ELEVEN DEMONS - Introduction

Eleven Demons

Secrets of Deincarnation in Bali







GUNUNG AGUNG EXPLODED WHEN I WAS ELEVEN YEARS OLD. That was the first time I ever heard of Bali. I knew about it because I read an article in the National Geographic Magazine, issue of September 1963, Bali’s Sacred Mountain Blows Its Top.

Geologists explained the eruption as the result of a weak spot on the earth’s crust where the Eurasian Plate rides over the Pacific Plate and forces it down into the magma of the subduction zone. I later discovered that the Balinese felt plate tectonics to be only the proximate cause, while the evils done by men and women were the deeper reason. After twenty years of living in Bali I can understand their point.

But at the time I felt geology explained it well. I was in seventh grade and living with my parents, my sister, two brothers, and our dog in Los Angeles, on the North American Plate, on the eastern edge of the Ring of Fire, floating west over the magma towards Indonesia at five centimeters per year.

I found the article in National Geographic fascinating. Balinese had long considered the volcano dormant, I read, but on the morning of 17 March 1963, at the height of a ritual known as Eka Dasa Rudra, while worshippers thronged the Besakih mother temple high on the mountain slopes, Gunung Agung awoke. Hindu priests called to the Gods for protection, reluctant to abandon such an important ceremony, and although the Besakih temple itself was spared, a lahar in the nearby town of Karangasem killed 1,500 villagers. The account of the eruption was horrifying, and for an eleven-year-old, wonderful, and I reread it several times...