Mystery, Myth & Magic

Salacious Oddities of Balinese Lore

Culture | Jul 25, 2018

“For the Balinese, the village ones I mean, those little touched by modernity and Brahmins’ influence, sex is an obsession. It can at times take a physical form: after all it was pretty common until recently to forcefully kidnap a woman to marry her. The subsequent wedding cleansed the injury. What we now call a […]

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Pan Kaler, Balinese Healer

Culture | Jun 11, 2018

There are in Bali several kinds of traditional healers. The closest to the Western idea of a doctor is the balian usada: his knowledge rests on the control and knowledge of sacred lontar books and on the availability of medicinal herbs he alone knows where to collect and how to concoct. Although the potency of […]

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The Fate of a Piece of Land in Bali

Culture | May 02, 2018

Gung Lingsir, the old prince of Abian Gombal, was now back outside, sitting cross – legged on the verandah of his old pesaren pavilion. He was lost in thoughts. He had had a near call with death, but now, with the fever gone and having lost a few pounds, he could once again run the […]

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Spirits and Gods of the Mountain

Culture | May 01, 2018

One of the main problems when talking about Balinese “religion” is related to the very fact of “defining” it, and beyond, to the fact that by defining it, we frame it in a conceptual framework, we associate to its boundaries that do not exist in the mind of the people involved. The misunderstandings that ensue […]

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The Book Launching of Myth, Magic and Mystery in Bali by Jean Couteau

Mystery, Myth & Magic | Mar 29, 2018

Tuesday, 27 March 2018, was the official book launching of ‘Myth, Magic and Mystery in Bali’, a new book by Jean Couteau, published by PT. Phoenix Communications (owning company of NOW! Bali Magazine).  In the peaceful fishing village turned tourist village of Sanur, in the grounds of Sudamala Suites and Villas, guests enjoyed a full […]

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Cult of the Mountain and Ancestors

Culture | Mar 20, 2018

  Text Jean Couteau with Wayan Westa, Photos by Georges Breguet It all started very simply, the shrills of insect, followed by the frightened shriek of crows and other birds. Then all over the slopes, it was the rumbling down of screaming monkeys. By then, the trembling of the ground had become first a tremor, […]

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The Unfortunate Charm of the Legong Dancer

Culture | Feb 22, 2018

Like everything, wise Balinese men will tell you, even their island too is subjected to the law of the Rwabhinneda, the complementary opposites. Light and Darkness; male and female; good and bad; serious and funny, and so forth. I spend much of my writing time talking about the positive, or funny sides of Balinese culture, […]

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The Balinese Gigolo

Culture | Jan 29, 2018

When he pulled up next to me, riding his big BMW bike, I immediately knew he was a beach boy, a “Kuta cowboy”, as we say here. His long hair was red from too much sun and salt. He was broad-shouldered, darkly handsome and looked straight into your eyes in an almost provocative way, very […]

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Penjor: The Meaning Behind Bali’s Decorative Bamboo Poles

Culture | Dec 16, 2017

The Balinese have a knack for displaying their religious spirit in various visual ways. Their rituals are so beautiful, indeed, that one sometimes wonders whether they are not almost a purposeless waste of beauty? They are actually, as we shall see representations of religious symbols. When Galungan day approaches, beauty comes to Bali in the […]

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Warni: Another Sad Story

Culture | Nov 20, 2017

People sometimes say that quarrelling is the salt and pepper of a couple’s life. Hardly a day goes by in Warni’s life when she does not quarrel with her Sasak man from Lombok (Sasak people are the main ethnic group from the island). They never set any special time for their daily fight: it might […]

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