Sunday, December 7, 2014
Welcome to Phuket. December 2014
Jai welcomes the five of us to the house with offerings to the Guardian Spirit of the Land on which this house sits. Jai, and our Thai neighbours, have told us we have a good spirit here....so long may it look after us all!!
The Spirit House is straight out of Hindu beliefs and the little characters inside the house are clearly Indian and the decorations are straight out of Hindu Temples.
But the ideas of spirits all over the place comes out of Animanism, the ancient belief that everything and everywhere had its own spirit. It's no wonder the Thais are so superstitious with all this lot going on and, because Jai is descendant from a Chinese background, we've also got a number of Chinese symbols around the place plus a Buddha praying area in the centre of the house!! Well, we really are hedging all bets here.
Jai's prayers are offered in Pali, the ancient language as used in the Sanskrit theologies, a bit like we used to use Latin in High Church.
There's also a bit added in English at the end of her ceremony which roughly translates itself into 'Make sure Paul behaves himself or unleash a pack of howling dervishes to torment him if he don't'.
If a visitor to Thailand wants to have an idea of some of the many chacacters seen on buildings, on Spirit Houses outside most buidings here, on the TV, in day to day life, by the side of the road, in Thai mannerisms.....then understanding all of the above will be a massive step into understanding Thai Culture and the psycholgy of Thai people. Complex, multi-layer, fascinating, frustratingly difficult to comprehend...no wonder it's called the 'Mysterious East'.