This month is ghost month… and while it’s August, it’s lunar year, seventh month and called 盂蘭節…
The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival in modern day, Zhong Yuan Jie or Yu Lan Jie (traditional Chinese: 盂蘭節) is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in Asian countries. In theChinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh month (14th in southern China).
In Chinese culture, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is calledGhost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from thelower realm. Distinct from both the Qingming Festival (in spring) and Double Ninth Festival(in autumn) in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, during Ghost Festival, the deceased are believed to visit the living.
On the fifteenth day the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is veneration of the dead, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors even after their deaths. Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mâché form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals (often vegetarian meals) would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living. Ancestor worship is what distinguishes Qingming Festival from Ghost Festival because the latter includes paying respects to all deceased, including the same and younger generations, while the former only includes older generations. Other festivities may include, buying and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving directions to the lost ghosts and spirits of the ancestors and other deities.
Traditionally, it is believed that ghosts haunt the island of Taiwan for the entire seventh lunar month, when the mid-summer Ghost Festival is held. The month is known as Ghost Month. The first day of the month is marked by opening the gate of a temple, symbolizing the gates of hell. On the twelfth day, lamps on the main altar are lit. On the thirteenth day, a procession of lanterns is held. On the fourteenth day, a parade is held for releasing water lanterns. Incense and food are offered to the spirits to avoid them visiting homes and spirit paper money is also burnt as an offering. During the month, people avoid surgery, buying cars, swimming, and going out after dark. It is also important that addresses are not revealed to the ghosts
Some of the Taboos:
- Do not stroll at night.
- Do not swim. It is said that drowned evil ghosts might try to drown people in order to find victims for them to rebirth.
- As the month is considered to be inauspicious, do not move to a new house, start new businesses or marry.
- Do not hang clothes outside at night.
- Do not pick up coins or money found on the street and if one does, never bring any home.
- Do not step on or kick the offerings by the roadside. If someone were to step on any offerings by accident, he or she should apologize aloud to ameliorate the situation
- Do not wear red because ghosts are attracted to red.
- Don’t sing and whistle as these may attract ghosts.
- Keep away from the walls as it is believed that ghosts like sticking to walls.
- If someone is born during the ghost month, avoid celebrating his or her birthday at night. It is better to celebrate during the daytime.
- Do not go out at 12 midnight as the ghost may approach you for food and other offerings for them.
- Do not open umbrellas in the house. It may attract spirits
- Do not take selfies or take videos. Ghost may appear in it. You may never know
- Do not sleep facing the mirror or something reflective. It guides the ghosts.
I have not really been caring about these things until my recent gifts that I have been blessed with. My teacher has told me that people who have the blessing of talking to spirits and angels and all that communication have a hard time during this month. The death and the ghosts and the evil can sense what I have and cling onto it. The problem is, during this month, cleansing and healing are not allowed. So I’m struggling.
I have been feeling drained, completely to the point of emptiness. And I’m starving but when I eat I want to puke. Everything has been feeling so negative to the point where I am just giving up and wanting to sleep 24/7. My sleep is not even well.. it’s riddled with nightmares and I don’t move from my position for hours on end and have to willfully force myself to get up everyday with the little energy I have. I feel disoriented, confused, out of focus and just…. empty. That’s the best way to describe it. Empty… and it’s worst at night.
This is affecting my work, my family life, and just me in general. I can get a full night’s rest and still feel like I haven’t slept in days. It’s taking a toll on me and I’m wondering now if I have been blessed or cursed with my new found gift. It’s scary… I was doing so well before and suddenly I just feel like a darkness has grabbed a hold of me and I can’t shake it away. I keep telling it to leave me but I just feel so lost and spiraling down a deep dark whole. Meditation. Speaking to my angels. Cards. Nothing has helped. I’m subduing my pain and lack thereof in any way that I can think of and it’s not helping.
I feel lost. I need Archangel Michael by my side to guide me through my fear and pain.
This is the first time ghost month has affected me. Tonight I will leave an offering outside of my door…. and pray that they will leave me alone. I’m lost. I’m confused. I’m desperate.