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Ghost Month Do’s and Don’ts: 8 Ways to Protect Yourself from Misfortune

This August 8th marks the beginning of Ghost Month (鬼月). According to Chinese tradition, on the first day of the 7th Lunar month, the barriers between Hell and the Land of the Living are opened. This allows spirits and ghosts to enter our world, where they roam in search of food and entertainment. To appease the spirits and keep them from being mischievous or causing harm to the community, Chinese people offer food and incense offerings. 

With all this supernatural activity, it is believed that major life-changing decisions such as marriage, opening a business and moving into a new house must be avoided during Ghost Month, or else the spirits will bring misfortune upon your family. Additionally, it is advisable to not make large purchases during this time in order to not provoke the jealousy of evil spirits.

Whether these superstitions are true or not, it’s better to be safe than sorry. With that, here are ten practical tips to avoid bad luck this Ghost Month!

1. Do listen to relaxing and meditative music, Don’t watch horror movies or play horror games

Yes, the spirits are listening in on your music. And just like us, they have their preferences (and will judge you based on your Spotify playlists). Meditative music is said to calm down the spirits and make them less hostile. 

The opposite can be said for horror games and movies, as they can smell fear. Consume horror content at your own risk because they will be attracted to your home. Additionally, remember that just mentioning ghosts or talking about them can draw the attention of wandering spirits to you. 

2. Do Pray often and be kind to get good karma, don’t invite bad karma by committing lots of sinful acts

According to renowned Feng Shui Expert Master Ang, “Ghosts want to affect your mind and make you do unpleasant things you don’t want to do.” (translated from Tagalog) This goal is even more apparent in Ghost Month.

When a person has a lot of good karma, spirits and malevolent entities are unable to possess or influence them. However, if a person has a lot of bad karma, it is believed that ghosts have an easier time to take over their bodies and affect their actions. 

If you were born in the Year of the Goat (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015), please be careful this year in 2021 because the spirits will gravitate towards you. The reason for this is because the Ox and the Goat are opposing forces and enemies in the Chinese Zodiac, and 2021 is the Year of the Ox. 

3. Do “yang” things and don’t travel to “yin” areas such as graveyards, hospitals, and forests

As spirits roam the streets this Ghost Month, their presence will inadvertently bring harm and misfortune to those whose chi energy is low. The affected may even get sick. In order to avoid this, one can do a lot of “yang” (positive) activities such as celebrating, playing music, and wearing bright colors! In China, temples put on feasts and shows to distract the wandering spirits. Keeping a joyous atmosphere removes negative energy which can cause spiritual harm.

“Yin” places deplete one’s chi and make one vulnerable to harm from these ghosts. Additionally, spirits love to congregate in these areas making chances of illness, injury, and possession high. 

4. Do wear bright clothes pink and yellow, don’t wear black, red, and high heels

Just when you think you can dress however you want at home, there are some spirits that act like the fashion police. Who knew ghosts had such strong opinions on clothing? In particular, they favor the colors black and red, and will actively seek out people who are wearing these colors. It’s best to avoid these during ghost month. Instead, wear happy bright colors in order to increase yang energy and avoid attracting spirits. According to feng shui practitioners, high heels must also be avoided because they leave one open to spirit possession through the energy point below the ankles that is elevated from the ground. 

5. Cleanse negative energy with rock salt and incense

Rock salt is believed to counter negative energy, so it is wise to sprinkle it on doorsteps, windows, and every corner of the house. When you suspect malevolent activity or bad energy inside of your home, you may clear it by walking around the house with an incense burner. The sweet smoke from burning incense calms spirits and cleanses areas of malevolent energy.  

6. Do respect nature, don’t kill moths or butterflies

Both Chinese and Filipino families believe that insects from the Lepidoptera order (moths and butterflies) are manifestations of one’s ancestors or spiritual visitors. As such, killing them brings extremely negative karma, especially during Ghost Month. If you see one of these beautiful winged insects inside your home, it is prudent to leave them alone and wait until they leave through an open window. Don’t be afraid that opening your window will cause more ghosts to come in! (They can pass through walls anyway)

To accumulate good karma, it is prudent to be respectful to all forms of nature from animals and plants to mountains and seas. This will please the nature spirits residing there.

7. Do burn joss sticks and paper money if you have some, don’t take a lot of photos 

Photo credit from The News Lens International

When offering money to the spirits, it is advisable to be respectful and not move around too much. This could anger them and make them aggressive. After all, it would be irritating if someone offered you free money then jumped around. 

As a safety precaution, it is believed that one must not take too many pictures during Ghost Month because spirits see it as an invitation to spend time with you. They may even appear in the photo, so be careful of that. Additionally, cameras can trap spirits which will make them dangerous and aggressive.

8. Do wear amulets and place guardians in your home, don’t fall for ghost pranks

Amulets are a portable source of protection from evil spirits. They can be purchased at Feng Shui stores. Special items such as prayer wheels and peacock feather amulets can dispel negative energy around the wearer. Additionally, protective scarves with sigils and mantras are recommended for those who want to travel during Ghost Month. Purchase wisely and according to your needs. For example, if you live near a body of water or a graveyard, it would be a good idea to purchase a cosmic guardian at the entrance of your home.

 Lastly, do not fall for Ghost pranks! It is well-known that Chinese people love money and see coins on the floor as a sign of good luck. Do not do this during the Ghost Month! It is possible that the coins already belong to a spirit. (They may take offense if you steal their money.) Moreover, some ghosts may place money on the ground to lure people closer and possess them as soon as they touch one of the spirit’s belongings. 

Thanks for reading! Stay safe! If you’re interested in reading a short story about Ghost Month, read “Ghost Appreciation Month” a short story by the author of this article!


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