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The Spirits of Malaysia

Malaysia spiritsGreat article by Dan Nosowitz on all of the fascinating spirits of Malaysia.

Malaysia Has Good Ghosts, Bad Ghosts, and Gremlin-Babies That Will Steal Your Stuff

Its spirit culture is unlike any in the world.

Everybody loves a ghost story. Really, everybody. All cultures have some variety of ghost story, by that name or another. But some are more pervasive and deeply ingrained than others. It isn’t really possible to identify the most ghost-heavy culture on the planet—there’s no clear metric for how one would judge such a thing. But few ghost cultures are as powerful and varied as the ones found in Malaysia. The modern English and North American conceptions of ghosts—from the ones under bed sheets to Victorian-garbed, translucent shades to the poltergeist that makes things go bump in the night—feel downright embarrassing in their limits when compared to the great world of Malay hantu.

Hantu is the general term for all ghosts, spirits, and otherworldly beings in Malaysia and among the Malay people of maritime Southeast Asia and its diaspora. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of them, ranging from natural spirits (representations of individual rivers, trees, and lakes) to vampire-type ghosts to leprechaun-like tricksters. Some are good, some are bad, some are to be avoided, and some are like partners to the living. And they coexist with wide range of religions observed by the very diverse people of Malaysia.

With a strategic location straddling the South China Sea, the land of the Malays has been a fluid and multinational place for thousands of years. Malaysia, known by that name or not, has been a vital trading post for huge empires: China, India, the Arabs, the Netherlands, Portugal, England. The indigenous people of Malaysia, called the Orang Asal, practice what the state (and researchers) tend to classify as a type of animism, with various natural objects held as sacred.

And all of those empires left their religions—and their more spiritualist aspects—behind, too. Today Islam is the most-practiced faith in country, but there are substantial numbers of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and others. (There were Jews for a long time, too; today, not so much. And ethnic Malays enjoy advantages that starkly stratify society there.) Malay ghost culture is, therefore, a hybrid of spirits, spooks, and haunters from around the globe.

“It certainly has a very big place in the culture,” says Cheryl Nicholas, an ethnographer at Penn State Berks who was born and raised in Malaysia and who has made Malay ghost culture a central part of her research. “Whether or not that continues in the more modern era, I don’t know. I still feel the presence whenever I go back.” These ghost stories that imbue the culture of Malaysia seek, as many supernatural or religious stories do, to explain the mysteries of life and help lead a person to a more successful, longer, or more profitable one. Ghosts or spirits vary throughout the country and the culture, but there are some particularly popular individual types or broader categories

One of the most popular types is a sort of vampire-ghost. The pontianak is one that emerges upon the death of a woman during pregnancy or childbirth. She has the shape, usually, of a demonic woman capable of flight, who targets the blood of young children. (Alternatively, the pontianak may prey on men; these stories vary by region and teller.)

There are, in fact, a wide variety of ghosts floating around the concepts of birth and young children. There’s the hantu tetek, a ghost with pendulous breasts who likes to kidnap children just to play with them for awhile. She is used to explain why sometimes a child is found, unharmed, in a weird place, like deep in a bush or up a tree.

My favorite is the toyol, which is usually described as looking like a naked baby, though sometimes as more of a gremlin-baby. The toyol is very different from Western ghosts in a specific way: You can buy one.

Typically one purchases a toyol from a bomoh, or medium. It wouldn’t quite be described as a purchase, since you’d be paying the bomoh for connecting you with a toyol and the spirit itself would be free. Toyol are childlike: mischievous, a little clumsy, a little needy, easily distracted. But they are known as excellent thieves. You can have your toyol go out and steal for you, though Nicholas says it’s sometimes believed that a toyol will only steal up to the dollar amount you paid for it.

“The people in the village use that to explain petty theft,” she says. It also explains why you might see some shiny toys or marbles in front of rural Malaysian houses: countermeasures to distract a thieving toyol and give it something to play with. Nicholas says the best place to find a toyol isn’t in Malaysia, but rather near Mecca, Saudia Arabia. Muslim pilgrims have to discard all the bad influences in their lives for the Hajj, and though toyols aren’t exactly evil, they’re not what one would consider a force for good. In any case, you’ll find toyols near Mecca in the same way you’ll find stained Ikea furniture on move-out day at a college dorm.

The idea of owning a ghost of your own splits particularly hard with the Western conception of spirits as either barely aware of the modern world, or preoccupied with scaring people, or in search of eternal rest. Some Malay ghosts are more like partners to living humans, working side by side as protection—or to do one’s dirty work. Take the hantu polong, a sort of attack ghost used to inflict harm. It must be fed with blood from one’s fingers.

Nicholas’s work cataloging the wonders of Malay ghost culture has turned up dozens of species. There are some that cause specific health issues: The hantu buta causes blindness, hantu cika causes colic, hantu kembung is behind stomach aches. Some are more innocuous: Hantu apu is a party ghost, and so is hantu jamuan, though if it is not invited, it will wreck the festivities. Note to self: Remember to invite the hantu jamuan.

Another interesting aspect of many of these ghosts is the interaction, acknowledgement, or maintenance they require. Hantu lembong is a spirit of swollen growths on trees. Nicholas related a story she had been told about a man who had to formally apologize to this ghost after peeing on one of its trees while on a hike in the forest. If you disturb the soil, you might want to make an offering to hantu jembalang, a spirit of the earth. There are gigantic ghosts who get bigger the closer you get to them, ghosts with the head of a dog, ghosts that break traps to set animals free, ghosts of the moon and the sun and the sea. There are powerful elemental ghosts who should under no circumstances be messed with, and ghosts who throw stones at people for kicks.

“Ghosts are always a plausible explanation for Malaysians,” says Nicholas. A prominent urban bomoh even made international news following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. He eventually claimed the plane was being hidden somewhere in Southeast Asia by the orang bunian, sort of like invisible supernatural elves.

The robust ghost culture only occasionally runs afoul of modern globalist culture of the industrialized nation. “There is a very distinctive negotiation between the public and the private” regarding ghosts in Malaysia, says Nicholas. When she traveled around the country seeking ghost stories, many people would repeatedly explain, and demand that she understand, that they are good Muslims before acknowledging and revealing all their great ghost stories. But ghosts are simply too entrenched in Malay culture to go away. There are tremendously popular ghost movies released all the time. A Malaysian rapper recently offered a reward for the name of the bomoh responsible for a curse put on him. Bomohs are sometimes used to find missing people.

In Malaysia, it seems, you’re never too far from a ghost. It’s not inherently good or bad, it’s just in the air.

Horoscope for the Week of December 30, 2019

John lennonAs 2019 comes to a close, we welcome 2020 with a planetary bang. All of the outer planets - Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus are all connecting on some level. Expect great changes, a few surprises and a lot of inspiration over the next few weeks.

(John Lennon had Uranus in Taurus)

Never miss your horoscope again -- free sign up here. Here is my favorite book on astrology and a "must" for anyone interested in learning more: Secrets from a Stargazer's Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You and here's a guide to the best books available this month. This column is (c) 2019 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only. Madam Lichtenstein is the author of the best selling astrology book “HerScopes ” now in its 10th printing and available as an eBook

The primary focus of your energies should be in planning your long term future - step by step. It is time to set the foundation of your personal journey, taking into account what you truly value while mixing in a pinch of creativity and intuition. But be flexible as one path leads to another and then to a detour. Life is interesting and, if you remain flexible, very successful.

Don’t limit yourself to the tried and true path, Taurus. Take flight and see what the world has to offer you. Expand your horizons, learn a new thing or two and see how you can expand your vision. The result could be an entirely new you, full of vim, vigor and a bit of exotic flair. New friends who you meet in your travels could become more than friends. Whoo hoo!

Geminis not only have ample charm, they can schmooze their way into anyone’s affections. And that goes for both romantic and professional relationships. You are on top of the world. But surprises are in store if you are impetuous. You could break a few hearts or disappoint someone who will hold a grudge for quite a while. Be kind, be caring and be careful.

The next few months may have relationship complexity. Some who you consider to be “just friends” may want more. Or it may be you who has a change of perspective. Cancers will have to be especially nimble at navigating around their social circles and romances. Suddenly it can all become one intoxicating brew! When will you know that you’ve had too much? Hmm.

Nothing seems to go slow for you now. And nothing seems to slow or stop to give you a breather. Leos may yearn for the quiet times and more moments to relax and recharge. But forgetaboutit! Life can become a frenzy fest. Keep the momentum going as fast and as efficiently as you can. Soon the music will stop and you can sit down. But for now, keep dancing!

Surprises are in store for Virgos who travel on unconventional paths and who meet unusual people along the way. Spice up your life with creative adventures and take a calculated risk on a flirtatious romance. Your world is about to expand in a big, surprising way. But pack a compass so you can navigate yourself back to home base. Don’t get too lost.

Libras may want to ask the advise of a sage older relative when it comes to making a major life decision. You have so many options and temptations that it may be hard to figure out what to do. The fates could deliver an unexpected love-at-first-sight experience that throws you for a loop. Try to keep a calm and steady outlook while life feels a bit topsy turvy.

The new year will not only bring you new opportunities for fun, it may also bring a new romance (or fire up an existing one). Things can become electric and very intense. Good! That is how Scorpios like it. You also like deep conversation that gets to the very core of a matter. So connect with a special someone in any way you can. Even if it only by thought control.

You find that making money comes easily to you over the next few months but is that all there is to life, Sagittarius? Of course not! You also need a positive and harmonious homelife, a flight of extravagance to spoil your soulmate and a healthy retreat to recharge your energies. Make all of these your personal resolutions and try and keep them beyond January.

Fun may go totally out of control for you now, Capricorn. That is because there are some surprises where you least expect them that can catapult you into some important and powerful circles of influence. Try to get in front of the right people who can make things happen for you. Will you eventually rule the world? Who knows? But you can take the first step now.

Aquarians may experience a surprise in a family situation or at home. It may be the best thing that has ever happened or it may temporarily throw you off course as you try to make sense of it all. The most important thing to do is to remain flexible, open minded and ready for anything and everyone. Your strong intuition will find a way to make it all pay off.

Not only can you envision the most successful path for yourself, you will find the perfect way to make it happen. Pisces have some powerful ideas that can change the course of destiny with unexpected and almost shocking results. Are you ready to tell it like it is to groups of people? You may be speaking softly but your words will be magnified and amplified. Wow!.

(c) 2019 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Lichtenstein’s highly acclaimed astrology book “HerScopes” has the Stonewall horoscope.

Lucky Numbers for the Week of December 27, 2019

Lottery ads tell us you only need a dollar and a dream. But it is also helpful to have a list of lucky numbers to help spur the good fortune ... or fortunes. So with that in mind, here are some lucky numbers that can be used in any helpful way. I gazed into a pool of water, Nostradamus-like, and contemplated the cosmos. Then I mixed the tarot cards and allowed the spirits to guide me to the cards that represent the lucky numbers for this week. Nothing is guaranteed but who knows ....?

I choose eight numbers because 8 is the number of of wealth.

Here are the lucky numbers for the week of December 27, 2019-January 2, 2020:

1, 14, 15, 30, 41, 44, 54, 63

There are many ways to delve into your own consciousness to find luck and intuition. Try reading Dream Power/Improve Your Luck (Super Strength Series) and see if your dreams give you any clues and premonitions. Here's a guide to the best books available this month

The 2020 Election and Donald Trump's Horoscope

Trump crystal ballWith the whipsaw news coverage of our 45th President, there is arguably no good time to release the analysis of Donald Trump's horoscope for November 2020 without it becoming partisan. But please believe me when I say that I am not analyzing Donald Trump's horoscope with any bias pro or con. I am genuinely curious as to how his chart looks and his chances at winning re-election.

At this point in time, there has not been a Democratic nominee selected. The Iowa caucus is months away and it appears to be a tight race in 2020. So it could be argued that the ability to choose who has the strongest chance of winning the 2020 election according to astrology is still to be decided. Also, with the impeachment hearings in progress, one could say that we may not know who is even running in the 2020 presidential race.

So with all of this uncertainty, I decided to run Donald Trump's horoscope just to see what might be transiting his birth chart on Election Day 2020. Here is what I see.

Note: When I review a horoscope, it is totally objective. And I am not always correct in my conclusions. So don't take what I say as fate and certainty. Take it as just another observation that could or may not come to pass. Astrology is not fate. It is a guide to possibilities but we still have free will.

Birth Chart Analysis

I ran President Trump's chart for June 14, 1946 at 10:54am, Queens, New York. If someone has a different set of birth information, please let me know. Then I matched the transiting planets for Election Day 2020 to see how they aspected to his birth chart. The results I see show a very strong performance on Election Day, possibly accelerated by a surprising global event.

Generally speaking, Donald Trump has a very lucky and powerful birthchart. The Sun, Uranus and North Node are in his 10th house of career and long term goals with Uranus being the highest planet in his birth chart. He accomplishes his career goals (which are vitally important to him) with shock and surprise and it has proven to be very lucky (North Node) for him. All of these placements are in Gemini which is the sign of communication and airwaves.

While it may seem that friendships are more superficial and light hearted (Gemini on the 11th house of friendships), they are in fact very emotionally deep and connecting for him (Cancer intercepted in the 11th house). And this makes a positive aspect to the top of his chart - his public face and the way he approaches his long term goals. Taurus is on the cusp of the 10th house indicating a slow, steady climb to success.

Jupiter, the planet of luck and expansion is in his  2nd house of money and it makes a great aspect to those previously discussed three placements in his 10th house. Finally, among the strong points of his chart, his center of power - the Vertex, makes an excellent aspect to the top of his chart as well.

The negatives are few. in the 12th house of self-undoing and hidden things, Mars the planet of action, energy and fight, squares the top of his chart. So there are actions that he undertakes as well as actions taken by hidden enemies, that can upend his career success. But this same Mars placement makes a great aspect to his natal moon (emotions) in his 4th house of family. So I would assume that family can get him out of his biggest problems in this area. And this Moon also makes a great aspect to his Jupiter in the 2nd house of money. Finally, His Mercury in the 11th house of friends makes a harsh aspect to his Neptune in the 2nd. To me that means that friends may cost him money or he can be swayed by certain friendships based on wishful thinking. 

2020 Election Transits

I plotted all of the outer planet transits to this birth chart for Election Day 2020 and what I see is a strong day for Trump, should he run. Three major planets - Saturn (life lessons and challenges), Jupiter (luck and expansion) and Pluto (volcanic change and personal power) are making beneficial (trine) aspects to the top of his chart (long term plans and his public face). These planets in careful Capricorn are also empowering (conjuncting) his natal Vertex, a power point in the chart, that is also making an excellent aspect to the top of his chart.

But a word of caution - Uranus, the planet of shocks and surprises is transiting the top of his birth chart on Election Day on the 9th house of international activities. Does this mean a shocking attack? Or is it that something he is working on with other countries dramatically shifts?

I would say that the stars seem aligned for a Trump re-election. It might be interesting to review a relocation charge for the President in Washington DC on Election Day.Or, if he is in another location like Palm Beach, run a relocation chart for that place. But that is another blog post....








Horoscope for the Week of December 23, 2019

Jude lawThe Sun enters practical Capricorn this week, heralding a time of introspection, careful maneuvering and overall practicality just in time for the holidays. Oh ho, ho, whoa. Then go, go, go.

(Jude Law has Sun in Capricorn)

Never miss your horoscope again -- free sign up here. Here is my favorite book on astrology and a "must" for anyone interested in learning more: Secrets from a Stargazer's Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You and here's a guide to the best books available this month. This column is (c) 2019 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only. Madam Lichtenstein is the author of the best selling astrology book “HerScopes ” now in its 10th printing and available as an eBook

Whatever you have been doing in your profession, keep doing it Aries. You may not feel that you are making traction, but you really are. Those in power are carefully watching you and they see that you have what it takes to takeover. Proceed slowly and surely. Before you know it you will take over the world... or at least the office. Then what?

This may be the perfect time to escape all of the festive frenzy and do a little quiet celebration somewhere new and serene. Taureans can sure use some down time where they can relax and recharge. It could mean a faraway exotic location or it could be something closer to home. Whatever you decide, make it just the way you want it. No compromises for now.

Hot to trot Geminis have love on their mind and many choices of where they can go and change their mind. Your ability to attract a full range of romantic possibilities is unparalleled now. So strut your stuff and see who notices. New Years Eve is not that far off and you want to ring in 2020 with a bunch of party hearty folks. Oh ring-a-ding!

Cancers are now focused on finding their perfect soulmate. And it is possible now. See where you are in life. If you are currently in a good relationship, see how you can make it even better. Be spontaneous and fun. If you are ready for a change or looking around, check out a few new hot spots. There could be a few new hotties to spot.

What is it about your energy level that has others so jealous? Leos have more oomph than usual and are ready to tackle any project no matter how detailed or big. So roll up your sleeves and get to work. And by work, I mean anything that gives you a sense of accomplishment. It could be tossing the party of the year or painting your entire house. Gee, how to choose?

Creativity is your mantra this week, Virgo. Anything that brings you inspiration and delight should be on the top of your to do list. Life is too short to spend all of your time planning and working. Take a break now and enjoy life. Who knows? There may be a group of friends who are ready to help you decorate for the holiday. The more the merrier! Ho ho ho.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking around the house and thinking, “What needs to be done here?” Libras turn a practical eye on any domestic project that has been pushed aside for a while. Are you ready to spruce up your surroundings? Gather your most creative ideas and set things into motion. It would be nice to have a showplace in 2020.

Scorpios are usually careful with their words but now you feel more freedom to express yourself ... well, calculatedly and diplomatically. You will find that your words have greater power and impact and convince others to your way of thinking. So see what is most important to you and get ready to move your ideas onto the center stage. Start small. End big.

This is the time of year when money is usually flowing out faster than it is flowing in. But there is something financially savvy about you now, Sagittarius. You manage to make a little more green to add to your bottom line. Just in time for the holiday! Save it before it goes away. Make your list and check it twice ... for any over charges.

Capricorns find themselves in the center of the action. They make grand entrances and mingle with the hot crowd. What is it that makes you so popular now? Whatever it is, bottle some of it and save it for the winter months. You can make a splash in any social pond. See how deep you can go and how many exotic creatures you can capture in your delightful net.

There is something mysterious about you Aquarius. Maybe it is the way you move through a room - ephemeral, floating on air. Or maybe it is your all-knowing, deeply soulful way of speaking. Whatever it is, milk it for all it’s worth! You will find yourself feeling much more spiritual and relaxed. This is great preparation for a busy holiday season!

Gather your friends together and make mischief, Pisces. You are great at planning some fun and memorable events now and may inspire others to do the same. Expect a busy and memorable holiday time as you expand your social network with new pals, more acquaintances and a wider range of activities. You are popularity plus! And I see no minuses.

(c) 2019 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Lichtenstein’s highly acclaimed astrology book “HerScopes” has the Stonewall horoscope.

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