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The Ritual Rebirth of Bali

Bali Pauses to Cleanse Itself of An Evil Visited Upon It.

(11/18/2002) On Friday, November 15th, the entire island of Bali paused in a final act of exorcism, ridding itself of the unspeakable evil visited up it by the cruel and thoughtless people who perversely believed their own political agenda could somehow be advanced by shedding the blood of innocents. Made ritually unclean by the carnage visited on their ancestral lands, the Balinese held ceremonies in every village across the island and a major series of events on the south island attended by thousands.

Similarly, in a remarkable symbol of solidarity, people in New York City gathered at the site of the WTC for a simple Balinese ceremony as did the people of San Francisco at Crissy Field on the Presidio who witnessed a program of Balinese prayers, music, and dance. The international press also reported that Balinese-themed ceremonies were organized in London, Sydney, and Toronto to concide with the Bali ceremonies.

Transacted on the auspicious full moon of November, the Tawur Gentuh held on Bali's Kuta Beach and the Pemarisudha Karipubhaya held at "ground zero" were conducted to restore balance to the Balinese cosmos left badly out of kilter by the terrorist outrage and deemed necessary to ritually release the spirits of those killed to pursue their next level of incarnation.

The beachside ceremonies on Kuta's beach required the ritual slaughter of some 79 animals that had been ritually cleaned and prepared for days before Friday's climatic ceremony. The animals, carefully selected, once sacrificed are believed to have ended their journey as animals in the cosmos, soon to be reincarnated as human beings.

Special prayers offered at the scene of the bombing near the Sari Club for the Pemarisudha Karipubhaya ceremony bade farewell to the souls of the dead, considered by the Balinese to be still dwelling near the site in a state of disembodied confusion. At the exact location of the bomb young pre-pubescent girls performed a haunting Rejang Dewa dance to the accompaniment of prayed chants and gamelan music - all combining to open a door for the departure of the victims' souls.

In keeping with the community's desire to make all events held in honor of the victims of the bombing inclusive, members of all nationalities and religions were encouraged and welcomed to participate in the solemn ceremonies.

51 relatives of the victims of the bombing, ranking Australian officials, foreign dignitaries including the U.S. and U.K. Ambassadors, and members of President Megawati's cabinet also joined in the ceremonies.