On Being Water Blessed

IMG_5883Orange is so not my colour. If there were ambulances patrolling the streets in the Kingdom they would likely have screeched to a halt and hauled me off to the nearest hospital. Pastels make me look deadly sick.

But when the sopping wet wrappers for being blessed only come in one shade there wasn’t much choice about fashion. Parked next to Tim on the stone step he instructed me, “Keep your feet out in front of you with your toes pointed in either direction. And hold your hands together and bend forward every time you get splashed with water.” That sounded easy enough.

Tim continued, “Sometimes Luc Bon Psat – the magnificent head of the monks in Cambodia – throws the water really hard. Occasionally he also beats me with this stick and it hurts, but I don’t mind. He must be doing a consultation, so we will have to wait.”

Since Tim knows Luc Bon Psat personally we’d been invited to his 5th celebration. IMG_5885We weren’t sure if it was five months or five years, that he has been the “pope” of the monks. We settled on the former as he is only about 31. Then again, the Dalai Lama assumed full political power at 15, so it is difficult to gauge.

Behind us a garden hose dripped water into an oversized fish-tank. We waited. Then without warning Tim was belted with a big dipper-size whack of water. Next it was my turn, but not as much and not as hard. Perhaps I didn’t need to be blessed quite as much as Tim got the most of it.

Tim oohed and aahed and went into a spiritual sort of trance. I sat there – and got wet. But then I missed Christianity, Islam, and yoga fire breathing so it was likely to be expected that I just wouldn’t “get it.”

Dripping wet I went off to a loo the size of a USB to change back into the little silk frock I’d worn to the pagoda. When I finally managed to wiggle into it – not an easy task when literally soaked to the skin – I realized it was, in fact, inside out. To hell with it as my apartment is only half a block away.

We stopped at Luc Bon Psat’s house and joined the people who bowed, lit incense, and said prayers. IMG_5884We left a cash donation for the water blessing and slipped away.IMG_5898

Headed for home, a couple of women ran after me. Apparently my shawl didn’t cover the zipper that was only closed half way up  the back of my dress. They insisted on saving me from myself and managed to reach inside and move it a touch farther up.

It was a curious experience and it seems to work for some. Personally, I prefer to sit on the terrace at the back end of the wat to see what the monks really get up to.


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