Nyepi Monsters

I tempt explosive energy . . . serpents, devils, evil.

Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, Ogoh-ogoh figure, demon monster, Nyepi ceremony

Today is the night before Nyepi (“nippy” for the uninitiated) on the exotic isle Bali.

At this very moment a godawful torrential downpour has unleashed awesome domination over my Bali Lotus Villa, which lies not far from the otherwise serene village of Ubud. Nyepi has descended with vengeance this year. I sit here inundated as the night’s torrent lashes nearby palm fronds and coconuts fall . . . thud . . . unable to maintain grip.

Yes, I’m wet and overly fearful of what lies in wait.

Animistic Balinese gods have announced their prowess . . . or so it seems.

Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, Ogoh-ogoh figure, demon monster, Nyepi ceremony

Nyepi is an annual event when evil spirits fly above Bali to test wayward souls. It’s a day when the island falls totally silent. No one is allowed on the streets. No flight lands on this heavenly isle of four million souls. I kid you not. Lights light not this night for the devout.

If evil spirits spot no movement . . . they bypass Bali . . . otherwise they attack.

Google “Nyepi'” if you doubt my words.

Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, Ogoh-ogoh figure, demon monster, Nyepi ceremony

Locals remain fearful. Extreme tourism grinds to a dead halt. The Balinese shutter their windows on this diabolical day. Blackness prevails and Nyepi monsters rule the night.

Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, Ogoh-ogoh figure, demon monster, Nyepi ceremony

I gift you my photos captured at great peril on this eve before Nyepi.

Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, Ogoh-ogoh figure, demon monster, Nyepi ceremony

Sleep tight.

Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, Ogoh-ogoh figure, demon monster, Nyepi ceremony with male youths in parade

Zesty youths gladly test their manliness toting bestial replicas in defiance and challenge.

Don’t be put off by the swastika. This emblem of Sanskrit origin dates back to the Bronze Age long before the Holocaust. It’s an ancient symbol seen in the art of Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Celts, Native Americans and Persians including Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and the Balinese. Its right-hand, clockwise orientation represents the sun and the Hindu god Vishnu.

The Nazi symbol possessed adverse orientation and an infinitely reversed implication.

Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, Ogoh-ogoh demon monster, Nyepi ceremony

“Ogoh-ogoh” represent demonic spirits. These fiercely potent ogres of the night are made of bamboo and paper and symbolize malevolent omens . . . demons to ward off demons. Such objet d’art scare off evil spirits that ruthlessly ply the skies above Bali daring doubters.

Those who wander the streets on this day of silence risk death . . . as legend goes. Nevertheless, youthful Balinese males remain brawny and brave and virile on the night preceding Nyepi despite risky exposure to their manhood . . . or so most locals attest.

Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, Ogoh-ogoh demon monster, Nyepi ceremony

One defies Nyepi at great peril.

The next day is the Balinese New Year . . . if one lives through the night’s attack intact.

Glen Allison

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to keep abreast of my tribal adventures.

Instagram
facebook twitter linkedin stumbleupon addthis

Share with your friends.

Comments

  1. says

    I believe what you published made a ton of sense.
    However, what about this? what if you wrote a catchier post
    title? I am not suggesting your content is not good, however what if you added a headline to
    maybe grab people’s attention? I mean Nyepi Monsters | Glen Allison | Visual Artist is a little vanilla. You could peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create article titles to grab people
    interested. You might try adding a video or a related picture or two to grab readers excited about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it would make your blog a little bit more interesting.

  2. Kenneth Walters says

    I have read and thoroughly enjoyed both your interview with John Lund and your ASMP 2012 interview and am enthralled with the life you have constructed and the sense of humor you have about the world and how it is perceived by the majority. I look forward to all of your posts. Have a great day, Glenn! Sincerely, Kenny Walters