BALI CULTURE INFORMATION

 

 
 
The Island Of Bali, Indonesia

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THE MAGIC OF THE RIGHT

Against the dreaded pengiwa there is a neutralizing magic used by priests and witch-doctors to protect their clients from Ieyaks, a magic as powerful as that of the witches and consisting of the same elements as the magic of the " left " - formulas (mantra) charms (serana) , and amulets (penawar, sikepan, pergolan, tetulak).

Typical charms are " yellow " coconuts, dadap leaves, onions and salt, flowers, rubbings of gold, rain-water that collects in plants, camphor, a lamp burning perfumed oil, twin bananas and twin coconuts, over which a formula is recited. These amulets are often pictures of monsters and fantastically distorted deities, surrounded with cabalistic symbols, drawn on a piece of new white cloth or on a thin plaque of silver or copper, worn at the waist, hung over the house gate or in front of the rice granary.

The images drawn on these little flags, called tumbal, may represent the weapons (senyata) of the gods, or may be pictures of Batara Kala, Batara Gana, or curious represensations of that intriguing and abstract Balinese divinity Tintiya, known also as Sanghyang Tunggal - the Unthinkable, the Solitary, the Original God. Tintiya appears often in ritual objects in the form of a nude male white figure, bristling with trident-shaped flames emanating from his head, temples, shoulders, elbows, penis, knees, and feet.

His hands are clasped in an attitude of prayer and ]us right foot rests on a fiery wheel, a tjakra. The Tintiyas used as amulets of magic arc fantastically distorted, often in absurd positions, with many heads, or simply Tintiya heads attached to abstract and geometrical shapes. " Rangdas " and monsters of all sorts used as tumbals are aimed to ward off, by sympathetic magic, the ghosts and werewolves that annoy and persecute the Balinese.

The magic formulas of the " right " are most often simple prayers, litanies of names of protective spirits and curses to intimidate and confound the leyaks. The examples here are taken at random from my manuscript of penengen:

". . . you of the wicked heart, your eyes be blinded, your hands be paralysed, your feet be useless."

(Ih, deriya mata malem, lirna langah, batis djodjo.)
. . . The high and learned who understand the formulas watch over my body day and night, in good and in bad, they watch over me so that I shall not die in my dreams, die in health. Do not be afraid." (Ne manusa luwih penguruh merta sandi mantra, ngidjing sai, ring awaku petang lemah, ala-ayu, ane nungg(aku apangeda mati ngipi, rnati ngawag-ngawag, tan kuwasa molah.)

". . . ONG! the Original Word, whose brilliance is like the air that fills the sky, a spell is on my house, a great forest surrounded by tigers. A thousand witches bow down to me meekly and fearfully [because] the amulet given to my enemies by the gods is worn out and spoiled. . . ." (Ong, saremula, sutedjaniya kadi kangin ngibehing akasa, tulah tumpur umahkii alas agung matjan mengiderim, lelo tumpuragung siu leyake membah, sing serana puna.h pegawen sandelung, paweh dewa punah, teka punah. )

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