Thailand is a tropical country that is said to have three seasons: hot, hotter and wet. Adapting to the weather is so much a part of Thai culture that the people place a high value on staying cool. This applies to the body and emotions as well as to the spirit world.
Spirit houses are preferably placed under the shade of large trees, though sometimes this is not an option. In the image shown here, the land owners have solved the problem by placing an umbrella over the spirit house. This umbrella is not a fancy hand painted or decorated one. Rather the farmers chose a practical umbrella to make sure the land guardian’s home stays cool.
More importantly, when the home is cool, so is the heart. There are over 700 phrases in Thai language that use the word heart. In the book Heart Talk, author Christopher G. Moore explains, “In Thai you can experience and understand the heart or jai in a vast range of feelings, emotional and mental states.” A person (or spirit) with a cool heart or jai yen is calm, peaceful and patient. The opposite state of heart is jai rawn, which means hot heart. This emotional climate signals a hot temper and impatience, something an internal umbrella could help calm down.
In Thai culture, having an attitude of jai rawn will not create prosperous relationships in both the human and spirit realms. The unpredictable moods of the land guardians play a large role in the daily life activities of Thai people. Negative emotions of the land guardians are often blamed for accidents and misfortunes. On the other hand, ensuring that your land guardians have a jai yen is the safest bet to bring about blessings and prosperity. Thank goodness for umbrellas!