A Strong Part of Thai Lives
31.07.2011 - 31.07.2011 38 °C
==Thai spirit houses==
What are spirit houses all about?
A Thai spirit house is a shrine to animist spirits. The house is intended to provide a shelter for spirits which could cause problems for the people if not appeased. Most Thais feel that if they don’t have a place for these spirits, they will rest in their own homes, so much better to make a dwelling for them to reside. Most houses and businesses in Thailand have a spirit house placed in a prominent spot, most often in a corner of the property. I have heard it is also beneficial if the spirit house is situated in front of a tree. The best location can be confirmed with a Brahman priest.
The spirit of the land expects to be informed when a new business is started or improvements to an existing business are planned. If the spirits are not informed, and if permission is not respectfully requested, the spirits can indeed cause the venture to fail. So, when improvements are planned to the main building, improvements to the spirit house also need to be carried out.
There are nine guardian spirits, each offering a different type of protection. The guardian spirit of houses is called Phra Chaimongkhon and is a very powerful spirit. The guardian spirit of gardens and orchards is Phra Than Thirat. These two are the only ones to have permanent spirit houses built for them.
What do spirit houses look like?
The spirit house is normally in the form of a miniature temple and is mounted on a pillar. In Thailand you will come across spirit houses of all shapes, sizes and colours, and in fact they are also a common sight throughout many SE Asian countries. How big should a spirit house be? Well, the more important the house or business is, the more prominent and elaborate the spirit house will be. For example, the head offices of a Thai bank or a large embassy will have a very large spirit house, in fact probably a few. Some very famous ones such as the one that houses the Chiang Mai City Pillar are large enough to walk into.
Each Morning Offerings
Offerings are left at the house every morning to propitiate the spirits. Food such as chicken, cookies and sweet desserts are offered as well as drinks such as tea, bottles of Fanta soda (with straws). Incense and candles are lit, flowers are set in place and all food offerings should be on the table in front of the spirit house.
Do’s and Don’ts
• It is beneficial if the spirit house is situated in front of a tree.
• A spirit house pointing towards the North or North-East is considered especially lucky.
• A spirit house should not be placed to the left side of a door.
• A spirit house should not face towards a road or toilet.
• A spirit house should not be located within the shadow of the main property.
The Spirit House is one of the most fundamental features of Thai life even today and one of the most obvious. In Thailand devotion to Buddhism often shows itself in ritual within a temple while Thai devotion to the spirits and especially the Guardians of the land, shows itself in their own front gardens.