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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