News & Blog | Shaking in Java

Travelogue by Brett Elliott, July 2018

I had come to Java to attend the 100 day commemoration of the accidental motorcar death of a young Javanese woman, a friend of mine.

The winds kept changing about destinations and times. A last minute redirect had me travelling to Yogyakarta, instead of Semarang. This redirect happened to place me on the same flight as the lead shaker for the Ashram in Yogya, a shining light named Selly, who had invited me to stay with her previously.

Ratu hugged me goodbye as I left. His message, “shake with the people of Yogyakarta”.

Brett in BorobudurThe auxiliary mission, still brewing, is to produce the World Cahaya Festival (World Festival of Light) at Prambanan (the famous Borobudur temple complex), truly one of the great wonders of the world, and a UNESCO confirmed, World Heritage site.

Prambanan is a 9th century Hindu complex built of volcanic stone. The central monument is the Siva Mandala, flanked by the Visnu and Brahma mandalas. The Siva Mandala stands 47 metres tall.

Statues Boroobudur

Gaudi-esque from a distance, closer inspection reveals profoundly carved and preserved Hindu reliefs featuring multifarious expressions of the divine, and the essence of their teachings.

There were reminders of Ratu everywhere I went…

The vision of a World Festival of Light had come to me in meditation at the Ashram, and remained with me, somewhat persistently. Despite having never been to Yogyakarta before, I felt called.

Surya Selly and BrettSelly, her husband Suryo and myself chatted at the airport. Before we’d landed, it had already been arranged for me to meet with the Event Manager for Prambanan. We went straight there from the airport. A rare opportunity, I was amazed at how quickly the ‘energy organizes’. The event manager was lovely, and very open to the idea. The project concept continues to evolve…

So the trip to Salatiga for the memorial of my friend didn’t happen. The winds kept changing... local pressures and other externalities made it both easy and reasonable to gracefully decline the invitation.

So here I was, redirected from my personal errand to something entirely different… to, as Ratu impressed upon me, shake with the people of Yogyakarta. I booked my return ticket and committed to maintain the shaking practice and lend support to the people here as able.

Shake group YogyakartaI stayed right beside the Ashram here with my kind hosts Selly and Suryo. Morning and night, this beautiful community comes together to connect with Ratu, to connect with the energy, work on their ‘stuff’, and shake. Most nights they stay for at least an hour after the shake with plenty to talk and joke about.

They are good shakers. They are committed, shake hard, and stay fixed in their love and devotion to Ratu. Here is a link to a short video clip:
So beautiful…

3 days later, I said my goodbyes and headed to the airport, only to discover I’d done something I’ve NEVER done before… I booked my flight on the wrong day! Not on the 6th of July as I had planned, but the 20th!

I stayed in the city that night, with my head spinning… what to do…

Ratu’s message: ‘If you can work, ok, stay and shake with the community… ’ It seems the energy had an entirely different plan for me!

Shakers on boat in JavaThe following day, 5 people came in a car, on what felt like a rescue mission, and picked me up. We went to the shops to buy things for their Ashram with the donation money I had left with my hosts… 2 more weeks! Now the work really began.

Two days later we were on a mission to Cilacap, an industrial town 4.5 hours west by bus. First, we did a peculiar little tour by boat around an island renowned for its oil refinery, its mangroves and Indonesia’s toughest prison.

We were greeted with smiles by our sunshine host young Pak Eko. He’d rented a house especially dedicated to shaking around 2 years ago, building up a community of near 200 shakers.

Many are there for the health benefits more than the spiritual experience. You will hear below, they shake to cranking Indo-techno pop and work up quite a sweat! You get an impression on this video clip:

We ate together before the call to prayer, where the women don a special hijab to observe their cultural and religious tradition.

The shaking practice continued for my remaining time here. The people share their challenges, mostly physical, though there is also a challenge to ‘change’ life and lifestyle for something better.

Yogyakarta is an amazing place. Ratu is planning to build a full Ashram here very soon.



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