Lucia has something to say

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Aus·pi·cious

Auspicious. It’s a word we don’t use much. When I travel, I hear it often. Auspicious days. Auspicious colors. Auspicious events. Part of eastern spiritual practice is to maximize what promises success. To do what one can to be favored by fortune.

A friend in Nepal said, “The oddest thing about being in Europe and North America is that people just open the door and walk out.” There’s no ceremony. No smudge of red on the forehead. No activity saying, “Now I am leaving my house and going out into the world.”

Thai spirit houses (san phra phum) go in an auspicious location. Not in the shade of the house. In a good spot for the spirits to live. If the spirits don’t have a place, they’ll be in the house with you where they’re bound to cause trouble. Each morning the head of household offers food, drink, flowers, incense.

Offerings to the spirits are common in eastern countries. Leaf dishes filled with food and flowers laid out on the walk and in front of the door in Bali. Candles lit at stupas in Nepal. Sometimes I think we have too few markers in our lives. Too few moments of awareness. Not enough sense of who we are in the world and what might be possible.

14 Comments:

Blogger meno said...

An interesting glimpse into other cultures.

A ritual for leaving the house other than hitting the garage door closer would be nice.

8:26 PM  
Blogger amusing said...

I brought a video home that has captured the Youngest's imagination about a little girl who builds a house for the fairies and all the creatures who come to use it. He keeps drawing the tree, the fairy house and the animals. I think we need to go outside and build one. We will have to choose an auspicious location.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

A few years back, O sold the building that housed his bookstore to a young Thai gentleman who had plans to start a gourmet restaurant. He was backed by his family's money, and when his dad discovered the closing date, he demanded that it be moved to the next day -- a more auspicious day.

The paperwork was already done, and it would have cost a small fortune to change the closing, so O refused. The sale went through, the bookstore became a restaurant; a restaurant that became the scene of a near-tragedy and failed miserably.

Now, this kid made a LOT of BAD mistakes along the way, so I don't blame the non-auspicious day. But O wonders if the family blames HIM for the failure.

I want to build a spirit house.

11:45 PM  
Blogger ThomasLB said...

A common Hindu prayer at shrines begins "You are everywhere, but I worship You here / You have no form, but I worship You in this form / You need no prayers, but I offer You these prayers."

I have a little shrine in my bedroom where I burn incense, and where I sit when I chant my rounds. I think it's important to have a sacred space.

6:05 AM  
Blogger Sanjay said...

Very well said liked how you put it. One ritual that came to mind is on weekends, if I leave the home and *A* is at home too, she will drop a crystal of suge in to my mouth.
I think it goes back to "go out and face the day and the world.. for that you need energy so here is something".
But I have to confirm this with her as she is more in touch with our roots than me. :-/

6:52 AM  
Blogger QT said...

I used to work for a Chinese business man who had to have things happen on auspicious dates, the addresses of the home he bought for his daughter had to have auspicious numbers in it. This blew me away, as if a number could hold you back in the land of the free, home of the brave? (snicker - I was quite young).

I have a string of tiny bells on a red cord that I jingle everytime I walk in or out the door. Scares the bad spirits away...seriously!

6:53 AM  
Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

This is what I need! A spiritual place. We need more spiritual (not religious) rituals in our country...at least it would help me.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Thailand Gal said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Thailand Gal said...

Oh, I really like and appreciate this post! This is one of the key things that has been so enriching, having adopted another way of life. All of it makes me feel more connected to the cycles of life itself. Mundane things become embued with meaning.

I could write volumes about this but will leave it at that. :)


Peace,

~Chani

9:45 AM  
Blogger patches said...

We put more effort into housing SUVs, than our spirits. It's a shame.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

I have a mirror box at home that serves as a miniature alter. On it are tiny statues of female deities from all cultures, and gifts in all elements (shell-air, stone-earth, fire-candle, feather-wind). I'm not religious or superstitious, it just feels right.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Lucia, I agree that we have too few moments of awareness. Most Westerners have NONE. Too busy living in the past or in the future. No sense of NOW.

I do think we should have a ceremony upon leaving our house. After all, it's dangerous out there! We need a blessing before leaving! :)

4:16 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I once read a book (I don't remember which) that said you should have a sacred space somewhere just for yourself that you could meditate and fill yourself. A way to really be alone I guess. I always liked that thought.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous jen said...

oh, i love this. when in southeast asia i had the fortune to learn about spirit houses and the roles they play..and you are right the mindfulness. and the lack of.

5:40 PM  

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