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Kanda Pat - Sang Catur Sanak: Baby's Four Spirit Guardians

Indonesian Woman, circa 1880; source: Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and Leiden University Library

The Balinese believes when a baby is born, it is accompanied by the four spirit guardians called Kanda Pat or Sang Catur Sanak: yeh anom, rah, lamas, and ari-ari. These four guardians are also growing together with the baby even before the baby is born. While the baby is still in the womb, these four spirit guardians have different names: babu sugian, babu lembana, babu abra, and babu kakere.


According to Lontar Anggastya Prana, there are three (3) phases of human's birth: Sang Hyang Antigajati (what's the fetus called when it is in the process of becoming an embryo in the womb), Sang Pratimajati (what's the fetus called when the embryo is already formed), and the birth together with Sang Catur Sanak.


In this lontar, also said that Sang Catur Sanak symbolizes God's manifestation of Bhuana Alit (microcosmos). The physical manifestations are yeh anom (amniotic fluid), rah/getih (blood), lamas (vernix caseosa), and ari-ari (placenta). The spiritual manifestations are named: Anggapati, Mrajapati, Banaspati, and Banaspati Raja. These four spirit guardians - or Balinese usually called them spiritual siblings - will accompany and protect human throughout their lives.


Magedong-gedongan Ceremony by I Nyoman Darta from the book Time, Rites, and Festivals in Bali

Magedong-gedongan Ceremony

Magedong-gedongan ceremony will be held when the embryo has fully formed. It's taken during the second trimester when the kanda pat is already standing guard. This is a purification ceremony and the prayers are directed towards the hope that the baby will grow strong and healthy. The parents are cautioned not to use coarse language during pregnancy. This ceremony is held in the bathing area of the house.



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