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Meeting the Famous Ketut

How can one go to Bali without visiting the palm reader and medicine man, Ketut Liyer? Ketut was made famous by the book Eat Pray Love and subsequent film starring Julie Roberts. Yes, he is a real person. Eat Pray Love put Ketut, and indeed Bali, on the spiritual tour map.

I’d heard mixed reviews about Ketut from those who have visited him. Some were less than impressed with their readings, which took only a few minutes and said general things like: “You will marry, have children, and divorce.” Still, I was very excited to sit with this famous man of wisdom.

We were told that Ketut is not always able to see people. At 95 years old, his health has good days and bad days. We prayed for a good day, and we were rewarded with a particularly spritely and happy healer. With one tooth in his head and a sun-beaten face, he looks like he’s over a hundred. I surmise that he actually has lost track of his age, so 95 might be a guess. Though clearly his is a face of wisdom.

The sign outside let us know that we were entering his place of healing, which was also his personal home. It was a sprawling set up: a courtyard filled with several buildings and, of course, statues and offerings throughout. There even appeared to be a central “home temple” inside.

I was surprised that I recognized the center from the film. Clearly they had authentically shot everything just the way he had been living and working for many years. In fact, he was seated waiting for us on the veranda, just as he had been in the film.

His energy was beautiful. He smiled big, hearty, real, loving smiles and laughed. He started by reading my face lines (plenty of those to read), then the lines in my palms. He said, “The lines of great influence and success,” a theme that appeared to show up on several areas of my body and even my ears. Who knew! I hoped that he was correct.

Ketut’s son was there to help if any translation was needed. Although Ketut was difficult to understand, his broken English was good enough, and his body language said the rest. He presumed the cameraman, Robert, was my husband and continued to make jokes about how he thought that I must have a lot of energy for my husband. In fact, he said it was in my lines! I think he was just being fun and probably says that to all middle-aged women, who like me, probably blush and smile. He said that he was too old and ugly for me and only had one tooth. True, he lacked teeth, but his face was a beautiful one, full of joy and wisdom.

He asked me to turn as he “read” my back and neck. At this point I felt warm chills down my spine. I knew he was really doing healing work. Of course! He is called a medicine man. I wondered if the “reading” was just light chitchat while he really did a deeper subconscious energy healing for whatever the person actually needs. Anyway, that was my take on it.

I left in bliss, feeling way more energized and floaty than a normal palm reading would give. I wanted to share this energy, this feeling. So with this intention, I went in search of prayer beads that I might bring home. I found them at a market close to the Elephant Cave Temple and healing waters. I was told the prayer beads were the “real deal,” ones made from fruit seeds. They cost a little more than the plain wood beads, but they were well worth it.

Afterward, I decided to return to Ketut. He seemed to know that I would be returning. I asked him if I could have a special blessing for my prayer beads, which I was wearing. He asked me to remove them. He and his son examined them closely, running their fingers over them. “You know, these are sacred prayer beads that we use when we pray to the gods,” he told me. I nodded. He added, “These are very nice, real ones.”

Ketut took the prayer beads in his hands and asked what I wanted them for. I told him, “For my people at home that could not come and for good health and prosperity.” He smiled and began a mantra. The mantra lasted a minute or two and had the most beautiful energy. (My guide later told me that he was speaking in Sanskrit.) He placed the blessed beads over my head, and the energy sent chills down my spine.

I returned a few months later with a spiritual group. We found Ketut in not so good health. He had been out for several weeks and had not seen people at all. He agreed to meet with my group but his son would do the readings while he would attend and run the energy. I explained to my group that the readings were in my opinion superficial that the real purpose was the healing. Ketut sat to the side propped up looking in and out while his son took each client one by one. Ketut says his son has the healing gift and that soon he will be taking over his work. Ketut beckoned me over to sit next to him. He held my hand tight. Then he said something about us being the same. He showed me the lines on my hand and compared them to his, “See!” he said “The same!” Our lines are remarkably similar.

He motioned to my neck “where are the beads you brought for me?” How did he know? In my bag I had brought beads for blessing. He may have not been there completely physically but he was sure there intuitively.

Ketut said next time we come to stay at his place. They were busily making several beautiful spa guess rooms to his compound. His son showed me around, showing off the new infinity pool and spa treatment rooms. The individual guest rooms are set among his lush beautiful gardens and water fountains where he can be found meditating. I thought this would indeed be a beautiful place to stay.

All in all, the visit with Ketut was a once in a lifetime, beautiful experience–one I would not have missed for the world. I thought he is not going to be around much longer but his energy is always going to be there.

I am excited to announce that I just spoke with Ketut’s son. The guest rooms are now ready and we can stay at Ketut’s home and spa!!! Wow.

To join me in Bali at Ketut’s home Nov 10-17 click here

I have a few of the prayer beads left if you want a set click here

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Shaffer Harvey
Shaffer Harvey
18. Okt. 2023

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