Mystery, Myth & Magic

The Caste System in Today’s Bali

Culture | Jul 03, 2020

In Bali there remains a caste system, an import of sorts from India. Whilst this caste system once ruled social strata on the island, modernity has changed and moulded the way it is handled and approached today. Michael’s Predicament Michael has a problem. He is an idealist and, at his little diving business in Tanjung […]

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Don’t Touch My Wife : A Story of Castes and Morals

Culture | Mar 15, 2020

What does a bearded priest have in common with a civet cat? This somewhat cheeky story teaches lessons of faithfulness and morality – because in Bali, morals are best taught through the magic of a good story. People visiting Bali are usually made to believe that there is a caste system and that everyone thus […]

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The Idea of Morality in Balinese Culture

Culture | Feb 22, 2020

Journalist Eric Buvelot and socio-ethnologist Jean Couteau have recorded 20 hours of discussion about changes that have happened in Bali since the 70’s. The conversation was structured and segmented according to many different aspects of Balinese life, mostly from a socio-historical perspective, to trace all the overturning in Balinese mores since 50 years, when modernity […]

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Widow Sacfrifices and other Suicides in Bali

Culture | Jan 25, 2020

It is a mistake to think that only bearded men with gleaming eyes seek ‘paradise’ by blowing themselves up in the middle of a crowd. Like it or not, Bali too has its own traditions of horror-inspired paradise seekers. Let us give it a look. Widows’ Sacrifice The most famous of these traditions relates to […]

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Siwa Ratri, The Ritual Wake For The Longest Night of the Year

Culture | Jan 09, 2020

The longest night of the year is a important ritual moment in the life of the Balinese. In the local lunar-solar Saka calendar, it falls on the 14th panglong lunar day of the seventh (Kapitu) month. Fully dedicated to the cult of Siwa, this night is called the Night of Siwa, or Siwa Ratri. The […]

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Changing Caste and Clan in Bali

Culture | Dec 10, 2019

Traditionally the key element of the Balinese religion is not the Hindu gods, but the ancestors. It is to these ancestors that people address their daily prayers. Whenever sons create a new family in a new location, they set up a new family temple or sanggah. From here, they add successively from generation-to-generation: the sanggah […]

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The Guardian of The Pura Taman Tukad Temple

Culture | Nov 14, 2019

Stuff happens, as people say. No one could have guessed that at first from Ni Nyoman Kerti. Like most other children of the village, she followed her mother’s steps and knew when and where to make offerings. As for the why, the reason was usually given even before she could raise the question: there were […]

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Balinese “Pilgrims” on the Quest for Holy Water

Culture | Nov 01, 2019

Most religions of the world use water and fire as purificatory elements. Water cleans, soothes and fertilises, while fire heats, destroys, and thus cleans too. Water and fire are a part and a parcel of the rituals of religious life and, once in a while, of the political games of men of religion. Bali is […]

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The Dayus: The Brahmin Women of Days Past

Culture | Oct 06, 2019

The girl woke up and lifted her well-balanced shoulders. A watchful look came into her beautiful, Bambi eyes as an elderly woman of 70 or so approached her. “Enough is enough,” said the latter. “You’d better accept your fate! Don’t forget that you are a Dayu and that the choice of your husband is not […]

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The Story of the Origin of Time

Culture | Aug 06, 2019

Bali is an extraordinary place in which, like in ancient Greece and India, there are still stories that can be read as stories, or as philosophical teaching. One of these stories is the Kala Tatwa, the story of the Lord of Time, Batara Kala. The story below is only a slightly edited version of the […]

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