Miskatonic Books will be shipping the first Araxes Press title, Thai Occult 2, starting this week. We wanted to give our readers and practitioners a look inside the book by posting an introduction by Jenx.
There was never any intention to create a second Thai Occult book, but with the passage of time it became increasingly necessary. This is partly because the original book is centred on Lanna magic, with a bit of Central Thai Wicha thrown in, which is in no way a complete picture of the magic in this remarkable country.
While each form of magic in Thailand could be written about as an independent body of work, at this stage it is best that they are not viewed in isolation or the necessary perspective will be lost, because everything magical in Thailand is thoroughly intertwined. Thailand is a smorgasbord of magic, a buffet of mythic proportions created by many generations of intelligent, practicing magicians, and the connections between the regional influences needs to be noted and named.
Thai magic comes in many forms (there are even variations within a city, let alone regionally), so this naturally required us to provide a broad overview of the different regional approaches to magic, rather than cluttering up the book with contextless Wicha descriptions. Some of the Wicha within this book will be of particular interest to the practicing magicians in the West, especially as related to the alchemy of mercury—and yes, there is an interview with one of the top makers of mercury amulets in Thailand!
The same can be said with the use of herbal mixes, especially the renowned forms from Burma and the Tai Yai people. We were extremely fortunate to have been able to interview the makers who specialise in this practice, and are indebted to Ajarn Perm Rung for his help with this matter.
There were many unanswered questions in the first Thai Occult book that only arose once everyone had absorbed the work. It became apparent from these questions that more investigation was needed to pull back the veil concealing the magic of this corner of Southeast Asia.
This unveiling begins with a look at how the study of magic is structured, to see how some Ajarns gained their knowledge. It was necessary to interview some Luksits to start to understand the intricacies of the study of the magic, and to explore the effect of the rise in interest from the Western countries, which has resulted in a jostling for prestige and identity. This is normal in life when people are trying to find their level or position within any occult practice, and it required us to clarify how magical study was structured in certain parts of Thailand.
The journey to each region was a revelation. It started with interviewing the monks at a Tai Yai temple, and then meeting Kruba Apiwat. The interview with Kruba is the first one with a magician who understands the use of Mercury that originates in Burma. A fresh approach to the understanding of Lanna magic was essential, as was a broad understanding of the role of Central Thai magic. The magic to the east is extremely raw, and finding an expert to interview pulled back the veil that shields Suai magic…buckle up for that one! It was a particular joy to go back to interview Ajarn Samart, who we last saw when making The Thai Occult Sak Yant book in 2017. Ajarn Samart holds ancient Wicha from the Ratchaburi region in Central Thailand, as well as very unusual Prai Wicha from Burma. Interviewing Ajarn Joe in the South was great too, he was such fun but despite my best efforts, the magic of the deep South could not be revealed. It’s wild down there! And too dangerous with the insurgency and because of the form of the magic itself.
A need also arose to respond to the many questions that came to us from those who practice Thai magic through their amulets. This book hopes to expand on what has been learned through the author’s eight-year relationship with Thai Occultism, which included handling literally thousands of potent talismans. There is a lot to sift through on that matter, and it is what took the most time to write.
Another subject that has been difficult to get an understanding of is the mysterious substance Leklai, mainly because its usages and benefits have been obscured by the legends that surround it. That work has taken three years to bear fruit, but we can finally offer a new perspective to clarify Leklai’s function and nature, which we achieved in part by translating old Thai books on the subject. As is often the case, when there is a struggle to gain an understanding on a subject, the information appears suddenly, like the opening of a window in spring.
Thai Occultism is now sitting at the head of the table of the world’s systems of magic. Thai magicians recognise this, and are interested in both helping people understand how their system fits in with other systems, and even studying aspects of those other systems themselves. After thousands of years, the knowledge is now available to those who make the effort to study it, and so is the raw nature of the magic itself, which is especially the case when moving away from the cities. Despite having already mixed with magicians who can kill through curses, and with others who live in graveyards, being on our own with those who cut open corpses to harvest their useful remains on a pitch-dark night in the middle of nowhere was a challenge. Personal favourite moments during the writing of this book include being in a car with people carrying guns in the restive South, and the time spent in a pitch-black cave full of spirits who were being quite physical. Another challenge was being handed a medium-sized Luk Krok only to realise that it was heavier than a dried one should be, and soft, a bit like an uncooked chicken. The smell was not too good either! But challenges arise in life and we rise to meet them, which is why we included in this book the ways to look at the future with the astrology of Ajarn Apichai and his remedial talismans.
This book is meant to be our last in the series on the Thai Occult, but our work will not stop there, because there is now another work in progress to cover the next eight years. A final book is needed to show how the Thai magicians adapt to what looks to be a tumultuous decade. Following that work, the Thai Occult will need a fresh perspective from the eyes of the next generation. All magic needs this periodic reappraisal because magic changes with the passage of time and the changing demands of the people.
This is a work written with love and a profound sense of gratitude.