Visiting a Healer in Bali
| By Madé Surya
For several years it has become the “In Thing” for tourists to pay a visit to a healer during their holiday in Bali. With the release of the film based on the wildly popular book “Eat Pray Love”, the demand has exceeded all boundaries. I have been told that the concierge at all the top hotels in the Ubud area are expected to know directions to the Pengosekan home of Ketut Leyir, the Balian featured in the book.
But how many of these tourists bother to learn even the slightest bit of protocol regarding such a visit, or study even the most cursory Indonesian in order to greet them? I have been asked to translate for visits to Balian by visitors who landed in Bali 2 days prior, and who had no background in Bali-Hindu culture or religion, something the anthropologists and historians have written volumes about. How to put what they are hearing and experiencing into the larger context that it is set?
Basic Facts about Balians
Balinese trade information about Balians with skill and charisma, because we do not believe in anyone who declares himself a “Healer”. There are bogus practitioners, some quite famous.
Most Balians were “chosen”, they did not choose. They came to discover their gifts in the course of trying to heal themselves.
Balians do not advertise, draw attention to themselves, or like to be addressed as Balian. This can invite jealousy and bad feelings.