Tag Archives: Goddess

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

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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!

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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.

 

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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.

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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

 

 

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TEMPLE GUARDIAN INSPIRED CHEST

 

 

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click on photo’s for a bigger view

We’re already two weeks into the new year, time flies! We started fresh, full of new inspiration & energy!

Ade started working on this great chest piece a week ago. The design is inspired on the chest / neck ornaments of the guardians in front of the temples in Bali. First these statues were placed only in Pura (temples) and Puri (Royal homes), but nowadays they can be found in front of most of the houses in Bali. The statues are usually placed as protectors, on the left and right sides of the gate and have an important symbolism for Balinese people. Sometimes they look alike, but they are not identical. Often the statues are like a mirror image rather than an exact replica. For example if one statue makes a looks to the left, the other would make it to the right. Other statues that you can find surrounding temples and houses in Bali are mostly related to Hindu gods (and statues related to Ramayana and Mahabharata).

 

– Lielo

 

 

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GODDESS GUAN YIN

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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.

 

 

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GANESHA

 

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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.

 

 

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