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The visiting soul palace (探魂宮) ritual is a compendium ritual
of the walking Zewei (步紫微) ritual. Both are Taoist rituals meant to supercharging one’s luck and
for countering the lacking of this life. The only difference that I can think
of is one ritual leads to the constellation while the other to the hell (地獄). There is another similar
ritual call “going underworld” (觀落陰) most popular in Taiwan.
The theory behind visiting
soul palace is pretty simple: one can buy one’s luck with joss money (紙錢). This is indeed in line
with the Chinese saying: If you got the money, even the ghost will push the
grinder for you! (有錢能使鬼推磨)
believes that everyone has a soul palace in underworld. The locations of the soul
palaces are just around the East Mountain (東獄). Taoist’s East
Mountain also refers to the Taoist Hell. The soul palace has uniform settings
and guarded by the person’s Zodiac animals (十二生肖): rat, cow,
tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, chicken, dog or pig.
palace is fully furnished with an altar with a tablet inscribed with the person’s
name, food offerings, an oil lamp, table and chairs, bed room, clothing,
kitchen, backyard, tree and flower and finally a well. The conditions of the
soul palace reflect also the conditions of the palace owner’s present conditions.
For example if the table and furniture are dusty, then this person will be
lonely and in hardship in his/her present life.
rituals will need to be performed so that the Taoist can travel into the East
Mountain. Since this is a lengthy ritual, I would just have to shorten the
original ritual and present to you the summary:
timing for the ritual is after 4pm every day.
gods and goddesses of the altar are summoned to watch over the altar and the
follows by lengthy mantra recitations to enable the Taoist’s soul to travel
outside of his body. Following that will be a lengthy mantra recitations
describing the journey to the underworld and how many gates that must be passed
before reaching the person’s soul palace. The Taoist must burn some joss papers
to open each gate (買路錢).
destination is arrived, then the Taoist will go into the soul palace to do
cleaning and replenishment. This again is accompanied with the burning of more
joss paper. There are a total of 12 places (十二宮) to be
inspected and repaired.
work is done, the Taoist will return from the original route by reversing the perverse
recitations until his soul safely returns to the altar.
who have tried this ritual felt changes in their lives, but then and again,
this is a time consuming ritual that seldom people perform these days.
never believe that I actually come face to face with opponent arjarns in two very
asleep while I was performing a ritual for a customer one night.
dream, I went to a deserted cemetery and saw an old arjarn was performing a
ritual in front of a grave. Out of curiosity, I just stood behind the old
arjarn and observe what he was doing.
perhaps after 10 minutes or so, suddenly the old arjarn turned his head and
looked into my face while exclaiming: “Why are you here!?”
the old arjarn hurriedly went into a hut; somehow I just followed closely in his
back. There was another person in the hut, he just smiled and looked at me.
Without acknowledging the second person, I began to ransack the hut until I
pulled out a wooden box. There were many things in the box: small stones,
figurines, nails etc. Without hestitation, I just grabbed a figurine and woke
up to find that I had felt asleep for over an hour in my altar.
asleep again during another ritual…
was walking in a narrow allay until I came in front of a house. Without hesitation,
I pushed myself in. Then I saw
a middle aged man was sitting in a corner facing me. On
approaching him, I greeted to him and say: “Hi! I am Arjarn Liew from Penang.”
at me with a little astonishment but managed to squeeze out somehow awful smile
to me and said: “I don’t want to do this anymore, let’s drop it.” At the same
time, I heard a voice whisper at my ear: “He’s got a Phi Phop Yant with him… “
followed the voice and enquire about Phi Phop Yant from the man. After that,
the man gave me a bunch of bananas.
found myself lying flat in my altar and it was 2 am.
a few days later I suffered from a bad cough. Instinct told me to eat some
bananas. A day after consuming bananas and paying my toilet some visits, I
recovered from the cough.
very good in dream interpretations so I just treat them as interesting dreams.
I want to post the stories here for sharing and hopefully if you can shed the hidden
message to me if any.
An example of Taoist talisman for coaxing ghosts to materialize
person in his or her advanced stage would be very confused and not feeling him/herself.
This person may not speak, shaking his/her head, crying, weeping, shivering or
even exhibit violent behavior. This is the stage when the ghosts are attempting
to take over their hosts, at the same time; the hosts’ souls are fighting to
take control of their physical bodies. Normally the ghosts would take full
possessions if no remedial actions are taken.
in-between to be possessed state is very painful both for the human and the
ghosts. So magicians from various traditions have methods to hasten the ghost
possessions and let the ghosts show themselves in a controlled environment so
that further action can be taken. Otherwise, no safe actions can be taken as
the souls and ghosts are almost binding together.
medicine, he/she would probably be given a dose of tranquilizer. But for the
occult traditions, the only way is to make the ghosts show themselves and to
tell their side of the stories.
there are many methods according to various traditions:
the thumbs of the possessed with pepper seeds until the spirit speaks.
holy book and scriptures until the spirits speak as in The Exorcist.
incantation and talismans to force the ghosts to reveal themselves.
acupuncture methods called “13 needles of ghost gates” (鬼門十三針).
magic, many rituals can be used to coax the ghosts to reveal themselves such as
by using incantation coupled with hand gestures, burning of joss papers and
may recite incantation and inscribe the talisman on the surface of a bowl of
water and let the possessed person drink. This will force the ghosts to show
themselves, only after that another ritual to open the throats and tongues of
the spirits so that they can speak and eat. Only after that these ghosts can be
sounds like the below:
“I know you
are the ghosts of ghost kings who dwell in the front and back of the Yin Mountain
and always gnarl and groan. Listen to my order now, I am the king who attracts and
controls all ghosts. You, who eat my food, drink my wine and wear my clothing,
listen to my order of ghost kings now.
calling the ghosts who possessed the body of so-and-so to come forth to put
forward all your requests now. As my will, so mote it be!”
Astrology has many
applications in Taoist magic, date selection and Feng Shui.
Zewei astrology (紫微斗數) is one branch of Chinese
astrology widely used amongst the Taoist for many purposes.
First, Zewei is used as a
diagnostic tool to find out about the ups and downs of a person. It can also be
used for Feng Shui purposes.
Below is an example of
Zewei astrological chart:
A standard Zewei chart
Taoist rituals can be
introduced to ward off bad or disastrous lucks by praying to the North Plough (北斗). Taoist believes that the
North Plough rules over death; and the Southern Plough (南斗) watches over the living (北斗注死，南斗注生). The simplest form to
pray to the North Plough is to light 7 oil lamps for a consecutive of 7 days.
Once this ritual is done,
the Taoist should perform a ritual to “walk the Zewei constellation” to check
if the ritual is effective. This ritual is also called “stars gazing” or 觀星:
A Zewei constallation
In performing this stars
gazing ritual, the Taoist will hold his ritual sword with both hands and walk
the stars one by one until he sees the stars with his mind’s eyes. Then he will
sit on the particular star and meditate on the color and the brightness of the
star to determine if further action is required; if not the Taoist will end his
ritual by completing his Zewei walk. The whole ritual may take up to 3 hours
hence not many people is willing to do this ritual now-a-days. This Zewei
ritual is also good for balancing the elemental energies of a person or to
replenish the lacking elementals as indicated in the Zewei star chart.
theory has it that our body chakras correspond to stars in our constellation.
So, movements of planets and position of the stars affect our well beings. Below
are some comparisons I have done for my own practices, and certainly; various
systems having different classification method.
by Jupiter (木星).
by Moon (月亮).
by Mercury (水星).
to 27/28 nakshatras (廿八宿).
Indian system uses 27 nakshatras, but the Chinese uses 28.
by12 zodiac houses (十二宮) and hence the well being of a person can be
read from astrological charts.
Possessions, Communications, Home, Creativity, Health, Marriage &
Partnership, Death & Regeneration, Mental Exploration, Career, Friends,
Self-Undoing. Various systems have various definitions of these 12 houses.
description is only on major chakras, they can be sub-divided into about 360 minor
chakras and 180 minor nadis. There are around 72,000 nadis totally in our human
It is said
that all of our past karmic energies are stored in our chakras and nadis. The
methods to release them are through the practice of wind yoga and inner heat
yoga. There are similarities between Kundalini Yoga and Anuttara Tantra but the
distinctions are also many.
It was said
that on the 12th month after the Buddha has achieved enlightenment, the
Buddha taught the first Kalachakra root tantra in a stupa at Dhanyakataka (near
present day Amaravati), a small town in Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India,
supposedly appearing in two places at once as he was also delivering the
Prajñāpāramitā sutras at Vulture Peak Mountain in Bihar.
it that there were two mandalas in the stupa: above was the mandala of constellation,
below was the mandala of Dharmadhatu Vagishvara. The Buddha transformed himself
into Kalachakra in a deep Samadi state on a vajra throne supported by lions in
the centre of the mandalas. The above was the description of the origin of
threw me this question:
Kalachakra Tantra, Astrology and Feng Shui; which is the most important of all?”
response was quite simple:
Let me elaborate:
astrology can pinpoint a person’s life events fairly accurately, it lacks
proper solutions or counter-measures. Feng Shui has a set of solutions that can
solve many of our worldly issues. Hence I usually use astrology as a diagnostic
tool and Feng Shui for our worldly remedial actions.
practices such as Kalachakra on the other hand, place much emphasize in astrological
calculations, medicine, wind, nadis, chakras and energy drops. The first part
of Kalachakra deals with calendar calculations mainly to find out timing of
eclipses. As we all know, eclipses are good time to achieve tantric siddhi. So
it is important to the Tantric practitioners to predict the exact timing for
of medicine is meant to treat illness so that our body is fit and able to practice
tantra. While the practice of wind yoga in the completion state transform our
body into illusion body and empty body (for Kalachakra). By knowing the
operations of our chakras and nadis in relation to the movements of sun and
moon; one can predict his or her lifespan and able to prevent for untimely
death. If possible, make use of rituals and breathing techniques to escape
If we take
a macro view, astrology predicts major life events, Feng Shui provide
solutions, medicine heals our body, knowing proper timing enable us to use
astronomical timing to our advantage and finally all the above lead us to our
safe passage to practice tantra. The practice of Kalachakra generating and
completion stage both enable one to transform our ordinary death into Kalachakra
and hence free us from rebirth.
astrology, Feng Shui and tantra; especially Kalachakra are all essential
are trapped inside a human body cannot speak through their hosts’ mouth unless
they are attuned to the hosts’ throats. Taoist as well as Thai systems have
rituals called “throat opening” ritual to let the spirits to express their
wishes or to negotiate with Taoist masters or Arjarn. This throat opening
method is essentially the same as the training of spirit mediums.
purpose of “throat opening” ritual is to enable the spirit to consume food
offerings and drinks. The mantra sounds something like the below:
always worry about your problems, this world and the other are as if burning
hell. I know your throats always longing for food and drinks, so today I offer
you a drop of nectar that can transform into a soothing stream. You will surely
enjoy this offering of mine.”
say to the possessed in a firm voice: “I have opened your mouth with my magic
power, speak now or forever hold your silence!”
At the end
of the communication session, go into your protective circle then burn some
joss paper to the spirits and they will leave. You can chant the below during
the burning of the joss paper: “Whatever debts we may have, all turn into
ashes. The joss paper opens your path to the underworld, that’s where you
carry whatever things you have promised to the spirits, but do not force
yourself. Normally the requests are just simple offerings of foods, clothing, joss
paper and drinks.