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  • Tara B. Vasi

Day 9 Sri Lanka (59): HBD healing


I let the baby cry. Fuck that guy. I sleep in until 7am. Its my birthday. Ok, fine, Peanut, I come.

I follow my standard Sri Lankan morning routine (I have one of those now). Take puppy down to peep, start the kettle, prepare my coffee, take puppy upstairs with me while I write and do whatever it is I am working on. My mom calls. Even though its not December 2nd yet for her in the USA, she knows it is my birthday in Sri Lanka. I get a birthday text from my sister, Krista, and a few other people, and I think its pretty cool that they take the time difference into account so that I have the messages to wake up to, or start my day. I tell her about this gigantic infected bug bite I have on my stomach that is about the size of a grape and super swollen and sore. Mosquitos in Sri Lanka love white people and are not deterred in the slightest by my repellant. (Deet free)

I see Chamara and he wishes me a happy birthday straight away. I appreciate that he knew that, because I definitely didnt mention anything.

Chamara tells me he didnt sleep at all because of the stress of hitting the cat and his potential continues bad luck. He says the village healer is coming over after lunch to cleanse his bad luck. He says she will yell and become possessed by energy and to not be afraid. I immediately think of the exorcist. I ask him if its like reiki, and he said Reiki is the trendy western version, and this will be actually real.

I spend most of the morning and afternoon working on the presentation, writing my blog, and researching WHY THE FUCK AMAZON PRIME DOESNT DELIVER TO Sri Lanka! Long story short, its a customs thing and Sri Lanka is very strict about what enters there country, ie they don’t want any drugs coming in. I need the deet. Amazon prime has spoiled me. The stores here are very basic.

I get a computer screen head ache and go to my room to lay down. I eat rice and lentils for lunch and then go back to my room. I am torn between loving and hating this day. My infected bug bite hurts. If the swelling doesn’t go down by tomorrow, I’ll go to the doctor.

The healer arrives and Chamara tells me to take a shower to clear away any impurities on my body. I shower and change into my white temple outfit because it seems appropriate. The healer is a middle aged woman with a long long black braid who is wearing a floral skirt and a white top. I watch the healer set up her area in the reception of the villa that happens to be right outside my bedroom. She is with a male helper and I later find out that he’s her brother.





She uses a big wooden chair as an alter and lays down plants, leaves, flowers, a bowl of limes, candles (well, small bowls of coconut oil with wicks) many sticks of incense, and Chamara’s van key. She lays out a blanket, a kneeling stool, a few blankets and pillows. She sets out a hairy coconut and a long strand of hair. She wraps a white skirt on top of her floral skirt, so now she is wearing all white.

When she is ready she begins to chant on her own holding a metal bowl I think is full of holy water. This is welcoming her grandparents spirits into her body. Chamara sits back behind her as she chants. When she is done she calls for Chamara to sit on the blanket next to her and he places the bottom of his feet on the hairy coconut. She performs a ceremony on him to remove any further bad luck from his person and from the villa. She places the leaves in the water and shakes them over his being, sprinkling him with holy water. With a handy mechanism that looks like a cracker, she chants for each of the 9 limes, taping his head and his feet, before slicing it in half and placing it in the bucket of holy water. The lime halves that float and face up are a symbol of the bad fortune within him and the lime halves that sink and are turned down are a symbol of good fortune. He had 4 floaters, and 14 sinkers. Not bad, but not good either. He kept mouthing to me during the ceremony, “I am in trouble.” Now she knows what she is working with.

After all the limes were sliced, she exorcised the bad energy out of Chamara by transferring the energy into herself. She began yelling and laughing and throwing her arms about. Then she fell from her seat and onto her back. Her eyes were rolled back into her head and her body clenched up. She used her heels to push her wriggling body towards the door. We moved things in her path, like planers and flip flops. She continues down the walk way, through a little bit of mud, past the gate and onto the street. She loses her white skirt and I can see a mud stain on her shirt and leaves in her braid. Once she gets to the street, she stays clenched but stops moving.

Her brother runs to her aid and begins massaging her shoulders and forearms, wiping the sweat from her brow, and spoon feeding her holy water, which mainly runs down the side of her face. Chamara tells me she has taken all the bad spirits, bad luck, and negative energy out of the villa, out of his body. Chamara’s mother and the brother pick the healer up and bring her to a bench where she can lay down. She starts to relax her muscles and regain consciousness. She appears extremely fatigues. Everyone crowds around her and discusses what happened. I don’t understand, but Chamara fills me in later.

Chamara takes his key from the alter and starts his van, letting it run until the healers leaves. He explains to me that the process is not complete. That he cannot eat meat or drive until Friday, until after him and the healer go to the temple to pray for fortune and luck, and to be rid completely of all negative karma.

I don’t even really know how to respond to this. I cannot bash what they believe in and if they think this will cleanse their Karma then all the power to them. It starts to storm outside, thunder, lighting, rain, heavy winds. Its like a scene from a movie.

The original plan was to have the healer work on me too, but Chamara explains that if she were to do energy work on me right afterwards, that the chance of me receiving some of his bad energy is high, so iI take a hard pass on that.

The alter is still set up and the incense are still burning, so I decide to practice some yoga in reception. My infected belly limits my practice hugely. I cannot twist or back bend without pulling the skin and causing pain. Peanut eats my hair while I practice and then shits on the top of the mat.

I recluse to my room (can I use recluse like that?) I am feeling so many things, birthday, exorcism, swollen belly. I marinate in my room and hope it will pass. It doesn’t.

Chamara calls me for dinner and I go out to meet him. I ask him how he is feeling and he is optimistic the healer healed his bad karma.

He leads me upstairs where there’s a cake with candles on it. He lights it and wishes me a happy birthday again. It was really sweet. We have dinner and I have a slice of chocolate cake.


I go to my room and fall asleep by ten. This is my third birthday out of the country and this is my second birthday sober. This was my first birthday exorcism.

Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes. It filled my heart with love on a somewhat lonely, yet unforgettable birthday.

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