As foreigners we understand very little of the inner workings of Balinese religion and tradition, the things that come together to produce the marvellous unique culture that still lives and thrives in Bali. We can but observe and photograph, wondering why, and wondering how, and be amazed at the effort, the dedication, the planning that goes in to ceremonies and processions, weddings and funerals, daily worship and astonishing rituals.

Text by Alistair G. Speirs

As foreigners we understand very little of the inner workings of Balinese religion and tradition, the things that come together to produce the marvellous unique culture that still lives and thrives in Bali.

We can but observe and photograph, wondering why, and wondering how, and be amazed at the effort, the dedication, the planning that goes in to ceremonies and processions, weddings and funerals, daily worship and astonishing rituals.

But there are those that delve beneath the surface and understand and can explain these mysteries to us. Jean Couteau, our regular writer on Bali’s Culture is one of these. He recounts over the following pages some of the charming tales that mix mythology with everyday village life, that is referred to as “Sekala and Niskala”, the seen and the unseen forms of life in Bali.

Interspersed with these are the marvellous photographs of Jill Gocher, taken from her book “Secret Bali – Behind the Tourist Facade” whose observations and recordings of Balinese culture bring these memorable moments to life, and to our pages!

So read and enjoy this section which is just a small taste of a culture that pervades everything in Balinese life, from “where to live” to “how to live”. It is a humbling experience for those who have lost sight of the spiritual side of life in their hurry to achieve the commercial.

Perhaps here in Bali it’s time to rediscover yourself?!

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NOW! BALI

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