Mystery, Myth & Magic

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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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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Why Are All Balinese Artists?

Culture | Oct 03, 2017

It is a truism to say that all Balinese are artists. Even though many are just villagers, it is a fact that almost all can carve, paint and play music. There are explanations to it. Most go back to the psychology days of anthropology, before World War Two. Such anthropology is criticised nowadays, but for […]

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Banten Jotan: An Offering for Good and Evil

Culture | Sep 22, 2017

The Balinese religion is dominated by “deeds” rather than thought, by orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy. In rituals thus performed, peculiar attention is paid to the offering of food to what are called the witnesses (saksi) of the world: the gods (dewasaksi); the humans (manusasaksi) and the demons (butasaksi). Most tourists have seen, conjured up by […]

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The Story of Gatot, The Javanese Barber in Bali

Culture | Aug 13, 2017

Gatot was really fed up with his job as’ a Kernet (conductor) of a run down Oplet (collective taxi) between the terminals (stations) of Banyuwangi and Pesanggaran, in East Java. Although he could sometimes, on good days, make as much as 40,000 rupiah (about 25.50 US$), he had also noticed that there were ever more […]

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Garuda: The Myth & The Symbol

Culture | Aug 10, 2017

  Garuda, Indonesia’s symbol. Steeped in both legend, mythology and modern symbolism the Garuda bird (be it the God bird of myth or Javan Eagle of modern interpretation) holds an esteemed position in the eyes and hearts of Indonesian citizens. Here, our culture writer Jean Couteau brings us closer to the story of Garuda of ancient […]

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