Sunday, August 5, 2012

Indochinese Phi Pop Family (Gu/蠱)

Garuda is believed to be able to ward off Phi Pop, especially the Snake Phi Pop. Dipicting in the picture is a statue of Garuda holding a Naga between its beaks.

Up to very recently, Phi Pop or Gu() is classified as a collective term describing black magic in Indochina. Phi Pop in modern Thai magic has a very different meaning and form however.

It is believed that the origin of Phi Pop has a very long history. Once you got it, it is extremely difficult to be gotten rid of. Worse still, Phi Pop must be inherited within the family, generation after generation. “Phi Pop” is actually a term called by the Dai ethnic group. Other ethnics with similar practices are: Miao, Han, Yao, Hani, Zhuang, Jingpo, Bi, Nasi, Bai etc. So the practice of Phi Pop is pretty common in this part of the world.

Generally speaking, people in Indochina believe that Phi Pop can shapeshift itself. Such as money can transform into a snake, and snake can transform into a shoelace etc.

The common practice of making Phi Pop is as below:

On the noon of 5th day of 5th month of Chinese calendar, whoever wanted to have Phi Pop; must go into a hill or jungle where he must collect 72 types of animals and insects: snake, frog, hornet, scorpion, centipede, lizards etc. Fill all the specimens into a big ceramic urn and seal it. The creatures will devour each other until left with a sole survivor. This survivor is known as ‘Gu’ or “Phi Pop”. If a snake is left, then it is a Snake Gu, or if it is a hornet, then it is called Hornet Gu.

At this time the practitioner will open up the cover and take a deep breath to inhale whatever gases was produced during the process. This action will suck the Phi Pop into its host and Phi Pop must be released at certain interval to kill. Or the host will be consumed by Phi Pop inside out. Whatever debris left inside the urn, will be collected for use during the time when Phi Pop must be released out from its host.

The method is to put some of the debris into the practitioner’s finger nails and transfer it into food for people to consume. If anyone ate this food by accident, then he/she will die. The poor soul will become the slave of the Phi Pop master. The more victims this person has, the more powerful and rich he/she becomes.

In this sense, there is a similarity with the Malay Santau Angin. Both need to find victims after certain timing. People believe that most of the Phi Pop or Santau practitioners are restaurant owners in isolated locations as there are places where their operation are the easiest. May be it is interesting to do further research into this.

Below is a list of some of the common Phi Pop in Indochina:

1.      The Snake Phi Pop(蛇蠱)

a.       This is the most common Phi Pop.

b.      The victim will feel his/her stomach full of gases, and producing white foams from his/her mouth.

c.       There are two types:

                                                              i.      Passive

1.      Will kill in 30 days time.

2.      Initial symptoms: vomit, diarrhea, loss of appetite, rolling sounds coming from stomach.

                                                            ii.      Active:

1.      Appearance of movable bumps on the surface of skin.

2.      The sensation as if snakes are entering body from all directions.

2.      Water Phi Pop(/水蠱)

a.       Able to attack victim with spitting sands from its mouth.

b.      Victim will feel body stiffness, headache and high fever.

c.       This type of Phi Pop will injure body and soul alike.

3.      The Flying Phi Pop(飛蠱)

a.       This type of Phi Pop has no form, only sounds such as that of bees or birds.

b.      The victim will be passing out blood and cannot be cured.

c.       By first look, it is similar to Hantu Raya and Santau in Malay Magic.

4.      The Tree Phi Pop(樹蠱)

a.       This type of Phi Pop already posted in previous posting: “Hello Phi Pop”.

b.      The victim will feel his/her skin as if of a tree trunk, or the growth of tree like structure from his/her body.

5.      The Bee Phi Pop(/蜂蠱)

a.       This is also called “releasing egg” or “releasing bees”.

b.      The process is: on the date described above, grind snakes with some human hair into fine dust. Evoking other Phi Pop or Hantu Raya to empower it for 49 days.

c.       Apply the empowered dust into the food, drinks or put it on roadside. Whoever steps over or consume this dust will suffer the consequences of stomach ache, yearning, the feeling of wanting to pass motion etc. The powder will stay in the person’s intestine.

6.      Gold Silk Phi Pop(金蠶蠱)

a.       This type of Phi Pop was popular on the South West part of China.

b.      This is believed to be the most powerful Phi Pop of all, as it can kill, perform soul catching, steal people’s property etc.

c.       The place of keeping this type of Phi Pop must be very clean as it dislikes dirty places.

d.      The symptoms of this Phi Pop are: pain in chest and stomach, stomach swelling and blood oozing from body.

The only way to release Phi Pop is to put the Phi Pop attached urn or object, together with some money and wraps them in a package. Then this package is put on roadside and whoever picks it up will be the new owner of this Phi Pop. 

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