Thursday, March 11, 2010

City of Angels

I have been trying to put this post together for nearly a week. I’ve failed to find the words to describe the evening but I’m posting this anyway. It was one of the most extraordinary nights I’ve ever experienced here.

Last Thursday two friends told me that they were going to an Angel party that evening and they asked me if I wanted to go with them. This is a Thai party, my friend told me, where people-who-happen-also-to-be-angels are taken over by spirits; they go into a trance.

Most Thais believe in ghosts; mediums are admired and monks are consulted to gain auspicious names for babies, lucky dates to get married or open businesses. From what I gathered Thai people believe some people are angels. You can’t choose to be one; you are or you aren’t. When you are possessed by the spirit you can do all sorts of things that you couldn’t normally do. Coincidentally, this month the magazine Traversing the Orient covered a photographer who had delved into this spiritual part of Thai life.

The longer I am in Thailand, the less I seem to understand.

Enough with the talk; I didn’t learn enough to understand exactly what was going on and I think I need time to process it. Suffice to say that three western women turned up to a Thai community party about an hour out of Bangkok and we were welcomed most generously, given free food, and allowed to take pictures. Here are some of mine:

My friend Claire's YouTube of the evening is here.


Rebecca said...

sounds intriguing! Did you see magic? When I was in Indonesia I saw the clouds part over a beach after a shaman cast a spell. Was truly amazing.

JJ Beattie said...

Wow, Rebecca, amazing. But no, I didn't. I did see lots of people being possessed but I'm a terrible cynic. I'd need to see more to truly be convinced. The photographer from the article says he saw knives in faces and no bleeding.

The spirits on our night weren't demanding such dramas, although maybe we left too early.

DJ Kirkby said...

The photos are gorgeous! Are you coming to the LBF this year? Want to meet up?

HelenMHunt said...

That all sounds fascinating. Great photos as well.

SueG said...

Wow, this loks amazing! What an experience!

Debs said...

Incredible photos and so colourful.

It sounds like an amazing evening. I've never heard about Angel evenings before. The more I hear about Thailand, the more fascinating it sounds.

Angie said...

Gorgeous photos. That sounds quite fascinating. I love all the color and ceremony.

Carol said...

Wow, that sounds (and looks) amazing!!

C x

Claire said...

Sorry, I didn't give you the name of the place we went to. I keep forgetting to ask Kai, but it's around Bang Khae on the way out to Nakom Pathom... if that helps at all!