Goddess Tubtim Shrine

Tucked behind the Nai Lert Hotel, alongside the San Saeb canal and underneath an ancient ficus tree, lies a shrine dedicated to the goddess Tubtim.  Originally a spirit house, the place where the spirit of the land (who was disrupted by your building on it) would reside, the shrine evolved over time into an unintentional fertility shrine as more and more worshipers brought offerings of phalluses.  Ranging from the symbolic to the highly realistic, the collection fills the area around the shrine.

While my friend David and Chor Pharn were visiting from Singapore, we stopped by for a look.  Here’s a short video to give you a sense of the setting.

P1120959

A healthy selection of phallus-shaped offerings left around the largest ficus tree at the shrine.  The irony is, sex toys are illegal in Thailand so if you were to try to bring a legitimate dildo into the country, you would be stopped.  By highly realistic phalluses for the purpose of spirit worship?  That’s okay.

P1120954

Some of these phalluses are quite detailed.  And at least one has studs in it, perhaps representing the Folsom Street Fair community?

P1120961

Normally, spirit houses have some small sculptural figures meant to represent both the spirits as well as those who are there to entertain and serve them.  So many figures have been added that they are arranged on two adjacent shelves.  You can see the San Saeb canal in the background.

P1120970

The figures include representation of parents as well as a host of animals.

P1120966

Also, there are more than 100 traditional Thai dancers to keep the spirits entertained.

P1120950

And, inexplicably, a pair of male dolls.  Barbie’s gay brother Eric and his lover Stephen?  The women on the upper shelf are all ladies in waiting.

P1120987

Who’s living in the spirit house?  I spy a kitten!

P1120997

This one seems to have a fungal infection.  Experiencing any itching or burning sensation?

P1130145

On a tangential note, I thought I’d share this picture of the jasmine garlands that are sold by local flower vendors.  These are the types of garlands that Tawn and Chor Pharn were trying to make in this entry.