Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Curse Of Rice Stem Manikin (稻草人诅咒术)

Taoist sorcerers are not the only persons who like to use rice stem manikin to perform rituals: healing or cursing the like. An old Taoist once told me that the effect of rice stem manikin is much better than the paper manikin or the like.


Likewise, Japanese Shinto sorcerers also make use of rice stem manikins for their rituals. The ritual I am interested here is the curse of rice stem manikin. Basically the Japanese style is pretty simple: a typical form is to nail a 5” nail into the heart of the rice stem manikin and then into a large tree trunk. This is a curse meant to bring disaster to an intended person which is said to be in existence since 710AD, during the period of Nara Era (奈良时代) until today.


It is believed that women at that time commonly employ this type of cursing method to treat those who have jilted them. Perhaps this was the only way to express their anger of that time.


The mode of operandi is quite similar though not all manikins are made of rice stems; it could be carved out from wood too.  The most important ingredient is of course is the name and personal particulars of the person to be cursed must be inserted into the manikin. After that the person must perform the nailing down of the manikin between 2am~3am. This is the period of 'chou' (丑时), hence some people also call this ritual as 丑时的参谒or literarily “paying homage during chou hours”.


The woman who wants to perform this ritual must wear all white and she must go to a huge three beside a Shinto shrine. Then she shall press the manikin onto the tree trunk and start cursing by singing out loud her hatred. When she felt she has had enough of cursing, she shall take a 5” iron nail and strike it into the heart of the manikin. This ritual must be performed for 7 consecutive days.


Proponents believe that the victim shall suffer from extreme bad luck and even death may entail. Until fairly recently, manikins can still be found on some tree trunks at isolated areas in Japan.


Other variation is to nail a manikin on a Chestnut tree trunk with iron nails shall kill a person in relative short time. Yet another form is to throw cursed manikin onto or under the bed of the target; some even nail the manikin on the main door; or another method I heard is that the image of the person is drawn onto the floor and then nails are hit in the heart of the drawing.


The above cursing method is meant on 1:1 basis; i.e. when the target is known, there is yet another method meant for causing harm to an unknown target or a group of people… We shall see later.

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