|The Meaning of the Annual "Paying Homage to Teachers"
(or Wai Khruu) Rituals of Spirit Mediums in Thailand.
The word medium is a method of communication with the
other side. People who use this form of communication
are called spiritual mediums or simply called mediums.
The mediums go in a deep trance state while doing a
ritual with their Spirit Guide. Mediums in their full
essence have been receiving help from other entities.
The spirit guide will enter into their body and communicate
with people directly. We call this phenomena 'deep trance'
because it is a total exchange of egos and the medium
has no awareness of anything that transpires.
During trance, the spirit guide is speaking and manipulating
one’s body. There is no noticeable change in one’s
voice, nor does the spirit stand up and walk around.
Spirit is simply a person, like us, who resides on the
other side. The spirit guide does not claim to be any
better than us, she or he just has access to more information
because of extensive training and research. The Spirit
guide never purports to be a deity of any kind. Spirit
guides bring to us great knowledge and offer answers
to all of our questions. Spirit is our guide and link
to the other side and can access the wisdom of many
great minds with the power of love, compassion, wisdom,
humility, and patient concern.
Each year from March 10 August is the time for all the Spirit Mediums to show their respect to
their spirit guide as their great teacher. All the participants will invite all of their friends and
clients to come to their rituals of Wai Khruu. The atmosphere of the ritual is
warm, full of love and mutual respect and is very festive
with colorful dress and the fragrant smell of flowers
enchanting the city. Most of the mediums will dance
in their own style and go deep into trance for the entire
day as a cleansing process, letting go of blocking energy
by dancing with love to their spirit guides. Some of
the mediums are channeling before they dance and some
start to channel after they dance to let go of their
emotions completely and express their joy and gratitude.
The religious beliefs of the Thai people consists of a mixture of Hindu Brahmanism and
Buddhism. The spirit-medium cult is one aspect of the general popularity of magic and
commercial Buddhism in modern Thailand. In the West, the word cult sometimes has a
negative connotation, while in Thailand the spirit-medium cult is positive and is not associated
with any type of cult groups that are typically negatively portrayed in the West.
The spirit-medium cult in Thailand is indigenous to
Thai culture and has been modified and reinvented to
fit in with urban life styles and consumerism. It is
underlined by beliefs in animism and supernatural beings.
It is based on the belief that spirits' supernatural
powers are able to solve all human beings' "this-worldly"
sufferings, provided that proper worship and sacrifice
are performed. Thus the cult by means of its magical
practices provides its members with a perspective about
suffering and how to make it tolerable and meaningful.
From a sociological perspective, a group of cult leaders
and mediums are mostly female and are of working or
lower middle class status in an urban population, who
rely on the cult’s magical practices and consultations
in order to survive through economic hardships as well
as moral and psychological confusion. According to “paying
homage to teachers" or "WaiKhruu”, most
of the mediums are usually women, a small number are
men. More importantly, through studying the spirit-medium
cult, we learn more about the on going discourses between
Buddhism and magic and between state authority and individual
religious freedom as well as the co-existence of different
religious beliefs and practices in modern Thailand.
When spirits (known as chao) are looking for a body
to possess, they will seek someone who can open the
connections to their energy and be able to accept and
receive their energy completely as their second body
on earth. The spirit needs the physical body to show
and give clear explanations of their energy’s
work as a spiritual healer or a spirit guide. Thus the
spirit uses the body to provide the proper perspective
about healing and suffering.
For example, if you are on the spiritual path as a clairvoyant or healer, you can easily get in
touch with the higher spirit of your great creative teacher and be inspired by the guides who
you are connected with in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world the forms of creative energy
are more benefical to people and are more beautiful than we are able to manifest on the earth