Indonesia Expat

Magical Massage Under the Moonlight

Intan Tanjung visits the Hotel Tugu Bali in Canggu to experience their renowned Purnama and Tilem Massage at Waroeng Djamu Spa.

I am sitting in a quaint wooden chair and the scent of burning incense suddenly hits my senses. Kadek Muriadi appears from behind the flowing curtains that decorate the spacious, traditional wooden joglo that is the lobby of Hotel Tugu Bali. In her hand, she carries a tray of incense, flowers for offering and an empty clay bowl.

I’m here to experience the unique Purnama and Tilem Massage at Waroeng Djamu Spa, and Kadek will assist me.

“There are two blessing rituals to follow before the massage,” says Kadek as we walk past the lush hotel landscape to Batu Bolong Beach. “It will purify your spirit and balance your inner peace during and after the massage.”

Hotel Tugu Bali recently introduced Purnama and Tilem Massage, along with other authentic wellbeing treatments in Waroeng Djamu Spa. Together with Hening Svarga Spa at Hotel Tugu Lombok, Waroeng Djamu Spa aims to combine forgotten, romantic traditional tales with the essence of Balinese and Javanese spiritual and physical healing arts, to bring forth total relaxation that balances mind, body and spirit.

The Purnama (full moon) and Tilem (new moon) massage, which is inspired from the Balinese full moon and new moon ceremonies, combines a unique blend of sacred ritual and beauty heritage, and is only available during these two moons.

During these moons, purification ceremonies are arranged to wash away sins, and celebrate Rwa Binneda – the two energies of life, the good and evil, darkness and brightness. In the ceremonies, the Balinese worship the Goddess Sang Hyang Chandra for Purnama, and pray to God Sang Hyang Surya for Tilem.

Kadek takes me to Batu Bolong beach where the first blessing ritual will take place. As we arrive, the sun sits slightly above the horizon, colouring the sky with amazing shades of orange that give it a mystical look. On the black, sandy beach, she prays to ask for a blessing from the guardian of the sea and asks me to clean my feet with the rolling waves before starting our massage ritual.

I am led to a semi-outdoor pavilion of Waroeng Djamoe Spa that boasts an exotic touch of wood and bamboo. This pavilion, which is located just a stone’s throw from the beach, is decorated with antique wooden furniture and balanced with the presence of a mosaic, turquoise tub.

Kadek starts massaging me with soft movements, and gradually gives more pressure. Her hands are busy dancing in circular motions, playing with strong strokes and strikes, but softening up at the end of the massage. Using her wrists, elbows and knuckles, she tries to bring the majestic energy of the full moon to my inner being.

The scent of frangipani oil on my body evokes my senses; my mind is suddenly at ease. Frangipani is one of the most important flowers in Balinese beliefs. Its powerful scent and white, elegant look make this flower a symbol of purity, a sacred offering that is always present in every Balinese ceremony.

I bathe in the warm, foamy water filled with floating frangipani flowers. The sky has turned black, and darkness arrives. Around the tub, several candles are lit to add a magical feeling. Balinese people believe that bathing in water perfumed by the fragrant petals of the frangipani flower under the light of the full moon will wash away impurities. In the background, the glorious sounds of the ocean and the chirping of birds heading home give a sense of tranquility; I feel one with nature.

Ending the experience is the last blessing ceremony. I stand up in front of a shrine, receiving splashes of holy water from a priest who later prays to Sang Hyang Chandra. She asks the god to protect me from the bad energy that may disturb me on my way home.

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