Visiting the Bali High Priestess for Water Purification – My Own Version of Eat, Pray, Love

Bali high priestessThe High Priestess sat with her legs crossed up on the tall concrete altar, looking serene and in connection with the divine. She asked Karolina, my fellow traveller, and me to come forth – there were at least 10 Balinese also waiting to see the priestess after us. In her accented but eloquent English, she explained that she would be chanting and pouring water on us – we had to allow any emotions to come through: ‘If you want to cry – cry, if you want to scream – scream, don’t hold anything in’. What happened next was beyond normal…

DARING

I had never been to a priestess, healer or even a future teller before. But, here in Bali, I met Grazina, a photographer, who is working on a guidebook about Bali healers. Hearing about her experiences and adventures, I found myself curious and wanting to visit a healer. After all, I am living a sandbox life and adventure, new experiences and courage to live differently are my core values. I dared.

IDA RESI ALIT

We arrived at 10 o’clock in the morning and wrapped sarongs around our waists – legs mustn’t be seen when entering the temple. Wayan, our driver, and a very spiritual man too, told us about the High Priestess: ‘She is the youngest priestess in Bali – only 28. At the age of 20 she suffered from depression and her uncle took her to yoga and meditation classes to relieve the symptoms. She began having out of body experiences and was asked to take part in a sacred ritual, during which she went into coma and woke up with extraordinary powers…’ I suspended my disbelief and decided to enter the temple with an open heart and mind…

PURIFICATION

Bali high priestess
The Priestess continued commanding: ‘Let go, cry, stamp your feet, let go, scream!’

Karolina, my fellow traveller, and I took up our places at the altar. The High Priestess explained how to breathe – in through the nose, out through the mouth – and began chanting. In seconds, her voice was pervading every cell of my body and slowly shutting down my conscious mind: thoughts, time and any perception of reality were rapidly fading… Then, the Priestess began pouring water all over me, instructing: ‘Wash yourself, wash your body’.

I could suddenly feel my feet going numb and the most raw emotions boiling up in my plexus. The pent up energy and negative life experiences were now manifesting as a cancerous cramp in my upper stomach, which was spreading and paralysing the whole of my chest and my fingers. The unbearable weight of the aberrant sensation was so strong that the Priestess, as if very well knowing what I was going through, commanded: ‘Let go, scream, let go, scream, stamp your feet, scream!’ and that was the only thing I could do as she continued pouring the water…

The next five minutes seemed to last for hours. I had so much in me that was latent and ready to leave my body but my conscious mind was now alarmed, preventing me from letting go. I wrestled with it, screaming and breathing heavily. I couldn’t cry – the inner convulsion had my heart in its tight grip. The Priestess continued commanding: ‘Let go, cry, stamp your feet, let go, scream!’ At one point my whole body had gone completely insentient and I had to hold on to the altar – I feared I would lose conciousness and collapse.

Coming to an end, the Priestess took a golden spoon and, gently pouring the water, asked us to drink it. From then on, I could just feel the convulsions and numbness subside and my mind return to normal. Dripping wet, I bowed to the priestess and thanked her. She invited us to change and then join her for meditation.

WHAT HAD HAPPENED…

rice tea
Rice tea at our driver’s home helped us to regain strength.

Through meditation I felt alive and peaceful – some of the residue from life traumas, suffering and pent up emotions had been exorcised. I understood how much I actually hold inside myself, how much I do not say or let myself feel – and all these experiences litter me… In the ritual, I wasn’t able to let out or let go of even half of what I now know is ‘stored’ within me; there is much more work to be done. I certainly do not understand how the priestess did it but I know for sure that the experience was real and healing. She didn’t do anything other than chant and pour water but I was open, if cautious, not consciously trying to achieve a particular effect. However, what I experienced was unprecedented in my life and it certainly had a powerful effect on me…

I continue to courageously travel, face my inner darkness and then move toward light and celebration of life. And I am doing it with a smile, a sense of humour, taking every experience with a pinch of salt – yet wholeheartedly.