Take a Tea Break

tea

Story of Indian Tea

There’s always time for chai. The word chai means tea so if you are ordering what we call chai in the West – it is called masala in India. In India, chai was the only street food I dared try (I figured it is made from boiling water.) There was no set price, just pay whatever you desire. There is a tea component to everything you do from shopping to dining. Between 1660-1857 tea was the main export by the East India Company. Today, India is the second-largest producer of tea. Once I tasted fresh Indian tea, I was hooked.

Know your Indian tea:

Assam – largest tea producing region
Darjeeling – champagne of black teas
Masala – black tea spiced with cardamon and ginger

All the Tea in China

Tea is a Chinese tradition enjoyed throughout the day, but when the Brits arrived in Hong Kong they introduced “afternoon tea” where black tea is served with milk and sugar. One of the most fascinating books that brings clarity to the entire Chinese tea tradition is “For All the Tea in China.” It tells the tale of British horticulturist Robert Fortune and how he was sent undercover in 1848 to China to steal their tea growing secrets and bring cuttings to India for the East India Company.

Inspired Reading

For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose

Rented Charms

amulets

According to Thai tradition, Buddhas or phra phim are never bought or sold, only rented. These little charms encased inside clear boxes or frames caught my attention while getting lost on the back streets of Bangkok. The over stimulation of too many people living life out on the streets, mixed with the yummy smell of sizzling pan fried noodles, almost distracted me from noticing the wizened Thai man and his makeshift card table. Setting up shop on the street, he proudly displayed his spiritual wares. His prized possessions seemed to be phra phim, which I had never seen before. In chopped English he explained that they were passionately traded or “rented” – if the price was right. A person was only the temporary custodian of the each pieces’s magic and I found that detail very interesting. The charms were so intricate and beautiful and when I turned one over, I saw a tiny tolled up scroll set inside. It seemed that each piece contained a sacred script and magical drawing. Apparently, only charms blessed by monks are said to be powerful protection. Sometimes they are used for love – he winked at me. But mostly soldiers, taxi drivers and other high-risk professions are the true believers.

 

Foo Dogs

Foo Dogs - protection
Foo Dogs – protection

Sometimes you need a little protection and that’s where Foo Dogs come in handy. Scaring off evil spirits and negativity aimed at thresholds and entrances, they are protectors of truth and defenders against evil. The name comes from the Chinese word “Fu” meaning luck or prosperity.

Foo Dogs gather near temples, palaces, tombs, government buildings, banks, offices and estates. Are they lions or dogs? They have manes, large paws and sharp teeth. At the time they first appeared in China (208 BC to about 221 AD) by way of the Silk Trade Route, Buddhist artisans had never seen a lion. They had only heard of their reputation so they stylized their faces more friendly than fierce.

What you need to know about Foo Dogs is that they hate to be alone. To be effective they work in pairs. One is male, the other female. The “boy” has a ball under one paw. The “girl” has a pup under hers.

If their mouths are closed, they will keep good spirits in the house. Open mouths scare off demons. They are displayed looking away from each other so they don’t get distracted. As you face the doorway, the male sits on the left while the female sits on the right.

Foo Dog Bulletin:

  • Place outside to guard entrances
  • Mouth closed keeps in good spirits
  • Mouth open scares off demons
  • Should face away from each other
  • Facing door; male on left, female on right
  • They attract good fortune
  • Known as Celestial Dog or Dog of Happiness

Learn more about Foo Dogs in my new book Practical Magical and Household Luck in the Good Karma Shop.

 

RuYi power

www.AnitaRosenberg.com
www.AnitaRosenberg.com

A RuYi is the power symbol of authority. It is an ancient talisman typically made from valuable materials like gold, jade, coral, crystal and precious gems. RuYi means “as you wish” and it is a scepter-shape composed of a long handle and a head usually in the form of a heart, heavenly cloud or longevity (Lingzhi) symbol. They can be lavishly decorated with gem stones, power symbols and the Chinese knot of good luck.

My first RuYi was a gift from Hong Kong Feng Shui Master Jill Lander. She gifted it to me over cocktails at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kowloon. I knew it was something special and now my powerful RuYi sits on my desk facing me as I work. Jill sent me a few from her favorite Hong Kong source and they are available for you if you dare!

RuYi Bulletin:

  • Power symbol of business
  • Place in front of you at your desk
  • Provides protection from gossip & back-stabbing
  • Represents health, wealth & long life
  • Multiplies business opportnities
  • Use for career enhancement
  • Gives good fortune

GOOD KARMA SHOP – buy now

Pi Yao baby dragon

www.AnitaRosenberg.com
www.AnitaRosenberg.com

Pi Yao (Pixiu) are baby dragons. Cute mythical hybrids resembling a winged lion, they are considered powerful to Feng Shui practitioners. To me, they are more cultural, but either way they are super cool. What makes them special is that they have no anus. That is right. They are missing a butt hole. Pi Yao’s purpose is to eat up all your good fortune and hold it in. It is said that he craves the smell of gold and silver and likes to bring his master money in his mouth. Once he has it in his tummy he can’t poop it out.

 

Pi Yao Bulletin:

  • Place in entryway facing out
  • Must be repsected and honored
  • Display in the office to hold money in
  • They harness good Qi
  • Eliminates negativity or bad fortune

Lucky Charms

Lucky Charms
Lucky Charms in Bangkok, Thailand photographed by Anita Rosenberg

Lucky charms are not just a magically delicious breakfast cereal, they are serious talismans worn for protection and good luck. You can hang them on your lucky bamboo or from your rearview mirror. Each amulet reflects a person’s individual beliefs, values, and superstitions. Asia and India are famous for their elaborately decorated vehicles where lucky totems are the focal point. More is more, but they should always be placed in a high position in order to be honored. In Dale Konstanz’s book Thai Taxi Talismans, he explains that cabbies remove amulets from their necks and hang them from their rearview mirror while saying a prayer. They protect the car and passengers during their shift. At the end of the day, the drivers then put the amulets back on as they say another invocation. On the streets of Bangkok men trade amulets, however you cannot own a magical talisman you can only “rent” them. Each person is a temporary custodian of its magic. Traveling is the perfect time to collect your own charms and danglies and of course you can “own” them. After climbing the Giant Buddha during a monsoon storm on Lantau Island to get a photograph (I got an amazing one BTW) I picked up a glass Buddha charm in the gift shop to hang on my rearview mirror. It reminds me of my fantastic adventure. My prayer charm came from Man Mo Temple and not only protects but takes me back to the temple chimes and wafts of steaming dim sum from my first visit to Hong Kong.

Have you brought home a charm for your car and where did you get it?