Monday, October 14, 2019


Full moon tonight - purnama in Indonesian. Gregory is visiting from Aridzona. I thought he should experience a Melukat, purification ceremony. So Katrinka gathered a couple of sarongs and sashes for us and I my udeng headpiece and we walked down to the twin temples in the mangroves by the beach - Pura Pengembak and Pura Dalem. On the way there Gregory commented on how dirty and yucky the mangrove water looked. Outside I stopped a couple about to leave and asked them to help us put our sarongs and sashes on correctly. People are predictably friendly and helpful there. These temples are not impressive. Most temples here aren't. They tend to have few or no statues. There's really no focal point as in most temples and shrines. The main thing they provide is bale or platforms for ceremony or storing things and sitting on during a ceremony and tables and shrines for offerings made of palm leaves with flowers. They're stacked up and lying all over. Gregory said it looked like a bunch of litter and trash but no - it's all offerings.
There's a lot of stuff all over - plastic bags full of stuff people bring. People sitting around waiting, talking, even smoking. A man took my headpiece off and put it back on the right way. We didn't bring offerings so we bought them there. A woman put them together for us. We added some of our money to them - got to have money in them. She carried one and led us to where we waited for the ceremony. This is the fourth time I've done it but it's always a little unclear what's happening. She took our offerings and arranged them with a bunch of others on a table. There isn't one ceremony. People come there all day long and go through it in little groups. We sat on the bale (pronounced bah-leh) and waited. She told us when to go for our turn. We had to enter into a pool with a cement enclosure that was on the side of the mangrove filled with the water Gregory had just called dirty and yucky looking. Before, Katrinka and I have dipped in all the way but Gregory and I could see people before us just sitting in it up to their waist and using their hands to splash it over the rest of their bodies. We exited and stood in front of two stone tanks waiting for a priest who came and dunked buckets of water over us repeatedly. Then to sit on hard brick floor with a lot of gritty sand on it in front of the offerings. The woman who'd helped us gave us a basket with flowers and a nice older man with his family who'd been dunked with us took the lead so we could follow. I forget exactly what to do so that's helpful. There's always someone who does that. Pick up a frangipani flower, put a pettle over each ear, then take a petal or flower holding it up in gasho before the altar three times. A priest comes by sprinkling us with holy salty water then pours a little in hands for us to sip - does that three times then two or three on the head then holds out a trey of uncooked white rice for us to take a little and put on forehead. That's it. We did that at the two ajoining temples except the submersion in mangrove water was just at the first. Had to sit around a little and wait. Then we walked home. Now we have been purified body and soul. Yeah! Gregory says he hopes he doesn't die from the mangrove water.

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