A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

The Ubud Handbook « The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

A night scene where leyak, or sorcerers, perform a ritual dance attended by the Queen of the Witches

'The Dance Of The Witches' by I Ketut Budiana of Padangtegal, Ubud, Bali.
Courtesy of the ARMA Foundation.
Photograph by Ubud High.

MAN-BUNS, CAMEL-TOES, hipster beards and Buddha tattoos flood the downtown Ubud scene. Not enlightened yet? Then you're late to the Conscious Party, kid.

'Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it.

Fancy a bit of intense evening groupwork? Sensual/Sexual Playday (Conscious Pleasure With Consent) is definitely your bag, run by a nice foreign gentleman with...

'... 18 years of experience in spirituality, shamanism, energy medicine, relationship coaching and sacred sexual bodywork. Your Keeper of The Sacred Space walks the world sharing his passion and supporting the resurgence of this sacred and ancient temple art upon the planet through workshops, retreats and sexual embodiment sessions.' *
* ($25 for four hours).

Oh, an orgy! I'm there! Oh no. My period ('Moon Blood') just came. Maybe I'll steer clear for a few days. But... wait! Perfect timing for a Red Moon Wavespell Session!

'We begin the light reprieve of the Monkey Wavespell after the intensity of the Serpent and Mirror Wavespells...'

I see. Let me just wash out my Moon Cup. Go on?

'The realization of pure consciousness comes with a willingness to explore all that had been throughout the cycles of evolution, stretching back beyond the presently known, with openness to awakening consciousness...

Oh, I get it now. And how exactly does that work?

'Pure consciousness flows into manifestation through the capacity to kinnect clearly with all beings... Many worlds are bridged in the flow of pure kin-nection, perfecting in the reflection of truth, the pure brilliance of all...'

I'm with you. And then?

'You will be gifted with MAGNETIC Attraction, LUNAR Stabilization, ELECTRIC Activation, SELF-EXISTING Definition with OVERTONE-Empowering, RHYTHMIC-Balancing, RESONANT-Inspiring, GALACTIC-Integrating, SOLAR-Realizing, PLANETARY-Manifesting, SPECTRAL-Releasing, CRYSTAL Co-operating COSMIC Transcendance.'

Got it! On second thoughts, I'm still a bit hurt from my previous incarnations. I think I need to go on a retreat first and Heal And Reveal The Woman Within.

'Deep in the rainforest jungle paradise of Ubud, Bali...'

That would be just off the high street, right?

'... you will work with the modalities of Awakened Human Dynamics and Metaphysical Anatomy. When you shift your Ancestral Patterns – at the cellular level, and beyond that at the level of your DNA – you will find yourself on a POWERFUL and FEMININE path to creating the life of your greatest dreams. What makes this healing workshop so unique is that the changes and transformation that take place are so deep and profound that you can never be the same again!'

Yeah, when I'm paying $2,000 for five days and following it up with a $300-an-hour Skype call. I'd call that pretty life-changing.

You know, I think I'll just be my own Guru. I put together a manifesto after breakfast this morning. What do you think?

'WHO ARE WE?

Where on the great vision quest will we be recreated? We must beckon ourselves and beckon others. The quantum shift of being is now happening worldwide. We must learn how to lead unlimited lives in the face of discontinuity. Eons from now, we seekers will self-actualize like never before as we are aligned by the quantum shift.

We are being called to explore the stratosphere itself as an interface between wisdom and rebirth. Soon there will be an evolving of karma the likes of which the nexus has never seen.' *

* ($4,000 per day.)

Love And Blessings™ to all.

What do you reckon? The only problem is that a New Age Bullshit Generator on the internet made this up. I wonder if I can copyright it? I'm gonna to talk to my lawyer.

Now, just in case you think I'm making all this up, take a gander at this recent Ubud Facebook advert. I reckon even the bullshit generator would blow a motherboard trying to invent this space soup.

'Dear Beloveds,

We come through in this hour from the unified field of consciousness that is the zero point. We come, sent forth on wings of great, great love to deliver a message to those who are gifted with the empathic capabilities to receive these words as activation codes, awakening the pineal center, the pituitary gland, and the higher heart consciousness.

Beloveds, take comfort that this has never been about you and your ego's desire for a relationship. Twin flames are finely tuned servants of the master plan and we affirm to you tonight with perspicacious knowing that indeed this intention for joy-filled twin-flame unions was decreed by God aeons ago, and you all agreed to be instruments to activate and actualize this divine plan.

The cost of this profoundly deep-soul infusion is $300.'

Thanks anyway, but I think I'll just go for an interstellar, cosmic nap instead.

Namaste, Conscious Ones®.

© 2021 John Storey. ↺ and share ↺


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Other Tales of Tourism & Self-Enrichment from The Ubud Handbook

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

I'M SITTING IN Ubud's Black Beach Italian restaurant on Jalan Hanuman waiting for my spaghetti bolognese. A tattooed Australian woman in her thirties – all swinging-tits-in-the-salad and no bra – picks the table in front of me. Her obedient female friend, all frumpy and over-forty and painfully low on self-esteem, takes the opposite chair.

The Tattooed Lady kicks off with a beer...

[ ... » Read on... » ]


From Ubud With Love

I'M STAYING AT A CUTE, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and jepun-flower offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.

All is well in Bali's spiritual capital...

[ ... » Read on... » ]


© 2021 John Storey.
All Rights Reserved.

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The Last Pic

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High

© 2021 Ubud High.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.


The Ubud Handbook

There is no book. There is no e-book. Just what you see here. It's all imaginary. Enjoy.

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your free guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.

Food Talk

Durian ~ The King of Stink

"On the third bite," says one hater, "it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way up..."


Personal Stories

Photo-realistic urban art by an anonymous street artist of a 1930s market scene in Bali, Indonesia

Diary of a Market Girl

"When I had my sixth and seventh babies at the hospital – my twin girls – the doctor ordered me to have a Caesarian. And without asking me, he tied my tubes off as well. I think he thought I'd had enough babies..."


Religion Matters

Balinese-Hindu offerings of rice, money, sweets, holy water and flower petals at Sebatu Springs, Bali, Indonesia

An American Calonarang

'To cut an all-night story short, the mask was donned by a dancer who fell into a deep trance. But instead of staying in the temple, he began to run. And run. He became violent and uncontrollable. He ran for four kilometers down the road – the crowd scrambled after him. He ended up in a cemetery just past my house, and in the dead of night began to do frenzied battle with unseen foes...'

'Kajeng Kliwon' ~ A Very Bad-Hair Day on Bali

'Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen.

It invariably does.'


Culture Bites

1932 Virgins of Bali Thirties' nudie-cutie bare-native film poster 1930s Bali, Indonesia.

Cinema Paradiso

'Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen – in Indonesia, they're its bedrock. The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy film-stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...'


Getting Around ~ Bali 'Biking

Motorbike accident victim being treated for a leg-injury in an Ubud clinic in Bali, Indonesia

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

"For me, some of the most dangerous people on the road are white people. I avoid them like the plague. You can tell the ones who are going to hurt others – the fixed grins, the hunched over the handle-bars, the wobbling around corners and shouts of indignation when they finally hit someone – because they have absolutely no idea how life and the road works around here..."

The Other Side of the Coin

'She starts sweeping and I notice she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened. She's shy; I press...'

It's Silly Season Again

'She tears into the traffic. She can't stop. She narrowly misses hitting a car head-on, swerves past a mum on a 'bike and slaloms across the road. Before she hits anyone – it's a miracle she doesn't – she falls in a bad-sounding heap of bent metal and smashing plastic. A group of Balinese rush to pick her up before the cops see her...'


Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Yoginis bliss out during an outdoor HoopYogini hula-hoop yoga class at the annual Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud, Bali Indonesia

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

'My concentration's shot to pieces. The spaghetti keeps falling off my fork. She's on her third large beer now. She starts to say 'facking' even more, and is speaking so loudly that people passing on the street have begun to look her way, and she's spitting bits of ciabatta bread and tomato and fish into her friend's dinner...'

The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

'Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it...'

From Ubud With Love

I'm staying at a cute, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and flower-petal offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.

All is well in Bali's cultural capital...'

A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

'A Dutch boy in Holland goes to a gypsy fortune-teller who tells him that he is, in fact, Balinese. His uncle then visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.

Lucky for him it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that looks like a cock...'


Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

'Agricultural, and unpractised in the dark art of handling international tourists, the aristocratic farmer-people of Trunyan have acquired a damaging reputation for aggression. Their unique tourist draw – a jungle-cemetery where bodies are left in the open to disintegrate underneath a magical banyan tree – is regularly shunned by travellers on the time-sensitive tourist circuit...'

A Line in the Sand

'Ten meters away and the young man finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his porcelain butt and grimaces towards the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare...'


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And finally, the weather

Fake styrofoam clouds over the main 'Cloud' stage at the 'Plastic-Free Gili Air Music Festival' near Lombok, Indonesia

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