A Spiritual Purification

We have been in Ubud for 3 days now, in the centre of Bali. We are staying in a lovely homestay with a local family. An extremely welcoming couple with their relatives (brother, sister, grandfather, nephews…), they make us feel at home every day (Sahadewa House – highly recommend it!).

Yesterday we went for a spiritual journey to Tirta Empul temple. It is a touristic destination but worth the experience of getting body and spirit cleansed from impurities in the temple’s Holy water.

The Temple itself is a special place, from the typical Balinese entrance to the prayers area to the Holy fountains.

Many local still visit the temple for purification, but since the place has also become a touristic destination it is not unusual to see guides offering their services for paid tours at the entrance. We entered the temple with no guide, but once standing by the sources a young man offered to explain the process for a proper purification. His English was far from perfect but we understood when he said “No need pay. If you want to give tip, I am happy. If you don’t want to give tip, I am happy too”.

We dressed with a sarong to enter the holy waters and started our spiritual journey.

Our cleansing started with an offering of Canang Sari, the typical offering you see everywhere in Bali, on the streets and temples, to thank Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (the all in one god). The Canang Sari is made of a leaf material in which are laid 4 different flowers:

  • a white coloured flower that points to the east as a symbol of Iswara (supreme soul)

  • a red coloured flower that points to the south a symbol of Braham (creator of god)

  • a yellow coloured flower that points to the west a symbol of Mahadeva (great god)

  • a blue or green coloured flower that points to the north a symbol of Vishnu (god of protection)

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On top of the offering, we lighted up an incense stick to connect our prayer to the universe. With our Canang Sari in hand, we went to the payers area for a silent meditation. We were ready to be purified.

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The Holy springs of Tirta Empul consists in 3 pools that have different numbers of fountains, each of them has a specific benefit and meaning. The process for each is the same: pray, splash 3 times water on the face, drink 3 times, then plunge the head under the source of water as long as wanted or needed.

We started in the first pool which has 14 fountains that should be visited from left to right for body cleansing. The first 10 are for body purification. Our guide explained “think of bad behaviour you wish to get rid”. So we washed out stress, jealousy, anxiety, negative thoughtsOne behaviour for each fountain.

11 and 12 were skipped as these are sources for the dead. In fountain 13 we purified our sleep by getting rid of nightmares and fountain 14 was to ask for wisdom.

After the first pool, we already felt washed out but we stepped into the second pool that has only 2 fountains. Still repeating the same process from left to right, we cleansed our karma in the first and our soul in the second, in case we would be under a bad spell.

The last and third pool has 7 more fountains as in 7 Chakras: Crown, third eye, throat, heart, solar, sacral, root. Our guide explained that in this pool, if we wanted to purify all Chakras we had to start from bottom to top, in other words from the right end fountain to the left. If most people used only the last fountain to cleanse the crown chakra, we went in for the whole purification. After all, once started why stop? So we meticulously purified every single of our chakras, from bottom to top with the same ritual of pray, splash, drink for each.

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Now I am not going to lie, afraid of repeating the unfortunate Mexico events, I didn’t drink the water every time while Adrien went all in! One sip here and there was enough I hope to get the benefits of the Holy water…

It was a great experience! Refreshing, since the water was pretty cold and intense. We felt drained from all negative energy, pretty relaxed and tired after this ceremony but it was a very good and peaceful feeling.

Of course we tipped our guide for the explanations and advice. Quite a few people went into the pools not knowing what to do or the meaning of the fountains which is a pitty for such a unique experience!

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