Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Taiwanese Ghost Binding (台湾禁鬼术)

A friend asked me if we can bind spooks in a house when we want to stay for a length of time. What can we do to take care of those spirits in a hotel room where we only stays for one or two days?

Of course, if our stay is very short, then we can just ignore the ghosts and follow some common practices:

  • Knocking on the room door before entering.
  • Always switch on the bathroom light.
  • Flip one slipper up and the other down.
  • Covering the mirror facing the bed.
  • Etc.
If the spirit becomes so mischievous that our sleep is disturbed, then there is a simple ritual for a Taoist to follow.

The below ritual I have learnt from a Taiwanese friend who were running a budgeted hotel in Northern Taiwan.

Many years ago, I checked into my friend's hotel and in my room there was a bowl being turned over on the room floor. I thought someone has accidentally left the bowl on the floor. So, I picked up the bowl and put it on a desk opposite to the bed.

Then at night not long after I hit the bed to sleep, I heard disembodied knocking noises surrounding my bed. I opened my eyes to see face to face the appearance of a very pale and grim young lady staring at me above my bed.

I have no protective talismans with me then and I could only chanted some mantra. The face faded but only to return to disturb me after I stopped reciting mantra. I figured that I couldn't recite mantra all night long.

Immediately I went downstairs to get my friend. After hearing my complaint, he went upstairs into my room. When he saw the bowl I picked up from the floor, he nodded and said: "Ah! I see what had happened. I have accidentally left this bowl on the floor a day earlier. There was a young lady ghost being bound underneath the bowl and you have released her."

Finished saying, my pal immediately filled the bowl with water and drew some talismans or symbols on the water surface. After that, he started to walk the 'eight trigrams steps' (八卦步) while splashing the water in all 10 directions.

Finally he cupped the bowl onto the floor and said: "So, this is the place you are hiding!"

After completed the ritual, my pal turned to me and said: "Just leave the bowl on the floor for now... I am looking for a new container to bind this lady ghost."

Later, I asked my friend to teach me the ritual and it is fairly simple:

  1. Get a bowl or cup,
  2. Fill the bowl/cup with water.
  3. Inscribe talisman or omit it.
  4. Hold the bowl with your left hand.
  5. Start splashing water while taking a figure of 8 steps.
  6. Once the water in the bowl is exhausted, turn the bowl upside down.
  7. Leave the bowl there until you are ready to leave.
  8. Hold the bowl with your right hand and turn the bowl until your index finger points at the door. This will release the spirit bound under the bowl.
  9. Whatever you do, don't just pick up the bowl for the spirit might possess your body!
I am not sure if the above ritual works for you. No harm trying if you are desperate for something in the middle of the night though. Good luck!

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