Monday, August 24, 2015

The Applied Seven Star Steps (七星斗罡法)


The mysterious Big Dipper in Taoism.

For the benefits of those friends who have practiced the Seven Star Steps, I would now disclose how the Seven Stars can be utilized in helping our daily rituals. Below is additional information for your reading pleasure. I have intentionally left out details of altar set ups and the Taoist ‘guru yoga’ for simplicity. Having said so, this may still be quite difficult to read for many people due to the ritualistic nature of the wordings.

Basically the Seven Star Steps are performed before Taoist rituals proper for various reasons. There are 8 methods on how the Seven Star can be used:


First, the ‘top and bottom steps’ (戴履斗):

This star steps is used to chase away and to burn out all evil spirits prior to any Taoist rituals. In performing this star steps, a Taoist should hold a ritual sword in front of his chest and then walk the star steps. In addition, he/she should visualize that the Big Dipper (北斗) is on top of his/her head and that he/she is walking on the Big Dipper. During the star walk, the person should think there is a fire ball at the tip of his/her ritual sword. This fire ball grows bigger for each step this person walks until the fire ball chases away all evil spirits.

But let me just hold you at this point as it is enough to chase away the evil spirits and not to kill them. So the visualization should stop just right after the spirits are gone and not letting the sword fire fills the universe!

Second, the ‘meeting the immortal steps’ (朝真斗)

Ideally one should have a Taoist communication tablet (神简).

In this exercise one should just imagine that his/her soul is exiting the top of his/her head while walking the seven steps. This is like the soul is climbing a ladder to reach to the heavens where the Taoist immortals are staying. After one’s soul has said what he/she wants, it must descend back into the person’s body.

Thirdly, the ‘summoning of heavenly general steps’ (召将斗)

After a Taoist has met with his/her heavenly masters and obtained approvals, he/she shall be able to summon the heavenly generals to help in his/her rituals. In this exercise, the person should again hold his/her ritual sword and walk the seven star steps while commanding these heavenly entities to obey his/her orders.

The fourth is the ‘ascending steps’ (升斗)

During and after the Taoist rituals, a Taoist must keep his/her meditative concentration. In order to maintain this concentration, he/she should visualize the seven stars is shining brightly on his/her head protecting him/her form disturbance of evil entities.


The fifth is the ‘sleeping steps’ ( 卧斗)

A person’s soul is the weakest when he/she sleeps. So, in order to prevent spiritual disturbances during sleep such as hag ride one should imagine that he/she is blanket by the seven stars.

I often practise this ‘sleeping steps’ before I sleep and it is an excellent method to ward off any spiritual interferences.

The sixth is the ‘house steps’ (舍斗)

This step is normally used when one meditates same as with the fifth steps.

The seventh is the ‘remembering guru steps’ (存真斗)

The ‘remembering guru steps’ is an important procedure because a Taoist shall be able to consult his/her guru whenever in need or in emergency. In this step, same as with the ‘ascending steps’, one imagines that he/she has ascended up to heaven and hence accepts advices from the heavenly masters.

The eighth step is the ‘subduing steps’ (制伏斗)

When one is disturbed during meditation by spirits or black magic, then he/she should first calm his/her mind and imagining that he/she is wearing the seven stars as clothing and remains in meditative mode. All attacks shall be revoked automatically.

All of the above are very brief descriptions on how the Seven Star Steps are used in ritual and daily life. Traditionally, Taoist rituals are taught face to face and it is difficult to describe them in detail. I supposed it is sufficient for the moment until next time.



6 comments:

  1. Dear Arjan Perng,

    I ask me why the fourth,fifth and eight methods are calling steps.
    It appears to me intentional imagination and manifestation of the Big Dipper into the energyfield. But still thanks for sharing since it benifits me in enhancing the Golden Brightness Mantra (金光神咒) when it reach the level when the golden energy is covered by purple, a manifestation of the 7 stars.

    Best regards,

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    1. Dear InnerKnowledge,

      There is no specific reason as it is a matter of translation. The 'steps' means 斗 in Chinese. I couldn't find a better translation at the time of writing. Or you can interpret the 'steps' as 'methods'. I simply want to show uniformity in translation.

      Thanks.

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    2. Dear Arjan Perng,

      I look more carefull and found :
      斗(Dǒu) is a abrevation of 北斗星 (Běi​dǒu​xīng).

      There is no steps involved in this chinese word directly.

      七星斗罡法 means "Seven Stars, Big Dipper, Stars of the Tail of Big Dipper Method."

      戴履斗 is Wearing Shoes Big Dipper.

      卧斗wòdǒu is "Lay down big dipper" .

      It sounds weird in english but the meaning is direct translation.

      Something I strangely found is that the big dipper with its full nine stars look like the symbol of saturn.
      (Please ask a taoist master if there was in a second step a "crouching" with hands touch on both side)

      The big dipper has 2 stars paralell to the second star on the handle which would form the "t" of the saturn symbol while the 5th to 7th form the sickle of the saturn symbol.

      The most interesting is that saturn has a cross and half circle. The cross stand for "matter" and the half circle for the "soul" which is meaning of "matter above soul" and the greece name is chronos, chrono time when looking into western astrology.

      The only thing that overcomes this state is the same symbol which is called "Ceres" which is a upsidedown Saturn symbol.

      In the steps you told us here we start at the "handle" of the sickle and so create the Big Dipper in Ceres way which means "Soul over Matter"

      I found : "These stars are depicted there, again, to point the eye of the viewer to the north, the location of Saturn in antiquity." Saturn talisman is the Hexagramm which as well "sometimes symbolize the Big Dipper".

      The Dance of Yu is the Saturn Sigil tracing stepping method
      for banishing.

      The Paces of Yu consist of 3 different methods of spiral walking, linear walking and Big Dipper walking. Here I found it interesting that there is sidestepping in Big Dipper Pacing while always maintaining the same direction. It isnt as following a line. The picture I saw was having the facing in the direction as it look like a reverse "U" if on start from the left from 1444 from the Ming Dynasty. As well I was very facinated that one star was left out when stepping : the 5th, but the star was carved into the wooden block.

      Maybe you know something about it?

      Another thing about big dipper is that there exist a thing called the "big dipper clock" with having the last two dippers pointing always to the north star. And in the different season it rotates around the north star while always having the last two dippers point to it.

      Actually I find it very interesting as from the "Four Symbols" 四象 come to knowledge which are the White Tiger, the Xuan Wu(Black Turtle with Snake as tail), Vermillion Bird or Phoenix and Azure (green) Dragon for each direction which is still known in Feng Shui.

      But I found that YU had different settings as he has the bird in the north, the south is snake the east is sun and west is moon, center being bear (Roncheng Shi). (But still he is facing his back to the north when one analyze the Paces of Yu)

      Going back to the Four Symbols to align with them is as in Feng Shui having the back facing north.

      It is also used in Qigong for allignement of inner and oute changing elemental phases and practise of inner organs.

      Technical stepping is a very interesting method. In magic one use either a magical tool, a weapon, finger, pointers. Actually stepping draw with the feets energycenter the sigil on the ground and maintain them while having the hands free for other things making one able to multicasting a spell, by using weapons, mudras and chants at the same time while stepping or drawing symbols in the air while drawing with the feet on the ground.

      Best Regards,

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  2. The ascending steps for the guru is kind of visualization ot experience out of body, vision or how it should be understand or what to expect so to speak?

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    1. This is actually the out-of-body exercise when you can master it. But for those who cannot perform actual out-of-body initially, then it is enough just to use visualization at the beginning. Whatever the case that may be, a person should only wait for the answer from the guru and not making up any answers mentally.

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