Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Visiting Our Soul Palace (元神宫)
In Lu Shan Taoist beliefs, one's soul stays passively in his/her soul palace located underworld. This palace is under the supervision of the Emperor of Eastern Mountain (东岳大帝). However, one's soul is deemed alive through spiritual practices such as the Chaya Purush (Shadow Man). In this case again, through some ritual practices, the active soul is united with one's physical body. It is said that once the soul is united with physical body; immorality shall be achieved.
Our soul palace
For majority of us, our souls stay put in our soul palace which is guarded by one's zodiac animal. The shape and size of each's soul palace varies. A general soul palace would contain an external and internal living room, a kitchen, a bedroom and a backyard.
Deciphering hidden codes of one's soul palace
Present conditions of a person shall be reflected by the situations in the soul palace and in the backyard. For example the soul tree normally representing the life force of a male; a female would be represented by a flowering plant. If the condition of the plant is healthy with thick leafs or flowers, then the person is definitely in top health condition. However, if the plant is yellowish and withering, then the person would be in a health declining state.
Generally speaking, if the general condition of a soul palace is dusty and dirty, then the person is not doing very well in his/her present life; conversely true if a soul palace is clean, then the person is having good luck.
Other indications can be read from the life lamp, well, kitchen, altar and bed room condition. If a person is possessed by spirits, then this spirit would also present in the soul palace too.
Cleaning soul palace
One's soul palace can be cleaned and repaired through simple rituals using joss papers through chanting. This is same as hiring artisans in human world and paying them. So, who says that when one dies, he/she no longer needs money?
Accessing one's soul palace
There is a journey to the underworld one needs to follow, some may walk and some just ride on an imaginary horse. This is a trance like journey and some akin this to hypnotic process. A person's soul palace is normally guarded by his/her Zodiac animal. The main gate of a soul palace can only be opened through chanting and ritual; however anyone can access his/her own soul palace. Only a Taoist can enter other person's soul palace.
Regardless of what you think of the concept of soul palace, it is uniquely a practice of Lu Shan Sect. To me, this is yet another way to understand the mystery of life. Unfortunately though, no photographs can be taken...