The Quest For a Crown Maker

IMG_0774Another Bali adventure with Mekare!!

Balinese Crowns~  What a glorious site to behold! Most are made of intricately carved leather painted with real gold. Extraordinary and luscious.  For Tara, however, we cannot use leather, so I began the quest to find a crown maker who worked in metal. The search involved friends and family asking friends and family, many motorbike rides through the countryside to other villages, often in rain showers through emerald green rice fields following directions given word of mouth from a friend to a friend to a friend.

The search was full of adventures but after weeks, only crown makers who used leather had been found. And then Oka suddenly suggested we look in the village of Bangli. He had an intuition that someone was there. Bingo. Friends of family confirmed this intuition. So early one bright morning we set off, Budi, Oka, and I. It was priceless.

crownmaker

Budi, the Crown Maker and Oka

After unexpected shop closings, more mysterious Balinese directions, and help from divine guidance we arrived way down a side road at a little shop, in the magical world of the crown maker.

The crowns were amazing. Gleaming gold. The shop was little. Three women were working at a table making the golden attachments that go on wedding crowns and dancer’s crowns that shimmer and shake.  And the man who makes the crowns was so very beautiful.

A fun pow-wow began.  Oka and Budi translating and telling what I needed….. five points, five different color stones. Between the three of us in Balinese, Bahasa Indonesian and pantomime, magic happened. The crown maker brought out his designs and we talked of how to modify them to make them into “Tara Crowns”. It was a wonderful collaboration, full of joy and inspiration and such fun.  I will never forget, after all had been discussed, dear Budi listening intently and writing the list to give to the crownmaker in Bahasa as I stood there envisioning the crowns on the Taras and speaking aloud in English.

#1 ” … this one with red stone in center … Swift Protection, # 2 … this other one with white stone in center…. Creative Wisdom….OH!  I see… #12.. this other one with gold stone in center…  Auspicious Beauty… Yes Yes Yes…. that other one…. that is Irresistible Truth.

Oka came over… took my hand and said….  “This one for the Buddha, Mekare, for Complete white tara crownEnlightenment” Yes! Exactly. We all beamed at each other.

And then, I said, “Budi, I really need to know prices.” Oka and the crown maker spoke. They translated for me.  800,000 Rupiah a piece… around $65 each, much more than was budgeted for crowns. But I beamed at the crown maker who is so kind and lovely.  I said that the crowns are amazing and that I would send this information to the director of the project who was in Brazil and that we would call when I knew what was possible. We all shook hands and bowed. And we took off in the car.

After about 15 minutes, I had the courage to ask… “Are the leather crowns that price?”

No, usually a little cheaper. But depending on the elaborate carving.. some can be more expensive.”  Ok…   the courage to ask more…. I said, “I am confused.  I have to ask you, do Balinese pay that for their crowns? Or is that a price for foreigners?”

Budi looked at me, a bit confused too, and said…. “We don’t buy crowns. We RENT them!”

For Dances and Theater and Weddings and Ceremony, crowns are RENTED.

They are fantastic quality, precious, and honored. And rented.

Nothing cheap. Nothing to only last briefly. But wonderful, beautifully made. Whether in leather or in metal.

As Budi laughed and said… “No one has crowns at home.”

And Oka explained to me, that the crowns are made of Copper, then dipped in Silver, then dipped in Gold.  The alchemy of metals. We had spoken of this a bit in our first long day of Tara teachings. When I had told him of Radiant Health and Copper, he had told me that in Bali the 3 precious metals are Gold / Blood,  Silver/ Lymph, and Copper/Sweat and we had had a wondrous discussion of spirit and health and body and alchemy.

CeleneNow, here we were again. The most precious combination of metals within a crown placed upon the crown of a human being. I was in awe of the power and majesty of this. The activation of the inner sovereign. The glow of enlightened mind. The revelation of the Goddess within. Glorious. Magical.

I immediately wrote Prema in Brazil and told her the story and recommended, if it was at all possible, to have these crowns made for Tara. She did not hesitate. Two days later, she sent me an email saying “Yes!”.  Oka and Budi and I were so happy. We made that call to the crown maker, smiling in joy.

The Blessing of the Crowns

priest and wife

Though he will forever lovingly be “The Crown maker” to me, he is called Jero Mangku. I like that too. Those are names of a priest. And there was something I knew I wanted to ask him when Budi and I returned to Bangli ~  If there was a day during our retreat that was auspicious for a blessing of the crowns!

The Balinese dancers have a special purification ceremony and blessing of their headdresses before they dance.  Similar to the ceremony mask dancers have for their masks.  It is a very profound ceremony. I wanted to offer this ceremony as part of the retreat.  So I asked, and the beloved Crownmaker, Jero Mangku, smiled in deep appreciation. Budi translated. He said he was very happy that such an important act to the Balinese was also important to me. He checked the Balinese calendar (which is a most extraordinary astrological “bible”!)

“Yes, Absolutely. The powerful day of the Dark of the Moon.”

We could do the ceremony sometime between 6 AM and Midnight on Tuesday, June 16th.

I was ecstatic. I then asked a friend, Putra, one of the dearest beings I have ever met, and a priest and puppeteer, which is a most sacred of combinations in Bali, if he would do the ceremony for the Crowns. I knew his energy would be a sublime gift to our group. Was he available?  Yes!

The ceremony is first a purification of the crowns… cleansing them of any astral energies making offeringsaccumulated during their creation, from the process and the environment, etc. Then a blessing of power in which Taksu is invoked to enter the crowns.  When Taksu is invoked into a crown, headdress, or mask, it imbues the object with a potent and precious spiritual power and the dancer is thus empowered when she/he wears it.

We gathered around the complex and extremely beautiful altar. There were tears of wonder in the eyes of those in our group. The flowers and holy water gifted their gifts, Putra chanted the mantras of blessing, and the crowns glowed… and glowed…. and glowed…. brighter and brighter. The wind blew softly. And Taksu entered.

There was no doubt that this ceremony blessed and empowered the exquisite crowns of copper, silver, and gold that the crown maker had so lovingly made.  A set of 22 beautiful crowns made for Tara, that will empower and bless Tara Dancers all around the world, had been born!

Om Tare!!Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 12.12.23 PM