Mama Temple

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I feel torn still where to be although Bali is embracing me tightly. Listen deeply Eve, listen.

The daughter-in-law of the queen invites me to go with her to a purification ceremony at Pura Besakih, the mother temple, in the evening. Pura Besakih is the largest and most holy in Bali and is located on the slopes of Mount Agung volcano, standing proudly as the highest point on the island. There is ceremony constantly it seems, it never ends. Sign me up!

In light of the Bali spirit festival there is also an event entitled “Yoga for love”, raising funds for HIV, and for the promotion of the opening of a new studio called Radiantly Alive. Live kirtan with a harp and flute plays lightly in the background as we practice an intense asana class in a freshly opened restaurant. The space itself is modern Balinese with the most amazing toilets that have full length windows in each stall to view the ample greenery that surrounds the building. I pee twice just to experience the potty pleasure although one still cannot flush paper down the loo. I wonder if I will ever experience such action again for the last four months have included poor sewer system locations only. It is best it seems to avoid using paper at all, the spray washer a better choice to protect mama earth. (I regrettably haven’t joined that club yet although I do practice letting yellow mellow…enough to share here).

I run quickly back to my home after class, after chatting with an Aussie woman who I have crossed many times and feel called to speak to. She is a matronly awakened sister and tarot reader, one with frizzy 80s hair and bangs only one who wears a moo-moo can rock. The divine feminine and masculine are reviewed for a bit, she quite critical of most contemporary males. Patience sister, they are coming around albeit slowly. Let’s hug boys tightly and teach them to be connected with their hearts.

I do thank the yoga teacher and owner of the newly forming studio as well and intend to discuss more with him about potential positions later. The studio will include a raw café and healing center around the corner from my homestay. Light shines from his bald crown, his connection to spirit strong. He tells me he has noticed me around town too.

I am dressed in kebaya, a traditional lace top, wrapped tightly around my waist with a satin sash over a sarong skirt and we head off to the mother temple.

We drive through the night mist on the windy Bali roads. At the first point of entry by the gate we do an offering and prayer and then again at the front altar before parking by the side of the enormous compound. The mother temple is a huge complex comprising of twenty-two temples that lay on parallel terraces. The four of us (one priestly guy I jokingly call uncle, another friend, and the daughter-in-law of the queen of Ubud) climb through the ridges and flights of stairs which ascend to different courtyards. It all has distinct meanings and I can barely keep up with the intricacies of service.

The boys carried many bags of heavy weaved boxes filled with flower and sweet offerings (one for each session…seven boxes), numerous packets of incense, large bottles of water with our names written sacredly on the label (for a bath following the conclusion of the evening), tiny orange coconuts used specifically for purification ceremony, and countless other holy goodies.

In front of seven different altars the four of us sit, a flower basket in front of us each for every ceremony as well as three incense sticks. Cleansing begins using the smoke to purify our hands followed by over our entire body, a statement of intention followed, one chooses one flower color for one prayer (blessing the flower in the incense smoke first) and then three flowers for another offering to the gods, and three petals again. Blessed water in silver tins at all the altar tops is sprayed with devotion all over one’s body followed by drinking the water three times from one’s cupped palms, right hand over the left, and then three times cleansing the face and head. More shaking of sacred water all over and then a rice blessing, one swallows three kernels whole and then places some on ones forehead and also over ones throat chakra.  We stopped at specific altars for ancestry, depending on one’s caste. The entire process is quite lengthy yet beautiful, I am told we actually rushed a bit and it is normally longer. We began around 9 pm and I returned home around nearly 5 am very wet but at peace.

The bottle of blessed water is used to cleanse my naked body, drying off naturally before a full night of slumber.

Thank you volcano gods, my ancestors, blessing to all of Bali.

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