Spirit of Place: Bali

I’ve been to Bali quite a few times in my life due to the beauty I’ve witnessed. Most times there I havent taken images but others have and here are some of my favorite memories.

The stunning sunset view from the Potato Head beach:

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The lush rice fields seen all through rural Bali:

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The active volcano Mount Batur:

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Temple of Death in Monkey Forest:

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This temple was dedicated to Rangda – the witch in Balinese Hinduism  who is the one whom presides over the temple of death which is also known as the destruction temple.  She is shown in the pillars above with big curves, long hair and petruding tongue. Apparently she is a very beautiful woman when she is in a good mood and turns into an ugly bitch when pissed off. This temple was near the end of the complex and was fairly deserted but it resonated with so much power and I felt Hekate there too.

Sari Restaurant Temple overlooking active volcano:

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The shrine above was attached to a restaurant that sat on one of the edges/tops of another volcano across from the active one.  We were so high up the views were spectacular.  There was nothing much else to see this high up except for the farm land on the way up and down the volcano but you could definitely feel the power of the place.

Local village temple:

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This is the first temple we visited in a local village not frequented by tourists at all.  Its their creation temple and in the Balinese Hindu traditions each village has 3 temples.  A creation temple (birth presided over by Brahma) and a protection temple ( to preserve existance/life presided over by Vishnu) which are localed on the NE corner of the village and then a death temple (destruction presided over by Shiva or Rangda) which is located outside the village and also serves as a cemetary as villages have a cremation ceremony once every 15 years due to cost.

Coolman (our driver and guide) was a practising Hindu so he told us in depth about his practice and what the symbolism of certain things meant and answered all my questions.  He was surprised about how much I knew about his faith but I explained that I’d grown up with a Hindu friend  and I’d been to Bali several times before as well as researching the Hindu faith out of curiosity.

The minute we crossed over the thresshold to the temple above Coolman said that we were in a place of power and said that he knew that as his hair stood on his arms and he had goosebumps (its his sign that he is in a liminal place).  My finace and I both felt it as well and it was quite magickal.

After that we ended up having a quite interesting coversation on Kharma and the rest of the day which followed was probably the best tour I’ve done in Bali 😀

All images (C) S. Altman 2011

 

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3 comments on “Spirit of Place: Bali

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