Who Lives in Those Little Houses?

Who Lives in Those Little Houses?

Posted on 05. Sep, 2009 by in Thai Culture, Thailand

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:12

In America, we don’t give much thought to the supernatural. Sure, maybe as Christians we think about spirits after reading a Frank Peretti novel or something, but it doesn’t affect our daily life.

spirithouse1

Rundown Spirit House, Still With Fresh Flowers

In Thailand, however, it’s different. People here are very attentive to spirits and they are a very real part of everyday life. Buddhism developed in Thailand after the existing Animistic (spirit-worshiping) beliefs. Thus the two are very intertwined. Spirits can be good or bad, but are mostly just mischievous and likely to do you harm if you don’t pay them the proper respect. People may also do things to “fool” Spirits to keep bad ones away, such as wearing clothing inside out, or building stairs unevenly. Some even write on their black cars “THIS CAR IS PINK”. It confuses Jason just as much as the spirits.

Spirit Houses

The most visual example of respecting the spirit world are spirit houses. These are small structures that sit on a platform 4-5 feet off the ground that look like fancy birdhouses. Almost every home or business has at least one that is as nice as they can afford. An astrologer will be consulted to choose the proper place where the shadow of the main building will not fall on it. They will also throw a housewarming party to welcome the spirit, and provide small figurines to serve the spirit.

A Traditional-Style Wooden Spirit House

A Traditional-Style Wooden Spirit House

In front of the house is a small platform where offerings will be made. I am always amused to see a bottle of Fanta with a straw sitting on these platforms. Other offerings include fruit, water, incense, and any type of food. By making offerings one hopes to secure blessings from a spirit or to at least bribe them. This is especially important on certain holidays. You will also see people wai (bow) as they pass a spirit house in order to ask the residing spirit’s permission to pass.

Most Thai people live in fear of ghosts and other spirits. But Jesus proved His authority over spirits time and time again during His ministry and taught that we can have the same authority. When a Thai becomes a Christian it is so freeing for them to know that God has authority over all spirits and they don’t need to be afraid anymore.

“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” -Luke 4:35

Much of this information is taken from the following links. I found them to be very interesting.  Click to learn more about Thai beliefs and practices:

The Thai Spirit House
Thai Spirits and Ghosts
Spirit Houses of Thailand

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2 Responses to “Who Lives in Those Little Houses?”

  1. Beth

    06. Sep, 2009

    Interesting stuff. It’s amazing to realize that the supernatural world is actually real, isn’t it? Knowing the Jesus actually cast out demons from people, that it actually happened, is pretty incredible (Luke 4:35). If you’re ever interested in learning more about that from a Christian perspective, I’d recommend reading the book “An Exorcist Tells His Story” by Father Gabriele Amorth. He’s a Catholic, and he speaks of both Catholic and Protestant exorcisms and “supernatural” experiences. Thanks for writing, guys!

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  2. Cherith

    09. Sep, 2009

    I love reading about other religions because it does remind me of my faith and what I believe in. Knowing that the Lord is in control and this is something I don’t have to fear. I always have said that I will never mess with any movies or shows that deal with demons and spirits because it is SO real. So I can see why the Thais are afraid of them. But knowing that God is protecting me and is in control, is something I will never take for granted.

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