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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August 14 New Moon. Ghost Month and Monkeys.

Some traditional Chinese beliefs can be scarier than the Flying Monkeys but if you perform the rituals of this Buddhist/Taoist tradition that honor the spirits, be rest assured you will ghost-proof your life (and improve your luck) during the 7th lunar month aka the Ghost Month.

Dish up good food to keep the spirits happy.
On the first day of the 7th Lunar month, King Yama (the King of Hell) opens the gates letting all the spirits and ghosts ascend from the lower realm. The dead are welcomed into the family home and shrines are decorated with candles, incense, food and red paper lanterns. The spirits are given sumptuous meals to eat, a chair to rest upon, old photographs to admire, burned josh paper or hell bank notes to take with them while incense (stands for prosperity in the Chinese culture) and prayers bless the time spent together. Giving the ghost these necessities they believe will enable them to live comfortably when they go back their own world. Josh paper is burned the first lunar day outside the family residences. Families may prepare a basin of one hundred flavors and five fruits for the ghosts to feed upon with the belief that they (the ghosts) won’t do something terrible or curse them after eating their sacrifices and holding their money, only good fortune and luck will come of it.

Throw a parade for long, lost relatives.
The peak of this Buddhist and Taoist tradition is the 15th day of the Lunar month (August 28th). It is also the same time as the full moon and the fall harvest. The Chinese believe that on the days of Ghost Month and especially on the night of the full moon there is more of a bridge between the dead and the living, so they must take precautions or honor the dead. Chung-Yuan, the Chinese Ghost Festival, is celebrated with a parade and decorated lanterns that ride atop decorated floats. The procession finds its way to a river, pond or lake. The lanterns are lit and released. This is meant to give direction to lost souls and help ghosts and deities find their way to the food offerings.

Safety first. 8 taboos to scare the ghosts away.
A few thousand year old rules to stay safe this month.

  • Avoid wandering alone at night nor near a wall. Spirits stick to walls and play pranks and terrorize after sundown.
  • Forgo swimming! You won’t find someone who is Chinese dipping even their big toe in the water. Water is a medium for obtaining new victims for the ghosts to rebirth.
  • Rethink moving into a new home, opening a new business or signing any contracts. Best not to get into something the ghosts can potentially ruin.
  • Forget about getting married because the marriage will have a bad ending.
  • Delay construction or remodeling where you are banging on the walls.
  • Keep your hands in your pocket when you see found money on the street; don’t even think about bringing it home.
  • Leave crying for the daytime, a weak mind gives ghosts the entrée to harm  you.
  • Stay clear of yin places like hotels (a good idea to change your travel plans right now) or cemeteries, the ghosts like to settle here.

What do the stars say about your Chinese zodiac animal in the Month of the Monkey? Here are soundbites to help you keep out of harm’s way. Rat: let the good times roll with this three harmony match. Ox: be conservative and cautious while driving. It is a good idea not to travel. Tiger: you are in direct conflict. Be careful also when traveling, instead refrain. Hare: good times and stellar results await you. Dragon: three harmony luck this month. Increased compensation and smooth progress. Snake: direct confrontation and negative spirits. Remain calm and stable. Follow the advise of the taboos. Horse: avoid impulsive decisions and avoid those who have malicious intent. Ram: the Star of Matrimony is on the ascendent. Pay attention to a family members health. Monkey: both favorable and unfavorable month. Keep calm and do not make plans. Take family members immediately to the doctor if they get sick. Rooster: remain passive, be careful of lawsuits and scoundrels. Pay attention to your diet. Dog: serious family disputes arise and alienation may happen among family members. Perhaps take everyone on a vacation Pig: luck of the month is most confrontational. You will be frustrated in most of your plans. Be cautious, there is potential for financial losses and bodily injury. Take precaution against cardiovascular disease.

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

Have questions about your home? Design it with vitality and beauty plus feel at ease with Feng Shui A La Carte.

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.