Monday, September 10, 2012

Soul Retrieval & Nerve Calming (收魂與收驚)

Taoists believe that if a person feel nervous and panic easily, then he or she has a weak soul. So a nerve calming ritual needs to be performed constantly to pacify this person’s soul. On the other hand, a soul retrieval ritual is performed to recall a lost soul. These two rituals are fundamentally different altogether.


Nerve Calming Ritual (收驚)


The well being of a person’s soul is affected by earth’s magnetic field, the movement of planets and the location of fixed stars. Infants and children are the age group most easily affected by these types of natural energies. Other factors affecting the nerve of a child including is the behavior of family members and atmosphere in the place where a child stays.


Basically there are two types of Taoist nerve calming rituals:


·         The Minor Ritual (小收)

o   Prepare some joss sticks, paper, the person’s clothing and a bowl of raw rice. To be effective, the person’s clothing must cover the rice.

o   Put all the stuffs onto the altar and chant for about 3~10 minutes or even longer depending to the severity.

o   After the chanting, remove the clothing and observe the pattern on the surface of the rice bowl. The signs will give you a hint of what happen to the person. If there is a pattern, repeat the ritual until no patterns are observed.

o   Return the clothing and let the person wear for at least one day and night.

·         The Major Ritual (大收)

o   This is a more complex ritual where the ritual must be performed in the person’s residence.

o   This ritual will take half a day to one day’s time.

o   A special altar needs to be set up and a rice stalk manikin set up in the center of the altar.

o   In addition to the above minor ritual, additional rituals such as “offering to the demons and exorcism” will be performed.


Soul Retrieval (收魂)


There are many reasons that a person can lost his or her soul:


·         Overly excited or sad

·         Sudden shock such as that of an accident

·         Comma or drunk

·         Overly slept

·         Black magic doing


The ritual:


·         If a person feels lethargic, tired or even sleepy after sleeping for over 8 hours and there is no other factors such as taking drug; or the person is unconscious for a long time, then it is believed that this person has lost his or her soul:

o   Perform the ritual at night with all the lights in the house switched off.

o   Hold the person’s cloth by its collar and sweep from his or her head to toe, then down to the bed, and then to the main door.

o   Take a breath from the South-Eastern direction and blow at the collar; then call the person’s name.

o   Bring the cloth back follow the original route and cover on the person’s body collar down; facing his or her toe.

o   If the person fail to recover in 3 days, then as a rule of thumb; the soul is lost forever.



Theoretically speaking, if only nerve calming ritual is performed and followed by the soul retrieval ritual; then the soul will not be at ease and hence this person’s soul will need to be calmed very often. The precedence of the rituals must be strictly observed otherwise whatever ritual one performs will render useless.


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