src.adapt.960.high.bissu_main.1431459069449Eyes thick with kohl and lips slathered in pink lipstick, the priest curled both hands through flames and called to the spirits in a language only the gods understand. The gold bracelets wrapped around one of Engel’s wrists glistened in the light of the fire, and the priest’s lips formed a tranquil, otherworldly smile. As a group of dancers stamped their feet wildly, Engel, as though possessed, stood up above the pot of fire and violently took a sharp dagger to an eye before pressing the weapon down, into the heart, and writhing on top of it on all fours.

This breathtaking ma’giri’ ritual marked the 685th birthday of Bone, a town in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Hundreds were in the audience at the Bone Town Hall to watch the ceremony in April. At the front, rows of government dignitaries sat at elaborately carved teak tables, clapping in awe. READ FULL