Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Golden Silk Worm (金蚕蛊)

A rare talisman put in an urn together with other insects to form golden silk worm. The lower part of the talisman looks like a cobra.

The practice of golden silk worms was once very popular amongst Chinese and minorities in Southwestern China and Indochina. There are many people talking about these golden silk worms but there are very less actual accounts of how to make these golden silk worms.

According to a Hmong lady shaman, a golden silk worm is normally invisible but it can appear as a golden or a rainbow colour thread at night under candle lights.

While I was at her altar, I could see colourful threads appeared at night in her altar but not sure if that was indeed a so called golden silk worm. In some instances, a golden silk worm is said to take the form of a small snake, a frog or a 1 foot tall kid wearing a pair of red pants.

These golden silk worms are elites amongst the Indochinese worms () and it is said that they can perform many duties, for example if one wishes to plant rice; the owner only needs to show the golden silk worm how to do it and his/her padi field would be planted correctly.

Problems with these golden silk worms are that they like to eat people and it is said that a golden silk worm would eat one people in 3 years’ time. This situation is the same with concepts of ‘hantu raya’ (wandering spirit) and ‘santau’ (poisons) in Malay magical practices.

A golden silk worm cannot be destroyed but it can be ‘married off’. The method of doing it is that it is inherited by another person, or the silk worm is wrapped with a piece of cloth together with some money and this package is put beside a road. Anyone who accidentally picks up this parcel and takes the money would mean that he/she is the new golden thread worm owner.

There are many methods to create a golden silk worm and I would disclose the method I obtained from the Hmong shaman after she had a cup too many:

First one need to catch about 12 types of poisonous insects and snakes into a big earth urn together with a piece of metal usually copper and a piece of talisman; then the urn is sealed with another piece of talismanic cloth. During noon or midnight, this urn is buried beside a cross road and it is left there for about 100 days.

When it is time, the urn is recovered and secretly brought back to the house for worship. There should be only one insect or snake left and this is the so called golden thread worm. Whatever is left is then dried and made into powder and this powder is mixed with ashes in an incense burner for worship. Other residuals in the urn can be used as a type of poisons and it is normally being used to feed the unwary persons. If a person consumes some of this poisonous substance, his/her stomach would be bulging with pain. If the person is not treated and he/she subsequently died, his/her soul shall be the slave of the shaman.

There are many methods to cast golden silk poison into other’s food, the commonest way is to hide the poison in one’s finger and then it is sent through a golden silk worm. If poison is sent with one finger only, then the victim can still be cured, but if the poison is sent using 4 fingers; then there is no cure possible. Likewise, a golden silk worm can be stored under one’s finger nail and when it is released; people around him/her can see a flash of golden light. It was said that old shaman can half a piece of granite by just pointing at it.

Of course there are still many types of ‘worms’ () and it is a taboo for the locals to describe this type of practice in detail as the ones who know the secrets would not talk or give out details.


  1. This reminds me of the "spiritus", which is in trolldom a worm or insect said to be able to give it's owner wealth and luck. It's commonly said to be hard to get rid off.

    I might translate some of the texts about this for you.

  2. In my research I have discovered that the "gold" and "silver" needles are special type of Cordyceps on sticks.