National Geographic : 1966 Apr
Dowry 10,000 rupees. Bring horoscope. Apply at .... " We tested astrology for ourselves when Mr. P. A. Ediri weera, Dan's employer at Ceylon Tours, surprised us by having our horoscopes cast by his astrologer. With astonishment we read accurate accounts of significant, and even minute, incidents from our pasts: A back injury of mine, almost to the day; an important decision by my wife was detailed (thank goodness she answered "Yes!"). However, there seemed to be one slight anomaly: While we both are to be proud parents of a daughter, I some how am to be blessed with additional dividends-two sons. If the astrologer found this difficult to explain, I find it downright impossible! Leaving Hikkaduwa and driving along the coast, we headed inland 40 miles to Ratnapura, City of Gems. I needed no astrologer to remind me that Donna auspi ciously timed our arrival to coincide with her birthday. 480 Hooks pierce, lances stab, but no expression reveals pain in age-old rites shocking to Western eyes. Ful filling vows, ten men stop frenzied dancing to endure the ceremony of flesh-piercing. Prime participant, Mohotty first rubs their skin with sa cred ash. Then, grimacing, he forces lances into the flesh of a stoic wor shiper, and drives a skewer through the cheeks of another, shown with a tongue depressor. Not a drop of blood flows. Mohotty promised one of his gods to endure an ordeal each year if a murder charge against his father was dropped. With hooks sunk into his back (above), he drags a heavy cart (right) while wearing spiked sandals.