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Wednesday, October 21, 2015
The Nanny’s Star Walk (奶娘催罡)
Nanny Chen's star walk ritual is in progress.
Star Walk” is a type of religious dance of eastern Fujian She tribe (畲族). Basically this is a shaman dance
to expel evil spirits before the beginning of worship ceremonies. There are
three sections to this dance:
of altar (净坛):
to expel unwanted spiritual obstacles before the conjuration of gods and
of goddess Chen (请神):
main goddess is the Nanny Chen Jing Gu (陈靖姑) or just Nanny Chen in short.
are 11 types of walk that represent the daily activities of a lady. Originally
these steps can only be performed by men.
Basically the purpose to evoke Nanny Chan is to protect kids
from being harmed by evil spirits and also to chase them away. Taoist of old
has found that chanting coupled with star walk can unite a human with the gods
and goddesses. For example the performer’s first walk is the “eight steps” (八步罡), the performer would hold
a master’s knife (铃刀)
in his left hand and an antelope horn (羚号) in his right. The person would perform the dance
while chanting the below opening mantra:
（The grand master is performing the star steps, this master is performing
My left foot steps at
the heavenly gate, while my left foot into hell,
Now I shall storm
until everyone lives forever and the ghosts die.
When my left foot
storms the mountain, the mountain breaks;
When my right foot
storms onto rocks, the rocks become soup.
I perform star steps
in front of Lushan Cave;
I perform steps into
the Lushan temple.)
After the opening mantra, and blowing of horns; the
performer would continue with following 11 types of star walk:
eight steps (八步罡)
lock and chain steps (锁链罡)
lost sow steps (失亥罡)
recovery of health steps (养身罡)
combing of hair steps (梳头罡)
entangle steps (扣缠罡)
washing of face steps (洗面罡)
looking into mirror steps (照镜罡)
getting rice from cage steps (笼米罡)
sieving rice steps (筛米罡)
fishing steps (钓鱼罡)
The steps are very simple as a performer only need to make
one leg jump from left to right. Star walk 1~3 evoke the power of Nanny Chen to
chase against evil spirits, bind them and deliver the spirits to the other
side. Walk 4 is to heal a person tormented by spirits. Steps 5~8 purifies a
place (village) for further ritual proceedings. Finally, steps 9~11 meant to seek
out further spirits in hiding and catch them all.
If we further scrutinize the content of the above ritual, we
would find that it falls under the curriculum of Lushan (闾山) Sect. Lushan rituals are
still in practice by people in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.
I have to apologize for not describing the ritual in detail
as it is a complicate process.