Stopping rain might seem far-fetched in the modern world, but in Bali’s tropical climes, it’s an occupation that has been endorsed for centuries.
With temple ceremonies a weekly occurrence on the island, the services of a pawang hujan (rain stopper) were originally enlisted to prevent downpours from interrupting religious rituals.
Today, the residents of Bali still hold much faith in their all-natural sky clearing method, with a handful of rain stoppers being called upon not only for ceremonies, but also for high-end weddings, international festivals and more.
One of Bali’s most famous weather manipulators, summoned by local celebrity brides-to-be and inspiration-seeking writers alike, is Pak Made Warmana, who was the Director of Housekeeping at Potato Head Beach Club and Katamama.
A much admired figure – as much for his gentle and accommodating nature as for his otherworldly wisdom – Pak Warmana is an island authority on all matters spiritual, from property blessings to troublesome spirits to meteorological interventions.
Over the course of his fifteen-year rain-stopping career, Pak Warmana has performed thousands of rain ceremonies, proudly affirming an overall success rate of 80 percent. Here, he shares some thoughts on his own special techniques to chase the rain away.
What’s the basic principle of rain stopping?
Actually, we don’t really “stop” the rain, it’s more accurate to call us “rain movers”. Through meditation, prayer and the power of the mind, we push the rain away to areas where it’s really needed.
How do you prepare before an event?
I normally combine energy with my wife and one other pemangku (Balinese priest). The day before, we go to the venue, sit down together somewhere quiet and meditate for around 20 minutes. We have to connect and synchronize our minds with the energy in the area.
What do you imagine when you are meditating?
We clear our heads and visualise the next day. Depending on the time when the event will take place, we imagine a clear morning, bright day or beautiful sunset.
Do you ever get the feeling that it’s not going to work?
Sometimes, we find it really hard to concentrate and that’s when there is a problem and we know it may not work. Whether we are successful or not depends on more than just the rain stopper.
What else is important to success?
The energy of the people inside the venue – if they don’t trust in us, or have bad energy, it won’t work.
What about the day of the event?
If the event is at Potato Head, I’m on duty, but my wife fasts so that she can focus all of her energies on keeping the area clear. Just before the event starts, we lay down small offerings with lots of incense, red in colour to symbolize the God Brahma and fire. When lit, these send out heat and smoke into the sky which help to part the clouds.
How many rain stoppers are working in Bali?
There are so many, but most of them are only working in their own area for small Balinese weddings and ceremonies. Our method is different from the usual because we combine my knowledge of Reiki energy with traditional Balinese teachings.
Because we are slightly different, we have lots of people visiting our website and asking for help, even some movie stars from Jakarta!
What if there are other rain stoppers at work elsewhere at the same time?
It happened recently on New Year’s Eve at Potato Head Beach Club! (laughs). A rain stopper in Nusa Dua kept pushing the rain to Potato Head, and we kept moving it back again! We really had to focus to push it back about three or four times, but thankfully it didn’t rain at the Beach Club for longer than five minutes at a time.
In these situations, we communicate internally. We can feel something subconsciously, like a kind of heaviness, or we have difficulty concentrating.
Can you also summon rain to fall?
Sometimes. One time, my father-in-law called me with news of a fire in North Jakarta. There was an oil tank on fire and so he asked me to try and make rain fall in the area. Although the rain shower that came later was small, it still helped.
Any other interesting stories?
I have also done some long distance rain diverting. An old colleague from a hotel in Thailand recently called me to request my help that day because it was pouring with rain and a big wedding was scheduled for 4 pm. We burned incense offerings and meditated together here in Bali. Sure enough, two hours later, he called saying “Thank you! Thank you! Please, keep it up until night!”
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