My Time with Ketut Liyer, Medicine Man

Ketut Sandy
When I visited Bali 13 years ago, I was told there was a very special medicine man, Ketut Liyer, who lived in Ubud. I didn’t get a chance to meet him then. Years later, I read the book, Eat Pray Love and he was was one of the significant characters Elizabeth Gilbert met on her journey. I remember the way I felt when I read the book and saw the movie. I recall feeling like I understood the depth and connection she experienced meeting him as well as the connection she had with Ubud. I related and always knew I would return.

When I found out Ketut was right around the corner from us, I could hardly wait to meet him. I felt his presence in the village. We asked many locals about him and they explained the EPL, Eat Pray Love effect. They said on one hand it’s wonderful that Elizabeth put Bali and especially Ubud, on the map. She definitely inspired a boost in tourism. On the other hand, the Balinese feel that their landscapes have changed so dramatically and are continuing to do so at rapid speeds. Many rice paddies are being taken over by shops, restaurants, villas and massage houses. They are grateful for the changes yet, they miss the quiet and untouched countryside that was once, Ubud.

Ubud is still my favorite place in Bali. It remains tranquil, earthy, artsy, filled with culture and so much warmth and kindness. It is in this peace-loving village that I had the pleasure and honor of spending time with Ketut.


I felt deep joy from the the moment we entered his home. I saw him and felt connected immediately. When I sat down with him, I was so, so happy to see his toothless grin and the sparkle in his eyes. I experienced the wisdom of a 100 year old man sitting before me just by looking at him. I felt every bit of his healing energy, without him saying a word. He was so charming and funny and had me laughing so hard, I was crying. This meeting was part of my path. This day, exactly as it was, couldn’t have been more perfect.


He read my palm and he analyzed my soul. He told me I would be returning to Bali in the near future and that he wanted me to come back and spend time with him. He adored my family and asked if we would all come back to visit and to please not forget about him.

My husband visited with Ketut also. I never saw a smile on Dana’s face like I witnessed on him in Bali. He opened his heart and let all of the light in. Ketut really liked him and they also had a lovely connection. It was a very beautiful and magical day for all of us.


After we each had our time, Ketut asked if the boys would come and sit with him. They were fascinated and must have felt something that we couldn’t explain to them. He asked their names and then asked if they knew his. Little Aston replied with, “Yes, you are Ketut, the medicine man.” He laughed out loud, hugged both boys and we all held hands and savored the special moments we had together.

I will always remember this day. I will continue walking on this path with my heart open and the willingness to see and accept life’s teachers, lessons and answers along the way. I will continue questioning, observing, learning, giving and growing with all of the love in my heart.

Boys Ketut

Lastly, I’d love to share this deeply poignant excerpt from Eat Pray Love. I truly believe in and agree with this sentiment:

I’ve come to believe in something I call the Physics of the Quest. The rule of quest physics goes something like this…

If you’re brave enough to leave everything behind familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house, to bitter, old resentments

And set out on a truth-seeking journey, externally or internally

And if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue

And if you accept everyone along the way as a teacher

And if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then…

The truth will not be withheld from you.

I couldn’t have said this better myself. The truth is being revealed each day and shall continue…


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