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When we arrive, the
high priestess is about to begin her mid-day prayers, and graciously invites us
to meditate while we wait. Afterward she will do the water purification
ceremony for us. We sit and meditate with eyes open so we can see her
Hindu-Buddhist rituals -- holding a vajra, ringing a bell, flicking water and
flowers into the air, chanting for 30 or 40 minutes. We are entranced.
She turns toward us
with a radiant smile, motions us over and explains: we will be completely wet with
water and afterward we will change into dry clothes. Of course, we didn't know,
so brought none. When my turn comes, I step up to the high platform where she sits. Her young niece fills many
water bowls. Ida Resi Alit asks me to pray. I put my hands in front of my heart and
bow my head.
The water begins to cascade
over me. I tilt my head down to avoid breathing water. Rushing water surges over me. She tells me to wipe my head. I brush the water through my hair many
times, feel tension release, yield to water, then raise my hands high above my
Drink, she says, and
I cup my hands right over left and drank the sacred water she offers three
She invites me to pray. I hold my hands near my forehead Balinese
style and feel an expansive wholeness words cannot describe.
On my next visit, two
European women come along with me and my friend Yolanda from Mexico. This time,
many Balinese families are there also.
Many people respond
strongly, with motion, cries, and laughter releasing as the water pours over them. Ida
Resi gives instructions to help move the energy: stamp your feet,
breathe deeply, pull the energy up into your heart.
There we are—Balinese,
Mexican, Belgian, Hungarian, Romanian, American, and British all drinking in the ineffable healing transmitted in Ida Resi
Alit’s own star language, the mother tongue we all share.
Of all my journeys in
Bali, all the ceremonies that raise my spirit and awareness, these water
purification ceremonies are the ones that touch me most deeply because they affirm the
sacredness of water.
Through all our water woes and water wars, this is the reason we
struggle and fight—because water IS sacred. Most of us have forgotten,
but some still remember and offer water blessings to anyone who appears at her
these three ceremonies,
am moved to make a vow:
learn more about healing water
balance all I’ve learned about water ills.
(my Indonesian name)
You can enjoy my documentary "Sacred Waters of Bali" at
From "A Little Book on Ida Resi Alit:" Ida Panditha
Mpu Budha Mahaseri Alit Parama Daksa, also known as Ida Resi Alit, was born I
Komang Widiantri on March 14, 1986, in a small farming village in the central
highlands of Bali. She lived as an ordinary girl for the first twenty years of
her life. At the age of 20, due to external events, she fell into a deep
depression. Ida Resi Alit’s uncle, a village Mangku, concerned for her well
being, introduced her to meditation and yoga to soothe her. As she started
practicing, the girl who had no previous spiritual training or deep desire,
began to have out of body experiences and download information during her
practice. She was instructed to perform a special ceremony, the meaning of
which she did not understand. At the ceremony she fell into deep
unconsciousness. She stopped breathing and her pulse was gone. Her family
wailed, crying and reacting hysterically, scared that she had died. Ida Resi
Alit has no memory of this time. At 2am she started to regain consciousness, to
be able to blink but not to talk. Then she saw a laser, like a bolt of
lightning in the sky, and found herself able to fully return to her body. She
slept until the afternoon and when she had awakened spiritually. She was able
to recite mantras she had never been taught. High priests were called in to
confirm this. Not only were the mantras valid, she knew many more that the
priests had not yet learned. Soon after she was ordained by the highest
authority, the Hindu Dharma Council, and she became Bali’s youngest and only
female High Priestess.
Another article about her:
We enter the beauty of Bali without a word, witness the
connection to water that transcends the practical. Water is sacred in Bali, not
taken for granted. It graces every offering and ceremony, purifies each prayer.
Sensual, poetic rhythms and images layered with music, chanting and natural
sounds reveal rich Bali Hindu traditions that endure amidst modernity.
Deep interconnections with each
other, nature and the gods are expressed in a cremation ceremony, water
purification ritual, new year water blessing for sacred statues and daily life.