Posts Tagged ‘ghost month’

Ghost Month 101

In Living a Life Off-Center on August 21, 2010 at 2:41 am

We’re about to hit the Feast day of Ghost month. Many of you have been asking me what Ghost Month is all about and what to do, so I thought I’d rely on an expert to explain. I’ve been to Princess Lim Fernandez of the Yin and Yang Shop of Harmony at the Mandarin Hotel and this is what she had to say:

**The start of the second half of the lunar year which is also the 7th lunar month is known as the “The Ghost Month” or officially the “Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival”.  This is an annual festival during which ghosts, spirits and demons roam freely around the earth.  This year 2010, it starts on August 10 until September 7.  In a way it is quite similar to our celebration of All Soul’s Day (although this one lasts a whole month) wherein we can go to memorial parks to offer to our dearly departed and other souls in purgatory although we should not be so noisy nor stay too late.

According to Chinese legend, Emperor Yim Lo, the ruler of the underworld, opens the gates to allow all the “hungry ghosts” (souls with no descendants who pray for them) to come out from the underworld into the earth to receive offerings from people every 7th lunar month of the year.  They have to be invoked, propitiated with food and other offerings, entertained with performances of opera, movies, puppet shows etc and then cathartically released back into the spirit world.

Offerings are done on the eve of the Feast day which falls on August 23 this year.  With this offering, we feed the spirits with special gifts and in return ask for their help to bring us more luck.  Offerings made are usually candles, joss sticks, some fruits and some food.  All temples have a special ceremony and special prayer which one can participate in during this month for offerings to the spirits.

Believers are wary of this “unlucky period”; thus business in real estate, home renovation, and wedding banquets are known to slow down during this period because it is believed to be inauspicious to move house, start construction, start renovation, get married, or just generally start a new project.  But it is okay to travel this month, although one should try to avoid traveling on August 23 & 24.  Make it a point to go to Church or Temple to pray.

During this period, everyone should try to go home early and not stay out so late especially on August 23.  This especially applies to those born in the year of the Fire Tiger, Wood Pig, Earth Pig, Fire Snake & Wood Monkey, all other Monkeys and Tigers because it is during this day that their luck is at its lowest and their Ch’I is low and in tune with yin energy.  Although technically all signs are affected but some signs are more affected than others therefore they should try to avoid attending wakes during this period.  For protection, they should wear or carry with them a Jade Protection Pendant and a Safety Medallion. **

I am not quite sure what Princess is referring to with the above mentioned protection stones, but these are a couple of my recommendations. (Of course, if you really want to be safe you can go to her shop) but I personally use these whenever I need to feel more shielded.

Jade Dreamstone neckpiece

This is a jade Dreamstone neckpiece. I love the carvings on it, plus it makes a good “accent” to my work ensemble. This also works in the evening when you know you’re going to have to go to an event or a special occassion that will end late. Jade has special protective (and prosperous) qualities. Oh, and Princess did say wear a jade pendant so this fits the bill. I got this at Accessory Lab in Rockwell and there are different designs, all unique.

Tibetan black quartz

This is a Tibetan Black Quartz pendant. The belief is that a tibetan black quartz actually houses entities or energies from Tibet. It’s said that Tibetan Monks used this crystal for meditation and therefore left their energy and good will in it so that whoever uses it next will be protected and shielded from negativity. This particular one is of a twin flame formation and not easily found. I got this from a collector.

Turquiose pendant

Turquoise is not only pretty in terms of color but has very high protective energies especially for journeys and long trips. This was given to me by a good friend who said I should wear it whenever I was traveling. This is indeed a travelers stone and is my birthstone to boot so I decided to attach it to my favorite charm bracelet so I don’t forget it. This stone also helps dispel negativity and tension.

Star of David black tourmaline pendant

Ok, most of the accessories I’ve shown here are quite feminine in nature. So, what would I recommend if you’re not into girlie type designs, are male or want to gift a protective pendant to a man? This one on the right is for me my go-to pendant when I’m going to a new place, or meeting with new people and I have no idea what their intentions are. I also use it when I know I’m going to be in a crowded area for a long period of time or if I have to stay somewhere overnight and it’s my first time there. This is a star of david pendant in black tourmaline and it is very, very powerful yet very gentle for the wearer. Black tourmaline absorbs a lot of negativity (of all kinds from physical to non-physical) therefore shielding the wearer from those energies hitting him or her directly. Wearing this when you go to wakes and hospitals is akin to putting a forcefield around you, although some vibrate better to labradorite, especially when grief is concerned. Like the turquoise charm and the jade neckpiece, this is available in Accessory Lab in Rockwell, but you can also get a black tourmaline bracelet (they have then in different shapes and sizes) and also as a charm so you can attach it to a chain or to a bracelet.

To conclude, Ghost Month can be quite rough, and because of all the chaotic energies out there, (not to mention we’ve also just entered a mercury in retrograde period) it’s highly recommended that you be extra vigilant not only of your surrounding but also on your internal well-being and state of mind. Tempers may flare up, you may feel more irritable than normal and trust me, there’s going to be a lot of miscommunication and misinterpretation going around so just make an extra effort to be more patient and be very clear and concise in your instructions or in your decisions (especially when delegating them). Prayer is a must in our daily lives, and I don’t necessarily mean in the religious sense but in the spiritual sense. Send good and positive thoughts to yourself, to your friends and family, to your community and to the world. If you envelope your surroundings with love, white light and happy energy, no harm can come to you, pendants or not.

Happy Ghost Month everybody, be safe!

Feng Shui in fashion

In Philippine Star Column on August 6, 2010 at 12:25 am

Find the direction of your room

Feng Shui needs no introduction, especially in this country which has its generous share of mixed-up religious and non-religious beliefs in superstitions. You’ve probably walked into a home with an oddly shaped mirror (in an odd place) or a fountain with little statues and stones on it or even a restaurant that is decorated from head to toe with feng shui “cures” and “enhancements.” Just to see how it may be described in the modern world I Wikipedia-d an explanation, and got (which I felt seemed apt) (Fengshui) “is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. Qi or Chi is life force or life energy.”

I was intrigued by the prospect of feng shui and its luck-changing promises when a good friend of mine told me about a young lady who had given her a reading by the name of Princess (which I later found out was actually spelt “Princesse” probably another feng shui defined nuance) she told me that she had an unexpected but much-appreciated change in events in her life ever since she installed the “cures” her royal highness had prescribed. I thought, hey, why not, can’t hurt and I was intrigued by the name. A phonecall with Princesse led me to be happy with my decision; she sounded bubbly, chirpy and very positive and we scheduled an appointment the following week. My original thoughts of meeting up with a surly old man or woman who could barely speak English were dispelled. I guess I had watched one too many Hollywood movies. It was also good timing as August was considered “Ghost Month,” a rather inauspicious time for anything and would last from the 10th until Sept. 7, so perhaps I could find ways to deflect the bad luck as well.

The first thing I had to do was find the orientation of my room, see what corners represented north, south, east, west, I used an ordinary compass for this, but just to be sure I made as detailed a drawing as I could of my room and parts of my house, including everything from where the A/C was to certain paintings, my work desk, my bed, windows etc. Secondly, I had to give Princesse my birthdate and time for her to find out what elements I had, meaning Fire, Water, Metal or Earth and if it would be affected by the year 2010, and even by the stuff I had in my room, or, the profession I was in. Quick note, if you are O.C. enough to take photos of your room or house, go right ahead, unless you have the drawing prowess of a Marvel illustrator.

Happy luck for everyone

My feng shui appointment turned out to be very enlightening; in fact, I didn’t want the consultation to end as I felt educated at the same time. There are certain elements that your birthdate and time indicate you have too much of or lack, for example, in my case, it seemed that the food business would be a great venture for me, since I lacked the fire element, also, my favorite colors, like blue, gray and black, were the most unfavorable for me because I already had too much water. “Feng Shui luck,” explained Princesse, with a bright smile on her face, “is just a third of one’s luck; it becomes an enhancement if your heavenly luck is already strong, and it can also be the ‘medicine’ if it’s not.” I guess she was trying to say that if not everything you touch turns to gold, then maybe you need some gold-enhancing cures and baubles in your life.

“Through the years, I have seen how feng shui when properly applied, can improve one’s luck. I have seen how it has helped family lives become more harmonious, business increase, conflict resolved, health improved and many more. Just this morning I received a call from a client who last month asked me to help her with some stores in New York, she just called to tell me that sales have already increased by 50 percent after she consulted, “ shares Princesse. I thought, well, who wouldn’t welcome a 50 percent increase in anything, right? As long as it’s not body fat. Certain foods, of course, are more favorable to you depending on your elements; vegetables are categorized as a Wood element food and can and should be eaten by all. No excuses, then, everyone: you must, it seems, eat your greens.

I left that day armed with my new and sparkling feng shui bling. Who knows what post-Ghost Month can bring, right?

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For inquiries, contact the Yin & Yang Shop of Harmony, Lobby Level, Mandarin Oriental Manila Hotel, Makati Avenue., Makati City. (Tel. 752-5882; 750-888 local 2722; Shop hours: Monday – Saturday 11a.m.-8p.m.)