Tag Archives: Holy

LEGEND OF RATU KIDUL – QUEEN OF THE SOUTHERN SEA OF JAVA

Ratu_Kidul

In the last days I finally found some time to study more about Ratu Kidul, the queen of the Southern Sea of Java. A legend from Indonesia that fascinates me already for over years. Because it’s such a known and ancient legend and there’s many different stories going around about her in Indonesia, I decided to stick to the stories and the place that’s the most familiar to me.

5 years ago I heard about this old mysterious story for the first time during my visit to Parang Tritis, an area on the southern coast of Java in the Bantul Regency, about 30 km south of Yogyakarta. When I arrived at the Hotel Queen of the South – Puri Ratu Kidul for some drinks, we decided to take the big climb down the cliff to walk on the beach.

Before I tried to climb down my friends directly stopped me and checked me if I was not accidentally wearing any green or blue clothing. Kinda surprised I asked them, if that would be a problem? They told me ‘Because otherwise the Queen of the South Sea will get angry and will drag you into the sea and make you serve like her slave!‘ Wow, that kinda shocked me and I instantly wanted to know more about this mysterious lady!

Ratu_Kidul_2

 

Kanjeng Ratu Kidul 

She is a legendary Indonesian female spirit or deity, known as the Queen of the Southern Sea of Java (Indian Ocean or Samudra Kidul south of Java island) in Javanese and Sundanese mythology. The origin of these stories is hard to find but could go back to around the year 1300, more then 700 years ago.

She goes under many names which reflect the diverse stories of her origin in a lot of sagas, legends, myths and traditional folklore. Other names include, Nyai Roro Kidul, Ratu Laut SelatanGusti Kanjeng Ratu Kidul, Kanjeng Ratu Ayu Kencono Sari etc. In this post I stick to the name that I know out of my own experience, Ratu Kidul. 

If she has to be seen as a goddess or more as a ghost depends a bit on religious beliefs. For example in the Islamic society of Indonesia, she’s more seen as a ghost who is immortal. And in Bali they more see her as an appearance of Durga, so in their eyes, she is seen as a goddess. And according to Javanese beliefs, she is also the mythical spiritual consort and protector of the Sultans of Mataram and Yogyakarta, beginning with Senopati and continuing to the present day.

She is often illustrated as a mermaid with a tail as well the lower part of the body of a snake or a fish. They say she claimed to take the soul of any who she wished for. And the local people believe that the Queen often claims lives of fishermen or visitors that bathe on the beach and that she usually prefers handsome young men. Anybody who respects her and brings her offerings she will protect.

 

Parangtritis Beach  & Hotel Queen of the South

Many Javanese people believe that Parang Tritis Beach is the gate of Ratu Kidul’s magical kingdom.

On top of the cliff at the beach, there’s a beautiful 5 star hotel which is named after the Ratu Kidul and which even holds a bungalow, reserved especially for her! You can find the bungalow 033 in the back of the garden, from the porch in the front you directly look at the sea. In the living / dining room there’s a bed with green sheets, under the bed are green sandals. In the corner of the bed, a pot with sand to burn incense sticks. And in front of the bed a dressings table with mirrors and a lot of make up. So Ratu Kidul and one of her lovers could spend the night here.

Room_Ratu_KidulPhoto by an unknown visitor.

 

Ratu_Kidul_1

 

 

Note; I never visited this bungalow myself and I’m not 100% sure if it’s still there due to a big earth quake around 2008 when the hotel was completely destroyed. Last time when I was there (October, 2014) the hotel was completely rebuild and looking beautiful again, but I’m not sure if the bungalow is still there. What I know is that the bungalow is not always open for public, you have to request it if you want to see it (just like the other rooms reserved for Ratu Kidul in Indonesia, like the one in Hotel Samudra at Pelabuhan Ratu) Probably the queen preferred to spend more time at Parang Kusomo at the beach of Parang Tritis. A walled space with 2 stone blocks as thrones. One for the Sultan & one for Ratu Kidul. In that holy place, offerings and prayers are made every day.

Parang_Tristis_1 Parang_Tristis_2

Photo’s made by our friend, Joel Kiel, during our trip to Parang Tritis in October, 2014. 

 

Parang Tritis is just a place that I keep coming back to, where I really love to be and make long walks on the beach. Still a very calm, non-touristic mystical place. I can’t wait to return!

– Lielo

 

 

Share

GODDESS GUAN YIN

Ade_Itameda_1

 

Last week Ade continued to work on this sleeve, this time he added the Goddess on the lower arm called Guan Yin. 

Guan Yin means “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the (human) World”. In Chinese Buddhism, Guan Yin is the same as the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (enlightenment being), the highest form of mercy, compassion, kindness & love. Along with Buddhism, Guan Yin was introduced into China as early as the 1st century AD, and slowly reached Japan on the way from Korea and to the other areas of Southeast Asia. Soon after Buddhism was introduced into the country for the first time around the mid-7th century. 

Guan Yin is very often portrayed as a beautiful woman in long, flowing white robes. In her right hand, she holds a jar containing pure, clear water, while her left hand bears the branch of a willow tree. Sometimes, she is accompanied by either two children or two warriors, while other images show her with a bird or astride a dragon. Some ancient depictions of Guan Yin show her dressed as a young girl holding a fish basket, which has probably contributed to her association with fishermen and the sea in certain coastal areas of China. She protects the distressed and hungry, rescues the unfortunate from danger, and gives comfort and aid wherever it is needed. And different then many other, she puts charity to shame, because she will never ask for donations. She had finally attained enlightenment after struggling with non-things. She was just about to enter heaven to join the other buddha’s when she heard the cries of the poor unsaved souls back on Earth. She felt touched and wanted to help and said that she will never rest until every single soul was brought to the world of Buddha’s. As a ‘holy being’ often called to appear in the most unusual and strange situations, she has the ability to transform into any living thing. In fact she’s better known in India as a male. But she often appears in female form to stay incognito. Guan Yin is without a doubt one of the most beloved deities in both religious and folk beliefs in China. Many believe that Guan Yin is the mother of all mankind, an idea that reminds us of the Virgin Mary.

 

 

Share

THE MYSTERY OF THE CHICKEN CHURCH

Chicken_Church_1

Last week Ade and me made a trip to Yogjakarta, with actually one mission. Find the Chicken Church!

First I was not sure about making this post because something in me didn’t want to reveal the truth about this mysterious building. But because there’s so less information about this church on the internet, I had to share the true story.

A couple of months ago Ade read a status update of a friend on Facebook talking about a mysterious building called the Chicken Church located somewhere on the top of a mountain close to the famous temple the Borobudur in Magelang. I was instantly fascinated and I directly knew ‘We need to go there’. After checking around on the internet and Google earth (I was convinced the church was ‘photo-shopped’ into the map), I realized there was no one who could exactly explain anything about the history or function of the building, neither his age or exact location. I only knew this was certainly not a tourist attraction. I found a blog of someone in Indonesia who visited the church and gave a small explanation about how to go there. We decided to rent a car and see how close we could come.

We followed the given description and found a small gang leading to a even smaller road into a village. After wandering around for a while we realized we needed some help and decided to ask some locals. Easier said then done, because most people who live in small villages like that are elderly people. They live so isolated that they rarely have any visitors. Besides that they are always very happy to help you, but you have to accept and answer fully in Javanese (Very different from Bahasa), mostly in the style of ‘Aaaahhh yes! Here a little bit to the left… And then a little bit up the hill… And then you have to ask someone again…‘ You can imagine that those are not the most clear descriptions, but with a little bit of fantasy you can guess where you have to go. At the end of the road before we would really drive into the middle of nowhere we found a small house. We decided to ask the people if they could tell us the road to the church. They told us we only had to walk up hill for around 10-20 minutes and we would find the church ourselves. Parked the car and started walking. After crossing a very scary bamboo bridge and struggling for half an hour through the jungle we almost wanted to give up, until suddenly in front of us the head of the chicken appeared. I can tell you, it was the most surreal thing I ever saw. A 30 meter long, building in the shape of a chicken. Sadly enough we saw that the building was in a poor shape. The paint was peeled of the walls and the nice stone ornamental windows on the side of the church we’re damaged. The main structure of the church was still ok.

But the panoramic view was unbelievable. The weird thing is that your seeing something so great and that you want to share it, but that you are the only two people there. From the back of the church you could look into the auditorium of the church, that was empty beside some big white pillars. Because there was some sort of hole on the left side of the church, we realized that there had to be a whole floor underneath it. We decided not to enter the building because it simply looked to unsafe. In the ceiling of the church there was a big cross shaped ‘window’. After a while we decided we had to head back to the car before it would turn dark.

When we arrived in the hotel, I could’t get the church out of my head. Because there was such little information available, I needed to know more. The people in the village, told us it was owned by some Chinese business man who wanted to turn it into a hotel or that it served as a Christian Church, no clear explanations.

I decided to try to find any information on the internet and after being lead from one website to another I found that the church was also known as ‘Banyak Angkrem‘, which leaded me to a blog of a guy who was asking himself the same question as me ‘What is this place?‘.

The church turned out to be a dove instead of a chicken. His blog leaded me to an email conversation between a girl and a man who turned out to be the owner and builder of this strange church named Daniel Alamsjah. Finally some answers on all my questions!

Daniel was married to one of the woman in the nearby village in the 90’s, the story goes that one day in 1988 Daniel got a vision of God. God told him that he had to build a church on a hill in the shape of a dove. A place to unite Christians from all around the world. Every day God spoke to him in this vision . Until one day he decided to visit his mother in law who was living in a small village on the foot of the hill Menoreh, called Gombong. Daniel had a strong feeling that he needed to climb this hill, when he arrived on the top of the hill he decided to pray. ‘Was this the hill he saw in his visions?‘ He realized that he would never have enough money to buy this ground and build the church of his vision. He prayed and he prayed for days on top of the hill until he knew that God would help him no matter what. Within 6 months he managed to own 2,5 hectare of the ground on top of the hill and in 1994 he finally started building on his dream project. Due to the economic crisis in Indonesia that time, he run out of money and the sponsors who worked with him on this project him lost interest. In the time that the project came to an end he completed 70% of the church. Until today Daniel still believes that one day he will realize his dream project with the help of God.

What seemed to be a house of some mysterious, occult, society turned out to be a very ambitious, religious project of a man who got a vision of God.

Later I found some information on the internet that in the early days this building, in that time called Bukit Merpati, also served as a rehab clinic for drugs users. In the end, after finding out the true story it didn’t actually change anything about my opinion how surreal and somehow creepy this place was. Certainly something worth visiting when you’re around!


20130509-182235.jpg

Chicken_Church_2

Chicken_Church_4

Chicken_Church_9

Chicken_Church_8

Underneath here you can find a video impression of the church.

 

 

Share

ADE ITAMEDA X OLIVIER

Hanuman_1

Last week a plan that was made years ago was finally executed. Olivier,  a long term friend and fellow tattoo-artist, came with the idea of a collaboration between him and Ade around 3 years ago, when both of the guys where still working in Rock’n Roll Tattoo studio in Jakarta. Because of all the travelling they never found a good moment to work it out. But last week, Olivier came up with a nice sketch of a wayang shadow puppet version of ‘Hanuman‘ pierced by a traditional Indonesian keris. Ade made a couple of adjustments and then it was ready!

 

Share

GANESHA

 

Ganesha_Aida

 

A while ago Ade finished a back-piece on Michelle. To explain the meaning of the Ganesha in one sentence is technically seen impossible. The story behind ‘Lord Ganesh’, the famous Hindu Elephant God, is so complex that there’s not only one way of explaining it.

I will try to tell you a little bit more about this famous religious figure, found mostly in India. Ganesha, also called Ganesh or Ganapanti Tantra is seen as the biggest deity of Hinduism, a deity with a head of a elephant. He is the God of wisdom and knowledge, takes away obstacles in life and he is the protector of travellers. Hindu’s pray to Ganesha before they start something new, like a new job or moving out to a new house. Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is mostly portrayed with and mouse or a rat, named Mushika, as his ‘Vahana’ (vehicle).

When Ganesh was still very young, he wanted to be left alone and preferred to spend his time wandering around by himself. Because of that reason and because of the fact that Shiva had started a war, Shiva never had the opportunity to really get to know his son. After years and years of battle’s Shiva returned to Parvati and Ganesh. When he arrived at the house he saw an intruder. And because he was so incredibly sanguineous he instantly decapitated the intruder. But he didn’t see that the intruder was  actually his own son! He didn’t recognize Ganesh on the first sight because Shiva never really been close to him. Because Shiva felt devastated  he commended his servants to bring him the head of the first creature they would see alive. After a short period of time they returned with the cut-off head of an elephant. Shiva put the head of the elephant on the lifeless body of his son and Ganesha directly rose from the death and entered history as a half-god with the head of an elephant.

There are many different appearances of Ganesh, every time shown with different attributes. In the case of this tattoo, a key (client’s wish), a lotus and a plate with candy. Mostly Ganesha is portrayed with a big, bare belly and a rose-orange skin, a rat sitting next to his feet and off course an elephant head. Sometimes Ganesha has an symbol between his eye’s and trunk which looks like the number ‘3’, similar to the symbol of Om or Aum; the sound of the vibration out of which the universe was created.

Ganesha is also seen as the one who wrote down the Mahabharata (One of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India). And anywhere in India you will find statues of him which they believe will help travellers to make the decision which way they need to go. Ganesha is always symbolizing the start of something, the first impulse.

 

 

Share

TIBETAN ARM PIECE

Ade_Itameda_Tibetan_Symbol

The symbol in the top is named Tram.

Traṃ is the seed syllable of Ratnasambhava.

Share

GORILLA + FOO DOG

Gorilla ornament for Tim.

Observe this regal creature in its natural habitat. Gorillas are vastly sociable, and have intricate methods of communication with each other. Furthermore, there is a great deal of  honor involved with their interactions with each other.

Gorillas are intimately aware of each member within the community. In fact, the responsibility to assist both young and elderly members of the troop (term for a group of gorillas) are shared among all the members of the community. This is a message to us to not pass over our debt to our elders – but be active participants in their final days.

 

Foo dog for Chino, Female version will be added later on other arm.

Foo dog (chinese guardian lion)

They are believed to have powerful mythic protective powers that has traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Pairs of guardian lions are still common decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other structures, with one sitting on each side of the entrance, in China and in other places around the world where the Chinese people have immigrated and settled, especially in local Chinatowns.

Salam budaya. adeitameda


Share