READ ME 1ST: Magic SEA is undergoing a radical content change. More specific contents will be housed in a few blogs with restricted access. This is to make sure that only suitable and comprehensive materials for intended readers. All materials are for entertainment purposes only.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
One God Many Identities (五顯大帝)
Before I go on to talk
about some Taoist magic related to pilferage and gambling, I would like to tell
you a very special deity mainly worshipped by the southern Chinese Taoist
communities. There is a saying that goes, “The foxes rule north, but the 5
obvious rule the south (of China).”
Literary this god is known
as “the emperor of 5 obvious” (五顯大帝), “the god of 5 obvious” (五顯神)”, the god of 5 abilities” (五通神)”, the 5 saints” (五圣)”, the 5 gentlemen” (五郎) and etc. I will call this god
as “5-god” to save my typing. The spouse of the 5-god is called “the old grandmother”
(太媽). Basically I
believed that this 5-god is a Taoist deity, but there is another source pointed
5-god to Buddhist origin.
It is actually confusing to
trace the descriptions of this god from ancient texts: Some of the texts refer
the god as the spirit of 5 planets, old mountain spirit, a monkey spirit or
even a tree spirit. There are two very extreme descriptions about this 5-god.
On one end, it is said to be a demon of lust and fond of having sex, similar to
the western incubi; on the other hand, it is said to be the patron of merchants
This 5-god was so popular
in the old China that until there is a saying from the scholars:
(I scorned at the folks who are afraid of poor and persisted to ask for
fortune from the 5-god.)
Having said so, this 5-god
is less popular than the 5-brothers now-a-days. I don’t know if there is a link
between the two, perhaps someone would enlighten me.