Wu: The female sorceress, witch and shaman in ancient China

 

 

Quin Yin and the Lotus

 

 

The strong pattern of female shamans in eastern Asia has been erased from the history that most people know. Yet women predominated in shamanism of ancient China, Japan, and Korea, and have persisted into modern times in eastern Siberia, Korea, Manchuria, Okinawa, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Today I’d like to talk about the female shaman and sorceress in China’s earliest written Taoist records.

Old sources show the Wu performing invocation, divination, dream interpretation, healing, exorcism, driving off evil spirits, and performing ecstatic rain dances. Dramatic descriptions recount the powers of the wu in their ecstasies: “they could become invisible, they slashed themselves with knives and swords, cut their tongues, swallowed swords, and spat fire, were carried off on a cloud that shone as if with lightning. The female
wu danced whirling dances, spoke the language of spirits, and around them objects rose it the air and knocked together.” [Eliade, 454, citing DeGroot, The Religious System of China , VI, 1212]

 

The character for wu depicts shamans dancing around a pillar, or the long sleeves of a shaman’s robe swirling as she dances. Some archaic Da Chuan forms show hands making an offering which is received from above. Possibly the oldest glyph from which the wu character arose represents a quadant of the directions (sifang), and was also influenced by a glyph meaning “dance,” showing a person with outstretched arms in long sleeves. Ancient oracle bone inscriptions use wu most frequently in relation to spirit sacrifices and for calls to “bring the wu.” One Shang oracle bone was inscribed, “divination, the wu proclaims…” Another mentions a group of nine wu who did a ritual dance before sacrifices. [Boileau, 350, 355-6] Other inscriptions refer to the female shamans Yang, Fang, and Fan performing rain-making ceremonies. The oldest Chinese dictionary,Shuowen Jiezi ,equates wu with zhu, a ritual invocator, and with ling, “spiritual, divine.” It underlines the female signification of wu : “ wu is a zhu
(invoker or priest), a woman who is able to render [herself] invisible, and with dance to invoke gods to come down. The character symbolizes the appearance of a person dancing with two sleeves.” [Erickson, 52. Another translation of this passage runs, “An Invoker. A woman who can serve the invisible, and by posturing bring down the spirits. Depicts a person with two sleeves posturing.”

The Shouwen also refers to “an inspired shaman serving the spirits with jade.”

Another word with the sound wu (but written with a different character) means “to dance.” The relationship of these two words has been much discussed, since dance looms large in descriptions of the wu.

The shamanic character wu also appears in many compound words, combined with other radicals signifying “woman,” old woman,” “male,” “spirit” and “immortal.” The wu radical also acts as meaning-signifier in the characters for, “male shaman,” for “yarrow” (whose stalks were and are used in divination with the I Ching), and in the most archaic form of the character yi , “doctor” (and here the “shaman” radical was later replaced by that of “wine,” indicating a shift away from ritual to medicaments and alchemy ).

 

The title Wu also figures in legendary place-names. “Snake Wu mountain” (you don’t have to be Fellini to figure out where that came from) appears in the ancient Shanhai Jing as the home of the shamanic goddess Xi Wangmu. This book also says that wu live on Mount Divinepower, “where the hundred drugs are to be found.” Another passage describes them as possessing the herb of immortalitity.  Real place-names survive too: the celebrated Mount Wu, dwelling of the Divine Woman, and the famous Wu Gorge of the Yangtze. Written histories about the archaic Xia-Yin times focus on the powers of shamanic kings like Yao, Shun, and Yü. “It was said that Shun was the first person to journey to the sky, and he was taught by the daughter of his predecessor, Yao.” [Eva Wong, Online] Reading through these masculinizing lines, we deduce that a woman was the first to attain shamanic flight. Elsewhere this female precedence is clearly stated: “The emperor Yao’s daughters, Nü Ying and O Huang, revealed to Shun the art of flying ‘like a bird’.”  this explains further that the daughters of Yao came to his aid during his ordeals—imposed by cruel parents—in a deep well and in a high granary. As Granet summarized it,

“Shun knew what awaited him in the granary and the well: he asked advice from his wives, the daughters of Yao. If he descended to the ground without accident, it was because they taught him the Art (Gong) of the Bird ; if he came out of the earth, it was that they had taught him the Art of the Dragon. We even know that Shun succeeded in these magical feats by dressing in the robes of Bird Work (Gong) or those of the Dragon.”[Granet, 127]

 

The word gong is the same as in chigong and kungfu; it “designates magic, all its techniques, from Alchemy to Dance, have been taught from a goddess or female Witch/Spirit to a male Wu.I’ve found the commentary on Sima Tian saying that the daughters of Yao taught their husband Shun the Art of the Bird. Yet another source says that in his ordeal of the well, the two sisters advised him, “Take off your clothes and put on the Dragon work; [that is how] you will get out of it.” [Granet, 346-47, n. 693] Most Chinese literature dwells on the exploits of Shun and ignores the two shamanic sisters who married him. But they were remembered in much later times in southern Hunan, where they had a temple, and peaks were named after them. By the 9th century they were synchronized with the ancient river goddess known as the Lady of the Xiang. [Schafer 1973: 86-87, 50, 176]

 

Although she does not seem to have been called a wu, the best-known female ritualist of Shang times deserves a mention. Fu Hao personally inscribed oracle bones and presided over divinations and other rituals. Her personal seal shows a woman making ritual offerings to spirits. Tortoise shells inscribed with the characters “prepared by Fu Hao” prove her status as an important diviner. Married to the king, Fu Hao was also his best general. Her tomb is the richest Shang find ever discovered. It was filled with a massive collection of bronze offering vessels, half of them inscribed with her name, including the colossal Si Mu Wu ding. Hundreds of jade vessels and thousands of other treasures were found in her grave. [http://history.cultural-china.com/en/48History10355.html] Among them were “small bronze mirrors and knives” not found in other burials, and little jades with possible ritual functions. Sarah Nelson remarks, “While no evidence points to [the king] Wu Ding performing ecstatic rituals, perhaps Lady Hao was the shaman.” [Nelson, 160]

 

Jade objects were important in ritual and witchcraft. The Zhouli says, “Blue Jade Bi to worship the heaven, Yellow Jade Cong to worship the earth.” (Cong is pronounced tsoong.) Commentators say that the circular bi and the squared cylindrical cong symbolized Heaven and Earth. The cong has an extremely long history, going back to the neolithic Liangzhu culture (circa 3300 BCE), and replicas persist into the Song dynasty. But while great emphasis is placed on the emperor and his ceremonial acts as Son of Heaven, little attention has been given to the ancient queens who are mentioned as keepers of the cong ( I would love to know more about these queens, so if anyone has any info, stop by and leave a message at the beep)

The cong is said to be a shaman’s tool that ‘encapsulates the principal elements of the shamanistic cosmology.’
[Nelson, 137, quoting Chang 1994a: 66] and I currently carry one around my neck, consecrated by the White Goddess and three pole stars.

11705605_918139738224943_426272056_o

Eva Wong, a Professor of Taoist studies and adept that I greatly admire and respect, highlights the wu women as healers. “We are told that, in the healing ceremony, the shamaness grasped a green snake in her right hand and a red snake in her left hand and climbed into the mountains to gather the herbs that would restore life and health to a sick or dying person.” Wong explains the central importance of dancing and singing in the rainmaking ceremony:

 

“The Chinese word for spirit (ling ) consists of three radicals: one meaning rain, another (showing three mouths) chanting, and the third, shaman.” [Wong, Online] This word ling is used for shamans in the Nine Songs of Chu. The
Liji (Book of Rites) referred to the ceremonial dances called yue ; they combined music and movement with regalia: “shields, axes, feathers, and oxtails.”

 

The Lushi chunqiu described the harmonizing and unifying power that arose from these rites. As Dallas McCurley explains, “throughout the cosmos, everything both resonated and responded to other resonations… that if one strikes a bell of a particular note, all other bells of that same note, regardless of octave, will resonate.” [McCurley, 142]

The Chinese used sounding stones and chimes in ceremonies. “When I knock on the musical stones, the hundred animals all dance.” [Karlgren 1946: 258, in Nelson, 114] Many scholars see Chinese shamanism as underlying what developed into Taoism. [Schipper, 6] The Taoist word for ecstasy ,kuei-ju, “coming in of a spirit,” was derived from shamanic possession: “For it was said of a sorceress in trance and speaking in the name of a shen: ‘this body is that of the sorceress, but the spirit is that of the god.” (The word shen is ungendered in Chinese.)

The wu prepared herself to receive divinity by purifying herself with perfumed water, putting on ceremonial robes, and making offerings. Then, “with a flower in her hand, she mimed her journey by a dance accompanied by music and songs, to the sound of drums and flutes, until she fell exhausted. This was the moment of the presence of the god who answered through her mouth.” [H. Maspero, in Eliade, 453] One of the oldest, comprehensive descriptions of the wu appears in the 3rd century BCE Guoyü:
“Anciently, men and spirits did not intermingle. At that time there were certain persons who were so perspicacious, single-minded, and reverential that their understanding enabled them to make meaningful collation of what lies above and below, and their insight to illumine what is distant and profound. Therefore the spirits would descend upon them. The possessors of such powers were, if men, called [xi] (shamans), and, if women, wu (shamanesses).

It is they who supervised the positions of the spirits at the ceremonies, sacrificed to them, and otherwise handled religious matters. As a consequence, the spheres of the divine and the profane were kept distinct. The spirits sent down blessings on the people, and accepted from them their offerings. There were no natural calamities.”

 

Later, says this old classic, the divine and profane became intermixed, causing misfortune, so that the communication between Heaven and Earth had to be cut. This lost connection to the divine world is an extremely widespread theme. [See Anne Solomon (1997) on the San in South Africa, where the primeval connection is lost between animals and humans, not heaven and earth.] The above translation of the Guoyü neatly reverses the primary gendering of wu as female, using English words that imply that the word “shaman” is masculine and only secondarily applies to women (“shamaness,” “shamanka.”) But in Chinese, the more ancient character wu is incorporated as a signifier into the word xi , demonstrating that the explicitly masculine term is derived from the feminine, and not vice versa. However, not long after the Guoyü was written, we find the authors of the Zhouli
regendering the concept, as “male wu” and “female wu. This is not a well accepted idea in our male dominated western society , yet as a Left Hand Path practitioner, I feel the Yin and female Wu should be brought to light once more. We are born of Goddess, shall learn and die at her feet. Indonesian conceptions of the wu retained a strong female stamp: “Such was the force of tradition in respect to the basic femininity of the shaman, that male shamans in the Far East often impersonated women…. The shamans of Central and Southern Asia, called tuan-kung
and nan-wu [“male-wu”], are men disguised as women… The male shamans (shih-wu) of Kuangtung in the eighteenth century impersonated beautiful girls (Li T’iao-yüan, op. cit., 1.5). Doré observes that the possessed boys of Amoy, with whom he was familiar, were occupied by female spirits…” [Schafer 1951: 159] In modern parlance these would be gay or trans shamans….

But, that is for another time, and a different post. I hope you enjoyed my musings and ramblings, I plan on writing more on this in the future as my studies progress, but my Chinese is still at kindergarten level, so such studies are slow going. I leave you with a Poem from the Yun zhong jun, where the female and male shamans sing and dance, arrayed in magnificent robes and perfumes:
“See the priestesses (ling),

how skilled and lovely,

Whirling and dipping like birds in flight Unfolding the words in time to the dancing,

Pitch and beat all in perfect accord!

The spirits, descending, darken the sun.”[Erickson, 53]

 

Stay Gold everyone……

Art- Quan Yin and the Lotus- copyright 2015 Vincent Piazza

 

Sources:
Wu Ancient Female Shamans of Ancient China© 2011 Max Dashu
Edward H. Schafer, “Ritual Exposure in Ancient China.”
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
, Vol. 14, No. 1/2 (Jun., 1951), pp. 130-184 Published by: Harvard-Yenching Institute ____________
The Divine Woman: Dragon Ladies and Rain Maidens
. San Francisco: North Point, 1980 (1973)

Susan N. Erickson, “ ‘Twirling Their Long Sleeves, They Dance Again and Again…: Jade Plaque Sleeve Dancers of the Western Han Dynasty.”
 http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/granet_marcel/A10_danses_et_legendes/danses_legendes.doc Eliade, Mircea,Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy , Princeton

Eva Wong,Teaching the Tao: Readings from the Taoist Spiritual Tradition. Boston: Shambala, 1997 Karen Laughlin and Eva Wong, “Feminism in Taoism,” in Feminism and World Religions , ed. Arvind Sharma and Katherine Young, SUNY Press, 1999 Eva Wong,The Shambala Guide to Taoism. Online:http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog/items/isbn/978-1-57062-169-7.cfm?
Dallas McCurley, “Performing Patterns: Numinous Relations in Shang and Zhou China.”TDR, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Autumn, 2005), MIT Press, pp. 135-156

Schipper, Kristofer,The Taoist Body . Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983

Anne Solomon, “The myth of ritual origins? Ethnography, mythology, and interpretation of San rock art.”
South African Archaeological Bulletin, 1997 Online: http://www.antiquityofman.com/Solomon_myth_ritual.html

Wu: The female sorceress, witch and shaman in ancient China was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

The Hat Speaks: One Taoist’s View on Satanism, Tantrism and the Left Hand Path

Baphomet's Woods

 

Hello dear readers, I’d like to take a moment to talk about Satanism. Someone asked me, quite recently, about my views of it and if I am, or not, one of the Black Brotherhood. Do you have some time? Would you like some Coffee or Tea? Please, take the green chair over by the fireplace, it’s quite comfortable…

Modern Satanism is, in the West, essentially what one certain form of Tantrism is in the East, i.e. the primary form of anti-nomian religious and moral dissent from mainstream herd practice. This is characterized in BOTH by a preference for the physical and material over the purely spiritual; physical pleasures over physical denial, and the fully acceptable use of magic for selfish worldly purposes. This pretty much describes those elements common to the “Left Hand Path” in both Western (LaVeyan, Setian, Theistic, Gnostic, Zen-Baptist..Ok, I made the last one up, but if they don’t exist, they do now.  ) and Eastern (Tantric) usage of that term today. So clearly the Left-hand Path encompasses both Modern Satanism and one (or even a few if we bring the Red Hat Taoists in to the mix) of the forms of Tantrism.

 

“LEFT-HAND PATH” IN THE EAST
Tantrism can be found in Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist varieties. Hindu Tantric practice is generally divided amoung two paths; The Vamamarga (or vamacara or vamachara) or “Left Hand Path” or red tantra and the Dakshinachara or “RightHand Path” or white tantra. The most obvious but not the only distinction between these two is that LHP Tantra involves actual sexual practice as part of its rituals while RHP tantra uses non-sexual yoga practices instead. It is interesting to note that in common usage in India today, the term “Tantra” has come to mean “black magic” while in the West that term has come to refer to hippie-like “sacred sex” yoga classes. Experts say both interpretations cloud the full picture of what Tantra is fully about, and I agree .Here are just two of the many credible references that note this same primary distinction between the two paths of Tantra:

http://www.swamij.com/tantra.htm

http://www.tantrayogacouture.com/#!about-tantra/c18ci

There is little question that Tantra (both Buddhist and Hindu) arose in part as an anti-nomian revolt against restrictive mainstream Vedic, Buddhist and even Muslim morality. So those who would say it has nothing to do with taboo-breaking are quite obviously wrong. Taoist forms of Tantra are much more sexual and dare I say pragmatical then the Buddhist and Hindu forms, as the primary purpose behind Taoist Tantra is the transformation of sexual energy into healing energy and vitality, resulting in better health and potential immortality. The primary Taoist technique to achieve these healing effects is called the inward orgasm (in-jaculation), whereby the orgasmic energy rises up the spine, stimulating the endocrine glands, energy systems, nervous system, and organs. Taoists teach that an inner orgasm (in-jaculation) stimulates life and vitality, while the outer orgasm (e-jaculation) brings death or loss of health and vitality. An in-jaculation is the most effective tool for transforming a physical orgasm into an energetic orgasm. Of course, there are even higher levels of orgasm as well, including a soul-level, total-being orgasm.Hindu Tantra and Taoist Tantra are each an ancient form of sacred sexuality. Also, in both traditions, sexuality is practiced in a spiritual context.Nevertheless, the differences are very distinct. For example, Hindu Tantra uses more ceremony and ritual, while Taoism is more scientific and focuses on the body, its meridians, and energy systems. Hindu Tantra is an art, while Taoist Tantra is a science (and when you strip away the Jade Rabbits and Red Cocks, Very Left Hand Path).
“LEFT-HAND PATH” IN THE WEST
Prior to LaVey, not many occultists running around in funny hats and applying the term “Left-Hand Path” to their work or to anyone else in a positive way in the West. As far as I can find, the term first appears as a perjorative in Western literature in Helena Blavatsky’s “The Secret Doctrines” of 1888 in which she uses it as a blanket term for bad-guy, I dress-in-black-and-eat-babies, selfish, materialistic, evil black magicians.Blavatsky postulated that from the days of Atlantis there have been evil adepts of the Left-Hand Path who used their Black Magic for self-serving,materialistic and destructive purposes as contrasted with their opponents, the adepts of the Right-Hand Path who only pursue alturistic magic for the betterment of others (much like the Democrats and Republicans see themselves today). She obviously picked up (and partly misunderstood) the term “Left-hand Path” during her long study in India because the term does not appear in her earlier work, “Isis Unveiled” at all. In subsequent writings, Blavatsky’s disciples have specifically made this moralitistic judgemental error in understanding of the basis of Vamacara or Left-hand Path segment of Tantrism.

 

 

And so, not-so-genital reader, it is pretty safe to assume that LaVey read Blavatsky and rejected almost all of her philosophy even to the point of recognizing himself and his outlook as the villain of her cosmology. When she shuddered about selfish Black Magician of the Left-hand Path, LaVey probably smiled, stroked his goatee, and recognized himself in that role. This was apparently the extent of Tantrism’s influence on the Satanic Bible and LaVey’s other works, since LaVey never mentioned it ( He was much to busy wearing Fedoras and fucking movie stars, so who could blame him?). But even badly filtered through Blavatsky’s misinterpretation, the essential truth of what the Left Hand Path is all about was recognizable to Lavey: indulgence instead of abstinence, pleasure instead of pain, selfishness instead of altruism, flesh instead of spirit.But, while Vamachara Tantra and Modern Satanism are both Left Hand Path, there is an essential difference between the two that keeps Tantra from being strictly speaking, “Satanic.” Modern Satanism expects its adherents to be their own gods without any need for personal instruction or permission from any guru to be a “Satanist.” Vamachara Tantra however is not so individualistic and, in fact, strictly requires its initiates to study under the tutelage of a Tantrik guru. Tantra teaches that performance of the rites of Vamachara without the oversight of a guru will not only be ineffectual but warns that it might even be dangerous. So while both Vamachara Tantra and Modern Satanism are both LHP, Tantra cannot truly be said to be “Satanic” per se in the sense that Satanists use the term.

 

 

So the roots of the idea in the West are Eastern.Doubtless in every age and culture the antinomian urge has arisen. We can talk of the native South Africans (Nguni peoples) refer to Sangomas and witches´ as two distinct entities, the one benign, the other supposedly malign? And then we have the poor, oppressed, and infamous Yezidi of the Middle East? While they hold that there might be some great universal being that created the universe, it is Melek Taus, the peacock angel, that arouse their worship and devotion because it is he that has authority upon this earth. Although humanity has often struggled with sexuality and similarly related issues, there have always been arts and sciences devoted to honoring the sacred, sexual self, and let’s face facts, in the west, the Devil and sex are inseparable to our mob mentality.I’ve found that is just as it should be,  and perfectly fine with this Taoist….so if it pleases you, go out and have mind blowing sex and walk with the Dark Lord, or not. Now finish your Coffee, you rapscallion, it has gotten cold……

 

That’s all I have for you today my friends, Stay Gold…

Sources:In Praise of the Left Hand Path Feb 10, 2011 by Anthony Greyling, Tantrism and the Left Hand Path Oct 16, 2013 by ashishpuri, http://www.swamij.com/tantra.htm

The Hat Speaks: One Taoist’s View on Satanism, Tantrism and the Left Hand Path was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

A Few Thoughts on the Left Hand Path

Babalon

 

Every step along this path is taken in the present moment. The discreet processing nature of our brain creates the illusion that we are going somewhere and becoming someone, while in fact we are actually just experiencing a flowing stream of “present moments.” There is no place to go, except here. There is no one to be, except who you are right now. This living in the present moment is an essential feature of this path. It is also the most difficult feature to practice. As soon as we actually turn to the present moment, a thought arises that directs our attention toward some future event or to something we should have done in the past. It is almost as if the present moment is actually too frightening to really experience. An internal voice suggests that we are in too much physical or emotional pain. It hints that we really don’t have the capacity to directly face this moment. It then presents an alternative from among the countless cultural diversions and distractions available.

 

We may also notice a voice that tells us, “If you live in the present moment, you will stop all forward progress. You will cease improving yourself and just drift through life.” This voice is full of “helpful” suggestions for self-improvement. “Some later day,” it suggests, “you will have things arranged well enough so that the present moment will be acceptable. Until then you’d better keep on striving.” That Voice is an Asshole, fuck that voice.

 

Other voices may suggest that the present moment is impractical, unrealistic, naive, selfish, lazy, dangerous, or impossible. They may present the usual habitual daydreams, fantasies, and mental babble in order to keep us distracted and unconscious. In any case we can get a sense of how difficult such a simple-sounding thing as “living in the present moment” can actually be. But, that’s what we must do if we wish to walk the Left Hand Path. Some are Theists, some Atheist, some Pantheist, but the one thing that unites us all is that the present moment is the only thing that matters, none of us are playing dice for a better afterlife.

 

The Left Hand path does not lead to the elimination of the uncomfortable or the painful, or the things and qualities we have learned to call “negative.” It would be more popular if it promised to lead in that direction. Instead it promises that we will learn to see the polarities of life in an entirely different way. It affirms that every polarity is absolutely necessary to the fabric of existence. The mysterious world of quantum physics reveals this basic truth. The electron with its “negative” charge and the proton with its “positive” charge exist within the atom in perfect balance.

Without this basic “yin and yang” of atomic structure, nothing would exist. Since we experience life within this physical cosmos, our basic perception of existence is that of polarities: here and there, us and them, up and down, love and fear, joy and sorrow, life and death. We naturally learn to prefer those things we call “positive”; therefore, much of our life is spent trying to experience them in isolation from their “negative” complements. This is an impossible task and only increases our fear and frustration.

 

No matter how hard we try to make it otherwise,
rising always gives way to falling; having always gives way to losing; and life always gives way to death. And that is where the Skulls and Demons and Devils come in on this shadowed path that we walk. These sights and sounds, smells and excrement expand our vision and leads us to a vantage point where we see all rising and falling as contained within a greater expansiveness. Life gives way to death, but death turns and gives way to life. We do not waste energy pretending otherwise, but instead trust the process of balance and return. We stop working to
change the processes of life and begin to work in cooperation with them. The negative becomes the doorway to the positive. The positive is enjoyed without clinging because we know ourselves to be capable of experiencing the whole of life rather than just the parts we prefer. Our experience is no longer limited by a dependence on circumstances. Freedom becomes a permanent quality of life available anywhere, anytime. Because, when the chips are down and the spells are cast, bones are thrown and cards are read, the only goal left is Freedom. All else is dust and shadows fighting on the wall by candlelight.

Just a few thoughts as I steal a few moments at work…Hope to write more in the days and weeks ahead.

Stay Gold everyone….

Vincent Piazza.

A Few Thoughts on the Left Hand Path was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

When a Hero dies and becomes a God: Magic and the Deification of David Bowie

 

 

david_bowie_by_toxicstills-d3iw7j8

 

 

Hello readers, today I want to talk about the creation of gods, how, why and the theory behind humanity’s hand in it. As a Taoist and left hand path practitioner, I have a particular interest in immortality and godhood. With the passing of Artist and Musician David Bowie, and the overt occult overtones of his later work, this stared an idea in my noggin that itches like crazy. So like any good idea (or Virus) I’m going to spread it like the black plague and see where it goes. When talking about gods and the process of god making two words spring to mind, Deification (Greek theosis) and Apotheosis (from Greek ἀποθέωσις from ἀποθεοῦν, apotheoun “to deify”; in Latin deificatio “making divine”. In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature. In art, the term refers to the treatment of any subject (a figure, group, locale, motif, convention or melody) in a particularly grand or exalted manner.Now, more then ever before, Art and theology have blended to become something greater then the sum of it’s parts. but this isn’t a new thing that I’m talking about here. We learn about the gods from myths because myths (as opposed to other narratives) stories with a religious content: they explain our relationship to forces beyond our control. Greek myths in particular have a continuing appeal because they are, first of all, great stories.

 

The ancient Greeks would have been surprised and even shocked by our modern interpretations of the Greek Gods. The vast majority of ancient people believed in these same Gods and Heroes, thought most of them had mortal origins and when ancient writers tell the stories, the gods play an important and even dominant role in them. Myths were fundamentally religious stories, narratives about how to come to terms with forces beyond human control. Ancient Greeks learned about the gods from myths: they had no canonical text like the Bible.

 

In the Greek world, the first leader who accorded himself divine honours was Philip II of Macedon, who was a king, when the Greeks had set kingship aside, and who had extensive economic and military ties, though largely antagonistic, with Achaemenid Persia, where kings were divine. At his wedding to his sixth wife, Philip’s enthroned image was carried in procession among the Olympian gods; “his example at Aigai became a custom, passing to the Macedonian kings who were later worshiped in Greek Asia, from them to Julius Caesar and so to the emperors of Rome”. Such Hellenistic state leaders might be raised to a status equal to the gods before death (e.g., Alexander the Great) or afterwards (e.g., members of the Ptolemaic dynasty). Heroic cult similar to apotheosis was also an honour given to a few revered artists of the distant past, notably Homer. The Greek hero cults can be distinguished on the other hand from the Roman cult of dead emperors, because the hero was not thought of as having ascended to Olympus or become a god: he was beneath the earth, and his power purely local. For this reason hero cults were chthonic in nature, and their rituals more closely resembled those for Hecate and Persephone than those for Zeus and Apollo. Two exceptions were Heracles and Asclepius, who might be honoured as either gods or heroes, sometimes by chthonic night-time rites and sacrifice on the following day.

 

The Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were believed (throughout ancient Egyptian history) to be incarnations of the god Horus, derived by being the son of the sun deity, Hathor (or later, Isis), or the sky deity, Nut. In the 20th century , our Myths are stories of Film stars like James Dean and Heath Ledger , who died early and left a beautiful corpse or Rock Stars like Jim Morrison and Lemmy ,who partied too excess and went out with a devil may care attitude that we tend to expect and adore in our Heroes. This brings us to David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, the Great White Duke, Who after so many years and so many stories told about all of his incarnations, has taken on a hero cult status of his own. This is not entirely dissimilar to what happened to the Catholic saints of the Middle Ages, the “Rock Stars” of Europe at that time, a tooth or a finger nail of  Saint Francis of Assisi could command hundreds of florins if deemed genuine. As any Mambo or Hoodoo rootworker knows, over time these saints became the “overcoats” of the seven African Powers, making them into deities in there own right. . Numerous mortals have been deified into the Daoist pantheon, such as Guan Yu, Iron-crutch Li and Fan Kuai. Song Dynasty General Yue Fei was deified during the Ming Dynasty and is considered by some practitioners to be one of the three highest ranking heavenly generals. This can also be found to happen with Various Hindu and Buddhist rulers in the past as they become represented as deities, especially after death.

 

 

Joseph Campbell, in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, writes that the Universal Hero from monomyth must pass through a stage of Apotheosis. According to Campbell, apotheosis is the expansion of consciousness that the hero experiences after defeating his foe, and I believe that this is what could be happening with David Bowie right now. The amount of energy poured into his image, at the moment of his death, could have very well brought about his Apotheosis. With the continued spread of Blog posts and Articles about his life and the meaning of it, I believe the power of all that human interest may vault his spirit into becoming a Deity, or at the very lest a tangible Archetype that could be worked with on the Astral.

 

Perhaps I’m only Tilting at windmills with this idea, but I will leave that for you to decide. In closing will give a few lines from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and may we all take these words to heart.

 

“But as in landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God- so, better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing- straight up, leaps thy apotheosis.”

Till next time, stay gold everyone.

Sources:  Arthur E.R. Boak, “The Theoretical Basis of the Deification of Rulers in Antiquity”,St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word ,http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/deification, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

Art Credit: David Bowie by TOXICSTILLS

 

When a Hero dies and becomes a God: Magic and the Deification of David Bowie was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

The Blood is the life : Using the vital fluids in the Evocation of Spirits

 

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“And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.”- Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 16, Verse 6.

 

The Bathroom is dirty,lights flicker, a man in a leather jacket calmly walks in whistling “Easy” by The Commodores. He is wearing a Top Hat,a stained white buttoned down shirt rolled up at the sleeves,Red vest,black jeans,black boots. Turns and locks the door,walks to the sink and mirror like he owns the place,takes his Hat off with a flourish and puts it on the sink,stops whistling.Smiles at his reflection.He reaches in to his vest and pulls out 4 objects,lines them on the sink,a Straight razor, a zippo, a pack of camels and a small lead coin with something etched upon it.Takes a cigarette out, light’s it up, puts it on the rim of his Hat.In a soft respectful voice he chants-

 

“I lite this cigarette in the name of Belzebuth, in your honor do I send up this smoke in an offering to thee.”

 

He picks up the straight razor,then cuts his right arm with it,winces at the pain,then with his left hand draws the sigil with his blood on the mirror In a Strong,Commanding voice he calls out-

 

“In the Name of Belzebuth, King of the powers of Air,Prince of Demons,I inscribe your Signature in my own blood,to call upon you so that you may honor the pact we have Previously made.You who May send or avert plague or sickness, whose vessel is the fly, I adjure you……”

 

No, I’ve not lost my marbles, but thanks for asking. This is an example of a ritual that I’ve performed (I wrote this as the opening scene for a script), and it’s quite typical of off the cuff evocation that I prefer with spirits that I have a relationship with. I’m talking to you straight about using Cum, Blood, Shit and Piss in ritual magic. When you have no Incense, or powders, or magic wands, this form of Spirit working is the last resort.

 

But after a number of years, it becomes the quickest way to call something to you, but there is danger in speed. Now note, By this I am not talking about animal sacrifice but that does have a time and place. In fact, it is an all-purpose Taoist ritual tool. Useful for mixing chicken blood with ink to write talismans, to throw the blood at ghosts, to offer en toto to ghouls or demons who may be appeased by the chicken instead of attacking humans, and more. Whenever it looks like a living sacrifice is necessary, out comes a chicken. Which is a shame, because I could think of a few of the modern occultists that probably could’ve used a ritual murder. But I digress….

 

 

Most types of Demonolatry have all incorporated some form of blood letting or blood ritual.   the sacrifice, which is the act of making something sacred, of a few drops of your own blood as offering to deity is the most personal offering you can give. Not all Spirits demand or insist upon blood sacrifice, but most Taoist ones do, and many from the west expect it out of hand. As a matter of fact some prefer sexual fluids instead, and I will cover this later on.

 

Now please, don’t go cutting your Arm and bleeding out in some back Alley, if any of you try this and come crying to me, too damned bad, your horrible choices are not my responsibility. Spirits can and do feed off the ‘Vital force’ in blood, ( the bio electricity in the red blood cells ), but only if it’s fresh from the vein and you only have a 10 to 20 minute time window before the Gore loses it’s potency.

 

The human body stores about 5 litres of blood and after 2 litres have been lost, major organ failure occurs and it is pretty much the end, one way or another. Keep this in mind, when starting to work with this part of your essence .Blood, contains all the mysterious secrets of existence, no living being can exist without.

 

The Arabian Art workers thought It profaning the great work of the Creator to eat blood.” In his turn Moses, following the universal and traditional law, forbids eating blood. Paracelsus writes that with the fumes of blood one is enabled to call forth any spirit we desire to see; for with its emanations it will build itself an appearance, a visible body. The hierophants of Baal made deep incisions all over their bodies and produced apparitions, objective and tangible, with their own blood.

 

The followers of a certain sect in Persia, many of whom may be found around the Russian settlements in Temerchan-Shoura, and Derbent, have their religious mysteries in which they form a large ring, and whirl round in a frantic dance. Their temples are ruined, and they worship in large temporary buildings, securely enclosed, and with the earthen floor deeply strewn with sand. They are all dressed in long white robes, and their heads are bare and closely shaved.

Armed with knives, they soon reach a point of furious exaltation, and wound themselves and others until their garments and the sand on the floor are soaked with blood. Before the end of the “Mystery” every man has a companion, who whirls round with him. Sometimes the spectral dancers have hair on their heads, which makes them quite distinct from their unconscious creators.

 

The taboo connected with this subject, shows us how carefully guarded are its mysteries, as well as how powerful they can be. And we can add to this the taboo connected with a women’s menstruation, but I leave that to the Ladies to write upon. Feces can work well as material for evocation, but only when piping hot out the shoot. The time of use is quite long, 30 mins to an hour, but can only be used with Earth entities and the unsavory idea of it and our deeply implanted social aversion to the unclean makes this a difficult working to pull off. Sperm and vaginal fluids gathered after masturbation can be used in the calling of sexual and love dominion entities, but your window is even smaller (about 5 mins) and it often times works best as an accumulation offering with other methods to “Prime the Pump”, so to speak.

 

When it comes to urine, nothing is better for banishing an entity, if a brazier is lit at the start of a calling in the name of the spirit, and you feel that it has decided to hang out after you have asked nicely for it to leave, piss in the brazier commanding it to flee, as the fire goes out, so will the spirit. It goes without saying to only use your own Blood or Body leavings in such workings, if you disregard this advice and do something foolish with an animal or human being, the results could be destructive, outside of a very structured spiritual tradition like Vodun, Taoism or Palo Mayombe.

I hope some of you can put this info to good use, stay Gold Everyone.

Sources: Blood Evocation, paper by: Frater K.C. , The Grimorium Carceris by: Vincent Piazza (unpublished)

 

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The Blood is the life : Using the vital fluids in the Evocation of Spirits was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

Black Friday’s Evil Egregore :Magic, Thanksgiving Genocide and Black Friday Stampedes

Black Friday

 

 

I’m of two minds on the existence of evil, really. I think people are entirely capable of it, certainly. And being Subjective on the idea of Evil, I’m not so sure about the existence of entirely evil spiritual entities, but I would put in some votes for part time ones whose goals aren’t human.But I do believe that we as Humans we can create entirely Evil Egregores. I realize this kind of puts me out there in Crazy Magical theory territory, but hey, I’m a Left Hand Path Taoist. I specialize in Crazy Magical theory .

 

I think genocide is an illness,and this illness creates Egregores though, whether it is mental or spiritual energy, or some combination of both remains to be seen. Being the both/and sort of person I am, I’d argue that it has to do with both because I believe that the mental and spiritual realms overlap on many levels. So, when you look at the Egregore of Thanksgiving you can never ignore the genocide that eventually befell Native Americans. The pillaging of land and resources, rape of women and other atrocities for the most part have been erased from our history books and replaced with the story of a festive feast where humanity was recognized and family and community uplifted..

 

What drives evil in the human heart is a question that’s plagued our species from the beginning. Humans in mobs always seem to act differently than humans as individuals, and I think that mob psychology, or maybe that egregore of psychic mob energy has something to do with it, driving us to the lowest common denominator — in this case, genocide. People pick up on each other’s emotions so easily sometimes, and I suspect that riding that kind of murderous power high is a really easy emotion to pass from person to person. I think it’s similar to terror in a crowd, when people stampede and crush others in the rush to escape rather than trying to help each other.

 

About 10-15 years ago we started hearing about bargain basement sales if you were willing go to the mall the day after Thanksgiving.The news stories about happy shoppers and the festiveness we saw at malls were replaced by stories people getting killed or seriously getting injured as folks made mad dashes for the limited items placed on sale.. Each year we saw footage or heard tales of full on fist fights and assaults with patrons fighting over the last cabbage patch dolls or that one last video camera or the only widescreen TV. Others would find themselves getting robbed in the parking lots moments after making bargain basement purchases. Something vital switches off inside us that would ordinarily lead to compassion.

What the fuck is an Egregore?

Egregore (also egregor) is an occult concept representing a “thoughtform” or “collective group mind”, an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people.

 

Sounds like the Holidays, doesn’t it? Influencing, the thoughts of a group of people, it happens everyday, and when we come closer to Thanksgiving and X-Mas, these Egregores raise there ugly heads, and lap up the Cash and blood that is spent and  split in their names.If you think about it what we are seeing is the completion of a circle.. That first ‘Thanksgiving meal between Native Americans and invading pilgrims was underlined by their greed and the desire to take over..The Egregore was created by that Greed and Desire. It wasn’t about the feast, it was about sizing folks and getting them ready to be slaughtered. We are now seeing that today, folks getting primed up to be economically and spiritually slaughtered..And the Egregore of Thanksgiving and it’s bigger cash fat Brother, Christmas, just become more and more powerful each year.

 

We will soon have a generation that will look at the holidays not as a time to spend time with family and loved ones, but a time to go shopping and score a good deal for self, and fuck that old lady holding the X-box, she doesn’t need it as much as I do..Black Friday has mutated into an unsightly beast, and we keep feeding it. And this is Magic my friends, pure dark magic, and the Corporations know it. How could they not? It has worked for so long that this entity is now able to feed itself and propagate without us. Black Thursday, Cyber Monday, all smaller Egregore’s feeding off the same energy. Retailers have manipulated customers so much that consumers are begging them to take their money,The invisible hand of the market is too busy doing invisible things to care about children, the elderly, and other people get exploited and if people get exploited its their own fault, as long as the Egregore is empowered. Rape, exploitation, and genocide is the fault of the victim, at least that is what they are trying to sell us. And we are buying it wholesale, for only $99.95.

So this year, if you think about rushing off from your loved ones to get that great deal on a 50′ Plasma TV, try and remember that you are performing magic, but not for your benefit, but to benefit those who want to destroy you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, Stay Gold.

Art- Black Friday- 2015 by: Vincent Piazza

 

 

Black Friday’s Evil Egregore :Magic, Thanksgiving Genocide and Black Friday Stampedes was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

The Black Left Hand of Taoist Sorcery :GONG TAU and Traditional Witchcraft both East and West

Dolls

 

 

GONG TAU (降头 In Hokkien/Teochew/Cantonese) or JIANG TOU((降头In Mandarin) is a kind of  Traditionalist witchcraft prevalent in South East Asia. I will try, in my small way, to take a look at it here, as well as draw a few comparisons to Left Hand Practices here in the west.

Whenever someone is cursed , the Chinese Folks in South East Asia will refer it as “TIO GONG TAU” (中降头).

GONG TAU evolves from the fusion of Poison Magic Skills (GU-SHU) of Yunnan China and the Traditionalist Witchcraft / Black Magic of South East Asia ,which originated in India.

Most Traditionalist Witchcraft or Black Magic of different Cultures East and West look almost the same, but the rules are different and must be followed for the best results. They are just called by different names and different rituals are performed due to their unique religious influence, and yet, the land knows the rituals that have been worked upon it, and by working with the spirits of the land, you can learn much.

GONG TAU is often executed for the purpose of revenge or relationship matters and money issues.

The rituals of summoning Ghosts/Spirits/Demons by the Taoist Sorcerers whereby the typical style of using Paper Talismans to command ghosts/spirits/demons for the purpose of possessing, harming or disturbing the subjects. It is also popularly known as GONG TAU by the Chinese living in South East Asia.
In Taoist Black Magic, usually Paper Talismans alone with rituals are enough to summon ghosts / spirits and demons to hex the victims. However, to add personal power and also self-protection , the Chinese who migrate to other parts of South East Asia , such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia combine their own Taoist Black Magic Skills with whatever witchcraft is practiced in the area that they chose to settle down. This kind of combination of Taoist Magic and Witchcraft of S.E.A can be found in MAO SHAN SECT Practitioners, who settled down in South East Asia. The group of Chinese Folks of Mao-Shan-Sect (茅山派) that settled in Thailand is known as SIAM MAO SECT (暹茅派).

 

Taoist Sorcerers often need to also understand, study and research on the witchcraft practiced in the country that they had chosen to settled down, in order to create new Talismans and rituals to handle and counter-strike the Black Magic of the area. This is not as well covered here in the west, but I think it should be. If you move to New Orleans, for example, and you are a Practitioner, it is a good idea to gain an understanding of Hoodoo and Voodoo. This goes the same for Western North Carolina and Appalachian folk magic or Pennsylvania and Pow-wow, called Braucherei in Deitsch.  I could go on and on about this, but my point is learning the magic of the place that you live with increase your power and sense of flowing with the Geni Loci. Back to South East Asia…..

GONG TAU can be Spiritual Related or Non-Spiritual related..

1) Non-Spiritual Gong Tau means to have a direct consumption of the Evil Magic Concoction(GU DU) by the Victim. It is mixed in the food or in the drink for the victim to consume. The victim will be controlled or torture by the Black Magic Practitioner later at a far distance. In some cases, it is to let the Victim has a slow death. Modern Medicine has no cure on Black Magic Poison ( so far…). The only solution or antidote can only be requested from the Black Magic Master who cast the spell or from a Taoist Master well trained in Sorcery.

 

2) Spiritual Gong Tau means to cast the Gong Tau from a far distance, by ritual and spells. In order to do so, the Gong Tau Master need to have high level of spiritual power to execute it. The birth data , personal belongings or hair and finger nails are needed. The location of the targeted person has to be known as well.

Listed below are the popular Gong Tau most people come across:

Straw Effigy Gong Tau (草人降)
Straw Effigy is often used by Taoist Black Magicians as it is very cheap or free to obtain. A soul capturing mantra is recited to summon the soul of intended victim to be attached to the Straw Effigy. Needles are then stuck to the Straw Effigy to inflict pain and harm on the victim. Sorcerer with strong spiritual power can kill an intended victim living in another part of the world. This can be found in almost all traditions, East or West, and The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion By Caroline Skehill, can give you a number of examples. Definitely the most extraordinary examples of is this life-size straw effigy of King Alfred. Reminiscent of the terrifying final scene in cult classic The Wicker Man, it’s hard to get a sense of just how imposing and spooky this figure is without encountering it in person. All the more reason to check out British Folk Art at Tate Britain, and experience a branch of the arts that, despite generally being overlooked, often retains an ancient, even mystical sense of wonder. It can be found here: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/british-folk-art

 

GONG TAU OIL(降头油) – Corpse Oil
Gong Tau Oil is collected by using the fire of a candle to burn the skin of the chin of a dead woman. The oil collected is known as Gong Tau Oil. It is mainly used to make someone fall in love or lust. Women usually use Gong Tau Oil for relationship matter and Men usually used it to make girls/women want to have sex with him.Today it is comes mainly in the form of Nam Man Prai Oil or “Minyak Dagu” as it is known in Malay. This falls under the providence of Thai magic. Nam Man Prai Oil can also be purchased from on the net, but most if not all of it is snake oil. The price of this oil ranges from USD200~USD1200. Much info can be found on the Practice here : http://liewsp1-magicsea.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-making-of-nam-man-prai-oil-minyak.html

 

 

GU Poison(蛊毒)- Black Magic Concoction Of Poison
Gu Poison is created by sealing several venomous creatures ( centipedes, snakes, scorpions, poisonous frogs, lizards etc) into a closed utensil, where they devoured one another and allegedly concentrated their toxins into a single survivor. GU Poison  is used for the purpose of manipulating sexual partners, creating malignant diseases, and causing death. Popular Example: Five Poisons Gong Tau(五毒降头) see this post for more info http://thehiddenlefthand.com/2015/08/the-black-art-of-corpse-magic/

 

Flying Head Gong Tau (飞头降)
The Black Magician detached it’s head at night and capable of flying about on its own. The head will glide in the sky searching for human blood.This stems from the Penanggalan or ‘Hantu Penanggal’, a ghost of Southeast Asian folk mythology. It is a variation of the vampire myth found in the Malay Peninsula, or as Balan-balan in Sabah. It is similar to the Manananggal, a similar creature of Filipino folklore. “Penanggal” or “Penanggalan” literally means “detach” or “remove”. Both terms—Manananggal and Penanggal—may carry the same meaning due to both languages being grouped or having a common root under the Austronesian language family, though the two creatures are culturally distinct in appearance and behavior. A good representation of this can be found here ( this guy is also an amazing Artist) http://nathanandersonart.tumblr.com/post/118575615309/name-penanggalan-hantu-penanggal-area-of-origin

 

 

Menstrual Blood Gong Tau (经血降)
Menstrual Blood of a Girl/Woman is added to the food and consumed by the intended Victim. The intention of Menstrual Blood Magic is often to tie or bind a lover or sexual attraction. It is also often used by Maids from South East Asia to make the employers nicer or even listen to them.This make the perfect taglock, or magical link.

In hoodoo and some folk magic customs, a woman’s menstrual blood is considered vital to some types of magic. Jim Haskins says in his book Voodoo and Hoodoo that “to keep a man crazy about her and uninterested in wandering, a woman simply has to mix some of her menstrual blood into his food or drink.”

 

There are few choices of destroying the Gong Tau attacked on the individual.
The victim will seek the help from a Monk (Buddhist Faith), Bomoh ( Malay or Indonesian ) or Taoist Master. Sometime there will be a spiritual battle fought between the Gong Tau Master and the one engaged to destroy the Gong Tau. Often the best option is just to wipe out the Gong Tau on the victim without fighting a spiritual battle, if not, the chance of the Master being engaged might lose the battle and get killed. The spiritual battle is truly fighting spiritually with spells and rituals, without bodily combat.

ALWAYS TAKE PRECAUTIONS:
Most Western Folks and also many English Educated Chinese and also Singaporeans are too Modernized and immediately condemn GONG TAU, Just as the man from New York with a Rolex thinks all that Santeria his Cuban cabdriver performs is bullshit – But when in Rome, you eat pasta and go to the Vatican.All I’m saying is that just from the Geni Loci you can and will be influenced . Always keep a Taoist Talisman close to You or get a Thai Buddhist Amulet ( also call as Takrut / Tangkar), whenever You are going to any Countries of South East Asia.

Stay Gold Everyone….

Sources and more information on the subject can be found at :The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion By Caroline Skehill,Voodoo and Hoodoo: The Craft as Revealed by Traditional Practitioners by: Jim Haskins   http://taoist-sorcery.blogspot.com.au/ ,http://waynedhamma.blogspot.com/2010/10/maoshan-taoist-black-magic.html ,https://taobabe.wordpress.com/black-sorcery-and-ng%E1%BA%A3i/ , http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/british-folk-art http://liewsp1-magicsea.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-making-of-nam-man-prai-oil-minyak.html

Art Work- Dolls-2015  Copyright- Vincent Piazza

The Black Left Hand of Taoist Sorcery :GONG TAU and Traditional Witchcraft both East and West was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand