Monday, August 13, 2012
Magic & Medicine Of Miao Ethnic (苗)
The picture shows an assortment of Miao herbs.
The Miao ethnic has a long history line. They are originated from Southern China, but a subgroup Hmong has migrated to Indochina: Northern Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
Many of the Miao’s practical knowledge are absorbed into the Chinese main stream culture such as that of the Chinese medicine. As with the Tibetan, Yao and Thai, the Miao’s medicine also incorporated with magical uses. For an example, boiled and raw chicken eggs are used to roll over patient’s body to treat headache due to wind or shock of a child. At the same time, a chicken egg is also used to treat a Phi Pop victim as a means of remedy.
The Miao Medicine
The Miao traditional medicine can be traced before the Tang and Song Dynasty that is more than 1000 years old. Mao medicine has below characteristics:
1. Few herbs combination needed. If we are to compare with the Chinese traditional herbal recipes that may take up to 20~30 different herbs; the Miao mostly take 2~3 herbs.
2. While many of other traditions use dried herbs, the Miao prefer to use fresh ones.
3. The Miao recipes are very effective especially in treating bone fractures.
4. Many unique techniques are employed in treatment processes.
The Miao Magic
Magical believes diehard within Miao folks. For example during childbirth, a bowl of raw rice and a raw egg is placed near the head of the mother. It is believed that this will calm the soul of the baby and the mother.
Majority of Miao are animists although in recent years many have converted to Christianity. Depending on the locations, their magical believes can be one of the below:
a. Ancestral worship and worship of natural elements such as sun, moon, wind, fire, mountain.
b. The most feared of magic ritual is the Phi Pop. There are many types of Phi Pop: Snake, Toad, Spider etc.
c. I was told by a Miao friend that it is a fact that very few Miao practice Phi Pop rituals now-a-days; he supposed only in very isolated areas perhaps. Even he has not seen the actual Phi Pop himself.
2. Taoist magic
a. At places where the Chinese influence is strong, especially in China, Taoist magic is in domination.
b. Similar to Yao. The Miao also practices Taoist magic:
i. The divination
ii. The 36 altar Liu Ren ritual
iii. The 5 thunder rites
iv. Various day to day rituals for love, protection, cursing and healing magic rituals. Incidentally, the Miao’s healing bone fracture ritual is also very famous in the occult circle.
I was previously looking into the Traditional Chinese Medicine, but found that it has become too complicated. Now I have found other alternatives such as that of Islamic, Thai, Yao and Miao recipes; confidently they could also yield the same result with lesser costs. So, why not give the Miao magic and medicine a look?