TO BECOME A LEYAK
learned, those possessing a highly trained mystic power,
often become " infected in their heart " and misuse
their knowledge to transform themselves into werewolves
who revel in crime and blood, reverting to the wicked instincts
of demons. They instruct pupils in the secret magic and
become chiefs of legions of Ieyaks.
When I first became interested in magic, my Balinese friends
tried to dissuade me, claiming that unending calamities
would befall me if I persisted. None would admit he knew
anything about how to become a leyak and in general the
subject was delicate as a matter of conversation. Eventually
someone brought me a manuscript for sale, probably stolen,
obviously belonging to the magic lore. The very sight of
it frightened them, and it was with certain difficulty that
I induced my usually skeptical teacher of Balinese to help
me translate the text.
Even he deliberately distorted the order of the syllables
and I had to correct them afterwards, checking and rechecking
individual words. Later on I obtained another palm-leaf
book which was considerably more accessible because it contained
magic of the " right," and from the two I tried
to procure a general crosssection of magic procedures.
process of becoming a leyak is long and arduous and can
only be achieved gradually. First the pupils learn by heart
magic words from the old manuscripts, which, repeated in
rhythmical sequence while in the attitude of meditation,
nglekas, put the student into a state of feverish trance.
This is done while making an offering - cones of steamed
rice dyed in certain specified colours, special structures
of palm-leaf, amounts of old bronze coins, and a sacrificed
chicken of a defined colour.
rites should be performed after midnight in a propitious
place for the transformation. Most frequently named locales
for becoming a werewolf were the cemeteries, the death temple,
the crossroads, the place where two rivers meet (tjampuan)
, where corpses are cremated, in the bale agung, in empty
lots where people have never lived, in the family shrine,
magic spots of any kind.
The pupil achieves communion with the evil deities by degrees,
but before he is successful, he undergoes strange tests
of fortitude: giants appear to him and pretend to chop off
his head with great axes, monstrous snakes will coil around
his body, but he must remain unmoved. Should he laugh if
mice appear from all corners playing on great flutes, the
fruit of his efforts will be lost. The formulas recited
during the early stages of training are simple repetitions
of the standard holy syllables (ong, ang mang, ong, ang
mang) or meaningless words such as: " ong, ngong breng
nengang, ring pang ring pung, sigang sigung, m'ngang m'ngang
bem mengung, djingal djingul, leng her."
Often strange words appear that seem to be onomatopoetic
sounds of the animal one wishes to become, as in the case
of transforming oneself into the monkey Luntung Bengkur,
a favorite of leyak women, the formula for which is: "
AH! hrenh hrang hrung, UH! hek kwek kwek," repeated
So much for the simple leyaks that turn into birds, pigs,
monkeys, snakes, or even tigers. There are more powerful
and dangerous transformations for the later stages of training,
for more defined demons and " rangdas," able to
cause all sorts of supernatural phenomena.
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