Bali - Sacred Water

With water becoming an ever scarcer resource, it is increasingly important we acknowledge and respect the liquid which is responsible for life on Earth. On the mystical island of Bali, water is not only a force which shapes the rugged volcanic terrain, it’s an element which plays a sacred role in the many spiritual practices of Balinese Hinduism. In ceremonies celebrating birth, marriage, village festivals and death, the ancient religion incorporates and pays respect to the sacred liquid in almost all its forms. High Priests surrounded by the faint tinkling of bells offer blessings with cascades of holy water from palm fronds, and spirits are released into the afterlife through traditional cremation ceremonies, where elaborate funeral pyres are then set out to sea. A multitude of ancient water temples, cut into the deep crevices of river valleys and perched high on mountain cliffs, offer a space for quiet reflection and meditation. Ancient lakes perched precariously in volcanic calderas above the clouds feed a fractal web of lakes, rives and streams, which flow through the ancient irrigation network of Subaks, flooding tiers of rice paddies before cascading out to the open ocean.The whole island and it’s people flow with the giving qualities of water, offering the rest of the world a glimpse into practices which truly appreciate the force for which we derive life.

A man bows his head as he leaves an offering at the sacred Tirta Emple water temple in central Bali

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Deep in a meditation, a man prays beneath a scared spring in Bali 

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A woman leaves offerings in one of Bali's largest lakes 

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Family members mix water and ashes of a loved one after a cremation ceremony

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Family members bring the ashes of  loved one to be set adrift in a river valley 

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A woman offers blessings to animals during a monthly blessing 

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A priestess blesses moneys in Ubud's monkey forest 

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A woman receives blessings before her wedding 

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A high priest offers blessings during a 

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A small fish is given as an offering during a ceremony

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A man prays to keep the rain away during a village ceremony 

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The brother of the deceased rides atop a funeral pyre as it is carried through a village

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Family members douse the body of a deceased man with water and flowers. They believe his spirit will return to the village in the next birth 

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Young boys play on the remnants of a funeral pyre after it has been set out to sea. After it touches the water, it stops being holy.

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Family members gather around a woman who fell into a deep trance after receiving blessings from a high priest 

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A man receives blessing surrounded by flowers and the chiming of bells 

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Men from a village stand in the ocean during a ritual to protect the village 

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A woman emerging from the ocean after leaving flowers in the water

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