I carry an American passport. But my home is Thailand. I go to USA to work, to make money to come back to Thailand. Spanning the Pacific. Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and someday, more. This is life in the country in north central Thailand. Now including Mexico!
a few weeks ago, after the medium was here for mama, tok told me that the Ghosts wanted me to bring them a chicken and some alcohol, so that i would be accepted within their protection. this morning we carried out that task.
tok bought a whole chicken yesterday at the market. looked like a small turkey. this morning we got up early. well early for me: 6:30, showered and had a quick bite to eat. we took the motorbike the small shop up the road and tok bought a small bottle of thai whiskey to add to the basket with the chicken and a woven sticky-rice box. we went to her aunts house- sister of her mothers. auntie wasn't home, so we went to the thursday meeting market in the village to kill some time. when we returned, auntie came back. her aunt sat on the floor and tore a banana leaf into equal strips, ten folded the strips into little cones. tok added some leaves of some sort to each one, and some small yellow candles. we went into her aunts bedroom. there was an alter of sorts in the corner, with bottles of lotion, dried flowers, candles, incense and various other things. auntie poured out a glass of cold water and put it up on the table, they opened the bottle of whiskey. she lit some candles knelt at the alter. auntie quietly appeared to "pray" and bowed and touched the floor several times. after a few minutes, they searched around the house and found the ball of white string. auntie cut some equal lengths of strings, and carefully tied three knots in each one. then she tied a string to toks, mine and the young boys wrist (video). when she ties a string, you hold our arm out, palm up. she drags the stretched string quickly up your wrist, flips the string up under your wrist and over, makes the first over hand of the knot and makes the loop of the send part of the overhand. she contemplated the loose knot before pulling it tight. then she rubs your wrist.
that was it. tok gave the chicken to her niece who took it downstairs and chopped it in half. we got half a chicken to go with us, and brought back the rice. we went home, tok started the cloths washing, i re-arranged the big jars behind the house and filled them with well water. i'd bought another ball valve to put in line with the village water pipe that goes to the sink, because the water pressure is so high, when you turn on the sink tap it blasts out. the extra ball valve would allow throttling down the flow.
while i was cutting the pipe and gluing in the new valve, i asked tok what had happened this morning. she said it was difficult to explain, so i asked a bunch of questions and go something of an explanation of what it was about. I'll tell you best i can, as it's still a little unclear. Tok uses the word "Ghost" to refer to whatever entities we were appealing to. it is unclear if she means "ghost" - as a dis-embodied earth-bound spirit, or simply a non-physical being. i asked her if the Ghosts used to be people, but she didn't quite understand what i was getting at. she said she didn't know about that. but she said they "have a boss, and soldiers, and workers". The Ghosts wanted an offering for me, because i'm part of the family now, and if they are to include me in their protection, i must bring them a chicken and alcohol. i asked tok what if i didn't believe in such things and didn't want to go "feed the Ghosts" myself. she said they would just do it themselves. what happens if you don't make the offering? then the Ghosts would be angry, and you will have some problem, a sickness, bad feeling, accidents, you, or others in the family will feel the problem of the Angry Ghosts. She said the Ghosts will now protect and help me, as part of the family. I asked her if they would help when i was in america. she said i have to think to the Ghosts before i get on the plane, or they won't know where to find me. i joked with her and said, what if i forgot? when i got to america would i have to shout really loudly "Hey! I'm over here! catch the next plane!"
so now it seems, i have been accepted into the circle of protection of the Ghosts that takes care of Toks whole family. I won't tell you if i believe or dis-believe this. it's something that is part of thai country life. something that i have the privilege of experiencing, even if i don't understand what's going on. that's part of the allure, part of the Quality of being here.
later, we had the chicken and rice as part of lunch. i couldn't tell how the chicken was cooked, since they don't bake anything, and it wasn't fried. tok said she cooked it by steaming. i've never heard of that. good lunch tho.