January 27, 2011

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Spirit Houses

I fell in love with these symbolic Thai mainstays of everyday life on my very first trip to Thailand. They are called spirit houses and building one (SaanPhraPhum) is an ancient Hinduism/Brahmanism practice that still exists throughout Thailand. They are everywhere and the Thais believe that these spirits or guardian angels inhabit every piece of land and need to be appeased when disturbed. By providing the spirit with a home of its own, serenity and harmony is supposed to be assured within the property. If properly respected and cared for, the spirit will provide protection and ensure wealth and prosperity to the owner (if only). The guardian spirit, or "PhraPhum" of the residence and business, is "PhraChaiMongKol".

A site selection for the spirit house, and an invitation to the spirit to take up residence, must be made. Traditionally, these are overseen by a Brahman priest or someone who specializes in conducting such ceremonies. The  time and place for it to be held is determined by astrological calculations.
Chiang Mai Spirit House.

Offerings







Phuket Spirit House, my favorite so far.


Can you smell the white Jasmine flowers?
 
They are like grown up doll houses with a soul that I can't help but be drawn to over and over.






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