In the Chinese lunar calendar, the Hungry Ghost Festival falls on the 15th night of the seventh month. The month of the Hungry Ghost can be a very dangerous time and extra care must be taken to avoid any harmful effects during the 30 days period. This year (2014), the Hungry Ghost month will begin on the 27th July and end on the 24th August.
The Chinese belief behind the time of the Hungry Ghost is that during this period, these spirits are released from “Hell” to roam free, causing havoc to occur. It is wise to be especially careful if you go out at night and use caution if walking or driving busy streets. This Hungry Ghost period represents the time when it is believed that yin energy reaches a balance with yang energy, with yin becoming very strong in order to match the yang. During this time period it is preferable to have more yang than yin energy so wearing of bright colors as opposed to dark ones is a better idea.
If your own home is in a darkened area or you have few windows on the property, or if you live near a cemetery, the house is said to contain too much yin and is even more susceptible to the ghosts and local spirits that may be summoned to “life” during this time period, and you will need extra protection to overcome harm.
One method is to burn incense – more often if you already burn it, and if you don’t currently burn it, now is the time to start! Incense is thought to have the ability to clear away negative energy and purify your environment. Incense has another hidden ability to appease spirits and ghosts since they are attracted to its fragrance. Any scent will do but in particular, Lawado, Himalayan or Sandalwood have immense power.
To manifest protection from the Hungry Ghost, use your incense burner or purchase one if you do not already have one. Then burn the incense while walking around inside your home from room to room in a clockwise direction. Let the fragrance move through the air as you walk, penetrating each room. While you are moving throughout your home, open the doors and windows, which will let the negative energy out. It serves the added benefit of allowing the incense to flow outside to protect your back or front yard, too. If you have an incense burner outdoors in your garden, as many people do, light this as well. The scent of pine and pine leaves is a good choice for outdoors. This act of purification will release negativity and appease the ghosts and spirits and it is suggested that you perform the ritual at least two or three times a week during the Month of the Hungry Ghost.
You may already wear a protective amulet since they are a wise choice at any time. If so, make sure you continue wearing it during this time. If you don’t wear an amulet, make an effort to do so now. In particular the Hum pendant offers strong protection. “Hum” is a seed syllable that is thought to represent the trinity of Heaven, Earth and Mankind. Many feel it is at the foundation of all prayers and mantras that have followed. Wearing a “Hum” pendant at one’s heart is believed to offer protection from harm coming at you from all ten compass directions. If you feel a hint of negativity chant “Hum, hum, hum, hum…” and visualize this syllable that you are wearing around your neck.
Taboos during the months of Hungry Ghost include peeing on a tree, wandering around too late at night, getting married or celebrating birthday at night, swimming, visiting sick people in the hospital, starting a new business, moving/renovating house, attending a funeral, leaving umbrella open outside the house or opening one inside the house, going into the woods and playing spiritual games...
While the Month of the Hungry Ghost is a time to be feared and a time of potential danger, using these simple methods of protection can help ward off danger and harm.