Batik Grompol (Javanese Culture)

There are star clusters
Glowing in the horizon
Sending messages.


From Yogyakarta I brought home a pair of batik grompol sheets which I ordered 6 months ago. Happy I must be!

Grompol is a Yogyakartan special classical batik pattern. No other regions can claim otherwise.

Let’s talk about batik grompol today.

Disclaimer: 1) while the primary interpretation is based on what I learnt from the masters; many of it is my own thought based on what I understand on symbols and signs of Javanese, Islam and Hinduism that intertwined in my upbringing. So please be critical. 2) too much information, too little time for me to summarise. Please expect disconnected ideas, connect them by yourselves.

Grompol batik pattern is a sub-category of ceplok pattern in which one geometry pattern is clustered (squares, triangle, circle, lines, etc). In Javanese language ceplok literally means clustering, grouping, gathering based on the same characteristics or criteria (size, colour, shape, pattern, lines, etc). So hypothetically ceplok pattern is always about gathering, uniting, getting together.

Grompol pattern is characterised through the clustering of of 4-petal flower, a flower pistil in the middle, a seed with 4 couples of 3-ceceg and 5-ceceg (ceceg is a terminology used to describe dots in batik pattern) and “wrapped” by a square with 8 points that almost looks like octagram. 


4-petal flower is a symbol of fertile or healthy life. The 4 petals of the flower can be related to four points of the compass: east, west, north and south.

Flower pistil symbolises the centre of life, potential growth in human being. It can also represent the sun, the soul, the heart as centres of discourses to be applied based on contexts.

Flower which is the beauty before fruition is representing an expectation that human being should optimise their state of beauty which in Javanese almost always refers to the developed wisdom in human being manifested as kindness to fellow creature on earth before one dies.


A round seed surrounded by 4 couples of 3-ceceg and 5-ceceg symbolises seed of life that should be well protected from all directions.

The seed can be interpreted the same as the flower pistil in the middle of a flower. It is generated from the pistil fertilised by the pollens. It is the centre of life, potential growth in human being. It can also represent the sun, the soul, the heart as centres of discourses to be applied based on contexts.

The round shape of the seed indicates the completeness, thoroughness, integration, centredness, perfection, full cycle.

Ceceg is one type of isen (ornament in empty spaces among primary patterns of batik) in batik. Isen is more popular in Central Java than other regions, isen can be in the form of dots or lines or the combination of both repeatedly put in the intended empty spaces without changing the primary pattern, even there is an intension for isen to highlight the primary patterns.

3-ceceg can be interpreted as Trimurti, the three balancing power of Brahma, Wisnu and Siwa (Siva) which are the 3 powerful powers of creation of the universe, preservation of the universe and destruction of the universe.

5-ceceg can be interpreted as 5 types of self regulation: knowing one’s own identity and personality, connecting to inner self, managing the humane desires, living through good sources of life (no corruption, sharing to the needy) and self reflection through traveling or pilgrimage. A human being is expected to continuously strive for perfection of these five without expecting the perfection to happen.

Points of the Compass

Octagram represents 8. Number 8 in Javanese wisdom is about welfare and authority. Number 8 also represents 8 gods guarding the 4 points of the compass in which 1 direction is guarded by 2 gods of specific authority. The compass itself has 9 points – 1 the centre, 8 the directing points.

The 1 point in the middle is sat by Siwa. 8 points are sat by other gods based on what they manage in the natural realm. Those 9 (1+8) are called Dewata Nawa Sanga (nine guardian gods) in Balinese and Javanese culture. Those 8 are wellknown as Asta Dikplaka (eight gods of 8 directions).

  • North (Uttara): Wisnu or Kuwera guarding the north, Sambhu or Isana guarding east north – gods of rain
  • East (Purwa): Iswara or Indra guarding east, Mahesora or Agni guarding south east – gods of music
  • South (Dakhsina): Brahma or Yama guarding the south, Rudra or Nritti guarding south west – gods of winds and growth
  • West (Pascima): Mahadewa or Baruna guarding west, Sangkara or Bayu guarding north west.

Number 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9

Like in other cultures, Javanese gives significant role to numbers in their game of meaning.

  • 1 – siji, setunggal, tunggal, ika, eka: It can mean uniting, integrating, the first, the earth, the sun, the moon, queen, king, country or any other thing perceived as singular or superior.
  • 3 – telu, tiga, tri: It can refer to 3 life (spirit life, physical life, life after life), attitude/behaviour/work, celebration/luxury/merriness
  • 4 – papat, sekawan, catur: Number 4 in Javanese culture signifies creativity and intelligence, endurance, perseverance and victory. The 4 points of the compass also represent something about those 4 directions. The power of sun in the east, the power of mountain in the north. The power of luck in the west. The power of maximum ability in everything in the south.
  • 5 – lima, gangsal, panca: self integration, self regulation, supernatural powers
  • 8 – wolu, asta: Number 8 signifies high rank, respected people, physical forms, dragon as symbol of authority


That it is a ceplok type signifies the clustering, gathering, integrating of certain characters. So this batik is message and prayer for uniting of between or among family members. It is also a message and prayer of integration of human being internal wisdom – a state of maturity. Batik grompol is often worn by bride and groom in their wedding day due to its very sacred meaning of ultimate protection and potential growth through a gathering.

The uniting or integration should be based on clarity of wisdom and protection. It is the wisdom personally and culturally harvested and nurtured. The beholder, owner, wearer of batik grompol is expected to realise that this pattern is a message and a prayer that they are well protected at the same time expected to extend the given protection to all directions as the gods of all points of compass spread their protection to the universe.

The pistil of the flower as the potential growth in human being put as a compass centre in human being life can be interpreted that human being integrated wisdom has as strong power as Siwa who is sitting at the centre of the compass/chakra. Although described as destroying god, Siwa is actually symbol of re-creating, re-cycling. His being sat in the centre of a chakra (wheel, cycle) is significantly describing him as recreation/recycling agent who then distributes the re-created/re-cycled material to different function around him to be re-governed wisely by “different gods” (remember the 8 gods of all directions).

A human being should be able to learn, re-learn and un-learn one’s own life experience and lessons then to better redo or re-process the way one solves problems or to simply treat other creatures.

The round seed means a centred human being who has achieved the understanding of integrity, full cycle of life. It doesn’t mean the human being is flawless; it means the human being is aware of one’s flawedness yet accepting the state of imperfection of being human. And through the acceptance the human being keeps bettering one’s self in treating one’s self, fellow creatures and the nature. This is an everlasting interaction and intertwining between micro cosmos (jagat alit in Javanese language which represents human being) and macro cosmos (jagat gedhe, the universe).

And all in all, a human being shall pray to his God or make one’s self sure that to any direction one is heading to, one is safe and peaceful. Religious human being will live through guidance and protection from God. Spiritual human being will find inner centre in one’s self whatever one calls it and focus on what one is doing in honesty and sincerity. Free thinker will boost one’s self confidence and focus on what one is aiming with integrity.

So batik grompol has helped me understand that all my fellow human beings are essentially doing the same things as what I am doing in my life, just explained through different perspectives; and we are only of different pace and timing.

What a beautiful batik pattern. What a beautiful meaning.

my beautiful grompol batik cloths were born through the golden hands and soul blessed to this beautiful lady, Ibu Tien Wartienah

Melodic Prayer

No billowing smoke
Of incense she’s whispering
Melodies that free.


i prayed that all that i love are happy and healthy wherever they are 🙏🏼

i prayed that their soul is reborn free and dedicated to humanity wherever they both are 🙏🏼

Faded Away

The longing has gone
Too far left by trueness.
No plate is prepared,
No wish is grown,
No intelligence is to decipher message
As heart is numb by laughter
And ridicule.
No number symbolises,
No alphabet pronounces,
All are faded away.
There’s only mine on its way.
Bring it fly
To where it roots beauty,
Peace and eternity.

Only love remains
For the journey
That appreciates
Not a point
That fades away.


i’ve met dandelions in many different spots; all of them are blooming new dreams, totally new, leaving the blur ones — prayer heard and soon coming true 💝

No Regret

One by one they fall,
Petals decompose to soil,
Fertilising life—

when i see more fine lines under my eyes, i feel blessed that i am alive up to this age; i wish to live longer with the same amount of love or even more 💝 there is no regret for all are signs and turns to the home 💝

A Loving Visit

A loving visit beyond time and space. Salaam. Universe answers.

about the museum
when you’re loved, people still visit you even when you’re nowhere 💝
when you’re loved, you’re taken care of even when you’re nowhere
beloved – visiting him with love, see you again
beloved – visiting him with love, see you again

Time To Pray (ranting)

While writing this, I am spending some time in Erawan Shrine before going to Svarnabhum Airport. I am now witnessing the power of storytelling. Soon I will be back to the hotel just next to it to pick up my luggage then go home.

My head is now ranting:

You can make religion and spirituality good commodity through story telling. Tell people that through your piousity and spirituality you will help them solve their problems or be close to gods or be happy or get their wishes come true; they will come to you with or without believing whether you are true or not. Don’t tell them they should pay as it is contra productive. Just tell them there will be energy exchange so logistics should be co-financed.

It is great and amazing that tourism is designed that way.

When will mosques ask visitors to pay? If they do, they’d better have a good storytelling more than cleaning cost. If not, that is great.

Don’t get me wrong, I am one of those believing with the power of religiosity and spirituality that solve life mystery. With one condition: if told in a wise and sweet way and told by a reliable person. Otherwise, they’d better eat their own sh*t (sh*t can be a lot of money from those being fooled around by them); don’t expect karma as they believe what they do is all right.

God bless gods. God bless all shrines, temples, churches, mosques, etc where people are praying. God bless storytelling.

God bless Erawan Shrine to where I will be back until I stop visiting Bangkok heaven knows when.


the one prayed to – i love gold!
concise introduction, the gate of a storytelling
pray, human to the gold-plated
queue, human; your turn will come soon
gate where flowers and offerings are sold; it is the ticket to pray!
i love the purple garland and the cute elephants
logistics behind the scene #1; God bless you
logistics behind the scene #2; God bless you
no, no! politicians can’t wait, your problems can 💔

Flowers for The Dead

Red rose on white tomb:
Greeting to another world
That sees but says not—

Nyekar is one tradition that many Javanese still keep until today. Nyekarcomes from the word sekar that means flower. Nyekar is sprinkling flowers on to someone’s tomb as part of a prayer to the loved ones lying under the tomb.

Javanese pin a meaning to the word and activity of nyekar by relating it with the flowers’ fragrance, colours and shapes. The fragrance and beauty of the flowers sprinkled on to the tomb are sent as supplementary to the prayer whispered by those “visiting the dead”. At the same time it is to remind the living that it should be the good deed and memories of the dead to be cherished; bad memories and bad deed should be neutralised through forgiveness — not easy but doable.

Aside from flowers Javanese add boreh as part of the flowers sprinkled. Boreh literally means to spread or to smear cream or paste on to skin. Borehis mixture of ground dlingo (Acorus calamus L) and bengkle or bengle or bangle (Zingiber cassumunar). Dlingo has a kerata basa (acronym) of elingothat means to remember. Bengkle has a kerata basa of becik kelakuane that means good deed. In short, boreh is added to the flowers to emphasize the importance of remembering the good deed of the dead they visit.

What a beautiful visit is made to the dead by those Javanese who understand what they sprinkle on to the tomb of their loved ones.

So, no it is not just beautiful flowers or flowers arrangement; more than that, it is the beautiful meaning that Javanese pinned to the flowers.


the best remembrance is remembrance to the death – I picked one rose from my sister’s garden and put it on my father’s tomb; we don’t miss him as his good deed is always with us


On your birthday, Love,
Magic sends sweet messages
And flowers and gifts.

Ibu turns 78 today. It is a 78 years of human beings, 54 years of a wife, 53 years of a mother of 5. 47 years of being my mother— maybe the most annoying of facing this one rascal among 5 angels. 🙃 She might not be always happy being her but she is full of sweet smiles and words of encouragement.

If her life is a painting, it will be a colourful canvas full of fragrant tropical flowers and powerful herbs that can be concocted as medicines especially for her family and friends. Beautiful and full of healing for others— No wonder her family and neighbours highly respect her.

Ibu, I know you never like big celebration and that’s why we only send stupid messages on your birthday. But I know you always miss us to annoy you and that’s why we give surprises! Much love today and forever!


I sent this picture to her; maybe she was wondering why I didn’t send picture of a real birthday cake as I normally do. She will be surprised!

Oct 9, 2022

Come True

Come true, Beloved,
Wishes colouring this life,
Bringing love and joy—

My mini daruma dolls package arrived from Japan. Now it is time to make wishes and draw the left eye.

May all beings be happy!

arriving from trip then checking the mail box at the basement this afternoon and found these package among all letters and magazines! 🥰
each colour has meaning! quickly copied them! (ignore the ugly handwriting 😁) now let’s make wishes and paint their left eye 🧿 then let them take a rest in the box to open and be drawn right eye when the wishes come true 😎

Dirgahayu, Indonesiaku ke-77

Duhai, Indonesia. Serupa apapun engkau, kau adalah tempat lahirku. Walaupun saran dan nasehat bertaburan untuk menjadi pemegang status PR di rumah keduaku ini, aku tak goyah. Nggak papa…. PR atau bukan PR passport-ku tetap Indonesia. Hanya cinta dan hidup-mati saja yang boleh membuatku jadi PR atau pindah kewarganegaraan. Selain itu, no way!

Indonesiaku, terima-kasih telah menjadi tempat lahirku dan tempatku belajar hal-hal pokok untuk menjadi manusia utama. Kalau aku dilahirkan dan dibesarkan di negara lain, mungkin aku jadi orang yang bermewah-mewah dan tidak down to earth.

Indonesiaku, kemanapun aku pergi, kamulah darah yang mengalir di tubuh ini. Dimanapun aku tinggal, engkau tetap menjadi tujuan pertama pulang atau liburanku (ya setahun satu atau dua kali deh). Dengan siapapun aku bergaul, kamu tetap warna primerku.

Kecintaanku padamu bukan pada para pejabat buruk yang mengurusi ketatanegaraan. Kecintaanku tulus pada tanah, air, udara, rakyat dan makhluk di sekitarnnya.


what a coincidence! this number is really escorting me this year
didn’t attend this year’s flag-raising ceremony in the embassy because of this cute virus 💝 next year I will, bismillah!

Beads of Pray

Counting beads of pray,
An echoed name flows away
Through silence of heart.

Have you ever prayed so silently? No one can hear. Only beads of pray click. A remembrance of love that is unseen. Beyond the ocean and beyond existence—

Literature is a limited tool to disclose ideas and emotions; not accurate enough to shoot one heart. Math is sharp to operate a complex equation; not sweet enough though to state naked truth.

With what then should I count this reality between two lovers? Beauty or precision?

Only beads of pray is whispered silently. Who knows the river will sail this soft voice along its flow introducing it to the estuary that escorts it to the ocean where winds push the current following the North Star to meet with you.



from a tiny heart wrapped in a peaceful morning

If I’m Missed, ….

I’m a nut
In a gigantic machine.
Even if I’m missed,
The machine still works wonder.
And so be it.

I’m a grain of sand
In a far vast sand dune.
Even if I’m missed,
The land still spreads wonder.
And so be it.

I’m a drop of water
In a cask of wine.
Even if I’m missed,
You’re still having happy hour.
And so be it.

I’m one in billions
In this spinning plane.
Even if I’m missed,
It won’t mean less greater.
And so be it.

Life is so fragile
Yet so dense
Like a spider web
Wrapping a prey
Before it’s dissolved

You are
Written in this tiny matter—

….. so be it.


ribbon wrapping around me, continue living either secretly or openly

Temasek – May 4, 2022 / rainy morning, 4:50

Life of A Flower

It’s about flower in its life cycle.

A flower blooms, dries to fall off or falls to dry at time in place for a given moment. It lives then dies. It blossoms or prematurely drops.

Some flowers are admired, some are not even noticed. Some are vibrantly coloured, some are dead dull. Some are meticulous, some are straightly simple. Some produce edible fruits, some the poisonous.

It’s about flower, the beauty in itself, although most view points perceive the look differently. Absolute beauty sits where it is, lingering forever as values and concepts. Relative beauty fades away through aging, some even without being remembered as memory or history.

It’s about flower, the one in a palace and that in a lawn.

Salam. Alfatihah.

prominent, admired, blessed
unnoticed, hidden beauty, blessed
fall to dry, blessed
dried and ready to decompose, blessed

Tiny Persistent Dot

I’m a tiny dot in the galaxy, a mini tiny dot in the universe but I won’t give up praying that You will give peace in the heart of every human being on earth.

My prayer is for the children, elderly, disabled and animals where violence is hell on earth. That is the real hell.

Please, Peace grow in their heart and mine.

Beloved, please drive us to where peace survives.

Why should there be war?

Milky Way above Bromo


River, Beloved,
Flows. Let things go with the flow
From, in, through, to you.


Feel the flow: calm, swift, pushing, breaking, splashing, swirling, stuck, moving. No matter what, flow.

enzo on a plate
golden enzo

Time Takes Side

Time flows, Beloved,
To an estuary of hope.
Time flows, Beloved,
To the eternity sea.
Won’t be long before we meet—

Time flows, Beloved
To you through me. White beacon
Blinks red at low tide.
Wind says the woodlands miss me.
Time flows, Beloved. Thank you.


Don’t take too long a time to fix an issue. Time wisely travels with those willing to appreciate a journey through action taking along with wisdom harvesting. Otherwise, it will bulldoze what’s not solved.

Dear January. I know you’ll transform with me who doesn’t want remedial lessons next year.

Thank you, 2021. Welcome, 2022.



nothing is forever, let go of all that are not serving for my highest good either interest or ambition
no one is perfect, accept the dark side of my own self and learn all lessons either pleasant or unpleasant
balance is feasible only when mental detachment and appropriate acceptance are achieved, I claim the balance
I’m ok, dude…. You’re not? 🤠


A strand of white pearls
Harvested in the deep sea
Bedazzles her neck.


There is time when I regret of what’s done and nervous about what will happen. Why did I do that? I should have done this. What if I fail again? I am not good enough.

I used to think money was everything with happiness but I prove that money is the biggest illusion in life that I misunderstood. Now I consider money should be merely a tool, never a purpose. Yet I still think of what if my company stock price decreases? 😁

I used to look for happiness and protection in a relationship. With experiences I become strongly convinced that only a healthy relationship with the self can help me cope with problems; moreover, without healthy relation with my self any relationship with others won’t work well. Yet I still don’t heal from broken heart easily and still think whether or not I will meet someone I can share some simple happiness and shelter with.

I was between life and death situations more than once for some illness before, and so helpless about future. And gradually I realise that death can come anytime even when people are healthy. Yet I still hope I die when I let go of any confusion and live in clarity.

However, there is time when I know that only in the now I can accept everything. In the now I can shed tears with mixture of gratefulness for what’s breaking my heart and blessings of what’s boosting the quality of life. In the now I can smile just by seeing piling laundry waiting for ironing. In the now I can see the canvas is the door of self healing. In the now I can imagine sending a cake full of love for my loved ones who live in many different places, whom I cannot visit with many reasons. In the now I can see shades of real and true happiness in each and every experience from wake up to sleep.

Thank you for the now and now and now that form a strand of pearls called forever.

I live forever until the last now meets with the first now.

Al Fatihah to all of my loved ones across the oceans. I bless you happiness.


back on track, contemplating with colours
do things with love, the definition of love? enjoying good things to the fullest or, in bad time enjoying the process with patience 💝
thank you, Emily for the message 🪶🙏🏽

Moment To Simply Live

Life pace, Beloved
Chosen wisdom, loved glory
Of everyday life—


I wish to retire at 52 and will be a person with not too many layers of identity, being a human being living a slower-paced life, contributing to smaller society and community with my own hands with all my heart and soul, respected as I am I am not as I am who is associated to prominent organizations.

One of good friends reminded me to get prepared for that will definitely be a much different life. There won’t be luxurious facilities enjoyed, privilege given, smiles and hand shake or bow. She says it’s gonna be a true life though loved and respected by those with genuine love and respect. No transactional courtesy, all is about friendship and humanity.

When? Still long time to go but short enough because now I live in a fast-paced life.

Time to prepare.

Once retired, I won’t want to be in contact with those who have respected me because of business or money. They should be eliminated from friendship. They will deserve others who have the capacity.

May all beings be happy. 💝

next one week flower arrangement
enjoy the moment
extended appreciation to those in my heart
someday flowers will be daily life for me, not weekly anymore


Good vibes, Beloved,
Contagious and precious
Keep it the longest.


Years ago….. One teacher said “You do whatever you want to, but make sure what you do doesn’t harm….” Impatiently student asked,”Harmful to whom?” Teacher didn’t say anything, just pointed to one’s chest then head, and said “Go play and don’t harm yourself or your friends. Have fun, you’re good. You’re good, my child,”

Another teacher would just sang some traditional songs then explained the meaning that were full of wisdom when asked questions. Those silly children would ask so many questions about why religions were many and different, how many gods were there, why the teacher didn’t have religion, why, why, why…..

Another teacher just asked us to eat what one was cooking when we asked questions. We just did and enjoyed the food. It happened when our questions were about what Mr A or Mrs B did this and that for.

More teachers, more experiences…. And we all grew up becoming human beings who approach different things differently or sometimes uniquely although sometimes confusedly. How challenging life is sometimes!

All those learnings happened in the Wonderland! I hope the young get honourable and good teachers as we did before and even better so they build our land into real wonder! Not the most developed in infrastructure, yet with the most developed clear thinking. Not the most modern, yet the most dignified. Not the richest, yet the most caring and loving to the people. What a dream!

God bless my dear Indonesia and what’s in it. 💝