Indigenous Indonesian amulets come in a large variety of shapes and styles. The keris is arguably the most popular kind of all Indonesian amulets. In fact, the keris can be considered one of the hallmarks of Southeast Asian spiritual culture, for indeed, the mystic virtues of this sacred dagger are well known beyond the borders of Indonesia, such as in countries like Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand and even in the Philippines. The widespread popularity of this mystical object certainly is not limited to Southeast Asia alone, for it enjoys high status in the West as well, where people regard the keris as a masterpiece of oral and intangible cultural heritage of Indonesia.
The tradition of keris making goes a long way back, to the times when mythology and history are blended. Through the course of time the keris developed in to a full-fledged weapon that holds ritual significance. The blade’s potential for magical power remains the key value of the keris to this day. Hence, this amulet is made according proper methods of ancient tradition, using sacred brass to infuse the blade and sheath with Islamic occult powers. Also, an auspicious date for the forging of the keris was determined according the Javanese calendar. Furthermore, ritual offerings were made to invite a mystical khodam spirit to come inhabit the blade.
To appease the inhabiting khodam spirit, the blade of the keris amulet should be anointed with a special kind of oil which has mystical properties imbued within it. Doing so on a regular basis enhances the magical quality of the amulet, thereby also improving one’s luck. Thus, when proper ritual worship is performed, the keris can be used as a wish-fulfilling amulet through the mystical virtues of the inhabiting khodam spirit. It should be noted, however, that it is not permitted to use the power of the amulet for the purpose of committing immoral acts (e.g. murder, rape, adultery, extortion, bribery, theft, etc.). For the rest one should avoid bringing the keris amulet to places of ‘impurity’ (i.e. toilet, brothel, night club, casino, etc.).