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  • About:Bali has a long tradition of Bali Usada, also known as Balinese traditional healing. The Balinese live equally in two worlds: the seen or conscious world called sekala, and the unseen or psychic world, called niskala. In traditional Balinese healing, both of these elements need to be addressed in order to truly heal.

  • What to expect:The experience will be very public. The healer may make magic, create fire, use mudras, draw patterns on your body, spit wads of chewed herbs on your skin, apply scented oils, poke you with sharp sticks and/or give you a deep tissue massage or manipulation.

  • Journal:Click here

Day 8, 08/11/11: Discovering Spirit - Bali

We visited the mask maker/dancer Anom this morning. Each of his fine masks were crafted out of wood before being lacquered with 40 coats of paint. As each member of our group donned a mask and stepped into the centre it was like they had become the mask. Whatever expression or energy was carved into the wood became the expression of that person.

I was particularly drawn to a chubby faced smiling mask and every time I put it on the sense of fun radiated both inward and out, it was contagious. There was one mask which looked ill. It had a slightly green tinge and gave the impression of negativity and dis-ease. Shelley bought it to use with clients in a therapeutic setting, she also saw it as a great tool in sub-personality work. What a great idea to get people to put on the mask. To feel what the energy does to their own bodies, how it affects the way they feel about themselves and how it affects the way others feel about them; very powerful.

As we left the heavens once again opened, the universe was providing us with a Melukat of epic proportions.

As we drove to the ashram of the young Priestess the roads filled with water; the only other place I'd experienced flash flooding like this was Mongolia. In the space of minutes the bridges were inundated with a torrent of gushing water.

Meeting the young Priestess was like stepping into a fantasy tale, her beauty and grace indefinable. In front of her I felt a complete novice, a seeker who had come to offer myself, my service and with her guidance I would step into new worlds, cross land and seas, sword at my side.

Here the scene had been set for the hero to partake in the most challenging of quests. At the alter sat the innocent young Priestess, all around her the sky was swirling ever darkening shades of black; forks of lightning sparked from the heavens. I was completely in my element for surely this was the ultimate in initiation settings, and it was real.

In a continuous stream the Priestess delivered mantra and mudra, her sacred bell chiming as it swung, back and forth, back and forth. The conditions were set, the energy ripe and I for one felt more receptive than ever before to heed the call.

As the Oracle spoke her language was exquisite, her dialect was one of the cosmos, the far constellations; the words of Astral.

I sat captivated by her presence. In listening to the sound of her words, watching the instinctual movements of her hands I found myself understanding. I actually felt connected by and connected to her every word.

On so many levels this was the experience I had spent many a day fantasising over as a child. Before me sat the young Oracle, in a split second I was Atrayu, Bastion all at once in the Never Ending Story. Here in this moment time and space no longer existed, here, I felt like I was looking in upon the shining star within; destiny.

Her words like a great masterpiece felt divinely crafted soft and gentle. Her hands moved and danced as she weaved together the threads of the universe. Time, light, stars, galaxies, constellations swirled together as if attached to the very thread with which she spun.

Before my minds' eye I caught glimpse of a connection which superseded all that we know. Here she weaved a cosmological opening to which I felt wholly connected.

The rain fell harder and harder, harder still. It shouted at everything in its way. Lightning sparked from the heavens, the rumbles getting louder and louder, closer and closer. As I looked up the heavy black clouds were swirling, like a time lapse photo heaven and earth, darkness and light, form and formless were realigning.

Dressed only in our sarongs she performed a Melukat. This one was different to the others previously experienced. As she dosed the water her and her great uncle, a rotund warrior type figure recited a series of mantras.

Individually, both had great power but together the essence of yin and yang, power and grace, strength and compassion brought with it a greater depth. The words danced and worked their way into my body.

The minute the waters began to flow and cleanse I struggled to breathe. For a split second it was like I was again trapped in my own body, like I'd painfully receded and shrivelled up; held captive in my own chest cavity.

Fear shook me; I was beginning to gasp for each breath which exasperated my sense of impotence. As she recited the mantra I heard the Oracles' soft words, "use your voice... use your voice..."

Before I could elicit any control, not of course that I was in any position to do so, noise started to be released from my body. Obscurely I started barking; straight up I was howling, yapping like a puppy needing a pee.

On one occasion my ego kicked in and I wondered if this was how a dog with Tourettes felt. The yapping, barking was somehow freeing; in that given moment it actually felt the most natural thing in the world. As my breath surged back into my body, filling my lungs I felt alive. At my side I could hear Ken, "stamp your feet". As I stamped hard the connection with Gaia grew stronger and stronger, it shook my core I could feel the internal channels begin to swing open.

Laughter erupted from me. To my sides I could feel this reciprocated by Ken and Dharma. In front of me both the Oracle and her warrior uncle erupted into a deep hollow laugh that resonated.

As I opened my eyes I was instructed to drink the water being poured into my hands. Like the nectar of a virgin flower a sweet veil coated and soothed my gullet as it moved slowly and purposefully through my body.

What a ceremony, and what an amazing world I have unwittingly stumbled into. Years ago, through a catastrophic period of annihilation I believe I broke down the metaphorical walls and discovered a secret magical world. The more I now open myself and welcome that world the bigger it becomes.

Now, as I stand amongst kindred spirits I appreciate the depth of that connection, I appreciate the level of sacrifice and for the first time I am starting to appreciate the potential of it all. I feel alive and no negative mindset or derogatory word will negate that.

As I stand here, dripping wet the Lao Gong points on my hands are emitting a heat I am not familiar with. For years I have suffered with Reynaud's and in these conditions, namely being wet and cold my hands would usually be bloodless white but here they're on actually on fire.

After drying and changing into a clean sarong we were all seated together in front of the Oracle. With a gentle voice she invited us to close our eyes. As she spoke the words of Astral I felt something make contact with my third eye; it felt physical. Immediately I fell backwards, sinking deeply into the tiles that lay beneath me.

As I lay motionless she began singing, the sound was ecstasy. As the tone danced around my body it felt like a spirit had been set free. Something was looking in on me from above, scoping out each curve and crevasse before entering me viscerally. As it infused into me I could feel the words rise and fall, the wave of sound as it cascaded through my body exploding into breaks, crashing each cell.

Lisa's words from Winnicot rang true, "it's fun hiding but it's a tragedy not to be found". In this moment I felt like I'd been found, like somewhere within 'I' had been discovered.

I have no idea how long this lasted but as I looked around, I saw each one of my fellow travellers rising; it would seem here we had all fallen.

As we bid farewell, both Ken and the Oracle had a strong sense that we would be returning. Oh I hope so; with all my heart I really, really want to see her again.