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About Ghostexorcist

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  1. Catalog of the Chinese pantheon

    I recently learned about an interesting website called The Book of Xian and Shen (BOXS), which catalogs information and pictures for Chinese gods from all over the world. There are currently 2,000 listings and counting. It is based on the work of religious scholar Keith Stevens (d. 2016), who wrote the amazing Chinese Gods: The Unseen Worlds of Spirits and Demons (Collins & Brown, 1997) (fig. 1). I recently volunteered to help the project. So far, I’ve written two articles (see reference no. W1001 and W1011) and updated two other existing listings with information and pictures (see the bottom of W8620 and W9305). Fig. 1 – My well-worn personal copy of Chinese Gods (larger version). Due to the great number of listings, there are no direct links. Instead, the site has adopted a somewhat confusing (but necessary) cataloging system based around reference numbers, pinyin, Mandarin, and Wade-Giles. However, it’s easy to use once you get used to it. For example, if you were going to search for Sanqing, the “Three Pure Ones“, using, say, Pinyin, I recommend first getting the reference number (RefNo). Deities —> Tabular Listing of Xian Shen Deities —> Field: Pinyin —> Type: Contains —> Value: San qing (you may have to play around with the spacing like I did here) —> Filter —> Then look for the correct listing (since other listings mentioning them might appear in the list) —> ☰ —> copy the “RefNo”, in this case W5540 (fig. 2) —> Deities —> Deities Page with Full Listing Side Bar —> Field: RefNo —> Type: Contains —> Value: W5540 —> Filter (fig. 3) —> The listing (fig. 4) If you know the Mandarin or Wade-Giles for the deity you are looking for, the process would be similar. You would just need to change the field to “Mandarin” or “Wade-Giles”. You could just jump to “Deities Page with Full Listing Side Bar” to search using pinyin, mandarin, and Wade-Giles, but it’s been my experience that a different listing will pop up first based on a higher RefNo or Romanized spelling. First finding the reference number seems to be the easiest method for me. I can’t recommend this website enough. New gods, as well as new stories or beliefs associated with more established deities, are appearing all the time, so it is very important to catalog everything as soon as new information becomes available. If you would like to volunteer in some way, please contact Ronni Pinsler using the “contact” form on the BOXS website. Fig. 2 – How to acquire the reference number (RefNo) (larger version). Fig. 3 – How to navigate to the listing (larger version). Fig. 4 – The listing as seen from the top of the page (larger version).
  2. Fake movie poster

    Has anyone ever created a fake movie poster? I made this one a couple of years ago as a joke. It's based on a character I created to amuse my African American friends. "Booty Clap Johnson" always speaks in the third person and solves all of his problems with a stiff pimp smack. I took the picture some years prior to making the poster, gathering the hat, coat, and cane while walking through a then local antique mall in southwestern Ohio, USA. I created the (admittedly bland) piece on Photoshop CS6. It is modeled on Blaxploitation posters of the 1970s.
  3. Tangki spirit-medium ritual

    That is interesting. Thank you. I'm sure such beliefs are many thousands of years old. For those interested in reading more about Tangki, I have attached a book chapter on the subject. Vessels for the Gods - Tang-ki Spirit Mediums.pdf
  4. Wuxia drama story idea

    Perfection. Somebody call the Shaw Brothers.
  5. Wuxia drama story idea

    I read something a few years ago that gave me an idea for a Wuxia drama. Chinese emperors often referred to themselves as the "lonely man" (guaren, 寡人; sometimes rendered as gujia guaren, 孤家寡人), i.e. "it's lonely at the top". "The Lonely Man" would be a great title for an undefeated martial artist, one who reigns supreme over a fighting competition for so long he is bestowed the title. The story would revolve around other martial artists competing in order to move up the ranks and finally face him in the hopes of taking the title for themselves. Thoughts?
  6. Journey To the West

    I certainly do respect the book. It comprises roughly 600 years of history, religion, and folklore, growing from a series of tales spread by oral storytellers (possibly proselytizing monks) to a published literary juggernaut. It helped spread the mythos of many gods still worshiped today. I wasn't aware of Liu Yiming's beautiful thoughts on the novel. It's interesting to note that Chang Chun refers to the Daoist master Qiu Chuji (13th-c.), who founded the Dragon Gate sect. He's been confused as the author of the novel because his disciple wrote a travel journey called Journey to the West, which describes Qiu traveling to meet Genghis Khan in Central Asia.
  7. Tangki spirit-medium ritual

    Thank you. I'll definitely give it a listen.
  8. Tangki spirit-medium ritual

    I'm still gathering information on the temple, so I can't give you an accurate answer right now. I do have pictures, though (see below). Worshiping numerous Monkey Kings is common to his religion. From what I've gathered at other temples, each serves a specific purpose. See section two of my article here for a description of one Monkey King temple's pantheon.
  9. Tangki spirit-medium ritual

    Yes, I've seen pictures. I thought the bike through the cheek was pretty hardcore.
  10. Tangki spirit-medium ritual

    Back in November, I joined a small temple on a religious pilgrimage to the south of Taiwan. Their flavor of folk Daoism focuses on self-mortification rituals performed by spirit-mediums (Taiwanese Hokkien: Tangki, 童乩; Chinese: Jitong, 乩童; literally: "Divining Child"), who are believed to channel the spirit of their god, in this case the "Great Sage Equaling Heaven" (Qitian Dasheng, 齊天大聖), better known as the Monkey King Sun Wukong (孫悟空). The self-mortification serves several purposes. First, hacking, skewering, and poking the body with various weapons is considered a form of self-sacrifice. Second, the weapons that pierce the flesh are believed to imbue the Tangki with spiritual power needed in their battle with demonic forces that pervade every corner of daily life. Third, the resulting blood is believed to have demonifugic properties, hence the reason it is smeared on paper talismans and clothing. Overall, the ritual is performed to exorcize evil spirits that cause bad luck and mental and physical illnesses. The Tangki wear ritual bibs normally associated with babies in Asian culture. As noted above, the Hokkien/Chinese word for spirit-medium means “Divining Child”. This refers to the centuries-old belief that children were the mouthpiece of gods. In fact, the mediums are known to speak in a shrill voice known as “shen (神, god) language”. The fact that their back is bare refers to ancient Shang-Zhou period rituals in which a sacrificial victim was exposed to the elements. Though small, the temple I accompanied, has an astounding seven Tangki, each who channels one of seven monkey god spirits. Five joined the pilgrimage, including the senior Tangki, his son, and his disciples. The ritual they performed to ensure the trip’s safety was the same as that completed at each of the temples we visited. The Tangki donned their ritual garb, the aforementioned bib and a tri-panel apron, and held a command flag in their left hand as they formed a line. A young acolyte (or sometimes the senior Tangki) held an incense pot up to their face until they worked themselves into a trance. Once the monkey god spirit took over, the Tangki struck a martial pose and held out their right hand, thus signaling an attendant to bring them a ritual sword (this was completed for each Tangki in turn). The first Tangki walked out to the center of the specified area (in front of the temple) and pointed to the ground with the sword, where attendants set fire to spirit money in a small metal pan. The Tangki waved their command flag over the fire before hacking their back with the sword. Then they performed a ritual walk to a new location and lit four more fires. The five fires in total represent the celestial generals of the five cardinal camps (N, S, E, W, and Center), which are led by the monkey god in combat. The following Tangki start with a sword but change to different weapons at each new fire pot. These include an ax, a spiked club, a saw fish nose sword, and a spiked ball. All the while, temple members play drums and gongs. The weapon hits are superficial but still draw enough blood to drip down the back. Spirit money is tucked into the back of the pants to soak up the blood. Once the ritual is over, their backs are sprayed with alcohol and briefly wiped. It’s interesting that the blood almost immediately stops flowing. The hacking is performed so much that their backs are left in a permanent raw, pink state. I must note that the self-mortification ritual performed by this temple is quite tame compared to what I’ve read about in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, where they skewer their cheeks and backs with all manner of rods, spears, and hooks. I have video of the ritual. I’ll try to add some in a future post. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos. And before I forget, Happy New Year! !!!BLOOD WARNING!!!
  11. The Ink Treasure of Wu Daozi, (Daozi mobao, 道子墨寶) is a collection of fifty ink drawings of the Daoist pantheon attributed to the noted 8th-century artist Wu Daozi but likely produced during the 13th-century. The collection ranges from the Jade Emperor to heavenly generals and bureaucrats to lowly demon soldiers. For example, see Marshal Tianpeng, a wrathful esoteric Daoist deity (the image has been enhanced). Click the link below for a PDF.
  12. Keep getting "Banned" messages

    I log in using the same device. I'm an American living in Taiwan. I use a VPN when I want to access Amazon Prime, which doesn't work over here due to international licensing issues. If I remember correctly, it just says "You have been banned from viewing this site" or something like that. There is no code that goes along with it.
  13. Keep getting "Banned" messages

    Ok, thank you. That makes sense.
  14. Journey To the West

    I'm glad you like my blog and that you bought the official release after I sent you copies. I never met Dr. Yu, but we shared a correspondence some years prior to his death in 2015. I was honored that he called me friend. The information in his footnotes helped guide me to my current research.