If we still remember that the Thai medium must go through a "receiving bowl" ceremony to be qualified as a professional medium; then this is the same case with a Yao priest. A water bowl is an important ritual element in Yao magic.
I was told that some Highland Yao were said to bring along with them the minimum amount of possessions while travelling: their family members, an ancestral incense burner and a water bowl.
In Yao Taoist magic, there is a practice called "Water Method" or "水法". As the name implies, all the magic was done on the surface of the water in the said bowl. I supposed that only drinking water will be carried while out there in the wilderness.
Inscribed within the Water Method are various methods such as:
- Invulnerability to hard objests
- The person will not feel pain when strike by cane, woods or swords.
- Transfer of bone fracture to trees
- Bone fracture can be transferred to a tree, or house pole.
- Curing of bone fractures
- By drawing talismans in the air and empowering the water, bone fractures will heel by itself.
- Curing of spirit possessions
- By empowering water in the bowl and sprinkler the water to the possessed person.
- Imprisoning spirit with a bowl
- Using the bowl to imprison spirit temporary, useful while staying out in the wilderness.
- Curing of wounds of dog bite
- Dog or enamal bite will cure by itself after performing riutal.
Have no doubt. This type of magic though looks very simple, but it is very efficient out there in the moutaneous jungle or on top of a hill. Having said so, the older Yao generations are quite reluctant to pass such knowledge to the younger generations because they said that new generations now are lesser willing to learn hard. So it is a waste to see such precious teaching fading with time.