Batik Gringsing

Time travels with you
To where good memories sit,
Waiting to rejoice.

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When I was a girl, I got sick very often. Yet what I remember the most isn’t the pain but is how my family would take care of me. Of course they medically treated me either at home or hospitalised, but there was a unique way I can never forget what my mother, father and siblings did extra.

My father would chant Javanese mantra that would calm me down. My mother would wrap me with a sheet of batik cloth before putting the next thicker blanket. And of course siblings especially sisters would sleep with me the whole night.

What Javanese mantra chanted by father? Oh can’t remember! What batik, I definitely remember it and now own it for the same need; covering myself with batik gringsing when sick.

1.2mx2.3m batik cloth with gringsing background pattern of flower bouquets

Gringsing is one of the oldest batik background patterns in Java. It is thousands of tiny square with a dot in the center symbolising “sedulur papat kalima pancer” (literally means 4 siblings and 1 core as the fifth) the cosmic balance of human reality in Javanese wisdom. And through the philosophy it is believed that when a Javanese human is sick, s/he is cosmically imbalanced and needs to be balanced. Physically s/he is medically treated, metaphysically s/he is cured with gringsing the balance symbol.

Gringsing is an acronym of gring or gering (sick, not well, ill) and sing (not); gringsing means not sick anymore. Oh! That simple! Made by hand! Oh! Not that simple!

What a blessed human being!

wrapping body when catching fever doesn’t replace paracetamol, it’s to recall the memory of how my family well treated me when I was sick 🥰
detail of gringsing: a tiny squarish scale with a dot in the center – sedulur 4 ka-5 pancer

Dark, Fragrant Beauty

A bunch of roses,
Send this prayer as a gift
To those remembered
Through air, land, water, fire in
Dark, fragrant beauty. Amen.

I pray with flowers in a glass vase every week: reciting beautiful verses to those I’ve loved and remembered especially the ancestors, whispering unsaid love to those faraway, wishing they be happy everyday. Some people consider it ancient practice and not applicable or acceptable as modern but I feel more connected to my own self by doing it. So making it a habit

I love the dark mood of today’s flowers combined with my “sogan handmade batik”. It painted a shade of dark beauty with special fragrance and colour.

May all beings be happy.