Traditional Balinese Healer – Balian

When someone experiences misfortunes in their life, whether illness, accidents, losing something valuable, and other unfortunate incidents; Balinese believe if the related person was in a state of disharmony with his/ her surroundings as the result of inappropriate things that have been committed. Even though in modern days, many people still believe in the power of healer/ shaman or they used to be called “Balian”.

Many balians earn their power by performing many studies in esoteric subjects, and some of them simply were chosen. We were very fortunate to have an experience meeting with the youngest healer who was voluntarily telling the story about himself. His journey as a healer was started with such an unpleasant history when he was a child and suffered un-detected sickness by the doctor. His body was suddenly got paralyzed, and after all the medications, there’s no sign of recovery. After consulting with multiple traditional healers in villages, they were all telling the same thing; the kid must become a healer if he wants to be healthy again. After a few processions, his body finally functioned well; this occurred right after he declared to dedicate his life as a healer and spiritual practitioner. This gift was believed to be handed down by one of his ancestors.

There are many varieties of Balian based on their gift or specializing subjects, here are some of them:

  1. Balian tulang is a healer specializing in fixing or setting up broken bones. “Tulang” in Bahasa Indonesia means bone. Instead of going to some operation procedures, some Balinese prefer going to Balian tulang if their family/ friends have some problems with their bones. This option is considered much cheaper than medical procedures, and many cases were reported was magically healed after a series of therapies given by Balian tulang.
  2. Balian manak is a woman with midwife capabilities in charge of helping other women during the process of delivering the babies (manak in Bali means “ to give birth”). In secluded villages where no hospital or clinic exists, the presence of Balian manak is significant. Even though there are pros and cons regarding the sanitary and standard procedure, many babies were born well and healthy with the help of Balian manak. Some programs from the government are also given to educate Balian manak in improving their service.
  3. Balian tenung is a Balian who specialize in reading the future or the past and prophesying. However, Balian tenung are usually also helping people to locate a lost object and revealing a crime identity.
  4. Balian terang is in charge of handling the rain (rain handler). Bali is one of a kind place with hundreds of events every week, weddings, ceremonies, and parties. It won’t be very stressful when the event is held during the dry season, but in the rainy season, this can be another story. Some Balian terang even provides a guarantee to keep the venue dry throughout the sessions.
  5. Balian usada is the one who can cure and heal the sick. They usually have many collections of lontars (Balinese inscriptions on palm leaves describing the natural medicines and therapies to be done toward the patients. Their house compounds also typically have a unique garden and grow many types of medicinal herbs. As the cure balian will pick some ingredients from the garden and process them to become potion called “Loloh” or it can also be turned into a mashed thick paste “Baboreh” to be smeared over the body part that has a problem. If the balian doesn’t have particular ingredients needed for medicine, he usually will prescribe the patient to buy the ingredients in the traditional market.
  6. Balian paica is similar to balian usada, but instead of using natural ingredients as the medicine, they are using sacred family relics that have been passed down from generation to generation. The patient needs to carry specific offerings for the ritual as the mandatory rules, before the healer starts chanting mantras and prayers, including using his family relics.
  7. Balian apun/ balian urat is the healer who will be able to help anyone who has a problem within their internal organ. Fixing crooked body parts, removing lumps and other obstructions, so that blood and other vital fluids flows well within blood vessels.
  8. Balian kebal is specialized in providing magical charms or spells to protect anyone from spiritual attack or being bulletproof and sharp weapon proof.
  9. Balian taksu is also known as the spirit medium. For those who want to communicate with the family or relatives who just passed away, balian taksu will be able to help you by inviting the spirits to come into his/ her body so that you can communicate with the expected soul, while the balian is in trance session.

However, under some specific circumstances where a patient is not in a severe condition, they will have a bigger chance to recover. But for those in emergency condition consulting proper medical services is very recommended.

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