Last week Made and myself have been chasing ancestral temples around the Island of The Gods here in Bali.
We climbed a mountain (1,175 metres above sea level) trekked, prayed, were blessed, swam, laughed and loved.
Made’s thirst for seeking the ancient Balinese Hindu ancestral traditions have blown my mind.
My new book about Bali will be a real eye opener, even for the Balinese.
The journey turned out to be a spellbinding spiritual quest, at one point we arrived at an ancient temple on the top of a mountain and I was left alone while Made went searching for a priest to unlock the gate.
I couldn’t help but recall the first time I encountered spirits when I was only twelve years old.
Something very strange and unnerving happened on that summer holiday. It was a rainy afternoon and one of my cousins announced it was time to play a game. There were five of my cousins of various ages huddled around the small caravan table. As my cousin placed the strange-looking board on the table, I began to feel anxious. I couldn’t explain the feeling; however, I felt an overwhelming sense of fear.
The ouija board was shouting at me. The board consisted of marked letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, the words ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘goodbye’. My cousin Eric picked up an empty glass placed it on the table and instructed us all to hold hands. He then picked up the empty glass and asked the spirits to fill the glass. It was at this point that I felt like letting go and running as fast as I could.
I was horrified, terrified and overwhelmed with a sense of dread. Just as I was about to run, Eric instructed us to place our forefinger on the glass. At that moment the glass started moving violently towards the letters. I couldn’t believe the force with which the glass was moving. I couldn’t believe how my arm had no control of its own; my finger felt glued to the glass.
Eric was surprised as he had used the board previously and had never seen this happen before. He was also frightened. When he finally spoke, he asked the board a simple question, ‘Is someone there?’
The glass moved with a force of its own violently to the word ‘yes’.
I knew at that moment, as I knew I was breathing, that there was a spirit in the glass. I also knew that it felt completely wrong. We carried on during the next hour asking questions of the ouija board. The entire time, I felt an overwhelming dread. This was my first encounter with a dark spirit, a frightening introduction to the world of spirits.
I felt so scared that night that I confided to Mum what had happened. She was horrified and told me never to play the game again as it was very dangerous. When I pressed her for an explanation, Mum didn’t answer my question, she just danced her words in a confusing manner.
Later, I overheard a conversation Mum had with her best friend Aunty Pen on the pay phone near the camp kiosk. Mum explained how upset she was about the incident with the ouija board and how surprised she was that my aunt and uncle had allowed their children access to such a dangerous game.
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