Pre-Islamic Indonesia embraced a vast pantheon of divinities, which incorporated Hindu-Buddhist gods and animist deities. In spite of obvious traces of Indian mythology, Semar is believed to be a local deity indigenous to Java. Traditionally, Semar is considered the elder brother of the god Batara Guru, i.e. the Hindu god Śiva in traditional Javanese wayang puppetry. Later Semar would incarnate himself as a demigod. As such, Semar became the spiritual ancestor of the Javanese people and their spiritually advanced culture.
Through the course of time, after the arrival of Islam in Indonesia, local beliefs soon adopted Islamic mystical concepts. Thus the peoples’ understanding of their indigenous guardian spirit became more and more influenced by Islamic mysticism, which over time effectively turned Semar into a Javanese Islamic deity. Moreover, the nine saints (‘wali sanga’) were actively using traditional Javanese shadow play to spread the teachings of Islam in Java, thereby preserving the key role of Semar in Javanese mysticism.
Yet, of course, the walis had good reasons to allow continuation of ritual worship to this deity, for they recognized the potential of Semar’s supernatural powers. Indeed, Semar is revered for bestowing merciful blessings of love and attraction, as well as providing spiritual guidance to devout mystics and occultists. And so, through the power of the holy image of Semar in Arabic calligraphy, the sacred cloth is endowed with mystical properties akin to this ancient Javanese god. In addition, using the Aji Semar Mesem mantra in combination with this amulet will help boost one’s charisma and influential speech. The magical qualities of the sacred cloth can also be used for increasing one’s business success.