Mystery, Myth & Magic

The Ins and Outs of Balinese Dogs

Culture | Sep 17, 2018

Have you ever seen a Balinese dog? I am sure you must have. These small, ugly animals are everywhere. They lurk in every corner in groups of four or five, peering at you in defiance with their small beady eyes, their tails jigging in the air. If you are, like myself, a white-skinned Caucasian, they […]

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How Balinese Criticise Those They Love The Most : Their Priest

Culture | Aug 30, 2018

When Westerners think of Balinese priesthood, they are usually awed and, accordingly, embarrassed by “excessive respect”. It must be said that the view of a pedanda priest, lotus-sitting on his platform and jingling his genta bell to call down the gods to the rite he is performing, is highly impressive and calls for spontaneous respect. […]

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Purgatory in Paradise : Where the Sinful Soul Goes

Culture | Jul 25, 2018

“The superiority of purgatory over hell or paradise is that is has a future” – Chateaubriand In these days of religious radicalism, the word paradise most often evokes the 40 virgins attributed to each martyr fallen in the holy war against crusaders, Zionists and other heretics and blasphemers. But considering the news from Syria and […]

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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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