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Barong Trance Dance

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So last night we went through a really powerful experience. I am
Going to do my best to relay this accurately .
Every year the Balinese have almost a new year If you will and it is
Signified by a day at sometime in March called Nyepi. This day is a very holy day in which silence is observed and all normal activities cease. Leading up to Nyepi, the people
Of Padang Bai have their last 'Barong Dance' of the year. This ceremony is one of the key ceremonies of all in Bali. The performance begins at 5 pm and goes untill 8pm. Then there is a 2
Hour break. At 10 pm the ceremony is resumed and continues on untill 5 am the following day. Honza and Claudine brought us to the first part of the ceremony in which we had to cover all shoulders and wear sarongs around the waist in respect like many dances you may attend. But this one was quite different from the other dances I have seen in Ubud. Most people were wearing white, women wear flowers in their hair, and there are many rules to observe for instance you must sit on your bum the entire ceremony no standing allowed. The ceremony started just like any other Balinese dance with beautiful young Girls and trippy music and continued to men in animated character costumes acting out a story. This particular story is about Barong and Rarong and the battle between forces of good and evil. When we walked in the energy was so high it was crazy. You could feel the intense excitement in the air. Many men there warned us that this ceremony is not aimed for tourists quite like the dancing in Ubud or something but we stayed anyway for we wanted an authentic experience. To make a long story short, the heat and sitting still for three hours ended up being the least intense aspect of our experience. Claudine had mentioned that when she saw this particular dance as a child a chicken was killed and sacrificed at the end, and we knew it was a trance dance , but I didn't quite understand what the trance part of it meant. It was towards the end of our viewing when local people began to fan themselves and then break out into screaming and wailing, that I realized. When this happens the person is being possessed by the evil spirit. There were birds getting their head chopped off and eating the body of that bird is supposed to be one of the ways to get the person out of the trance. Many priests are walking around splashing holy water and are there to help take people out of the trance at the end point.
The energy changed very quickly and none of us were expecting it to get quite so dramatic as there were children everywhere watching this ceremony . When we walked out we saw dozens of Balinese laying in the street with another member of the community consoling them and taking care of them making sure they didn't hurt anyone until they came out of the trance. Many people from my training felt deeply affected by the experience. Seeing so many people not in control of their bodies and all the animal sacrificing and how normal it was to them was pretty crazy. My one friend who was pretty shaken up over it was being asked by all the Balinese if the spirit had gotten into her and saying if it did we had to take care of it right away and give her some arak to drink to cool it off or something. We all left in a totally different energy. I felt a heaviness in my chest. Perhaps we weren't susceptible to being in trance from the evil spirit because we weren't welcoming it in and haven't been watching these ceremonies since age 1. But I did definitely feel different. It almost felt like leaving a rave, really alert and excited but maybe a little scared, watching people stay at the rave with their friends who are one some kind intense drug that maybe you aren't on. It felt pretty crazy.

After some dinner and wine to bring ourselves back, we gathered in Honza and Claudine's villa to discuss the experience . Often times when an experience is super powerful for you it is because it is striking something within you. Possibly awakening a fear or something that is already inside. We answered questions such as what are you afraid of? And tried to look at the ritual without any judgement seeing it for what it is for these people. For them it is a celebration. Going into trance is a good thing I think for their people because it means you let the spirit move through you and out allowing yourself to be cleansed . In a way I think it's almost like yoga, it is a practice that allows for release and emotional break through. As strange as it was it was kind of beautiful to watch this person is trance freaking out and really going through something, and the people in the village just were there for them and made sure they didn't hurt anyone. At home sometimes we put a negative light on feeling, or crying. But it's something we all need to do or we carry those emotions with us every day. The other day I hit my hand during a game of ninja attack lol and my friend MiMi did some Rieki on it and I just cried and released. Maybe not even because it hurt so bad, but because the voice inside my head was rushing to all the worst possible scenarios about my basing and hardstanding going out the window if my hand is hurt. Maybe something just needed to come out Im not sure, but I felt so much better after. And rather than people thinking it was weird I was crying or dramatic or being freaked out, I had Dan rubbing my shoulders And John holding my hand and everyone just being there holding space for me.
I know for one when I have a student cry in yoga class or something, I feel so incredibly special that I was able to stimulate that release. I feel grateful and touched for the environment I have created. And I know many people after having that experience would just be like woah and drink all nightand not go into how it made them feel. So to have this deep candle lit talk was just so beautiful. And brought me back once again to what a sacred safe space I am in with these people. I feel that Acro yoga stimulates a space of communication, trust, and there fore creates a community. Sometimes we get stuck on our own Matt, closed off behind walls . Instead allow yourself to break them down, allow yourself to break down. Because every break
down, leads to a break through.


Posted by rachaelob 18:29 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia travel dance yoga wanderlust trance barong

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