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Depiction of Nyi Blorong ( circa 1879) Tropenmuseum (Public Domain)

Nyi Blorong Commander of the Southern Seas and Bringer of Wealth

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One afternoon in the 1960s, the people of Magelang in Java, Indonesia, gathered on the edge of the main road which connects Magelang and Yogyakarta and sounded anything they could find which could make a loud noise. After some time, the wind blew from the south. This southern wind, according to the local legend, was a Lampor. A Lampor refers to trips to several regions in Java which are carried out by the soldiers of Nyi Roro Kidul, the mythical Queen of the Southern Seas, led by her commander Nyi Blorong. The reason people needed to make such a din was so that Nyi Blorong's supernatural troops would not stop by the residents' houses, thus bringing an outbreak of disease to the area.

An artwork depicting Kanjeng Ratu Kidul by Gunawan Kartapranata (Gunawan Kartapranata/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

An artwork depicting Kanjeng Ratu Kidul by Gunawan Kartapranata ( Gunawan Kartapranata / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Around the time of the Indonesian Independence Day in August 2001, a rumor spreading throughout East Java and at least as far west as Semarang, had it that Nyi Blorong had lost her selendang (scarf) and was angrily looking for it. Therefore, little plastic bags filled with variously colored liquids were strung up in front of houses and shops in Jember. These penangkal (charms) were hung to ward off the fury of Nyi Blorong and prevent her from entering and bringing misfortune into people’s houses. 

Depiction of Nyi Blorong (circa 1928) National Museum of World Cultures (Public Domain)

Depiction of Nyi Blorong (circa 1928) National Museum of World Cultures ( Public Domain )

These are examples that the myth of Nyi Blorong still exists in the oral tradition in Indonesia. She is described as being able to change her appearance from a golden scaly snake into a beautiful woman wearing a green kebaya (a light tunic worn by women in Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries) with a long golden cloth - the long golden cloth being the embodiment of her original figure which is the giant golden snake. Aside from being the commander of the supernatural world ruled by Nyi Roro Kidul, the Queen of the Southern Seas, she is also able to provide pesugihan (instant wealth) to those who call upon her.

Stories of instant wealth provided by Nyi Blorong to certain believers indicate that the belief in Nyi Blorong's luck has existed for a long time. However, the Javanese people generally regard rich people who allied themselves with Nyi Blorong negatively.

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Martini Fisher is a Mythographer and author of many books, including  "Time Maps: Matriarchy and the Goddess Culture ”  | Check out MartiniFisher.com

Top Image : Depiction of Nyi Blorong ( circa 1879) Tropenmuseum ( Public Domain )

By Martini Fisher

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