Very good article on this subject:In Thailand, A Little Black Magic Is Politics as Usual
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/ ... 71,00.html
"... Thailand is a nation that prides itself on its Theravada Buddhist heritage. But Buddhism in Thailand is blended with a brew of Hindu, animist, Khmer, pagan and other beliefs. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the country's 82-year-old constitutional monarch, spent time as a Buddhist monk but also retains astrologers and Brahmin priests at court, as is tradition. So it's no wonder that coup plotters, Prime Ministers and lawmakers have frequently consulted fortune-tellers before making important decisions. Performing dark rites to increase one's power and defeat your adversaries is as pervasive among the political class as bribery and vote buying. Even Thaksin, who became a billionaire from satellite services, computers and telecommunications, once declined to answer a reporter's question because "Mercury [was] not in the right house."
In fact, according to Wassana Namnuan, a Bangkok Post reporter, Thaksin and his opponents have been deeply engaged in black magic battles for dominance of the country for several years. "Both sides have been casting curses and spells upon each other," says Wassana who has written a book on the subject in Thai called Secrets, Trickery and Camouflage: The Improbable Phenomena. According to Wassana, Thaksin believes he is the reincarnation of a Burmese king who killed many Thais, and so has engaged in elaborate cleansing rituals to wash away the sins of his past lives. While in power, Wassana says Thaksin performed several saiyasat, or black magic rituals, that he hoped would prolong his rule for life. While visiting Burma he sought counsel from a deformed astrologer nicknamed "ET" who is favored by the generals that have kept the country in their iron grip for more than half a century.
More ominously, Wassana says, Thaksin and many of his followers also believe he is the reincarnation of King Taksin, who ruled in the late 18th century. King Taksin went mad, and so was ousted and executed in 1782 by a general who then proclaimed himself king and founded the Chakri Dynasty. (King Bhumibol, Thailand's present king, is a descendant of that general and part of the Chakri Dynasty.) Thaksin has frequently blamed King Bhumibol's advisors for the coup that ousted him, and claimed they informed the king in advance about the coup. The royal advisors have denied the allegations.
Images of King Bhumibol at Red Shirt rallies are almost completely absent. Instead, red shirt leaders keep a statue of King Taksin at their rallies, some Red Shirt guards dress in the style of King Taksin's soldiers, and banners spell the ousted prime minister's name in the manner of the 18th century king. It's a revelation in a land where near-universal reverence for King Bhumibol has long been assumed. But Thaksin may feel his time is coming, as the king is 82 and ill health. And just about any Thai will tell you that astrologers have foretold there will only be nine Chakri kings. King Bhumibol is the ninth Chakri king.
Thaksin's opponents are equally steeped in the supernatural. The generals who overthrew Thaksin made special trips to Chiang Mai to consult a leading astrologer both before and after their 2006 coup. According to Wassana, the astrologer told her in an interview that he advised the coup makers they would be successful in their putsch, and afterwards performed ceremonies with them in Bangkok to further increase their power. "In the last two successful coups in 1991 and 2006,'' says Craig Reynolds, a professor of Thai history at Australian National University, "the astrologer who advised the chief coup planner became the astrologer for the coup group once it had assumed power."
The Red Shirts are not the only ones to perform blood rites. Sondhi Limthongkul, leader of the anti-Thaksin Yellow Shirt movement and the owner of ASTV satellite news network, spread menstrual blood at the base of a statue in a black magic ritual meant to neutralize Thaksin's supernatural weapons. It was just one of several acts staged by Sondhi with black magic overtones.
And all political factions and the military are wary of Newin Chidchob, a political boss from Buriram near the Cambodian border who commands the Bhumjai Thai political party. Newin is something of a kingmaker, having been a loyal aide to Thaksin before switching camps so the Democrat party could govern. Newin's real value, however, may be his knowledge of the occult, and in particular Cambodian curses. "Newin's nickname in Thai politics is 'the Wizard of Khmer Black Magic','' Wassana says. Newin's knowledge of Cambodian occult practices may be useful for Abhisit. Because of Thailand's conflict with Cambodia over an ancient border temple, the current PM has also been cursed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who proclaimed last year, "Let magic objects break your neck, may you be shot, be hit by a car, may you be shocked by electricity or [ may you be shot] by misfired guns. ..."