Thai New Year a Shan Blessing - Spirit Cleansing


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
17-18-19 APRIL 2014

A couple of years ago I witnessed a spirit cleansing ceremony in a temple in Nan that impressed me highly.
It took only 45 minutes & I thought wow, that's cool, I would not mind doing that someday at temple with some monks that I respect.

With not the best of luck the last 18 months - 3 bike incidents; plus some domestic issues, I thought well know must be about the time to gain some merit; especially considering the abbot of Wat Kha Kham in Thoed Thai had even suggested it to me - David you need to make some merit at the temple some time.

And so it was......Thoed Thai & at Wat Ka Kham......or so I thought.

The Versys was blessed on 8th April at Wat Ka Kham




This blessing was done by the "deputy abbot" & he speaks sufficient English, plus has travelled to Sri Lanka & Nepal to study Buddhism.

My donation


& I ended up with a sin from Kruba Boonchum, a famous highly respected Shan monk.


the red sin is from Kruba Boonchum.

Want to know about Kruba Boonchum, take a look here
Wat Wiang Kaew

more to come for an amazing ancient Shan spiritual cleansing ceremony, that I thought was gonna be a 45 minute "short time" splash & dash, but actually was in 5 parts at 4PM, 4AM, 7AM, 4PM & 7AM. How little did I know, but I'm a lot wiser now (I think.)
Last edited:


Jan 5, 2008
Maybe you should get them to bless, or remove the curse that's been bestowed upon HWY118.



Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Davidfl;298949 wrote: Part 2....a start...


now this wasn't what I was expecting....

..............Time to get the show on the road & see if I could bring in some good luck.

Meet up at the Shan Shaman's house at the appointed time of 4PM & ask if we should head off to the wat up the hill.
No need to, just go outside & sit on the stool beside the road


What the hell is this I thought. Was I being scammed & being diddled of my money???

NO, well this is just part 1 - getting ride of the bad spirits. (It could take awhile I thought.)

So plonked down on the stool beside the road, sweating like a pig in the afternoon sun, with a few chuckling villagers standing by bemused by the silly old farang.



There are two lots of spirit offerings placed one at the front & one at the back of you.


These offerings are all natural


and have slightly different meanings for the front & the back I understood.

The shaman chants away exorcising the bad spirits one by one.


After each session of chanting you are sprinkled with holy water.


and then the next set of chanting - spirit exorcism starts

Eventually he works his way all the way around your body, basically doing the chanting at 4 corners.

The holy water


Then I was asked to spit in one of the trays, I did so & asked what it was all about.
I was told to get rid of the bad luck- poison inside. Once I understood properly, my second spit with the 2nd tray was huge.
After this the trays are taken away to the forest, both in opposite directions. One towards the sun & one away from the sun, in very precise directions.

Part 1 done I was told to be at the temple at 4am.
4am?? I queried, not 7am or some respectable time? NO 4Am before sunrise!

BEFORE I go any further a BIG THANK YOU to Ian Yonok from
for coming over to witness the event & help take photos.


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
PART 2: 4am

Ian & I arrived at the shaman's house, bleary eyed in the dark, after just a couple of hours sleep - I found it damn hard to get to sleep; & think I managed only 2-3 hours, despite going to bed at 9.30PM (a record for me.)

The shaman & his wife were waiting so off we went up the hill. It was a bit of a climb for a few hundred metres, Ian & I rode up, the shaman & his wife walked up (with ease) carrying the supplies & offerings. It was obvious that they had done it many times before, such was their ease & pace going up.

I had to chuckle because originally I had suggested (a couple of times) that the ceremony be conducted at Wat Kha Kham, but the shaman insisted it be done at Wat Kha Kao near his house. Ok you win. But now I understand, Wat Kha Kham is 2,5 kms away & up a much steeper hill. Silly farang.


So onto the ceremony understanding (after the event) is that it is an offering at first light to the please the spirits.


A tray made out of banana leaf is used, with nine compartments.


Placed in each of the nine compartments are 9 items that are 100% natural.


They were all placed in order one after another.
And the final item was 9 balls of sticky rice in each compartment.


Even the candles & small flags around the outside of the tray are placed on in the correct sequence.


Once the offering tray is complete I have to assemble the bamboo pyramid & tie it together at the top. Now this is no ordinary bamboo as it is specifically grown for these ceremonies in a private spirit garden belonging to the shaman. Then the actual pyramid is "built to size" to fit me. A week or two earlier I had been measured up - width with arms outstretched, width of palms & height for the ceremony.



On top is a special note for my mother


Then the ceremony gets underway with chanting by the shaman & abbot.


just one candle in the centre burns for the first part.

Later I am required to light the remaining candles, in the correct sequence.


Then there is a second chanting sequence.


Ceremony over, I get to chat to the abbot, a Shan from Northern Burma, & resident in Thoed Thai 16 years I believe.


an interesting character if there ever was, & his physical disability was something that I wondered about, but was not brave enough to ask. Next time maybe?

The 4AM finale with the shaman & his wife


More to come....back to the temple again at 7AM!


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Onto part 3.....7AM back at the temple.

Bringing in the good luck.

The spiritual offering tray is gone & there is space under the bamboo pyramid for me to sit.
I sit down inside & have to wrap the blessed string around my forehead 3 times


one candle is placed by each of the 3 bamboo pyramid legs.

the shaman chants away, calling in the good spirits - luck.


The chanting finished you are sprinkled with holy water


then the last step is for the shaman to roll a ball of sticky rice with 8 grains - 4 x 2 pairs - of rice inside.


This in then wrapped in Sa paper.


I'm told to keep it in my pocket for now, then place it under my pillow when I sleep.

Next part 4......4PM at the spirit hut & garden


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Part 4......4PM

Off to the "spirit garden & spirit hut."

4PM back at the shaman's house & off we go on motorbikes to a block of land he keeps beside the Mae Kham river.

We walk down some steep steps & into the garden.
A garden where the shaman grows the bamboo plus performs the final act of the spirit cleansing ceremonies.

Only the shaman is allowed to sleep here I understand.

There's one hut with a galvanized iron roof = its stinking hot inside.


the hut is basically a single room with a couple of spirit shrines & a bed.


The shaman prepares some offerings for the spirits & I get to sit down alongside him, for a final chanting session.


I sweat profusely in the confined darkened room.

After a first set of chanting I have to take off my sweaty shirt & give it to the shaman.
He returns my other shirt that he had asked for to prepare a week earlier.
I'm told to put on my clean shirt & he ceremonially wraps up the sweaty shirt.

The sweaty shirt is first folded up in Sa paper


then placed under a big banana leaf.


On top of the banana leaf then is placed offerings to the spirits




The candles are lit




Of note is that the candles are handmade by the shaman, specifically to a size & for this ceremony.


Anyway with the candles lit, the ceremony is "over." I'm told to go home & come back to the shaman's house again - 7Am tomorrow to pick up my sweaty shirt!


In the meantime the shaman sleeps over night in the spirit hut with my sweaty shirt wrapped up in Sa paper & under the banana leaf & offerings - all night, to make sure that the candles don't burn out & stay burning until first light the next morning.
Power on I thought.


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
A big thanks to the shaman of Thoed Thai

for letting me perform this ancient ceremony with him.


THe first half of the ceremony - getting rid of the bad luck - is called Sadoh Koh.
The second half is called something like Sueb Jai Ta - bring good luck & longer life.

Trying to get info on these exact rituals involved is extremely difficult.
If anyone has any sensible ideas / info sources I'm keen to learn more.

This shaman has been in Thoed Thai for 16 years. Previously he was in north Shan state somewhere near the Chinese border & Mekong I understand; and when the Thoed Thai shaman died he was asked to move to there to carry on as the village shaman. I was highly impressed with his very precise preparation & execution. More than once I was told off for not facing 100% in the correct direction.
Indeed it was no splash & dash 45 minute ceremony like I had foolishly envisioned, but a lengthy very precise series of rituals over a couple of days. I was lucky - I had the time, plus on the first day & a half, Ian kindly accompanied to take photos - many thanks Ian - it was most appreciated.

I hope some of you enjoyed this report. Something that we don't see very often at all, or get to participate in.
But take your time, have a good look around & these ancient traditions are still out there & being practiced.
Witness & enjoy them if you can, because one day they will be no longer in this fast changing world.