Why should the energy in Bali be special?

Why should the energy in Bali be special?

I have friends who cried when they first landed in Bali – because they were so touched.

The warm and humid tropical air hit me when I arrived at the airport in Denpasar for the first time.  When I entered the airport building I could smell incense sticks already because of the many small pleasant scented daily offerings made by the employees, which I noticed were even at their desks.

I saw many smiling Balinese and was deeply impressed by the beauty of the Balinese women. Later it turned out that I had landed in Bali on the highest Balinese holiday, Galungan, of all days, and so almost all of the ladies were on the streets in festive clothes and make-up, if they were not Muslim.

Arriving in Ubud, I admired the ornate architecture of the traditional compounds and the rice fields that began just behind the buildings that line the streets. I felt richly surrounded by tropical plants, the sounds of nature and the laughter of the Balinese.

But there was more.

Bali has a certain atmosphere

….which makes the island a special place. Even the perceptions on the purely physical level are impressive, but underneath lies a special tranquillity.

This calm and in a way nourishing atmosphere is created by the way people treat each other, and by the way they live consciously with the invisible world . . . the energies.

The villagers who live outside the capital or cities like Ubud, greet each other with a smile coming from the heart, which can be accompanied by a slight raising of the eyebrows that does not necessarily need words. Balinese people quickly connect with other people when others are open to it, and welcome new friends into their circle with a light heart. Food and drink is offered immediately.

When I once visited a friend in her family compound, my flip-flops broke. She gave me a pair saying that they wouldn’t fit her well anyway. Later I found out that she only owned two pairs of flip-flops at and that money is chronically scarce.

In Bali, the energies are almost always in balance in the places where people continue to live in accordance with the Balinese tradition.

Through the daily offerings made in one’s own house, presented with a smile and gratitude to the “higher” and “lower” energies, peace on an energetic level is created. Slightly larger offerings are made on the full moon, new moon and the fortnightly Kajeng Kliwon, which specifically addresses the lower energies.

In addition, there are frequent ceremonies with complex offerings accompanied by the millennia-old prayers, mantras and mudras of the priests and high priests. These ceremonies also create an equilibrium each time they are held, and positively affect the atmosphere

Ceremonies are important

…for the Balinese, but also for the energy of the island itself.

Each ceremony performed has a specific intention and is held in accordance with the Balinese calendar. Each ceremony performed has a specific intention and is held in accordance with the Balinese calendar.  The Balinese year is about 6.5 months long and the calendar provides information about the predominant energies of the day, which is is important so that ceremonies can be performed without disturbing obstacles on the appropriate day.

There are personal ceremonies, each an important part of a Balinese person’s life: a baby’s three-month ceremony, birthday ceremonies held according to the date of their birth in the Balinese calendar, tooth filing, wedding, and cremation. Then there are various inner cleansing ceremonies, those help people on their way through life.

There are also cleansing ceremonies for specific places.

Significant in the Balinese year is Odalan, the temple consecration ceremonies for the three community temples in each village. These are always celebrated on the day of the original temple consecration, corresponding to the church consecration celebrations in Europe.

The highest holidays are Galungan and Kuningan, during which the ancestors and gods are invited to the worldly realms for 12 days, where they are honored, and then bid farewell.

Both the temple consecration ceremony Odalan and the high holiday Galungan require the cooperation of the whole village, and much preparation. Every household and temple prepares the necessary offerings in the weeks before the ceremony. Well known dances are newly practiced, and the gamelan orchestra rehearses on many evenings, clearly audible in the warm evenings and nights throughout the village.

This immense expenditure of time and money is given with gratitude and devotion to “everything that is” or in hinduistic parlance: to the gods. Therefore, it is in fact the devotion of the people that creates the “good energy”.

For those who have trouble understanding that you can feel atmosphere, here is an example. If people often argue in a house and the air feels so thick you can cut it with a knife, the atmosphere feels very different from a house where people treat each other as lovingly as possible and shoulder responsibility together.

There have been several traditions worldwide that respected invisible energies and lived in harmony and balance with them. But this knowledge has been lost in many places, and replaced by new social values that emphasize individual wealth and success – rather than community. One of the few places left where the balance of energies is still collectively ensured is Bali.

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