10 Things About Wicca That Wiccans Should Know
Some little facts those beginning in the Craft might want to know.
The Shrine of the Goddess Tuptim
On my hunt for the strange and wonderful things in Thailand, in which there are plenty, I came across a hidden shrine full of gigantic penises.
The Lights of Diwali
Now I pray to Maha Lakshmi, the lotus goddess of wealth, for material providence and sustenance - because the reality nowadays is that art and beauty often costs money.
A Feast for Hekate of the Storms
Last year Aldrin, Pol, Ish and I came together to celebrate the feast of one of neopaganism’s most important deities. We honored Hekate as the lady of the underworld, and now we honor Her as queen of heaven.
Remembering the Departed
In remembering them, we recall that part of us that has gotten lost when they left this world.
Friday, September 30, 2011
And then of course, there's the food. THE food.
My favorite place to eat was Sampeng Lane, which is a narrow, noisy and bustling street with lots stalls and merchants walking by hawking their goods. Since it was just a short walk from the hotel I get to hang out there every morning, grabbing every interesting-looking food that I see, gobbling it up while walking along and joining in the hustle and bustle of the market filled with the incessant calls of "sawadee kha!". "Sawadee kha", I swear, is much nicer-sounding and inviting than the "yes ser, yes mam, bili na po kayo" of Divisoria.
Welcome to Thailand, where even street food is gourmet.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I was going to Bangkok with a mix of excitement and apprehension. Thailand was actually one of my favorite places on earth I've never been to. However I knew that traveling there alone would be a lot different from traveling alone to the safe and sanitized streets of Singapore. Bangkok strikes me as a dark and gritty city from what I’ve seen in movies like The Beach, Street Fighter and The Hangover. But then, I grew up and live in Caloocan so why should I be hoity-toity?
Being my first time to see a Thai temple up close I was utterly wowed as soon as I entered the grounds, which welcomed me with a view of a dozen towering chedis and golden roofs gleaming in the morning sun. Just as I was about to remove my shoe to get inside the temple however, I discovered that I stepped on dog manure. Ew. I normally have some kind of psychic shit-radar but apparently it doesn’t work on these parts.
The Royal Grand Palace
There were lots of tourists around the palace walls which makes it an ideal feeding ground for scammers. While I was waiting to cross a street for example a nearby tuk-tuk driver saw me bungling with my map. “You look like Thai people. Where you from?”. I was thinking about faking an Asian-American accent and tell him I just came back from the states but I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. “Oooo, Philippine? I like Manny Pacquiao (while punching in the air). Want to see nice place? Come, I show you map.” Using his map he pointed to several tourists spots where he could take me to for just 50 baht. Of course he didn’t mention that he might bring me as well to a jewelry shop or to God-knows-what place else where he could earn himself some commission. He was nice and friendly eventhough he was trying to scam me so I declined with a smile.
Khao San Road
I rested my feet inside a not-so-famous little temple where I came upon a chatty local named Mariwan, a nurse who’s vacationing from Chiang Mai. We had a hearty and noisy chit-chat, laughing at our inability to understand each other, much to the annoyance of the monk who was manning the temple.
Just before sunset I headed towards the famous Khao San road to experience some party vibe, but when I came there I realized it wasn’t really my type of environment. There were loud music and beer and boisterous tourists all over, which reminded me of the seedy areas around Jupiter Street in Makati. There was then a long and heavy rain which flooded the street and which had me trapped in the place until late in the evening. I just amused myself watching the other tourists wondering which country they might have come from. By midnight I grew tired of it all, and because of the rain and flood, I had to pay an exorbitant fare to a rip-off tuktuk driver to take me back to my hotel. It was a perilous and scary drive: we were probably hitting 80 on the wet and slippery street while the driver kept on insisting to take me to the red light district to see the “ping pong pussy exhibition”. I was beyond words with my happiness and relief when I arrived at the front door of my hotel.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Golden Mount
A steep conical hill with spiraling stairs. It took me a lot of guts (thanks to my fear of heights) and lots of bottled water to reach the top, once the highest point in the city. Thankfully there is a canteen halfway the climb where I could replenish my water supply and get some needed calories. My efforts were well-paid with a spectacular albeit knee-shivering view of the city. At the very top is a huge golden chedi beside which hangs strings of paper money and an altar to which pilgrims pray. There is also an indoor shrine and a souvenir shop where I bought a couple of Buddhist string bracelets for folks at home.
The defining feature of this temple is its metal spires, hence the name (which is Tibetan for “metal temple”). The floor plan is designed in the form of concentric squares evoking the shape of a mandala. It is acoustically efficient too. Despite the building construction going on outside, the temple interiors were quite silent. Many visitors go directly to the rooftop to get up close and personal with the metal spires, but it is worthwhile to explore each of the maze-like floors too, which can be meditative. I love this place. It’s just so relaxing and calming.
Tucked in the middle of Chinatown, the red, white and gold temple is remarkable to look at. But there is just something eerie and mysterious about this temple. Among the things I found here are a monkey skull, a spider effigy and a pair of huge crocodiles in the temple grounds. The place was silent except for the occasional flapping of a bird’s wings which just adds to the creepy-vibe. I had the place on my own when I came so I was able to have my little me-time with the Buddha.