Ghost Month 2018 (The Hungry Ghost Festival)

So, yesterday was not only a New Moon in the sign of Leo (Hail Zeus!). I heard also that another supermoon was here but don’t know for sure. We have a lot to discuss. For starters, yesterday was the first day of Hungry Ghost Month. It will remain active until Sunday Sept 9th.
It’s not lost on me that it starts on a Saturday and ends on a Sunday. Saturday is a day for the dead to rest. I do my personal ancestral meditations and offerings at 12am if I can. If not just before 12am or even at Sunset of the same day. Sunday is a day of light dedicated to the Sun Gods who chase the dark spirits away.So for it to start on a Saturday and end on a Sunday this year is symbolic to me.
But on top of that it’s also a New Moon. In Hinduism, new moons are very inauspicious times. Dark spirits including the angry dead roam the streets at night. Another Hindu had told me though that it was also a good day to honor one’s ancestors regardless.Now, time to talk about Ghost Month. Ghost Month has it’s origins in Buddha’s disciple Maudgalyāyana, in China his name was changed to Mulian. But they’re the same person. He was the second most important disciple of the Buddha. The story goes that he was so powerful, that he could astral project to heaven and to hell.One day he was listening to a Buddhist lecture on being devoted to one’s parents. He realized in that moment, that he had neglected his mother. Maudgalyāyana came from a wealthy family. And his mother wasn’t too happy when he decided to renounce his life of material pleasures. He became one of Siddhārtha Gautama’s disciples.

Gautama was once a prince from Nepal.
He eventually renounced his throne to become a mystic, eventually a Buddha or “awakened one”. He had recognized Maudgalyāyana’s zeal for wisdom and wanting to lead an upright life. Maudgalyāyana was an advanced student with a vast array of powers. He decided to go back home and visit his mother.

But when he arrived, he discovered that his mother had passed away years ago. He was filled with great sadness. After all, how could he have forgotten his own mother? Something had to be done. He decided that if his parents were no longer able to be with him, he would go to them. He went into Heaven using astral projection.

He was happy to find his father there. But he could not find her. At that moment he was struck with a very bad feeling. In life, his mother was a dominant matriarchal figure who always wanted things done her way. He asked her to use the family fortune to watch over the poor, and any Buddhist monks while he was away.

But she never did. He traveled to Hell on the chance that he might find her there. And to his horror, he did find her. Only it was worse than he had imagined. She wasn’t just a condemned soul, he saw that his mother had become a Hungry Ghost.

Hungry Ghosts are very dark, toxic, ghosts. Either from Hell or Purgatory. Some are people who died badly like murder or suicide and they rise as cursed spirits unable to let go. Others died in accidents. In other cases, people become Hungry Ghosts when their families either forget the or stop giving them offerings.

They normally hang around the outskirts of cities, abandoned places, wastelands, or even the garbage areas of apartments. In Hinduism they’re called Petras. It seems that spending too much time in the lower realms drives human souls to insanity. That’s why many cultures and religions have a very thin line between hell and purgatory. For some, being stuck in the purgatorial realms is like hell.

And some become these creatures when they are selfish,greedy people who treated others with disdain in life. Thus, they damn themselves to Hell through their own sins. But not all of are Hell ghosts. Some of them are just in Purgatory, but a very dark part of purgatory. They’re only a few steps away from becoming Demons.

As a matter of fact they even possess some of the same characteristics at times. There are stories of them shape shifting into human form to fool humans and try to kill or possess them. They take on the forms of animals. Sometimes they shape shift into people you know. Even beautiful women and handsome men could really be Hungry Ghosts.

They can also possess or haunt the homes of victims. In many cases, traditional Chinese Priests, Buddhists, and Taoists have been called to exorcise the dark beings away in time to save the victims. There are several manuscripts depicting the various forms of Hungry Ghosts out there. The only thing they all have in common is extreme hunger and some of the same appearence. They come in various catagories and subcatagories.

I am only going to mention two. The Needle Mouths who have tiny needle like throats. This is so can’t swallow food. Some say they have mouths that literally are as tiny as the head of a needle. And the Flame Mouths, who can’t eat or drink anything because whatever food they try to drink or consume will burst into flame the moment they try to.

Others say that the food and drink doesn’t become fire but turns into coals instead. The huge bellies are so that they are eternally hungry which makes the torture worse. Strangely, Maudgalyāyana’s mother was both. She had a gigantic belly and a needle like throat. And when he offered his left over rice to her, they burst into flames.

I am still studying on the subject. But this is the only time I have heard of a hungry ghost who fell into both catagories. It’s possible her sins were so great that she merited both punishments. He realized that he had no hope of saving her on his own. He went running back to the Buddha for help.

The Buddha told his student that though he was powerful, the weight of his mother’s sins were too great. Even for him. He even said that all the Angels in Heaven, all the Demons in Hell, and the four Kings of Heaven combined could not free his mother. It was only through the Sangha (Buddhist community of monks and nuns) that they could hope to free her. He told Maudgalyāyana that he had to feed the monks and nuns and ask for them to pray for his mother.

This became a sort of Buddhist Mass for the condemned dead. The mass was so successful that legend says he dreamed his mother. She finally to left hell and entered heaven. Eventually, she reincarnated as a dog and lived with a wealthy family who cherished and loved her. And with time Maudgalyāyana was able to transfer enough of his merits to his mother that she was able to reincarnate as a human again.

The premise of this Buddhist Mass is that you transfer your good deeds or merits to the condemned dead.
This allows them to gain enough blessings to leave the lower realms. By lower realms, they don’t just mean hell. This could also be purgatory or life as an animal. Once freed, the soul ascends to the higher realms.

At the same time, the offerings of food to the monks blessed the disciple so that he gained extra blessings. These extra blessings were shared to his mother. In the end, Maudgalyāyana’s love and devotion to this mother was what saved her. As even the Buddha claimed that his cries of anguish for his mother moved not only the spirits of heaven but the spirits on earth. Even the demons in hell were moved.

Now with that, I wanted to add something interesting to this. Some teachings claim Hungry Ghosts actually live in space. Not an actual hell. So a lot of them could be up there as part of their existence. It makes sense.

Space is a dark void after all. What’s interesting about this is that astronauts have had some really weird encounters in space in the past. I’ve heard stories of astronauts claiming they saw giant angels, transparent entities that almost look like snakes, and in one case possible Poltergeist Activity. In 2003, there was a Chinese astronaut named Yang Liwei who entered space as part of the Shenzhou 5 mission. He claimed that something was knocking on the walls of the ship, from the outside.

He was nervous and tried to do what we do in the paranormal community : debunk it. He couldn’t find the source.  He said that it sounded like a hammer on a bucket of some kind. He never found the source of the sound. And it kept happening all throughout his time up there. The word Poltergeist from German “poltern” (to knock) and “geist” (ghost) Knocking Ghost, is a term for trickster spirits including ghosts that like to play jokes on people they haunt.

They make noises like tapping or knocking sounds on the walls of haunted houses. They sometimes take keys and other items and misplace them where people can’t find them. The main theory about Mr. Liwei’s experience is that it was Aliens.

After all, what else could it have been? If it was debris it would be making different noises. And the impact would be harsher than that. Instead it sounded like metal knocking on a bucket. I’ve heard sounds like that when people use door knockers. It sounds like what he’s describing.

Although I am not against the idea of aliens, how could they remain undetected from censors? And why would they be doing that? Some would argue they have cloaking technology that would hide them. They would furthur say it might have been  a psychological experiment. When he came back to earth, he started warning fellow astronauts. He told them to beware of the strange knocking sounds in space.
And sure enough, other astronauts  reported that same odd knocking sound.

They also tried to debunk it. But they also concluded that it came from the outside of the ship. To my knowledge that has only ever happened with China’s astronauts. But what if it wasn’t aliens per say? Or rather yes and no at the same time. Alien means “foreign”.

From a living human’s view, spirits can be alien to our world if they no longer belong to the living. What if the stories that Hungry Ghosts occupying places in space were true? Given all of the strange phenomenon that’s not so big a leap to make. Getting back to the main point, always remember your ancestors. Always love them. Always take care of them. Even if you are a Christian, the Roman church for example does mass to help elevate the human soul into heaven.

The Hungry Ghost mass eventually evolved into rituals where monks and nuns or believers could free the angry ancestors. In the old days, believers would take a plate of food, usually rice, bless the food with a mantra three times, and then dump it onto the grass. The Hungry Ghost will then either possess an animal or shape shift into one in order to eat. This is one of the ways in which a spirit can be freed from the lower realms.
Another of Buddha’s disciples, Sariputta, went through the same thing.

The sacred sutra (text) of Petavatthu (ghost stories) details how Maudgalyāyana not only traveled to hell and spoke to his mother, but had conversations with other hungry ghosts. It’s very interesting to read. Maudgalyāyana often leaves me with the impression that if he wasn’t a Magus, he could have been one. Magi normally look at the spiritual world through an almost scientific lense. No, he didn’t write scientific calculations in the sutra.

But magi tend to be occult scientists. We practice a strange sort of of magical science that on the outside looks like mumbo jumbo. But underneath it all are deep observations of the world around us. He seemed to have developed an advanced understanding of Hell and how it operates. Fascinating stuff there.

I recommend it for Necromancers, Magi, and those interested in the afterlife in general. This will give you a good understanding of the world of the spirits regardless of which aspect of it you explore. The Story of how Maudgalyāyana freed his mother from Hell is here :

I was not able to find a link with the original Indian story. So instead I found the Chinese version where his name is Mulian. But it’s the same story. It’s interesting because his mother is named in this story. Since I haven’t been able to find the original, I don’t know if she’s named in that one or not. In this one her name is Madam Liu.

The sutra that contains the ritual for liberating condemned souls is called the Ullambana Sutra. It focuses on filial piety but has the ritual mentioned within. A really good source on not only this sutra, but Heaven and Hell in general is “Heaven & Hell In Buddhist Perspective” by author B.C. Law. The book goes into the origins of the Ghost Festival, the actual story, and the ritual itself. I’m still reading it though but love the hell out of thus book, pun intended.

You can read it for free here :

The Sutra is here :

If you do this ritual, take the food offerings far from your community. You don’t want to accidentally have something follow you home.
Turn around and whatever you do, do not look back no matter what you hear or feel. If I were you, I’d have something to protect myself with. A religious symbol, a charm bag, a holy item like Palo Santo (holy wood), silver, whatever you can find.

Even just a pocket of salt, and bread in the other pocket for life and death to gain safe passage from the Faeries is recommended. The Faerie folk are everywhere. Even in the land of the Dead. And they can help with all things. Like any good Santero, I spent last night resguardando (safe guarding or warding) not only my home but my neighborhood in general.

I went to my crossroads in the fork in the road where I live. And there I gave Elegua, Hekate, and the other Crossroads Gods their offerings. I felt them create a shield of protection for us all. This way no one will be harmed even if they do not believe. My Godmother went to the outside of her front door and the back balcony and drew crosses using cascarilla (egg shell powder).

This was to block their entry. We both already have several protections, but every little bit helps. The one good thing about yesterday, is that new moons are celebrated in Judaism like the full moons. Sacred to GOD. So I performed my own mystical celebration based on Jewish rites the day before yesterday at sunset.

I asked the Archangels and the Prophet Maryam, sister of Moses and Aaron to shield us. And since it’s also the sign of Leo the Lion, I invoked the protection of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The Lion Totem of the Hebrews adds extra power to any household spirits for protecting the home. Which leads me to the next point : honoring the ancestors with offerings will help them strengthen the home in conjunction with the other household entities. So make sure you clean your home Altars.

Give them fresh offerings of fruits. Vegetables, and the first food from dinner. Offer it not only to them but to all household Gods. Ask them to keep you safe. And burn lots of incense.

Also, the more incense you burn for them the better. It brings more fortune and good luck to you. Take the last bits of your food, and use that for the Hungry dead outside. Also offer it to your household Gods (like Elegua or Hestia) and ask them to help cross the dead over. After all, just because you aren’t Buddhist doesn’t mean you can’t call on another holy power.

My Godmother will be invoking the Virgin of Mount Carmel (Spanish La Virgin Del Carmen). She is also reputed in legend to be queen of the dead. She has the power to free any soul from hell or purgatory. She’ll be using the Catholic Prayer for her found here :

Use your own faith. Remember, the dead don’t care what your religion is. That’s a fool’s belief. Any faith that is real has real power. All you need to do is believe.
I’ve known people who crossed the dead over with magical spells instead of prayers and it worked.

I’ve known others who called on their spirit guides to cross people over. And some have simply used meditations, or visualizations to do it. I wouldn’t recommend any of that for the Ghost festival though. Feed them blessed food with the intention that it will cross them over.

It goes without saying, that besides the five planet retrograde and all the supermoons and eclipses we have had; the Reaping I talked about before worse. None of this is by accident. It seems the spiritual world is getting is ready for a few things. But don’t worry, it all leads to change of the needed kind.

Until next time dear readers, M.

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Bone Caster, Card Reader, apprentice Santero, Magician, Hellenic, Student of Druidry, and Pagan. Also, I'm a pain in the Ass

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