A small ceremony… but why? – what’s it for?

They said it would just be a small ceremony (MELASPAS) ‘to get permission for me to sleep in my new home and to connect me with the house, the land and the river’.  Small? – but for me there were LOTS of offerings and MANY rituals.

View of my temples from my balcony

View of my temples from my balcony

The two new temples in my garden (one for the Sacred Volcano, Mount Agung and the Sun and the other one for the land and river spirits that protect the people who stay here) were beautifully decorated – yellow and white and black and white respectively.

Many women brought offerings balanced upon their heads and placed them at strategic points – at the temple, on the roof, the balcony and, of course, at the 4 cardinal points, north, south, east and west around the house.

Just some of the many offerings

Just some of the many offerings

The offerings consisted of fruit, leaves, flowers, rice, cooked chicken, eggs, coconut and ancient coins etc.

The Mangku (holy man) explained what needed to go where and we all went around the house splashing holy water from a coconut wherever we were meant to splash holy water – corners of the house are a particularly good place.

Gonna splash you...

Gonna splash you…

At one point 4 colours (red, black, white and yellow) were dabbed onto each corner pillar of the house followed by a sharp whack of a hammer… the colours came from a little chickens blood, charcoal, chalk and turmeric.

Coconuts were wrapped in cloth which had Mangku’s special hand-drawn symbols and ancient writing in Sanskrit on them.

Sacred cloth

Sacred cloth

The cloth was tied in place by 3 coloured threads, red, black and white (representing the 3 manifestations of Balinese Hindu Gods = Brahma (creator), Vishnu (maintainer) and Shiva (destroyer).

I had a ceremony in front of my temples and watched as many of these offerings were buried in the garden and at the side or back of the temples.

For quite some time we all sat on the floor of the downstairs balcony and I, as usual, found myself entranced by Mangku’s chanting and consistent bell ringing and then one of the women started to chant too.

Small temple on my balcony

Small temple on my balcony

When I had a ceremony upstairs next to my small balcony temple I drank holy water which I can honestly say was the SWEETEST water I have ever tasted or could ever imagine… like nectar.

It was explained that the water was from the volcano but that the reason it tasted so sweet was because of all the mantra’s that the Mangku had chanted into it.

More offerings

More offerings

One other explanation that I was given about this whole ceremony was that… some of the elements that now make up my house, such as wood, which there is a fair bit of, used to be part of a living tree.

A tree is ‘alive’ with a spirit, an aura.  Now the tree has been transformed into ‘wood’ for pillars, doors, window frames etc., but they still have an energy about them, so the ceremony is also about respecting that transformation.

All I can say is THANK YOU to everyone… we slept soundly in my new house on Thursday night and I’m looking forward to welcoming guests to sleep soundly in the downstairs rooms too.  There are some more pics below, meanwhile:

Dayu, Pasek me and Yaniq preparing some offerings

Dayu, Pasek me and Yaniq preparing some offerings

Om shanti, shanti, shanti, Om

Yaniq and I with Steve before the ceremony

Yaniq and I with Steve before the ceremony

Leave a comment


  1. lellet

     /  22/07/2012

    thankyou for this really rich description of the ceremony – i have been to several of these for Balinese friends but nobody has really been able to elaborate on the ‘why’ s- also where is your villa ? i cannot work out how to contact to come and have a look (in Ubud this week)
    blessings – Lelly

  2. Carol Annis-brown

     /  15/07/2012

    Congratulations Julie – you must be so happy to have moved into your beautiful house.
    The blessing ceremony must have been very special. I’m looking forwrd to staying in your new guest rooms. Carol

    • Thanks Carol, yes it was very special… and I’m looking forward to welcoming you and Paulette as my first guests to book the rooms (if not the first to stay here). I had a housewarming party yesterday and will blog about that soon too.

  3. shanemac

     /  01/07/2012

    Congratulations Julie. The house looks beautiful and you all look so happy. There is something about the house blessing that feels so right.
    (And I love your kebaya. You and the kebaya are gorgeous.)

    • Thank you Shane, yes I’m particularly happy with that kebaya – Wayang is woven into the lace which makes it feel extra traditional. Will let you know when I have the housewarming party

  4. Lovely Julie to live in a house so blessed! The rituals and meanings are heartwarming and deeply significant.

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