friends from around the globe! A great Sunday
Another Absolute Must:
Turn right up the hill about 200 meters past Cafe Lotus on the Main
Road JL Raya in Ubud. Watch for small signs. At turn follow the
small middle path which leads out into the rice fields. The
800 meter walk through the lush green fields is spectacular.
Arriving at the open air restaurant you have your choice of fresh
organic entrees and juices from their own farm. A couple good
restaurants have popped up along the path also.
Sugriwa Street - one over from JL Hanuman, great organic food.
Large portions, unique recipes.
Bali Buda: Restaurant and
health food store. Great food and juices - most comprehensive
store in town. Bali Buddha down the Main Road, turn right,
across from the Post Office. Great organic menu and small
bakery and health food store. Another wonderful place to chill
and hang out with like minded people. They deliver.
Down to Earth: A bit more
pricey in the cafe and store but a good selection and may have what
the other stores do not.
Alchemy Restaurant- Penestanan - up the hill from the Bridge, #0361971981 Best
organic salad bar in
town. Only 60,000r
Dewa's Warung -
Unfortunately the foreigners this visit have begun doing at Dewas
what they wouldn't dream of doing back home - smoking like chimneys
right at the large shared tables, right while their table mates are
eating. We gave up and found other smoke free environments.
Too bad - great place.
The best local food in town - friendly family run business.
Fresh tasty food - over 20 vegetarian items. Say hi to Mama
from us!! Try the fern with fresh coconut, rice and tempe with
fresh tomato sauce - or any of the curries. You can eat the
salad here. They have widened their place since 3 years ago.
It's fun to sit at one of 2 large tables with travelers from all
over. One night we Hawaiians were sharing a meal with 2 girls
from Sri Lanka, a couple from Germany, a woman from Australia, 2
girls from Hong Kong, a South African and a man from the Czech
Republic. What more needs saying?
The Elephant Restaurant - great food, spectacular grounds, just
past the bridge on the right side, going out of town .
085 6319 3648 (Kadek also rents vans at a fair price)
Down the path on Sunset Lane off of Jl Bisma. Kadek, Dewi and Gauri
are the young family who offer tasty food at a good price. Even
when I was cooking we would stop by there for coconuts on our
nightly walk through the rice fields.
We attended Kadek and
Dewi's wedding, met new baby Gauri, and then the blessing (Ula ping) of their newly
renovated Restaurant. It's fun to return to a place and
Places to check out:
Champuan Ridge!!!. Get a taxi to the top of the hiking road
from town) Total hiking time down about half an hour but
take your time, enjoy the view, stop for a coconut, have a
lunch, check out the temple at the bottom.
Monkey Forest Sanctuary: a
must see. Those monkeys are real characters.
30,000 r p.p.
Long ago on a remote hillside, between the mountain and the sea, in
lived a small village of people who loved Nature. They
considered all the wild animals and plants to be their friends.
With few people the tigers and other animals lived side by side
in peace with the villagers. The 40 hectare park tries to
relive this legend. About $40 p.p. so pricey but it was
amazingly impressive considering how far from Africa it is!
When the taxi drivers or dance
performance touts ask you to buy while walking down the
street, just say: "Suda" - already They seem satisfied without