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On Magic  

by on Tuesday, 14 August 2007No Comment | 1,356 views

Most Balinese believes that their bodies, like an electric battery, accumulates a magic energy called ‘kesaktian’ that enables them to withstand the attack of evil powers, human or supernatural, that seek constantly to undermine their health. This ‘kesaktian’ is not evenly divided; some people are born with a capacity to store higher charge of magic than others. Balinese believe that women has greater capacity then men, someone who born on a certain day and someone who born with a deformity is believed to have stronger magical power than ordinary human. Some people are believed to be born with stronger magical power inherited from their previous life.

Balinese have a firm belief that ‘kesaktian’ can be trained to produce various magical ability such as changing shape, flying spreading disease, etc, by undergoing ascetical life, meditation and systematic study of the arts of magic (kawisesan). The magic energy (kesaktian) can be used for various purposes, people whose heart are wicked use the magic science to harm their enemies, or satisfy their curiosity on magic by using their neighbors as specimens for their magical experiments.

The normal way to bring out this dormant magical power is to undergo pawintenan ritual – initiation ritual of priests, magicians, dancers, musicians, puppeteers and actors to give them luck, beauty, cleverness, and personal charm that enable them to be successful. A high priest (pedanda) leads the ritual who, after cleansing and purifying the person through incantations and holy water, writes invisible signs over his forehead, eyes, teeth, shoulders, arms, and so forth. Puppeteers, actors and singers of epic poem (kekawin) have magic syllables inscribes on their tongues with honey to make their voices sweet.

Balinese also believe that magical power can also emanate from objects such as Rangda and Barong masks; Kris (keris) dagger other sacred weapon; palm leaves manuscripts (lontar); jewelries; rare magical coins; precious stones; pieces of various rare woods that are believed to be imbued with magical power and parts of rare animals. Places such as temple, graveyard, river, cave and ancient remain are also considered charged with strong magical power, some of them are regarded as magically dangerous.

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