Chinese Spirit Mediums

p. 58 the Kitchen-God

"is the last son to the Lord of Heaven.

He was very ugly and playful.

He is both deaf and dumb, and

likes to look at women, so

he likes being at the back of the house where he can watch women."

"was a poor man who married a rich woman.

She left him, and he became a beggar."

p. 68 generals of spirit-soldiers in camps controlled by the ‘Baby God’


# of generals











pp. 109-110 period of initiation for a spirit-medium


for the 1st __ days (from beginning)

progression of initiation



"nine gods, both fierce and refined, possessed him."



"he was considered unformed.

He wore the long yellow cotton pants of the medium, but no stomacher, and no embroidered leggings."


after 100

"a ceremony was held

to demonstrate his mastery over fire.

Iron balls were heated in charcoal, and

he ‘played’ with these, rolling them on the ground

with his feet, sometimes scooping them up with his hands, while he was in the trance state."

p. 110 trance of spirit-medium

"When the god comes, his souls is said to ‘cover’ the soul of the spirit medium.

The medium is said to be unconscious in trance".

"The god comes, then I know nothing."

"When the god comes, you can see a very bright light.

Being in a trance is like sleeping.

You must vomit until your’re pure, then

it becomes very hard to breathe ..."

p. 111 invocations in the God of Prosperity’s Dreambook

__ joss-stick

"inviteth __"


"__ the god to open the bright gates of heaven."


"__ the glorious god to consciousness."


"__ the bright god to come :

To ride a jeweled horse, and

to come out from heaven’s terrace.

To leap on the clouds, and ride the mist of the void."


urn of incense in front of altar

The Jade Emperor granteth authority :

"Through flying clouds your horse travels

to the front of the altar."

pp. 116-117 costumes worn by mediums in order to be possessed by deities




wen ‘literary’

‘Vagabond Buddha’

tattered yellow monk’s robe

Tai S^an Lao Jun

red embroidered satin robes of a Daoist priest

‘Wealth God’

black robe with character for ‘wealth’ emblazoned on the back in gold

‘Crippled Immortal’

shabby grey robe of a beggar

wu ‘military’, wearing satin embroidered with name of god & of temple

‘God of War’

red-&-gold robes; halberd

eldest ‘Baby God’

Vis.n.u ring (a magical weapon) [worn as bracelet on right wrist – p. 230]

younger ‘Baby God’


p. 118 invulnerability of spirit-medium in trance

"He might hit his bare back with the ‘Eight Jewelled Sword’,

or with the ball of nails.

He might ‘play’ with the red-hot iron balls,

rolling with his hands or feet to other ‘gods,’

as if they were playing a divine sport.

The medium might also ‘wash’ his hands and his feet

in boiling oil in the temple ...

Mediums in trance also ‘dot’ paper charms

for their temple committees

with blood drawn from their own tongue.

Finally, it is common for there to be

fire-walkings at temple-fairs."

p. 118 black flag

"a large square of cloth on which was painted the image of the ‘Great Ultimate’ (the nested yin and yang symbols)

surrounded by the Eight Trigrams.

Around the periphery were painted seven constellations. ...

The black flag is also used to avert violent fights between different ‘gods.’"

p. 144 washing of clothing

"women must wash men’s and women’s clothes separately, and men’s will be washed first. ...

Similarly, men’s and women’s clothing is dried separately ...

In particular it is thought to be catastrophic if a man passes under a line on which women’s underwear hangs, and this is to be avoided ..."

p. 221 dancing idols

"The stone lions at the Goddess of Mercy temples used to dance.

... the lions would dance at night,

they would run down to the seaside and drink water."

p. 221 ranking of gods of the 1st 5 of the 9 steps of heaven [counting upward]




Monkey God


2nd Gentleman (Er Lan Sen = the Chinese Orion)


Dion Dua (‘Centre-Large’) = Lo Qia (the ‘Baby God’)


To Ta Tian Wan (the ‘Pagoda King’) = Li Jin

("He is Lo Qia’s father. ...

Lo Qia ... loses only to the eight-sided pagoda which his father controls.")


Hsien Tian Dai (the God of War)

pp. 229-230 myth of Lo Qia (‘Baby God’) in the Investiture of the Gods


the myth


"he is the son of a general who was a student of Taoist arts ... and married,

but finds it upsetting that his wife is pregnant for three and a half years without giving birth.


Finally, Lo Qian was born in a wheel of fire, his right wrist wrapped in a bracelet [a magical weapon, the so-called ‘Vishnu ring’ ...], his stomach covered with a piece of thin red silk. ...


When Lo Qian was seven, he ... found a river, and ... bathed there, leaving his ‘stomacher’ on a rock, but placing his magical seven-foot ‘Chaotic Heaven’ silk pants into the water. It agitated the water, disturbing a dragon, and ultimately Lo Qia fought with ... the Dragon King himself. His father hearing all this was not pleased, and he himself fought with Lo Qia.


Finally, Lo Qia killed himself. He then visits his mother in a dream, asking her to build him a temple, which she does. His spirit then visited this temple and spoke oracularly."

Jean Elizabeth DeBernardi: Heaven, Earth, and Man. PhD diss., U. of Chicago, 1986.