August 21 New Moon. Ghost Month Customs To Make Any Hungry Spirit Happy.

photo credit: David W. Ray

“…what we take from the spirit world is only a reflection of what lies inside ourselves.”
– Charles de Lint

If  you thought the Great American Eclipse was an experience, gird your loins, it’s Ghost Month where restless spirits soar from Hell’s gates. Often compared to Halloween, The Hungry Ghost month is a time when family honors their ancestors. They bid their spirits welcome with colorful shrines decorated with brightly lit candles, chrysanthemums, red paper lanterns and burning incense (symbolizing prosperity). Elaborate meals are prepared, a special chair is given to the wandering ghost to rest from its weary travels and hell bank notes (burned josh paper) will be in the spirit realm. The Chinese believe these alms enable the spirits to live at peace when they return. These customs are performed with sincerity but the underlying motive is self preservation. Families believe that if they feed the ghosts, they won’t curse them and good fortune will come their way. These traditions also raise a mindfulness about looking after those who are marginalized. It is an opportunity to teach children about easing the suffering of others as it is believed some ghosts who come back have no family to visit their grave and others have died due to unfortunate events.

On the 15th night of the lunar month, Taoists and Buddhists hold, Yu Lan, the Hungry Ghost Festival. It The full moon and the fall harvest are celebrated too. The evening is filled with rituals–a parade with floats of lotus-shaped lanterns riding on top. The procession makes its way to a river, pond or lake. It is said that the lanterns give direction to lost souls plus it helps the ghosts and deities find the food offerings left for them. To ensure your good luck for the reminder of the year, check out the do’s and don’ts  in “Ghost Month and Monkeys” for more Hungry Ghost customs.

Chinese fall: we enter the Metal season. Drawing in, recalling the stories of the year and stocking up on supplies for the upcoming winter. Discover what the month holds for your Zodiac animal. Rat: it’s a Three Harmony month for Rat. Bad luck that has followed you is now cleared away. You are feeling your best. Wealth and happiness are coming. Go with the flow and all will go your way.  Ox: expect adversities along with auspiciousness. Be cautious this month with friends and being a guarantor. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to investing. Once you’ve made your profit withdraw otherwise you may suffer a big loss. Tiger: you are in a Direct Conflict this month. Watch out for scoundrels behind your back and be mindful of driving as a traffic accident it likely. Disaster could befall you in blood shed or money loss. Use extreme caution or your efforts could go down the tube. Rabbit: there will be misfortune along with good fortune. Overall life is unclear. Be careful who you spend time with and avoid vain and materialistic pursuits. Be practical over trying to grasp for instant success. To be safe and healthy is a blessing indeed! Dragon: it’s a Three Harmony month. You will be blessed with a promotion and good fortune opportunities. Though you will experience financial good luck, exert good judgement when investing. Be mindful of your health. Perform good deeds. Snake: this is a Six Harmony month. Be mindful when traveling. Do all your mundane and transcendental cures. Think twice before you sign the dotted line. Promotion and academic advancement are slated for employees and children. Horse: your luck is good but be cautious and mindful when traveling. Avoid dark paths and dangerous places. Evade risky activities and water. (Ghost Month and Monkeys). Ram: someone in the family may be sick. Seek immediate medical attention. Coworkers may be in conflict and family causing disputes. Recite the Calming Heart Mantra frequently. Monkey: not a very lucky month. Legal disputes, financial loss and unexpected disasters may come calling. Watch out for misfortune, scoundrels and health issues. Keep your children away from water as well as dangerous activities. Rooster: your luck will be fairly smooth. With the Ghost Month secure your home against burglary. Be mindful of your family and keep them away from water and dangerous activities. Dog: keep a low profile this month. If you are already suffering from illness or bad luck, unexpected disasters might befall you too. Stay away from water and dangerous activities. Pig: the month is Mutually Offensive, and Confrontational plus it is a Ghost Month – double trouble! Safety should be firt on  your list – home, travel and physical. It could be very stressful this month. Watch out for family members’ physical and mental health. If you request a cure from this forecast, I will ask you to honor the red envelope tradition. Have a great month, Zodiac friends! 

Thank you to Khadro Crystal Chu, Black Sect Esoteric Buddhist Feng Shui for your unfailing command of Feng Shui and Chinese metaphysics.

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Sacred Space: Incubate Your Dreams In 2016

“Sacred space is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”
– Joseph Campbell

Contrary to belief that winter is a season of sleep, there is evidence it is a transformative time. While plants and wildlife slumber in dormant bliss, celestial events conspire to help us prepare for the deep well of opportunities coming this year. Winter Solstice the light returns to the Northern hemisphere. The days lengthen and swell with the increasing light. January 1, our inner light is ignited with the entrance of the a new year. Midpoint between Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, February 4, “Lichun”, the light of Spring arrives. Bursting through the frost, the hearty, winter plum blossom exemplifies forging ahead and so we tackle our plans. The timed cues between Heaven and Earth remind our spirit to renew our vow to ourself and the year ahead. 

Our spirit is the mystical, intangible part of our nature and important because it knows precisely when to act and what makes us happy. If we fail to recognize its value, joy remains beyond our grasp. This is reason alone to honor its place within us and create a space of its own. The highly respected Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, says of sacred space, “To live in a sacred space is to live in a symbolic environment where spiritual life is possible, where everything around you speaks of the exaltation of the spirit….This is the place of creative incubation…Your sacred space is where you find yourself again and again.”

If you’ve always written out your resolutions it might time to blend them with a spatial solution. Here are some basics to help you create a sacred space that will give you the support you need to incubate your dreams in 2016. You want it to be comfortable and away from noise. It can be a bedroom, study, workspace, a corner of a room, chair or your backyard. Keep in mind it is an intentional space that quiets your mind, frees you from stress and provides peace and healing. 

Create an altar or area where you can place special items to heightened your awareness of withdrawing from the world and honoring time alone. You may place fresh cut flowers, life force such as a plant or plants, an aquarium or a water fountain. Sights and sounds should be pleasing and meaningful. Scent is also a powerful tool to follow a path of awakening. A diffuser or dish of orange or lemon essential oil bring clarity or place a bowl of nine oranges. These add color and good fortune. Burning incense is a form of prayer. These methods engage your five senses and enhance the purification of your mind. If your space only has room for a table with a candle, add natural elements such as a shell from a favorite beach, a rock from a lakeshore or a special piece of wood that you picked up from the mountains. If there is a deity that is near to your heart, a statue or a painting is appropriate. If it is a Buddha statue like Quan Yin, Green Tara or Amitabha Buddha honor it with water offerings, food offerings, incense and candles that are placed on a tier below. Devote 5-30 minutes a day to meditate, journal, read or draw. At first you might feel resistance to getting started but if you select a time each day you can commit to, the demands of the world will vanish as you fall in love with this quiet, still time in your day. And when you leave give gratitude to your space for giving you sustenance and joy.

Have questions about your home? Want to feel more vitality and joy?. There are tried and true Feng Shui design principles that my clients share have garnered them success. I want you too to receive the same opportunity so I created Feng Shui A La Carte to get you there.

What I have discovered about our homes is that creating a heart healthy space leads to peace and contentment. The bedroom is where it begins. Start with my complimentary pdf: 27 Bedroom Concepts To Maximize Your Health, Happiness and Peace of Mind. Design your space to your best advantage. Subscribe to my blog and special offers. You’ll receive this valuable Feng Shui Guide as a thank you gift.