According to ancient tradition, there is a custom that if one wants to purchase a keris, he or she should examine not only the physical features of the keris, but take into consideration the spiritual aspects as well. Generally, it is believed that the esoteric content of a keris – its ‘angsar’ – can determine whether the owner of the keris shall have good or bad luck. It is important, therefore, to inquire into the spiritual qualities before one actually decides to purchase the keris.
For instance, one should examine the magical powers of the ‘angsar’. This can be done by means of ‘tanjeg’; the wisdom gained through personal experience of or insight into spiritual matters related to the keris. To understand both the worldly and spiritual qualities of a keris, one needs to evaluate the worldly benefits in relation to their spiritual value. Though some kerises can serve as a potentially powerful tool for acquiring wealth or leadership, yet when used for the wrong reasons the results can be disastrous.
For instance, a keris with an angsar featuring powers that are beneficial for a political leader will not be suitable for just everyone. Thus, in order to avoid unnecessary troubles, it is extremely important to examine the quality of the angsar through application of tanjeg.
However, more important still is to make sure that the esoteric powers of the keris are compatible with the character of the owner. This is called ‘tayuh’. Tayuh can determine whether a ‘marriage’ between keris and owner is appropriate or not. When the owner’s character matches the qualities of the angsar, then the proposal (‘lamaran’) of the owner shall be accepted. However, if the owner’s proposal is refused and yet he still insists on ‘marrying’ the keris, it will most likely result in an unhappy marriage which possibly brings the owner a lot of bad luck.
Traditionally, the process involved in purchasing a keris was taken very seriously. Thus, the traditional concept of ‘marrying a keris’ also means that one does not simply buy the keris by paying a certain amount of money, but rather he/she will have to offer a dowry (‘mas kawin’). This shows that the underlying connection between the keris and its owner is something which should not be taken lightly considering the potential spiritual powers, and to what extent these can have an effect on the (worldly and spiritual) life of the owner.