Thursday, March 19, 2009

Archan Thoy Wai kroo - Master Day Ceremony of Ruesi Por Gae Dta Fai

Stanley: I decided to include this articles and interesting picture taken at Archan thoy wai Kroo master day ceremony. Archan Thoy celebrates the Tenth Wai kroo ceremony at Wat Tong Nai temple.
All pictures and articles written are courtesy of Mr Spencer Littlewood from

The first Wai Kroo i shall be attending this season is upon us! Archan Thoy celebrates the Tenth Wai kroo ceremony at Wat Tong Nai temple.The Opening Ceremony begins at 9 AM when all the devotees should arrive and the preliminaries begin.Devotees will sit under a shaded area whilst the monks make blessings and kata in the Samnak, and then breakfast is had. There is free food for all devotees there at the ceremony.

Looksit Archan Thoy wait patiently as Archan Thoy performs the blessing Ceremony with the Bhikkhus (monks).
The Opening Ceremony was celebrated this morning at Archan Thoys, with all seats taken under the canopy outside the Samnak. I estimate that about 200 people were there as we arrived (including people inside and outside). First the Monks came to receive offerings and eat, then bless the Master Day Ceremony for Archan Thoy (and of course, receive Sak Yant from him later in the day). After the monks went out, there was silence whilst Archan prepared to call upon the spirit of Por Gae to come and enter his body, and bless this day for all the Looksit.

Bhikkhus Exit from the Samnak Sak yant of Por Gae, after performing the Blessing Ceremony
As movement from inside became apparent, a number of people in the crowd who were sitting under the canopy, began to shake and prance around, screaming and howling in trance, or, as it is known in Thai language; “Khong Khuen”. The simple knowledge or thought that Por Gae is about to appear causes the looksit (devotees) to go into some wild ecstatic trances. This phenomenon will be witnessed today a great number of times

Looksit enter in trance (Khong Khuen), as Por Gae makes signs of appearing. Although they look perhaps aggressive they never attack anybody. But some of the scenes they re-enact seem quite aggressive. The facts are in contrary; they never harm each other.
The first time, it was a false alarm, and the Looksit calmed down again for a while, sitting on their chairs under the canopy with their hands together in prayer. A warm atmospher of intimacy arose as all Looksit of the same Archan are seen as family. Food was laid out free for the Looksit to eat, and cold water was always in abundance to drink (it gets really hot in there).

The “melody” of the “Bee” (an ancient form of Oboe), the traditional instrument used to play ceremonial Wai Kroo music was sounding away in the background, this is to please and summon the local Devas or, “Jao Ti” to come and participate in the Ceremony, and is an essential part of the dogma of Wai Kroo Rituals in Thailand. The Looksit began to get anxious and started shuffling in their seats as the apprentices of Por Gae began to exit the samnak and light incense in front of the altar. Then the moment finally arrived;

This time, Por Gae came out for real, and the crowd goes wild - screaming in ecstasy of the arrival of “Por” or, “Phu” (affectionate name for Por Gae Ruesi Dta Fai). Por Gae manages to hobble out with the aid of his most intimate Looksit and a walking cane his own height in length, which has a naga’s head on it at the top. Por Gae distributes blessings to the horde of devotees who scramble for some of the rice and popcorn that Por Gae is strewing around in the crowd who are all huddled around him.

Wai Kroo Archan thoy Part 2 - The rest of day one

Once Por Gae was in his seat, the devotees were beckoned in to the samnak, and were all put into line going up towards the steps to Por Gae’s room. The “Ka Pan Kroo” (price for passing the master) is placed in a wooden box on the steps at the entrance to the room, Ka Pan Kroo is 99 baht. Por Gae and his 2 main apprentices sit in the room,. all chewing betel nut, their mouths bright crimson with the stains of the Betel nut and cement they are chewing frantically on. Ruesi are said to like Betel nut, and Archan Thoy always eats it when he lets Por Gae enter his body.

Strangely enough, he doesn’t like betel nut when not in trance. The devotees get into three lines, one line to each master. All of a sudden, the floor starts vibrating as Por Gae starts to chant his Kata and the first devotees start to rear up in trance and start hollering in ecstatic oblivion. The several Farang Fotographers there to make their shoot begin positioning themselves to catch the wierdest positions and most attractive scenes for their portfolios.All three Archans were able to cause “Khong Khuen” (trance posession) in their devotees - the apprentices say it is Por Gae who sets them off and that all they do is fulfill his wishes. Por Gae was performing varied blessings on different people, with particular sign of a uniform blessing.

It seemed as if each person was dealt with according to what they needed. If this is true, then i am not sure what it was exactly that I needed, as i got the sharp edged samurai sword on my neck as the test of kong grapan (with no forewarning of what was going to happen). Unfortunately there is no picture of me getting the treatment, but i do have one of another Farang who got the same surprise, you can see it in one of the pics below.

(Por Gae flexes his Samurai Katana on an American devotee)

(Por Gae tests the power of Kong Grapan invincibility on a Western Devotee, using a Katana samurai sword)

Devotee enters into trance as one of Por Gae's Apprentices chants the Kata
On Wai Kroo day, there is a different, perhaps gruesome for some, offering. A pig’s head on a tray, along with flowers, fruits and other offerings are lifted by the devoteee on his knees and raised to the Master, who then takes hold of it with you and blesses you. the tray is then passed to an assistant and you shuffle closer to the Archan, who then takes the Ruesi mask and places it over your head. He then begins to chant the Kata and blessing. This is where the most devoted followers may begin to experience strange feelings and behave erratically.

One of Archan Thoy’s Apprentices prepares to tattoo the “teacher Na” on one of the most regular of the Samnak’s Devotees. On Master day, all the apprentices come to help in the tattooing of the teacher na to protect the devotee, after which the devotee climbs the stairs and receives the blessing from Por Gae. The blessing you receive will vary depending on Por Gae himself and what he sees fit for you. Trust in the master is one of the essential facets of Guru devotion, for which, of course, the sword test with the Katana is a perfect example of a double test; test in the power of magic, and test of the faith of the devotee in the hand of his master.
Articles and Pictures courtesy of Mr Spencer Littlewood from
Stanley: Thanks Spencer for the great article written regarding this Ceremony.

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