This blue marble

– and yet it spins

The daily struggle

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Baliofferings-4According to the Balinese, two silent powers constantly struggle for control in the universe: good and evil. Equilibrium requires work, otherwise chaos gains foothold. But equilibrium also means the one cannot exist without the other. As soon as there is light there will be shadows. Good cannot exist without evil. And evil can only be kept away from human living by daily offerings to the spirits and gods.

Every morning right after dawn, the scent of flowers and incense floats around every Balinese house. Little banana leaf boxes are filled with flowers, rice, scatters of coconut shavings, and perhaps a sweetener, a cookie, or a candy. Incense sticks are lit. Each building requires offerings outside every gate, every main door, by the house shrine, and other places where protection is needed.

Baliofferings-1Sometimes bad things happen. Demons must be appeased. Unlike protective spirits who are given beautifully decorated and scented gifts, a demon offering may be rotten fruit rudely thrown to the ground. Sometimes this is enough for the demon to let go of the hold on the family.

As the incense smoke weaves through the village streets, equilibrium is restored and another good day can begin. And the pigeons and the ants get their well-blessed and tasty breakfast.

Baliofferings-2(Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; August 2015)

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