According to the Scripture of the Golden Register for the Redemption of Sins and for Salvation, written during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), during this time period, the Six Heavens became a district of the Northern Realm, and was overseen by the North Emperor Zhenwu. As the Northern Emperor, Zhenwu was responsible for ruling over the various demons and spirits of the Six Heavens and overseeing the suffering souls of the Underworld (i.e., the Underworld was seen .as a place where horrible tortures were inflicted on the deceased as punishments for their misdeeds in life). The Northern Emperor’s administration was supported by a large contingency of ghost officials, including powerful “Arch-demons” of the Three Realms, and the 900 million Ghost Kings. This special administration was so expansive, that it became exalted enough to warrant the creation of unique demon and spirit-controlling talismans,much like the Goetic sigil talismans of the greater and lesser key of solomon,among other grimoires of this tradition. These magical talismans allowed the Northern Emperor’s specialized demon controlling generals to be periodically dispatched to assist Daoist priests in subjugating the powerful demonic entities and Spirits who were wreaking havoc within the physical realm. These mighty Marshal Generals took the form of the powerful “Agents of Exorcism,” traditionally used today in all Daoist Exorcisms and Purification Rituals. It is said that the main qualities that helped the Northern Emperor fulfill the ideal requirements as an authority in Daoist exorcism, were his jurisdiction over the Underworld, his magical power and authority over the Arch-demon Kings, and his great compassion for the suffering souls of the deceased( also see the Book of Abramelin for comparison).
In ancient China, the most widely known of the seductive demons were the “fox spirits” who were believed to live high in the misty mountains. The fox spirits could take on a human form by transforming themselves through the aid of human bones (especially the skull). Foxes are associated with Yin and the Earth Element. They are associated with deceit, trickery, slyness, cunning, and craftiness. Documents dating back to the dawn of China’s civilization identify the fox as a demonic creature, upon whose back spirit entities often ride. According to the famous Daoist scholar Ji Yun,
“Humans and things are different species, and foxes lie in-between humans and things; Darkness and light take different paths, and foxes lie in-between darkness and light; Gods and demons follow different ways; and foxes lie in between gods and demons.”
According to Mr. Yun, there are two major characteristics used to describe the magical transformational abilities of a fox (Hu-li). The first characteristic is that they are able to live to a very old age; and the second characteristic is its great preponderance of Yin (the female element of all things). The fox’s accumulation of Yin is due to its nocturnal habits, which enables the fox to easily assume the guise of a woman. As the fox naturally wishes to have a well balanced constitution, it looks to gather Yang (the male element of all things), wherever it can. Thus is created the powerful myth that the fox-spirit must prey on the life-force of men in order to achieve longevity (very Similar to the Lilith and Succubus Mythos).
Now,before a fox can magically transform itself into a human being, it must first enter into a graveyard at midnight,
wear the skull of a human, and worship the Big Dipper. It is therefore taught, that a fox will frequent ancient burial tombs in order to exhume the bodies of the deceased. In order to perform its magical transformation, the fox will proceed as follows:
• At midnight, a fox will enter into an abandoned graveyard.
• It will then locate and place the skull of a deceased individual on its head.
• Next, it will shake its head in order to make sure that the skull fits tight. If the skull falls off, it chooses another one. It will sometimes try 4 or 5 different skulls, until it finally finds one that fits snugly.
• The fox will pick up leaves and flowers in order to cover its body. These leaves and flowers are used to magically transform into the various clothes that the fox spirit will wear, depending on the specific image and form the fox chooses (i.e., either that of a man or woman).
• Finally, the fox will tum its head towards the North Star and Big Dipper Stars, and speaks a magical incantation.
It is important to note that, according to ancient Taoist cosmology, the Big Dipper is suspended above Mount Kunlun, believed to be the location of Daoist Paradise. In Daoist Magic, both of these sacred areas are viewed
as the “Center of the Universe.” They are the supernatural places where the magical powers of both Yin and Yang unite and determine the Cosmic Order. The Fox, Midnight, Darkness, and the Graveyard, are all considered to
be Yin, and are therefore associated with the supernatural realm of the dead. The Skull is energetically considered to be Yang. When all of these various components were combined, the worship of the Big Dipper served as a
magical ritual that united the supernatural powers of both Yin and Yang. This special magical ritual allowed the fox to gain the vital energy needed to transform into human form.
• After speaking a magical incantation, the fox spirit will bow to the celestial stars three times. If the skull does not fall down while it is performing its prostrations, the fox will magically transform into a beautiful man or woman.
• Once the transformation is completed, the Fox Spirit (generally in female form) would travel throughout the countryside looking for individuals to seduce. When the Fox Spirit connected with an unsuspecting individual, it would then become an energetic parasite, absorbing the victim’s life-force energy.
When compared to the notion of a lilith (most probably Assyrian (say around 700 BC), incorporated into Isaiah by way of the ancient Israelite contacts with the mythologies of Babylonia and Chaldea)there is a clear Parallel between the two spirits. The Assyrians had three female demons, Lilit, Lilu,and Ardat Lilit. There’s little doubt that the Hebrew lilith-demon mentioned in Isaiah was a folkloric adaptation of the Assyrian demons.The Fox- Spirit plays much the same role for the Chinese as the Lilu did for the Assyrians.Several hundred years after Isaiah, we find Talmudic writings that describe Lilith (now as a named demon, rather than a broad category) as an irresistibly seductive she-demon with long hair (presumably worn loose, a sure sign of wantonness) and wings. She is described as taking the seed (Qi) of man,and is often called a succubus. She seduces unwary men,and the Jackal (or Wild Dog) is a symbol of hers.
It was believed that a fox, through its cunning ability, was able to extend its life up to 1,000 years; and could even achieve immortality. As a result, many small temples and shrines were built to Fox Spirits. According to the Shanhaijing, a fox could only magically transform its features after acquiring powerful Ling Qi, gathered through performing the following number of years via energetic Vampiric cultivation:
• Fifty Years of Magical Cultivation: After 50 years of energetic cultivation, a fox could magically transform itself into a woman.
• One Hundred Years of Magical Cultivation:After 100 years of energetic cultivation, a fox could magically transform itself into a beautiful young maiden, a spirit medium or sorceress(with all the power of magic at its command)
or an adult male (capable of having intercourse with many women). Such magical beings were able to knowing things that happened within a thousand miles. The could easily overshadow the minds of weak men by sorcery; or possess and bewilder them so that they lose their memory and forget their knowledge.
• One Thousand Years of Magical Cultivation: After 1,000 years of energetic cultivation, a fox could magically transform itself into a Celestial Fox. A 1,000 year old fox is said to have nine tails, its color changes to gold, and it serves in the Palace of the Sun and Moon. Because it is well versed in all the secrets of nature, it is noted for its extreme sensuality, and can produce fire by striking the ground with its tail.
An encounter with a Fox Spirit could either be considered positive or deadly, depending on the type of interaction, and temperament of the spirit entity. For example, the victim could end up either having intercourse with a demonic vampire, or having a romantic interlude that ended up in marriage. Because Fox Spirits could either appear as
men or women, and transform themselves into the images of individuals who are sometimes young or old, each interaction was uncertain. Historically, Fox Spirits could sometimes act like malevolent ghosts, haunting and bewitching people, causing sickness and even death. Other times, they could assume the positive role of a
benevolent loving spouse, or act live a compassionate Ancestral Spirit, granting an individual health, wealth, and fame. Therefore, in relationship to humans, an interaction with a Fox Spirit could either be benevolent or vindictive, according to the treatment that the fox received. For example, one of the positive attributes associated with magical Fox Spirits, is that they retain the knowledge of hidden or buried treasure. They could either use these riches for their own personal gain, or they could reveal these treasures to their human friends. Ancient Chinese history if full of hundreds of stories talk about how a powerfully seductive beautiful woman appears one night to a scholar while he is studying. She entices him and he makes love to her. She disappears in the morning, only to come back each consecutive evening thereafter. The scholar gets weaker and weaker until a Daoist Monk informs him that the girl is really a fox spirit who is sucking him dry of life-force energy in order to create the spirit entity’s_”Essence of Immortality” (a standard aspect of esoteric Daoistsexual training known as “vampiring”). It is said, that the Fox Spirit quite often takes the form of a beautiful woman, marries, and makes a home. However, it will most always causes its husband and/ or children to go insane. This was because the Fox Spirit, a master of Mind Magic,
creates powerful illusionary visions for those they possessed. The siphoning off on life-force Qi eventually causes their victims to go insane (i.e., talk nonsense, laugh and wail uncontrollably). According to ancient teaching, a Fox Women can be distinguished from ordinary women by the fact that they never change their clothes. However,
the clothes never look soiled. A creature of erotic symbolism, the fox has also been associated with venereal diseases for over 2,000 years in China. Additionally, the Fox Spirit does not have the power to change its tail. This often leads to its discovery.
I will leave you with a saying of Ancestor Lu: “Talk of demons and they will appear; talk of a Fox Spirit and his tail will be seen.”
Sources:Encyclopedia of Taoism (2 Volume Set) by Fabrizio Pregadio (Editor),Daoist Exorcism: Encounters with Sorcerers, Ghosts, Spirits, and Demons: Training in Daoist Magic From the Zheng Yi School of Ancient Chinese Mysticism by Jerry Alan Johnson,Chinese Folk-Lore Tales Kindle Edition by J. Macgowan,The Case For Lilith by Mark Biggs,Lilith the First Eve by Siegmund Hurwitz