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Mao-Shan Straw & Paper Effigies In Taoist Sorcery (茅山 草人/ 纸人术)

There are 2 types of Effigies used in Taoist Sorcery, either made with straws or made with Papers. Traditionally, straws are used to create Effigies. Papers Effigies are often used because creating effigies out of papers are easy and papers are easily available.

Straw Effigies Used In Taoist Sorcery

Many people think effigies used in Taoist Sorcery are only used for hexing a victim.

Straw / Paper Effigies in Taoist Sorcery are used for different purposes. The popular usage of Straw / Paper Effigies in Taoist Sorcery /Magic are:

1) Seek Revenge / Getting Even - To cause harm on a Victim
When a Taoist Sorcerer wants to control a person like a puppet or to torture him/her from a distance, he will use the victim's Real Name, Date Of Birth and Photo and then go through a ritual to capture one of his HUN(s)(魂) and one of his PO(s)(魄) and attached them to the Straw / Paper Effigy (Taoist Hexing Doll). Hair, nails or any belongings of the victim are sometimes also attached to the Hexing Doll if they are available. In some cases, needles are also poked onto the Hexing Effigy。 Taoist Hexing Doll is equivalent to the Voodoo Dolls of Africa.

2) Absorb Bad Luck/ Black Magic/ Psychic attacks (草人替身 / 纸人替身)
Straw / Paper Effigy is created as a Substitute(替身) of a person with his Eight Characters(八字) written on the Effigy and talismans are attached to it and go through a ritual to activate the Effigy. The effigy, instead of the actual person, will absorb all the Bad Luck / Black magic / Psychic Attack and later get rid of it by throwing into the river / sea or burnt it away. This is equivalent to Hoon Pak Yong (HPY) of Thai Magic.

3) Bonding or Separating a Couple / Husband-Wife
2 Straw / Paper Effigies are created with one representing as a male - Boyfriend / Husband and another one as a female - Girlfriend / Wife. Both sides of Eight Characters(八字) are needed to be written on each male and female effigy, and talismans are attached to the effigies, and go through a ritual to either Bond the Couple / Husband-Wife or separate them for good.

Different Talismans and Different Rituals For Different Purposes
Depend on each and every specific purposes of using the Straw / Paper Effigies, there are specific Talismans to be attached  on the effigies and specific Rituals to be done.

3 Hun and 7 Po (三魂七魄) In Taoist Sorcery

Most people thought that when a person dies, his one soul or spirit rises up from his/her body and immediately becomes a ghost. Actually, base on Taoism, You have 3 HUN(s)(三魂) and 7 PO(s)(七魄) in You.

The understanding of 魂(Huns) and 魄(Pos) is a traditional Taoist and Chinese cultural model to diagnose  spiritual and medical conditions.

A Taoist Master / Sorcerer can rescue a hexed victim by summoning his /her 魂(Hun) and 魄(Po) back to his / her body, or harming a person by plucking one 魂(Hun) and one  魄(Po) from the intended victim and attached them to a Taoist Hexing Doll

Part of Classical diagnosis by a TCM Doctor involves finding which of the 七魄 (7 POs) are affected in the patient. 七魄 (7 POs) are affected by human's emotions.

What is 魂(Hun) and 魄(Po)?

魂(Hun) - spiritual, ethereal soul , yang energy - also known as "Cloud Soul". Responsible for all formless consciousness, including the three treasures: 精(Jing), 气(Qi), 神(Shen).

魄(Po) - substantive,corporeal soul, yin energy - also known as " White Soul". Responsible for all tangible consciousness,including the seven apertures: two eyes, two ears, two nose holes, mouth.

WHAT Are The 3 Hun(s) and 7 Pos(s) (三魂七魄) ?

Recorded In Ancient Taoist Text- <云笈七签> (Yun Ji Qi Qian) , 3 Hun(s) (三魂) were originally known as:

胎光 (Tai Guang) - The Light Of Foetus

胎光 (Tai Guang) dominates life. If it resides in human body for a very long time, the person can feel refreshing, and it prolongs life.

(胎光 - 太清阳和之气,属于天(天魂);胎光主生命,久居人身则可使人神清气爽,益寿延年)

胎光 (Tai Guang) is the most important main soul / entity in a person. When  胎光 (Tai Guang) is lost, a person can still absorb food and water but it is considered already dead,  a walking dead.

爽靈 (Shuang Ling) - The Bright Spirit

爽靈 (Shuang Ling) come from Yin energy, belonging to the five elements (life soul):dominate wealth, can restrict excess Yang energy, let people have a sharp mind, finely manage everything.

(爽灵 - 阴气之变,属于五行亦名(命魂);爽灵主财禄,能使明气制阳,使人机谋万物,劳役百神,生祸若害)

爽靈 (Shuang Ling)  determines the human intelligence, wisdom, and the reactive mind. Children who are mentally handicapped or autistic are due to the lost of  爽靈 (Shuang Ling).

幽精 (You Jing) - The Quiet Spirit

幽精 (You Jing) - The Quiet Spirit turbidity energy of Yin Energy, belonging to earth(earth soul): dominate human fate, make people fall in lust addictions, being addicted to dirty chaos of thinking, depletion essence, lack of divine energy, deficiency in kidney Qi, cause blockages in stomach and spleen five meridians, let people live as walking corpse. Therefore, the cultivation key of matain good health is to control and conquer You Jin, keep Yang energy in a good harmony.

Before going to sleep at night, knocking the teeth and call three souls, repeat three times, if do daily can enhance divinity energy, essence surrounding body, disease does not invade the body, ghosts afraid of to come close.

(幽精 - 阴气之杂,属于地(地魂)。幽精主灾衰,使人好色嗜欲,溺于秽乱之思,耗损精华,神气缺少,肾气不足,脾胃五脉不通,旦夕形若尸卧。因此,养生修道务在制御幽精,保养阳和之气。如在黎明时分或夜间入睡前,叩齿并呼三魂,反复三次,即可神气常坚,精华不散,疾病不侵,鬼神畏惧。)

幽精 (You Jing) determines the person's sexual orientation and sexuality, decide what type of  people a person will love.

3 Hun(s) (三魂) in Chinese Folk Beliefs are known as:

生魂 (Sheng Hun)

The purpose of 生魂 (Sheng Hun): Muliply Life, Grow, Able to react to the environment.

When 生魂 (Sheng Hun) is defective (or captured by a Sorcerer): A healthy person suddenly always get sick.

覺魂 (Jue Hun)

The purpose of 覺魂 (Jue Hun): Mood, Emotions, Sensation.

When 覺魂 (Jue Hun) is defective (or captured by a Sorcerer): The person goes crazy, nervous and scattered, no sense of shame, likely to have rows of incest.

靈魂 (Ling Hun)

The purpose of  靈魂 (Ling Hun):  Human consciousness, understand good and evil, love, self-improvement

When the 靈魂 (Ling Hun) is defective (Or captured by a Sorcerer): A normal person suddenly becomes dumb.

Plants only have 生魂 (Sheng Hun)
Animals only have 生魂 (Sheng Hun) and 覺魂 (Jue Hun)
Humans have 3 Hun - 生魂 (Sheng Hun) , 覺魂 (Jue Hun), 靈魂 (Ling Hun)

What happen to the 魂(Hun) when a peron dies?
生魂 (Sheng Hun) will be eliminated.

靈魂 (Ling Hun) will go through rebirth. Those that accumulate good karma will be reborn to either heaven or on the human world.

Those souls that go to heaven, 靈魂 (Ling Hun) will be united with their 覺魂 (Jue Hun).

Those souls reborn back to human world, the old 覺魂 (Jue Hun) will be eliminated and new 生魂(Sheng Hun) and new 覺魂 (Jue Hun) with the original 靈魂 (Ling Hun) will be merged and reborn again.

覺魂(Jue Hun) often wanders around in the cemetery. 覺魂 (Jue Hun) that are lingering on Earth can be worshiped on their ancestral tablets with incense and food offerings.

Those souls that have bad karma more than their good karma will go straight to Hell to be punished. Only during 15th of Chinese 7th Lunar Month ( Chinese Ghosts Festival), the 覺魂 (Jue Hun) of these ghosts from hell can come to Human World for a stroll. After their punishment and suffering have been completed will they be reborn on Human World again (Either as Human or Beast etc), in which their 覺魂 (Jue Hun) will be eliminated.

The 7 Po(s)(七魄):

吞贼 (Tun Zei) - Seizing Thief:
Purpose: Eliminate harmful substances at night while You sleep. 吞贼 (Tun Zei) in modern term is known as Immune function.

尸狗 (Shi Gou) - Corpse Of Dog:
Purpose: Remain Alert when Sleeping
Deal with Body consciousness - Tactile

除秽 (Chu Hui) - Remove Filth
Purpose: Clear body metabolites
Deal with Understanding consciousness - Awareness

臭肺 (Chou Fei) - Smelly Lung
Purpose: Respiratory regulation
Deal with Nose consciousness - Smell

雀阴 (Qiao Yin) - Yin Of Sparrow
Purpose: Regulating reproductive function
Deal with Tongue consciousness - Taste

非毒 (Fei Du) - Not-Toxic
Purpose: Scatter evil deposition, such as tumors, etc.
Deal with Eye consciousness - Visual

伏矢 (Fu Shi) - Concealed Arrow
Purpose: Dispersion of Toxins in Body
Deal with Manas Consciousness (Seventh of the eight consciousnesses in Buddhism) - Ideology

The 7 Po(s)(七魄) correspond to seven emotions: happy, anger, sad, joy, love, hate, fear. Also correspond to seven sounds: shout, laugh, hoot, moan, sing, cry, whistling, which correspond to human organs.

What happen to the 魄(Po) when a peron dies?
At death, 魄(Po) will descend into the earth with flesh and bones, and eventually dissolved.

3 Hun and 7 Po (三魂七魄) in Taoist Sorcery

When a Taoist Sorcerer wants to control a person like a puppet or to torture him/her from a distance, he will use the victim's Real Name, Date Of Birth and Photo and then go through a ritual to capture one of his HUN(s)(魂) and one of his PO(s)(魄) and attached them to a Straw / Paper Effigy (Hexing Doll). Hair, nails or any belongings of the victim are sometimes also attached to the Hexing Doll if they are available.

Taoist Hexing Doll is usually either created from a piece of paper cut into shape of  human figure, or made up of straws tied into a human figure.

The ritual usually takes 49 days to fully attached the person's one HUN(魂) and one PO(魄) to the  Hexing Doll. By controlling the HUN(魂) and PO(魄) of a person, the Taoist Sorcerer can now disturb/ play his / her victim with different effects from a far distance. 

Likewise, Taoist Master or Taoist Sorcerer also cast spells and perform rituals to summon the stolen HUN (魂) and PO (魄) and return  them back to the victim.

Five Camps Celestial Soldiers

The earliest mention of the camps of the Five Directions is found in the Daojing (道經) from the Han (漢) and Jin (晉) Dynasties in China; perhaps the concept of the camps of the five directions dates back to the Han Dynasty or even earlier.

The Camps Of Five Directions(五营) are able to drive off plagues and devils, with the power to ward off evil spirits; establishing the five camps in a settlement gave symbolic significance to demarcating territory and also allowed the people to believe the space in which they resided was a place under the protection of the main god of the settlement temple and the marshals of the five camps.

The Popular Formation Of The Five Camps Celestial Soldiers (五营兵将):
*Most Temples in Taiwan use this formation.
*Follow the formation found in The Record of 36 Celestial Generals (三十六天将).

East Camp(东营) Commander: 張公圣者 - 张基清 (Zhang Jiqing)     
South Camp(南营 Commander: 萧公圣者 - 萧其明 (Xiao Qiming)
West Camp(西营) Commander: 刘公圣者 - 刘武秀 (Liu Wuxiu)
North Camp(北营) Commander: 连公圣者 - 连忠宫 (Lian Zhong Gong)
Central Camp(中营) Commander: 李公圣者 - 李哪吒 (Lee Ne-Zha)

In 闾山派 (Lǘ Shān Sect), East Camp(东营) Commander: 法主真君 - 张慈观 (Zhang Chi Guan)

In some Taiwan Regions, "Wen (溫), Kang (康), Zhao (趙), Ma (馬) and Li (李)" Battalion Formation will be used.

Kun-Lun Sect (昆仑派) consider there are 3 groups of 5 Camps - High, Middle, Low
The High Level 5 Camps Commanders: "Zhang (張), Xiao (蕭), Liu (劉), Lian (連),  Lee (李)"
These High Level Camps Commanders are given the Title: 圣者 (Sheng Zhe) - Holy Saint.

The Middle Level 5 Camps Commanders:
East Camp(东营) Commander: 溫元帥 - (Wen Qiong) 
South Camp(南营 Commander:  元帥 - 康席 (Kang Xi)  
West Camp(西营) Commander: 元帥 - 趙公明 (Zhao Gong Ming)
North Camp(北营) Commander:  馬元帥 - 靈耀 (Ma Ling Yao) 
Central Camp(中营) Commander: 李元帥 - 李哪吒 (Lee Ne-Zha) 
These Middle Level 5 Camps' Commanders are given the Title:  元帥 (Yuan Shuai) - Marshal. 

* There are still many other groups of 5 Camps which will not be discussed.

The Low Level 5 Camps - The Five Ghosts (五鬼阴兵)   (Used by Taoist Sorcerers - For Black Magic Purpose)

No. Of Celestial Soldiers in each camp:
For East Camp: 99,000 Celestial Soldiers
For South Camp: 88,000 Celestial Soldiers
For West Camp: 66,000 Celestial Soldiers
For North Camp: 55,000 Celestial Soldiers
For Central Camp: 33,000 Celestial Soldiers

Five Camps Celestial Soldiers (五营兵将) in Folks Taoism System:
*Follow the formation found in Investiture of the Gods(封神演义):
*Popularly seen  in the Taoist Temples in South East Asia

East Camp(东营) Commander: Lei Zhen Zi (東营雷震子)
South Camp(南营) Commander: Nan Gong Shi or Nan Gong Que (南營南宮適/南宮闕)
West Camp(西营) Commander: Yang Jian (西营杨戬)
North Camp(北营) Commander: Wu Ji (北营武吉)
Central Camp(中营) Commander: Lee Ne-Zha (中营李哪吒)

East Camp(东营) Commander: Lei Zhen Zi (東营雷震子)
South Camp(南营) Commander: Huang Fei Hu (南营黃飛虎)
West Camp(西营) Commander: Yang Jian (西营杨戬)
North Camp(北营) Commander: Chong Hei Hu (北营崇黑虎)
Central Camp(中营) Commander: Lee Ne-Zha (中营李哪吒)

In popular belief, all temples in the region were divided into inner and outer camps; the inner camps were established within the temple as the “head of the five camps (五營首)” or the “banner of the five camps (五營旗)”, dedicated to the main god. The outer camps were called the “five forts (五營寨)” or the “temples of the old general (將爺廟)”; centered around the temple, they were divided into five elements or five colors: “East-South-West-North-Center – Blue-Red-White-Black-Gold – Zhang-Xiao-Liu-Lian-Li”. The central camp was established in front of the temple or in the center of the settlement; the other camps were established at the gates of the settlement on the main roads in each of the four directions or at intersections. The eastern camp was the Jiu Yi army (九夷軍)(the blue dragon), with 99,000 troops and horses; the southern camp was the Baman (八蠻) army (the vermillion bird), with 88,000 troops and horses; the western camp was the Liu Rong (六戎) army (the white tiger), with 66,000 troops and horses; the northern camp was the Wu Di (五狄) army (the dark warrior), with 55,000 troops and horses; the central camp was the San Qin (三秦) army, with 33,000 troops and horses.

Symbolic representations of the marshals of the five camps are extremely diverse; some are represented in portraits and statues; some are depicted on strips of bamboo or prayer flags; some are even venerated in small shrines; but all of them have specific ceremonies for them to function as the marshals of the five camps. These ceremonies include setting up camp, breaking camp, donating to the army (with a bonus to the general), etc. Each settlement held these ceremonies at times according to their own customs. To the present day, the five camps still operate in settlements according the old traditions; they are a form of popular belief that has a very slow rate of change and also allows settlements to have more places of interest with cultural significance.

Rituals & Rewarding Of Five Camps Celestial Soldiers (五营兵将):

1) Diao Bing Qian Jiang (调兵遣将), this is a procedure that all groups that needed to perform before any Events commence

2) Fa Bing Dian Jiang (发兵点将), this is a procedure to summon, gather and appoint tasks to the Marshals and their respective subordinates

3) Jie Jie Ding Fang (结界定方), this is a procedure to set the Territory for the Marshals and Armies to stand guard, etc (Mend for External and Internal Camps).

4) Gao Shang Jun Ma (犒赏军马), this is a procedure to reward the Marshals and Armies after a certain Ritual/Ceremony ended

5) Dian Jiang Shou Ying (点将收营), this procedure only occurred at the end of the whole Ritual/Ceremony, this is to send back all the Marshals and their Armies to their respective posts (各营皆回各自岗位).

The rewarding the troops (犒軍) ritual is common in settlements mainly populated by Hoklo (福佬) migrants. In traditional society when faced by disease or invasion a “ritual expert (儀式專家)” would be invited to conduct the rewarding the troops ritual to “relieve disaster (消災解厄)”; a “release of the troops ritual (放軍)” would also be held to dispatch divine troops to guard the boundaries of the village, after the troops had pitched camp, the rewarding of troops ritual had also to be held on a regular basis.

The most distinctive rewarding the troops ritual in Taiwan is held in Penghu (澎湖). At dusk on the first and 15th days of the lunar calendar, the village temple “incense burner (香爐)”chosen for that year lays out a table with an incense burner and cooked five offering, Joss paper and rice wine in the temple square, inviting the 36 divine generals to partake. Under the table there is a tiger god statue, incense burner and raw three offerings, rice bran water and straw for their horses. Local families successively place food on the offerings table in front of the temple. The head exorcist (小法) of the six exorcists, the “ling ling (領令),” burns incense and hits the table with a wood sounding block, then, holding a ritual whip, carries out the altar opening, whipping and altar purification rituals. The members of the exorcist group on either side chant and beat drums while the exorcist (a trainee) holding the five camp order banner (五營令旗) and the ling ling who represents the marshal (元帥), respectively call the troops and horses of the five camps to the temple square (廟埕). After their arrival is confirmed by the throwing of divination blocks (擲筊), the troops and horses are inspected and rewarded. After the reward ritual, the troops are ordered back to their posts. Before religious rituals are carried out in a temple fair the five camp divine troops who guard over the village boundaries need to be called back to stand guard and, each time, they have to be rewarded for their effort through this reward ceremony.

The camps of the five directions (五營) are represented by blue, red, white, black and yellow triangular flags (三角令旗), each camp having its own commander, name and troop number:General Zhang (張將軍) leads the east camp nine barbarian tribe army (東營九夷軍) of 99,000 troops to guard the east; General Xiao (蕭將軍) leads the eight barbarian army (八蠻軍) of 88,000 troop to guard the south; General Liu (劉將軍) leads the six rong army (六戎軍) of 66,000 to guard the west, and General Lian (連將軍) leads the five di army (五狄軍) of 55,000 troops to guard the north; Marshal Lee Nuozha (李哪叱元帥) leads the three Qin army (三秦軍) of 33,000 troops to guard the center.

The rewarding the troops ritual comprises of three parts: the ritual expert, the temple and five camp heads (五營頭, space and buildings) and believers, consequently, the rewarding the troops ritual in each area is affected by 1)the faction the ritual expert belongs to and their scope of service 2) the main temple and branch temples 3) the distribution of believers, and, thus, the contents differ. For example, the rituals carried out by a Daoist priest (道士), a ritual master (法師) or a six man exorcist group are different in terms of ritual intervals and form; a rewarding the troops ritual that has believers but is not held at a temple or lacks a ritual expert can be classed as a household ritual not a settlement ritual. New religions that have sprung up in recent years, such as Cihu Temple (慈惠堂) in Songshan (松山), Taipei (臺北), even feature ritual experts wearing holy robes rewarding the troops with tang yuan (湯圓, glutinous rice balls) fruit and vegetables.

The rewarding the troops ritual is common in Hoklo areas. The Yimin Gods (義民爺) belief sphere of the Hakka (客家) people of north Taiwan does not have this ritual but the similar “offering rice (奉飯)” ritual is widely practiced, the difference being that the rice is offered to the Yimin gods not to divine troops; mixed Taiwanese (ancestors originally from Fujian) and Hakka areas in the Dongshi (東勢) area of central Taiwan practice the rewarding the troops

闾山派 (Lǘ Shān Sect)

闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage) is a very important Southern Branch of Religious Folk Taoism. The origin of 闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage) was from Fujian (福建) Province in China. It is now very famous in Taiwan and all over South-East Asia - Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Riau Islands etc.

If You walk into a Taoist Temple in Taiwan or South East Asia and happen to see Taoist Spirit Mediums in Trance, Altar of 5 Celestial Battalion Soldiers(五营兵将), Taoist Black Command Flag etc, You can be 100% sure it is 闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage), or influenced, or related.

Even many Chinese Folks in South East Asia, have been visiting such Temples but don't have a clue where these unique form of practices originated.

The initial form of 闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage) was pure shamanic practices known as 闾山法 (Lǘ Shan Shamanism). Before the Song Dynasty, 闾山法 (Lǘ Shan Shamanism) was the original practice in Fujian(闽), Zhejiang(浙), Jiangxi (赣). From the combination of 巫术(Sorcery) 、巫法(Witchcraft)、巫教(Shamanism) and the influence of Taoism , which later form a unique branch of Taoist Sect known as 闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage).

闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage) is an inclusive Taoist Sect, which has adsorb the Taoist spiritual skills of 净明道 (Jing Ming Sect), 正一道(Zheng Yi Sect) etc,and also the Buddhist Spiritual Skills of Zen Buddhism(禅宗), Pure Land Buddhism (净土宗), Tantra Yoga Sect (密宗瑜伽派), Confucian filial loyalty. 闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage) accept many deities readily.

For hundred of years, Fujianese have been traveling out of China and settled in South East Asia, bringing along the 闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage) form of Folk Taoism.

Important Points to take note:
1) 许旌阳 (Xu Jing Yang) - The 祖师 (Zu Shi - The founder of a school of learning)of 闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage).

2) Two Main Branches of 闾山派(Lǘ Shan Sect/Lineage):
A) 红头派(Hong Tou Pai, meaning Read Head Sect), also known as 三奶派 (San Nai Pai - 3 Madam Sect) - 宗师 (Zong Shi, meaning Guru): 临水夫人 (Lin Sui Fu Ren , meaning Water Madame) - Mainly focus on doing rituals in Temples and celebration of Marriages and Child Births.
B) 乌头派 (Wu Tou Pai, meaning Black Head Sect) - 宗师(Zong Shi): 法主公 (Fa Zhu Gong) - Mainly focus on funeral rituals and exorcism.

3) 普庵派 (Pu-An Sect) - 宗师(Zong Shi): 普庵禅师 (Pu'-An Buddhist Monk) - Dealing in 小法 (Minor Rituals).




Ancient Chinese Shamanism To Modern Folk Taoism

Self-Proclaimed High Class "Elite" "Pure" Taoists , who have not get involved, or practice "Folk" Taoism , such as Taoist Sorcery , Taoist Mediums, Taoist Talismans, always love to condemn such practices as Superstitious, Evil Practice and not the "Real" Taoism.

These Self-Proclaimed High Class "Elite" "Pure" Taoists love to comment that Pure Taoism should only recite Taoist Scriptures, when they don't even spend time to research deeper into "Folk" Taoism, or become a Spirit Medium, or learn and perform Taoist Sorcery before commenting.

In actual fact, "Folk" Taoism is the  type of Taoism which folks around the world are interested in. Folks around the world, who are facing problems in their lives, are secretly searching hide and low for a Powerful Taoist Sorcerer to solve their money problems, love problems etc. You might be one of them.

Westerners in Western Countries, only get to read about the Philosophical type of  Taoism and never have a chance to witness the practices of  Folk Taoism.

So... How "Folk" Taoism begin? Is it Part of  Real Taoism?
Let's read further..

Animism and spirit worship were characteristic of the primitive religion of archaic China, and were the cultural foundation from which Daoism developed. At the time, shamans and priests were the major religious specialists, possessing the ability to communicate with spirits, to appeal to them to dispel evil, to explain the turns of fate, and to transmit the instructions of spirits.

In Yin and Shang times, the ideogram for 'shaman' (巫) as inscribed on divinatory implements bore a strong resemblance to the character for 'spirit'. In those times, shamans resorted to a series of songs and dances, spells and talismans to communicate with spirits.

'Invocators' ( 祝 Zhu ) were another type of religious professional, responsible for conducting rituals of offerings and prayer to spirits. Finally, divinatory specialists conducted divination in order to predict fortune and misfortune. Shamans, priests and divines were important figures in society, enjoying relatively high status. Belief in shamans was especially prevalent during the Yin dynasty.

During the Spring and Autumn period (770 - 476 BC), which witnessed the rise of rationalism, the status of shamans gradually declined, although shamanism remained deeply rooted in society. Especially in the Chu State, primitive shamanism did not disappear and continued to flourish among the common people.

Many aspects of ancient shamanism were inherited by Daoism. The Master of Incense ( 司香火者 Sixianghuo Zhe ) in Daoist temples holds the title of "Shrine Priest" ( 廟祝 Miaozhu ), a title inherited from the ancient religion.

Ancient people believed that illness resulted from the victim being possessed by evil demons, and that one needed to resort to the shamans' Magical Skills ( 方術 Fangshu ) of talismans, incantations, and exorcism to dispel illness. Talismanic Water ( 符水 Fushui ), Exorcism ( 驅鬼 Qugui ), and Demon-Expelling Implements ( 斬鬼品 Zhangui Pin ) referred to in later Daoist scriptures reflect the influence of the ancient shamanistic religion.

Early Daoist movements, such as the Five Pecks of Rice ( 五斗米道 Wudou ) and the Supreme Peace Traditions ( 太平道 Taiping Dao ), show an even stronger shamanistic coloration. The Five Pecks of Rice disciples were called 'the Rice Witches' ( 米巫 Miwu ) by some, and Buddhists disparaged the sect by calling it the 'Demonic Skills of the Three Zhangs' ( 三張之鬼法 Sanzhang Zhi Guifa ).

The practises of killing and expelling demons with the aid of charms and incantations, invoking spirits, holding Ritual Offerings ( 濟醮 Jijiao ), and presenting written memorials to spirits with the aid of a medium, can all be said to be inheritances from ancient shamanism ( 巫教 Wu Jiao).

Taoist Talismans - FAKE or REAL? How To Differentiate?

So You went to a Famous Chinese Taoist Temple and manage to pick a piece of "Protection" Talisman for FREE and You are very happy about it...

Or You happen to buy a Taoist Talisman from a Feng-Shui Shop which cost Your less than 10 dollars and You are so happy about it...


There are far too many Big Popular / Famous Chinese Taoist Temples giving out fake Talismans. How to check whether a Taoist Talisman is FAKE or REAL?

Fake Talismans
1) Ultimate Fake Talisman from Popular/Famous Temples
When the characters of the talisman and Stamp Seal are printed together onto the talisman, You will know this is confirm 100% fake. Even a Taoist Master/ Sorcerer or Diety ( In trance of Taoist Medium) cannot rescue or empower this type of  No.1 fake talismans. Most of the talismans provided by Big Popular / Famous Taoist Temples are giving out this type of Fake Talismans and Feng-Shui Shops are selling this type of Fake Talismans.

Some Popular / Famous Taoist Temples were 1st started off by providing consultation service by a Powerful Taoist Master or Taoist Medium. After many years later, the Taoist Master or Taoist Medium had pass away and then there was no successor to replace him, but by then, the  temple had already become popular. The helpers in the temple will mass print exactly from the left over talismans created  by the late Powerful Taoist Master or late Taoist Medium, and then distribute them to the public, without going through proper ritual or empowering them. The helpers in these temples are happily selling joss-sticks and joss papers  to the public and folks are happily donating money to these popular / famous temples, without receiving any genuine talismans.

The problem is folks on the streets can't differentiate between Real or Fake Talisman. They think as long as the temple is Popular or Famous, the talismans distributed out by the temple must be Genuine and Powerful.

2) Ultimate Fake Talisman from Religious / Feng-Shui Shop or Online Shop

The Fake Talismans are mass printed and packaged nicely and then sold cheaply on the Religious / Feng-Shui Shop or Online Shop. When You pull out the talisman from the beautiful hard-cover envelope, You will see the characters of the talisman and the stamp seal are printed together, which tells You it is 100% ultimate Fake. The reason why the fake talisman has both characters and stamp seal printed together is because it doesn't need to be stamp seal  one at a time on the talisman later.

3) Printed Talisman without Stamp Seal - Real and Fake
Real Printed Version Example 1 - Printed Talisman, without Stamp Seal on it, can be Genunine or Fake depend on how it is used later. Most Taoist Master / Sorcerer and Tang-Ki (Taoist Medium) will keep several Printed Version of Talismans. When they need to use it, they will empower it on the spot.

Real Printed Version Example 2 - Printed Talismans, without Stamp Seal on it, can be empowered later by the Taoist Master/ Sorcerer or by the deity (While in trance of a Taoist Medium) by chanting secret mantra and stamping seal on the printed talisman one at a time later to be given to the folks.

Fake Version - If the Talisman, without Stamp Seal on it, is not yet empowered by chanting secret mantra and not complete with a stamp seal by a Taoist Master / Sorcerer  or a Deity (While in trance of a Taoist Medium), then the talisman is just a piece of paper, with no spiritual power. These type of fake talismans are often distributed freely from Popular / Famous Temples or sold at Feng-Shui Shops.

Real Taoist Talismans 
There are 3 types of Genuine Taoist Talismans:

1) Hand Drawn and Stamped Sealed by a Taoist Master / Sorcerer

The most Powerful  Genuine Talisman must be hand drawn, empowered by chanting secret mantra while drawing the talisman, and then complete with Stamp Seal (Red Colour Taoist Stamp), one talisman at a time.

2) The talisman is printed but chant and stamp seal by a Taoist Master / Sorcerer
Due to popularity of a talisman, the talisman is mass printed into many copies and then empowered by chanting secret mantra and Stamp Seal by a Taoist Master / Sorcerer, one talisman at a time.

3) Printed Talisman but empowered by a Deity
Due to popularity of a talisman, the talisman is  mass printed into many copies and then empowered by a Deity (while in trance by a Tang-Ki {Taoist Medium} ) later. This is to speed up the process to create genuine taoist talismans and distribute as much as possible to the public. The Tang-Ki will empower the talismans by chanting secret mantra and dip the blood ( by cutting his tongue with lazer-blade or sharp ritual sword) onto the talismans, one talisman at a time. Or the Tang-Ki will empower the talisman by scribbling his heavenly signature onto the printed talisman and stamp seal it, one talisman at a time.

Now You have a better  idea how to differentiate between Real and Fake Talisman

Here are the pointers to remember:
1) A Genuine Taoist Talisman must be hand drawn and empowered with secret mantra and stamp seal, one at a time.

2) A Printed Taoist Talisman must be empowered with Secret Mantra and Stamp Seal, one at a time, to make it Genuine.

3) A Deity ( In Trance of a Taoist Medium) can provide Genuine Talisman by chanting and then dipping blood from his tongue onto the talisman or sign his Heavenly Signature onto the Printed Version Talisman and complete by Stamp Seal, one at a time.

4) Ultimate 100% Fake Talisman can be noticed by the Characters of the Talisman and Stamp Seal printed together.

5) Printed Version Talisman, without stamp seal, can be empowered later by a Taoist Priest / Master or Tang-Ki

Praying To Moon Goddess - 拜月娘

On the night of Mid-Autumn Festival, an open-air altar is set up facing the Moon for the worship of Chang'e (嫦娥). For the Teochews and Hokkiens (Fujianese) Dialect Folks, it is known as Bai Gue Neo (拜月娘).

Praying to Chang'E are done mainly by women, young girls and children and not the Adult Men. Women, Young Girls and Children will prepare moon cakes, pomelo, persimmon and paper money to make offerings to Gue Neo (月娘) under the moonlight.

"Men don't worship the moon and the women don't offer sacrifices to the kitchen gods."

Moon Goddess are worshipped for several reasons:
  • To the newly wed females, they prayed for conceiving babies
  • Young Adult Females prayed for finding a good spouse
  • Young Girls prayed for beauty
  • Mothers and Grand-Mothers for longevity for the whole family and obedience of children and grandchildren.
  • Children and Young Students prayed for excelling in their studies and hav a good future
Bai Gue Neo (拜月娘) is still very much practiced during Mid-Autumn Festival by the Southern Chinese and the Chinese Communities in South-East Asia.

Bai Gue Neo (拜月娘) was practiced by the Chinese Folks in olden days Singapore.  It is no longer practiced in Singapore in these modern days. Mid-Autumn Festival is not a public holiday in Singapore.

Chinese Moms in Singapore are busy working during Mid-Autumn Festival, therefore no time to Bai Gue Neo (拜月娘) and have no time , plus not interested , or simply not interested , or don't even know, or don't even bother to know, to impart Chinese Customs and Culture to their children. Chinese Grand Mothers in Singapore already have no more energy or simply too lazy to Bai Gue Neo (拜月娘). Since no Chinese Adults Bai Gue Neo (拜月娘) any longer, their Kids no longer Bai Gue Neo (拜月娘).

Tai Yin Niang Niang (太陰娘娘)
In some Chinese temples, there is a Moon Goddess Statue, known as Tai Yin Niang Niang (太陰娘娘), also known as Tai Yin Xing Jun(太陰星君). Chinese Folks consider Tai Yin Niang Niang (太陰娘娘) as Chang'e (嫦娥). 15th of the eighth Chinese Lunar Month (Mid-Authim Festival) is the day of manifestation (Birthday Festival) of Tai Yin Niang Niang (太陰娘娘). Chinese folks and Taoist Priests will chant specific scripture , known as Tai Yin Xing Jun Zhen Jing (太陰星君真經) to honor Tai Yin Niang Niang (太陰娘娘).


太阴菩萨向东来 十重地狱九重开

十万八千诸菩萨 诸佛菩萨两边排

诸尊佛法无云地 山水莲花满地开

头带七层珠宝塔 娑婆世界眼光明

一来报答天地德 二来报答父母恩

在生父母增福寿 别世父母早超生

南无佛 南无法 南无僧  

弥陀佛 天罗神 地罗神 

人离难 难离身

一切灾殃化为尘 每晚诵得七遍经

永世不入地狱门 普光菩萨普光经

合掌恭敬念分明  念得一遍超生度

一句弥陀胜黄金 大藏小藏尽有念

念到西方见佛身 家有黄金不带去

阴阳只考此卷经 虔诚常念太阴经

时时夜夜先教明 福禄寿星可立至

众人何不早传经 一卷真经重如山

灾消罪散有何难 勿谓经中三五字


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Celebrating Mid-Authumn Festival

Mid-Authumn Festival  was a time to enjoy the successful reaping of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honor of the moon. Today, it is an occasion for outdoor reunions among friends and relatives to eat mooncakes and watch the moon, a symbol of harmony and unity. The festival is celebrated with many cultural or regional customs, among them:

1) Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e.
2) Performance of dragon and lion dances, which is mainly practiced in Southern China and Vietnam.

Appreciating the Moon

 Appreciating the moon has been a custom since the Tang Dynasty (618–907). Not only the rich merchants and officials, but also the common citizens, began appreciating the moon together at that time. The rich merchants and officials held big parties in their big courts. They drank and appreciated the bright moon. Music and dances were also indispensable. The common citizens just prayed to the moon for a good harvest.

In the early Tang Dynasty the day was officially celebrated as a traditional festival. It then became an established festival during the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), and has become as popular as the Spring Festival since the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1368 - 1644) dynasties.

Appreciating the Lanterns
A notable part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns along corridors and floating sky lanterns.

It is difficult to discern the original purpose of lanterns in connection to the festival, but it is certain that lanterns were not used in conjunction with moon-worship prior to the Tang Dynasty. Traditionally, the lantern has been used to symbolize fertility, and functioned mainly as a toy and decoration. But today the lantern has come to symbolize the festival itself. In the old days, lanterns were made in the image of natural things, myths, and local cultures. Over time, a greater variety of lanterns could be found as local cultures became influenced by their neighbors.

As China gradually evolved from an agrarian society to a mixed agrarian-commercial one, traditions from other festivals began to be transmitted into the Mid-Autumn Festival, such as the putting of lanterns on rivers to guide the spirits of the drowned as practiced during the Ghost Festival, which is observed a month before. Hong Kong fishermen during the Qing Dynasty, for example, would put up lanterns on their boats for the Ghost Festival and keep the lanterns up until Mid-Autumn Festival.

Eating Moon-Cakes

Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival.

In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and unity. Thus, the sharing of round Moon-Cakes among family members signify the completeness and unity of families.

In some areas of China, there is a tradition of aking Moon-Cakes during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The senior person in that household would cut the Moon-Cakes into pieces and distribute them to each family member, signifying family reunion. In modern times, however, making Moon-Cakes at home has given way to the more popular custom of giving Moon-Cakes to family members, although the meaning of maintaining familial unity remains.

According to Chinese folklore, a Turpan businessman offered cakes to Emperor Taizong of Tang in his victory against the Xiongnu on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. Taizong took the round cakes and pointed to the moon with a smile, saying, "I'd like to invite the toad to enjoy the hú (胡) cake." After sharing the cakes with his ministers, the custom of eating these hú cakes spread throughout the country. Eventually these became known as mooncakes. Although the legend explains the beginnings of mooncake-giving, its popularity and ties to the festival began during the Song Dynasty (906–1279 CE).

Another popular legend concerns the Han Chinese's uprising against the ruling Mongols at the end of the Yuan dynasty (1280–1368 CE), in which the Han Chinese used traditional mooncakes to conceal the message that they were to rebel on Mid-Autumn Day.

At the end of Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368), a dynasty ruled by the Mongols), the Han people’s army wanted to overthrow the rule of the Mongols, so they planed an uprising, but they had no way to inform every Han who wanted to join them of the time of the uprising without being discovered by the Mongols.

One day, the military counselor of the Han people’s army, Liu Bowen(刘伯温), thought out a stratagem related to mooncakes. Liu Bowen asked his soldiers to spread the rumor that there would be a serious disease in winter and eating mooncakes was the only way to cure the disease, then he asked soldiers to write "uprising, at the night of Mid-Autumn Festival"(中秋子夜时,齐杀管家公) on papers and put them into mooncakes then sell them to common Han people. When the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival came a huge uprising broke out.

From then on, people ate mooncakes every Mid-Autumn Festival to commemorate the uprising. This part of history is almost totally forgotten today.

Courtship and Matchmaking
The Mid-Autumn moon has traditionally been a choice occasion to celebrate marriages. Girls would pray to Chang'e to help fulfill their romantic wishes.

In some parts of China, dances are held for young men and women to find partners. For example, young women are encouraged to throw their handkerchiefs to the crowd, and the young man who catches and returns the handkerchief has a chance at romance. In Daguang, in northeast Gui zhou Province (贵州省), young men and women of the Dong people would make an appointment at a certain place. The young women would arrive early to overhear remarks made about them by the young men. The young men would praise their lovers in front of their fellows, in which finally the listening women would walk out of the thicket. Pairs of lovers would go off to a quiet place to open their hearts to each other.

Popular Games Played During Moon-Cake Festival
One type of activity, "Ascent to Heaven" (Chinese: 上天堂 shàng tiāntáng) involves a young lady selected from a circle of women to "ascend" into the celestial realm. While being enveloped in the smoke of burning incense, she describes the beautiful sights and sounds she encounters.

Another activity, "Descent into the Garden" (Chinese: 落花园 luò huā yuán), played among younger girls, detailed each girl's visit to the heavenly gardens. According to legend, a flower tree represented her, and the number and color of the flowers indicated the sex and number of children she would have in her lifetime.

Men played a game called "Descent of the Eight Immortals" (降八仙), where one of the Eight Immortals took possession of a player, who would then assume the role of a scholar or warrior.

Children would play a game called "Encircling the Toad" (蠄蟝仔 qín qú zǎi / In Northern China, it is known as 癞虾蟆 lài há má), where the group would form a circle around a child chosen to be a Toad King and chanted a song that transformed the child into a toad. He would jump around like a toad until water was sprinkled on his head, in which he would then stop.

Mid-Authumn Festival Practices by region and cultures

In Taiwan
In Taiwan, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a public holiday. Outdoor barbecues have become a popular affair for friends and family to gather and enjoy each other's company.  Taipei City has designated 11 riverside parks to accommodate outdoor barbecues for the public.

In Hong Kong and Macau
The day after the Mid-Autumn Festival is a public holiday rather than the festival date itself (unless that date falls on a Sunday, then Monday is also a holiday), because many celebration events are held at night. There are a number of festive activities such as lighting lanterns, but mooncakes are the most important feature there. However, people don't usually buy mooncakes for themselves, but to give their relatives as presents. People start to exchange these presents well in advance of the festival. Hence, mooncakes are sold in elegant boxes for presentation purpose. Also, the price for these boxes are not considered cheap. However, as environmental protection has become a concern of the public in recent years, many mooncake manufacturers in Hong Kong have adopted practices to reduce packaging materials to practical limits. The mooncake manufacturers also explore in the creation of new types of mooncakes, such as ice-cream mooncake and snow skin mooncake.

Ethnic minorities in China
Korean minorities living in China near Changbai Mountain have a custom of welcoming the moon, where they put up a large conical house frame made of dry pine branches and call it a "moon house". The moonlight would shine inside for gazers to appreciate.

The Bouyei people call the occasion "Worshiping Moon Festival", where after praying to ancestors and dining together, they bring rice cakes to the doorway to worship the Moon Grandmother.

The Tu people practice a ceremony called "Beating the Moon", where they place a basin of clear water in the courtyard to reflect an image of the moon, and then beat the water surface with branches.

The Maonan people tie a bamboo near the table, on which a grapefruit is hung, with three lit incense sticks on it. This is called "Shooting the Moon".

In Singapore
Moon-Cake Festival is not a public holiday in Singapore.

In modern days Singapore, Chinese Adult Singaporeans give Moon Cakes as gifts to their elder folks and business associates. These mooncakes symbolize thankfulness and good wishes for the future.

In recent years, Singapore Government spend a lot of money on lantern light ups and street decorations in Chinatown, the Chinese Garden, and along Singapore River. Nightly stage shows and festive street bazaars are also held during the month of Moon-Cake Festival. There are also other activities such as performances of traditional dances by local arts groups, Lantern Making competition, Lantern Painting competition and stalls selling mooncakes and other goodies.

Some Chinese temples and  Chinese Clans would hold get-together sessions  to appreciate Moon-Cake and Chinese Tea, Night Food Bazaar, kids carry lanterns, Guess Riddles Games etc.

In the residential neighbourhoods of the whole Singapore, Chinese kids and teenagers, plus their malay and indian friends, would gather together to play fire by lighting up candles and burn the paper lanterns and any papers to create fire and play some fire works.

Chinese Communities in South East Asia (Malaysia , Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines etc)
Chinese Folks in South East Asia celebrate Moon-Cake Festival at night by having family get-togethers, do prayers to moon goddess, and eat mooncakes and drink Chinese Tea. Kids and teenagers light up and hang up lanterns outside their houses and get together to burn candles and play fire-works outside their houses. Malls and China Towns will be gaily decorated with thousands of lit lanterns, while various other activities all add up to a festive atmosphere.

In Vietnam

Vietnamese children celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with traditional 5-pointed star-shaped lantern

The Mid-Autumn festival is named "Tết Trung Thu" in Vietnamese. It is also known as Children's Festival because of the event's emphasis on children.  In olden times, the Vietnamese believed that children, being innocent and pure, had the closest connection to the sacred and natural world. Being close to children was seen as a way to connect with animist spirits and deities.

One important event before and during the festival are lion dances. Dances are performed by both non-professional children's groups and trained professional groups. Lion dance groups perform on the streets, going to houses asking for permission to perform for them. If the host consents, the "lion" will come in and start dancing as a blessing of luck and fortune for the home. In return, the host gives lucky money to show their gratitude.

In Japan

Tsukimi (月見) or Otsukimi, literally moon-viewing, refers to Japanese festivals honoring the autumn moon. Tsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from Japanese pampas grass (susuki) and eating rice dumplings called Tsukimi Dango in order to celebrate the beauty of the moon.

 Seasonal produce are also displayed as offerings to the moon. Sweet potatoes are offered to the full moon, while beans or chestnuts are offered to the waxing moon the following month. The alternate names of the celebrations, Imomeigetsu (literally "potato harvest moon") and Mamemeigetsu ("bean harvest moon") or Kurimeigetsu ("chestnut harvest moon") are derived from these offerings.

On the evening of the full moon, it is traditional to gather in a place where the moon can be seen clearly, decorate the scene with Japanese pampas grass, and to serve white rice dumplings (known as Tsukimi dango), taro, edamame, chestnuts and other seasonal foods, plus sake as offerings to the moon in order to pray for an abundant harvest. These dishes are known collectively as Tsukimi dishes (月見料理 tsukimi ryōri). Due to the ubiquity of sweet potato or taro among these dishes, the tradition is known as Imomeigetsu (芋名月) or "Potato harvest moon" in some parts of Japan.

In addition, there are several other dishes associated with Tsukimi.

Boiled soba or udon noodles topped with nori and raw egg, then covered with broth are known as Tsukimi soba or Tsukimi udon. In Kitakyushu an egg served atop yaki udon is known as Tenmado, another name for Tsukimi in the local dialect. Similarly when a raw quail egg is used to top sushi, like battleship sushi gunkanzushi or a handroll temaki it is referred to as tsukimi style.

At some fast food restaurants in Japan a special Fall Menu is offered during September and October featuring fried egg sandwiches known as Tsukimi burgers.

In Korea

Chuseok (Korean: 추석 ,秋夕), originally known as hangawi (한가위, from archaic Korean for "the great middle (of autumn)"), is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. As a celebration of the good harvest, Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of Korean traditional food such as songpyeon and rice wines such as sindoju and dongdongju.

Charye (차례,茶禮) is one of the ancestral memorial rites that have been done for thousand years in Korea. In modern South Korea, on Chuseok there is a mass exodus of Koreans as they return to their hometowns to pay respects to the spirits of their ancestors. People perform ancestral worship rituals early in the morning. Then they visit the tombs of their immediate ancestors to trim plants and clean the area around the tomb, and offer food, drink, and crops to their ancestors. Harvest crops are attributed to the blessing of ancestors.

 A variety of folk games are played on Chuseok to celebrate the coming of Autumn and rich harvest. Village folk dress themselves to look like a cow or a turtle, and go from house to house along with a Nongak band playing music. Other common folk games played on Chuseok are archery and Ssireum (Korean Wrestling). Folk games also vary from region to region.

Ssireum is the most popular Korean sports played during Chuseok. Korean guys usually hold Ssireum contest during Chuseok. Two guys wrestle with each other while holding tight on other’s satba, red and blue band, and a player loses when a player’s upper body touches the ground. The ultimate winner becomes 'Cheonha Jangsa', 'Baekdu Jangsa', or 'Halla Jangsa'; these all mean “the most powerful”.

The Ganggangsullae dance is a traditional folk dance performed under the full moon in the night of Chuseok. Women wear Korean traditional dress, hanbok, make a big circle by holding hands of each other, and sing a song while they are going around a circle.

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The Jade Rabbit - Chang-Er's Pet

Chinese Legend of The Jade Rabbit
Legend has it that there were three immortals that turned themselves into three poor old men asking a fox, monkey and rabbit for food. The fox and the monkey had food to give them, but the rabbit had none and didn't know what to do. Later, the rabbit said: "just eat me for food!" With that, the rabbit jumped into a blazing fire, making himself ready to be eaten. The immortals were deeply touched and sent the rabbit to the palace on the moon to keep Chang'e company and he was made a jade rabbit.

Jade Rabbit in Ancient Chinese Texts
An early mention that there is a rabbit on the moon appears in the Chu Ci(楚辞) - (also known as Verses of Chu, Songs of Chu or Songs of the South) , a Western Han anthology of Chinese poems from the Warring States period, which notes that along with a toad, there is a rabbit on the moon who constantly pounds herbs for the immortals.

This notion is supported by later texts, including the Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era encyclopedia of the Song Dynasty. Han Dynasty poets call the rabbit on the moon the "Jade Rabbit" (玉兔) or the "Gold Rabbit" (金兔), and these phrases were often used in place of the word for the moon. A famous poet of the Tang Dynasty period, Li Bai, relates how: "The rabbit in the moon pounds the medicine in vain" in his poem "The Old Dust."



 The Old Dust 12 Poems (Part 9) by By Li Bai (李白)
The living is a passing traveler;
The dead, a man come home.
One brief journey betwixt heaven and earth,
Then, alas! we are the same old dust of ten thousand ages.
The rabbit in the moon pounds the medicine in vain;
Fu-sang, the tree of immortality, has crumbled to kindling wood.
Man dies, his white bones are dumb without a word
When the green pines feel the coming of the spring.
Looking back, I sigh; looking before, I sigh again.
What is there to prize in the life's vaporous glory?

《拟古十二首》中的第九首 - 李白

Moon Rabbit in Indian Folklore
In the Buddhist Śaśajâtaka (Jataka Tale 316), a monkey, an otter, a jackal, and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the day of the full moon (Uposatha), believing a demonstration of great virtue would earn a great reward.

When an old man begged for food, the monkey gathered fruits from the trees and the otter collected fish, while the jackal wrongfully pilfered a lizard and a pot of milk-curd. The rabbit, who knew only how to gather grass, instead offered its own body, throwing itself into a fire the man had built. The rabbit, however, was not burnt. The old man revealed himself to be Śakra and, touched by the rabbit's virtue, drew the likeness of the rabbit on the moon for all to see. It is said the lunar image is still draped in the smoke that rose when the rabbit cast itself into the fire.

Moon Rabbit (月兔) in Japanese Folklore
A version of this story can be found in the Japanese anthology Konjaku Monogatarishū (今昔物語集), where the rabbit's companions are a fox and a monkey.

Mexican folklore
According to an Aztec legend, the god Quetzalcoatl, then living on Earth as a man, started on a journey and, after walking for a long time, became hungry and tired. With no food or water around, he thought he would die. Then a rabbit grazing nearby offered herself as food to save his life. Quetzalcoatl, moved by the rabbit's noble offering, elevated her to the moon, then lowered her back to Earth and told her, "You may be just a rabbit, but everyone will remember you; there is your image in light, for all people and for all times."

Mesoamerican legend
Another Mesoamerican legend tells of the brave and noble sacrifice of Nanahuatzin during the creation of the fifth sun. Humble Nanahuatzin sacrificed himself in fire to become the new sun, but the wealthy god Tecciztecatl hesitated four times before he finally set himself alight to become the moon. Due to Tecciztecatl's cowardice, the gods felt that the moon should not be as bright as the sun, so one of the gods threw a rabbit at his face to diminish his light. It is also said that Tecciztecatl was in the form of a rabbit when he sacrificed himself to become the moon, casting his shadow there.

Native American (Cree) legend
A Native American (Cree) legend tells a different variation, about a young rabbit who wished to ride the moon. Only the crane was willing to take him. The trip stretched Crane's legs as the heavy rabbit held them tightly, leaving them elongated as cranes' legs are now. When they reached the moon Rabbit touched Crane's head with a bleeding paw, leaving the red mark cranes wear to this day. According to the legend, on clear nights, Rabbit can still be seen riding the moon.

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The Legend of Moon Goddess - Chang-Er (婵娥)

In Taoism and Chinese Folk Religion, Chang-Er (婵娥) is known as Yue Shen (月神) - Goddess of Moon,Tai Yin Huang Jin (太陰皇金), Tai Yin Niang Niang (太陰娘娘) or Yue Fu Chang E (月府嫦娥 ) - Chang E from Palace of Moon.

Chang'e (婵娥) and Hou Yi (后羿) the Archer (Version 1)
Chang'e or Chang-O (嫦娥 cháng'é), originally known as Heng'e or Heng-O (姮娥 héng'é; changed to avoid name conflict with Emperor Wen of Han), is the Chinese goddess of the Moon.

Seeing that Chang'e felt extremely miserable over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to journey on a long, perilous quest to find the pill of immortality so that the couple could be immortals again. At the end of his quest he met the Queen Mother of the West (Xi Wang Mu  西王母) who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person would only need half the pill to become immortal.

Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang'e not to open the case and then left home for a while. Chang'e became too curious: she opened up the case and found the pill just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous that Houyi would catch her discovering the contents of the case, she accidentally swallowed the entire pill. She started to float into the sky because of the overdose. Although Houyi wanted to shoot her in order to prevent her from floating further, he could not bear to aim the arrow at her. Chang'e kept on floating until she landed on the Moon.

While she became lonely on the Moon without her husband, she did have company. A jade rabbit, who manufactured elixirs, also lived on the Moon. The mythologies of Japan and Korea also feature references about rabbits living on the Moon.

Another companion is the woodcutter Wu Gang. The woodcutter offended the gods in his attempt to achieve immortality and was therefore banished to the Moon. Wu Gang was allowed to leave the Moon if he could cut down a tree that grew there. The problem was that each time he chopped on the tree, the tree would instantly grow back, effectively condemning him to live on the Moon for eternity.

From then on, people often pray to Chang'e for fortune and safety. During the Mid-Autumn Festival they offer lots of foods to Chang'e.

Chang'e (婵娥) and Hou Yi (后羿) the Archer (Version 2)
Chang'e was a beautiful young girl working in the Jade Emperor's palace in heaven, where immortals, good people and fairies lived. One day, she accidentally broke a precious porcelain jar. Angered, the Jade Emperor banished her to live on earth, where ordinary people lived. She could return to the Heaven, if she contributed a valuable service on earth.

Chang'e was transformed into a member of a rich farming family. When she was 18, a young hunter named Houyi from another village spotted her, now a beautiful young woman. They became friends.

One day, a strange phenomenon occurred—10 suns arose in the sky instead of one, blazing the earth. Houyi, an expert archer, stepped forward to try to save the earth. He successfully shot down nine of the suns, becoming an instant hero. He eventually became king and married Chang'e.

But Houyi grew to become greedy and selfish. He sought immortality by ordering an elixir be created to prolong his life. The elixir in the form of a single pill was almost ready when Chang'e came upon it. She either accidentally or purposely swallowed the pill. This angered King Houyi, who went after his wife. Trying to flee, she jumped out the window of a chamber at the top of the palace—and, instead of falling, she floated into the sky toward the Moon. King Houyi tried unsuccessfully to shoot her down with arrows.

In contrast to the first version, her companion, a rabbit, does not create elixir of life. Aside from the rabbit, the Moon is also inhabited by a woodcutter who tries to cut down the cassia tree, giver of life. But as fast as he cuts into the tree, it heals itself, and he never makes any progress. The Chinese use this image of the cassia tree to explain mortal life on earth—the limbs are constantly being cut away by death, but new buds continually appear.

Meanwhile, King Houyi ascended to the sun and built a palace. So Chang'e and Houyi came to represent the yin and yang, the Moon and the sun.

Chang'e (婵娥) and Hou Yi (后羿) the Archer (Version 3)
Chang'e was a human in the mortal world. She was a palace maid. Suddenly, 10 suns appeared in the sky and the earth became very hot. The king looked for a person with accurate archery skills to shoot down nine of the suns.

A commoner called Hou Yi saw that the situation was getting bad. He took out his arrow and bow and shot down the nine suns with nine arrows. the King was pleased and wanted to reward him. Hou Yi was in love with Chang'e and wanted to marry her.

The king gave her to him as a reward. The two lived happily until one day, a mysterious old man came and gave Hou Yi an elixir that could make him live forever. Hou Yi hesitated whether to take the pill. He was unsure and left the pill under his pillow on the bed. Chang'e found the pill. She did not know what it was and just swallowed it. Chang'e became immortal and flew to the moon. Hou Yi was devastated and died. People used lit lanterns to light up the earth so that Chang'e can see them on the Earth.

Alternate versions
In one retelling of the story of Chang'e and the Elixir of Immortality, Chang'e's decision to consume the elixir is not caused by selfishness or spite; instead, it is caused by fear of Houyi's apprentice, Feng Meng (逢蒙), who attempts to steal the elixir from Chang'e. She consumes the elixir in order to escape him before the elixir can fall into Feng Meng's hands.

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Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival - Origin & History

Most Chinese Adults and the Young ones would know heard about  Chang-E fleeing to the moon, or Wu Kang chopping down the Cassia tree, or the Jade rabbit grinding medicine on the moon.

Now, let's get to know the origin and real history of Mid-Autumn Festival and how it started.

The Origin of Mid-Autumn Festival
The Moon Festival dates back over 3,000 years, to moon worshiping in the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). In ancient China, emperors followed the rite of offering sacrifices to the Sun in spring and to the Moon in autumn. The reason Chinese emperors worshiped the moon in the autumn, was that they believed that the practice would bring them a plentiful harvest the next year.

In an ancient book "Culture of Zhou Dynasty" 《周礼》, it already had the term "Mid-Autumn". Later, aristocrats and literary figures helped expand the ceremony to common people. They enjoyed the full, bright moon on that day, worshipped it and expressed their thoughts and feelings under it.

The term mid-autumn (中秋) first appeared in Rites of Zhou, a written collection of rituals of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046–771 BCE).

Empress Dowager Cixi (late 19th century) enjoyed celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival so much that she would spend the period between the thirteenth and seventeenth day of the eighth month staging elaborate rituals

By the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Mid-Autumn Festival had become a fixed festival.

It became even grander in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, it grew to be a major festival of China.

Mid-Autumn Festival In Japan
Tsukimi (月見) or Otsukimi, literally moon-viewing, refers to Japanese festivals honoring the autumn moon. The celebration of the full moon typically takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Japanese lunisolar calendar; the waxing moon is celebrated on the 13th day of the ninth month.

During the Heian period (平安時代, Heian jidai), elements of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival were introduced to Japan. Members of the aristocratic class would hold moon-viewing events aboard boats in order to view the moon's reflection on the surface of the water. The writing of tanka poetry was also an element of such mid-autumn moon viewing festivities.

From 862 until 1683, the Japanese calendar was arranged so that the full moon fell on the 13th day of each month. In 1684, however, the calendar was altered so that the new moon fell on the first day of each month, moving the full moon two weeks later, to the 15th day of the month. While some people in Edo (present-day Tokyo) shifted their Tsukimi activities to the 15th day of the month, others continued to observe the festival on the 13th day. Furthermore, there were various regional observances in some parts of Japan on the 17th day of the month, as well as Buddhist observances on the 23rd or the 26th day, all of which were used as pretexts for often late-night parties during the autumn throughout the Edo period. This custom was brought to a swift end during the Meiji period.

There are specific terms in Japanese to refer to occasions when the moon is not visible on the traditional mid-autumn evening, including Mugetsu (無月 literally: no-moon) and Ugetsu (雨月 rain-moon). Even when the moon is not visible, however, Tsukimi parties are held.

Tsukimi (月見) is now so popular in Japan that some people repeat the activities for several evenings following the appearance of the full moon during the eighth lunisolar month.

Mid-Autumn Festival In Korea
Chuseok (Korean: 추석 , 秋夕), originally known as hangawi (한가위, from archaic Korean for "the great middle (of autumn)"), is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar.

Historically and according to popular belief, Chuseok originates from gabae (hangul:가배). Gabae started during the reign of the third king of the kingdom of Silla (57 BC - AD 935), when it was a month-long weaving contest between two teams.

Come the day of Gabae, the team that had woven more cloth had won and was treated to a feast by the losing team. However, it is also said that Chuseok marks the day Sirra won a great victory over the rival kingdom of Baekje. It is believed that weaving competitions, archery competitions, and martial arts demonstrations were held as part of the festivities.

Many scholars also believe Chuseok may originate from ancient shamanistic cerebrations of the harvest moon. New harvests are offered to local deities and ancestors, which means Chuseok may have originated as a worship ritual. In some areas, if there is no harvest, worship rituals are postponed, or in areas with no annual harvest, Chuseok is not celebrated.

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    "Maintain Harmony Between Husband and Wife" Talismans shown above are 2 talismans to be used together in a ritual to create harmony between husband and wife.

    "Maintain Harmony Between Husband and Wife" Talismans invoke 4 Deities to come and help in bringing peace and harmony between husband and wife. The 4 Deities are 2 Deities of Harmony (He-He Xian Shi 和合仙师),  Harmony Boy (和合童子) and Quan Shan Huo Shi (劝善火师).

    Folks who haven't get married will only fantasize about romantic  honeymoon and visualize the loving married couples that You often seen in TV commercials. But the truth is.... very soon within months or in just few years, couples start to quarrel , yet unable to find out what is the root cause.  Not that Your husband and wife is being useless or having affairs but You 2 just simply cannot stay in peace together.

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    "Break Up Husband and Wife" Talisman

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