Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Summary Of Thai Magic

We have walk through many Thai magic, so let us do a quick review:

It is quite difficult to sub divide Thai Magic by area. The reason is with the advent of modern transportation; all types of practices can be found everywhere. But we still can see some die hard practices due to the availability of raw material according to geographical locations. This is only meant as a light walkthrough for the sake of comparisons and would not quote any references:

Northern Thai

The above picture shows a ritual spear from Karen tribe. Except for a shaman, not many people can control its servitor spirit.

Far on the mountain ranges of Lanna, the practise of black magic is still very proliferating. We have seen many types of black ‘kong’ or magic practices, different white and black Sak Yant and mountain spirit conjurations. Arjans almost exclusively employ familiar spirits from mountain ranges. These wild spirits normally appear in the form of tall hairy creatures about 12 feet tall. This is in line with the description of “hantu raya” of Malay Magic. Generally, the magic practice in Lanna is influenced by Brahmism, Buddhism, Bonpo from the Himilayan ranges and local believes.

The Thai oil lamp ritual was originally a Brahmise ritual, the use of spear to control spirits can be traced to Himilayan shamanic practices. So just quote you some examples.

Kumantong or kid spirits alike are seldom used in performing black magic or any magical rituals. Nor you will hear things like leklai, expensive cast amulets etc. Wonders why?

The Northern altar is much simpler than the Central Thai ones; I am referring to the majority of arjans’ altar in saying so, excluding the Temple ones of course. Some hill tribe do not even have a fix altar so to speak. The magic of these tribes are very powerful nonetheless. It is very unlikely that you would find many cast amulets as in the central parts.

Central Thai

By central parts I generally refer to the regions of:

Nakhon Pathom, Suphanburi, Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi, Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Ratchaburi and Kanchanaburi.

Magical practices in Central Thai are mainly influenced by Chinese and Thai community. I can see the proliferation of spiritual mediums, arjans, all sorts of amulets, big and small kumantongs etc. There are big and small spirit medium congregation events yearly that would attract hundreds of participants to seek help from all corners of the world.

This is where you will see very complex and large personal altars with many big and small statues. Including are also complex talismanic rituals that lasts for hundreds of pages, the practice of Phra Ngan etc.

Some people believe leklai or in modern terms “iron ore” exist on the mountain ranges of Suphanburi and Kanchanaburi. But I would attribute this to the interest of the rich and not for ordinary public. Anyway, the power of leklai is passive and illusive. My take is that, next time when people want to sell you a ‘real’ leklai; ask him if he would test the invulnerability with an assault rifle M-16? Ha ha ha.

Southern Thai

Above is a lembing Kelantan. You can compare the differences between the North and South system.

In my humble opinion, Southern Thai magic is not for anyone and everyone. Well, as with the Northern magic, the Southern Thai magic comes with additional requirements: you must understand the underlying principles of the magical system: Brahmism, Buddhism, Kejawen, Ramayana and Wayang Kulit. The practitioner must have a pure heart, or he/she would see the ugly side of the magic. Remember, there are always two sides of everything.

Many Northern Malay magic rituals are originated from the Southern Thai systems: name the deadly santau, dead curses and the hantu raya. In addition to that, the making of minyak dagu or Nam Man Prai oil is also part of the system.

Southern Thai magic do not rely on complex altars as most of the spirits are wild spirits conjured from mountains: tree spirits, jembalang tanah, hantu raya (jembalang angin), hanuman, dewa panah, naga, garuda etc.

You may be surprised to find that mediumship, keris and panah (spear) are also used widely in Southern system.

Personal Conclusion

The Northern and Southern Thai system use the same power source i.e. the spirit of the nature. The distinction lays in the Northern system acts like Terminator; once programmed, it destroys everything on its path to get to its target. The Southern system acts like Raimbo, he heard you; but do as he will. Unless you have the same strength of this Rambo (weapon), he will disobey you.

The Central system makes use of human spirits, namely the kid spirits. So this is the easiest to master but with the weakest power. In this case, the spirit may or may not accomplish what you ask them to do. So people change a style and say that they are accumulating merit by taking care of those poor baby spirits. How nice!? ;-)

If we bring together the North, Central and South spirits in a room, then the kid spirits will become snacks of the big guys.

Whatever the system is, no system exceeds the status of a monk, hence the teaching of Buddha.

As to which system to follow, frankly; that is up to your preference. Peace.

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