You’d probably want to soak up at least some of the local culture when you tour Bali. After all, imagine if you bring home some exotic wood-carving of a Rangda and you’re showing it off on the mantel after you get it home, and somebody asks you what the heck a Rangda is. You don’t want to be stumped, do you?

  • Antaboga – The “world serpent”. You know that snake in a circle eating its own tail, popular in logos and tattoos? Rooted in the same myth. Antaboga created Bedwang.

  • Bedwang – The “world turtle”. There’s also a popular myth about the world not just being flat, but resting on the back of a giant space turtle. Authors like Terry Pratchet like to play with this one.
  • Barong – The lion-headed king of spirits; the super-spirit hero.
  • Rangda – The goblin-faced queen of demons; the super-evil-spirit villain. Barong and Rangda are natural enemies and struggle between them is a common theme of Balinese folk dances. You like how this is all fitting together?
  • Batara Kala and Setesuyara – God and Goddess, respectively, of the underworld, the plane of death. This is neither heaven nor hell, as they are not exports of the devil, but rather of the Hindu Kali, who is merely the neutral force of time which gives both birth and death.
  • Leyak – These are the multiple personifications of demons, only they’re flying heads with entrails hanging down who seek out pregnant women to curse. Minions of Rangda.
  • “tri hita karana” – This is just a phrase meaning “in harmony with the Heavens, nature, and each other” – an oft-encountered part of Balinese philosophy.