Religion

Wishing for Something to Happen

Looking Northwest at Erawan Shrine. Every garland, every candle, every three sticks of incense is a wish. Staff remove these every hour or so, and still the wishes keep coming. They no longer burn the candles or incense because the air pollution was too great.
Apparently, the spirits are okay with it that way

I wished for a thing to happen last October. The more that time passed, the more I wanted it to occur. Of course, I did most all the tasks that I personally needed to do to make it happen, but it was nowhere near certain. So, I wanted to be extra sure.  

Shrines and spirit houses are everywhere. I can see 4 or 5 from my bedroom window alone. These are the places one prays to in order to make it through the day to day. For bigger desires, one goes to the bigger shrines. Certain shrines get a reputation for making certain wishes come true. There are fertility shrines and relationship shrines and money shrines, even lottery shrines.

The Erawan Shrine in Bangkok has been considered to be one of the more powerful shrines. Sited along the site of some powerfully spiritual rhumb lines. It’s actually a Hindu shrine, and has become very popular with the Chinese who supplicate their wishes by the dozens. Go figure.

I consulted with several knowledgeable amateurs on how best to make my wishes known. The best time to go is 6 PM.  Wear white. Don’t eat meat for 3 days before begging. Buy your offerings from inside the temple, not outside. Don’t be too desperate, just let them know you’re here, you’re grateful, and that you’d like a little favor, if the spirits could be bothered. 

I did most of it. Gave up meat.  Wore my best white shirt. I did buy my offerings from the lady outside. She looked like she needed the cash. And she gave me last minute instructions. On garland and three joss sticks at each cardinal direction. Read the script. At the last station, make your request and make your promise. No confession needed.

The promise is important. If your wish is granted you need to come back and make another offering.  Be it snacks or more garlands.  This spirit likes music, it seems, and the highest offering is to hire the temple troupe to sing praises over you while you express your thanks. 

You can buy two singers, four singers, six or eight. I wanted my thing so bad, I promised eight. 

My wish was granted in early November. So, a few weeks later, I went back to fulfill my promise. I did the same thing. I gave up meat. I anointed myself and I plopped down 25 dollars for the eight dancers and the band. I knelt down, the music started and I let the strains waft over and carry my prayer of thanks away. 

Though the singers look bored, I like to think they’re in a prayerful trance.  I’m especially enamored by the xylophone player who is dialing in my gratitude directly to the heavens above. 

“Don’t get too reliant!” my amateur guru said. “Just wish for the things that have a good chance of happening.”  This is probably a good rule to get through most of life. 

Duty calls! Head dress retrieval time!

Categories: Religion, Thailand

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