In making my black jelly offering to Phra Rahu I learnt a Kata Bucha or (Gatha Pooja in Sanskrit.) Kata is the Thai term for an Incantation or Prayer used instrumentally in worship, veneration, invocation and magic. I learnt the Kata Prha Rahu Kam Duang to recite as part of my offering to Rahu from Ajarn Spencer’s online teaching. Phra Hanuman, presented by Jariya Laoriendee, is watching the ritual offering of Suriyan (the Sun) to Phra Rahu . Of course it in the tussle for the Sun (which the young Hanuman thought was a mango) with Rahu that Hanuman got his name – Broken Jaw!
In the Hindu/Buddhist cosmos, eclipses are conceived of and anticipated in terms of the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move across the sky. Rahu is the name for the north lunar node which, in mythological representation, is the Asura (Demon) Rahu who regularly swallows and ejects the sun, causing its cyclic obscuration. In Thai custom, Phra Rahu, who is considered to be the essence of darkness and the harbinger of ill fortune, is ritually placated with various black offerings that are believed to mitigate his maleficence. People make offerings of black grapes, black liqueur, black coffee beans, black jelly, black beans, black sticky rice, black Thai cake and black fermented eggs. In the course of my performance, at the Huai Khwang Shrine, I lit a black candle for him and then made a special offering Black herbal jelly in the form of the Suriyan (the Sun) or as he is know in Thailand, Phra Athit.
At the heart of the Bangkok Biennale edition of Cowboys and Indians is an antique terracotta of Suriyan from South India with which I re-enact the mythic entanglement of Phra Rahu and Phra Hanuman. In the Hindu/Buddhist cosmos, Suriyan (the Sun) is the central Graha of the Navagrahas or 9 planets. He is an emanation of Lord Vishnu the sustainer and nourisher of the material universe. In Thailand the Navagraha are known as the Nopakroh and Suryian is known as Phra Athit. For the performance a food-grade silicone mould was made from the terracotta and from this mould a Black herbal jelly Suryan was made and offered to Phra Rahu.
I was supported in realizing my performance at the Huai Khwang Ganesha Shrine, Bangkok by Jade Comfort and her family. The night before the performance I made Black herbal Suriyan jelly to be offered to Phra Rahu. I prepared and poured the jelly into a food grade silicone mould with the able assistance of Lumina and Paloma.
I have not posted since early September 2018 when I was in Bangkok participating in the Bangkok Biennale in Tawasek Moslawat’s A Pavilion Without Pavillion. I have many updates to post and I will start with a photograph taken after my performance at the Huai Khwang Ganesha Shrine on 2nd September 2018. I am with my team, Jade Comfort, Jariya Laoriendee, Jane Frankish and Durga Rajah after making my offering to Phra Rahu.