"How to Communicate with the Taoist Gods"

pp. 434-435 numerics



the counted



distinct Breaths separated in emerging from primordial Chaos



ages elapsed before light and darkness separated from one another



years[’ journey?] separated each heaven from each other



Heavens coagulated from the Breaths



myriads of levels are in the 1st Heavenly Palace, the Palace of Purple Fragility



"myriads of divine officials, all made up of breaths, all spontaneously born, all clad in winged garments of green feathers."



levels of Heavens



gods inside one’s body

p. 435 microcosm & macrocosm



round head

vault of heaven

rectangular feet

square earth


mt. K>un-lun upholding Heaven


left eye


right eye





hair on head & on body

stars & planets

grindings of teeth

rolling of thunder

pp. 435-436 divine world within one’s body


interior divine world


"Above the gap between the two eyebrows, inside the forehead, there are

at the right the Yellow Portico,

at the left the Scarlet Palace which are arranged

to guard the space of an inch (the entrance hall of the nine palaces within the skull).


The great gods of the nine palaces, when they enter and leave, all take

the gap between the Yellow Portico and the Scarlet Terrace

as their route.


The gods who guard the Terrace and the Portico allow

the divine officials of the nine palaces (inside the skull) to go in and out, as well as those who carry out the orders of the Lord on High, the Jade Youths and the imperial chariots

which come and go. But the two great gods do not allow anyone else to pass.


(When a messenger appears) the god of the Heart gives responsibility to the gods of the two ears to let him in.

These strike gongs and bells to warn the deputies of the nine palaces, so that they know that he has entered and they prepare themselves respectfully (to receive him).

These gongs and bells men hear as a humming in the ears; when one hears his ears singing, this is because they are admitting messengers from outside.


Then one must place the hands over the ears to black them and must say this prayer :

Divine Child who is in the Scarlet Palace (the heart),

And you, nine immortals who are in the chambers (of the head), ...

may the liquid fire of the Great One

Destroy the ten thousand evil ones! ...


If at that moment one has a sensation of warmth in the face, that is a good sign;

if on the other hand one feels cold between the forehead and the nape of the neck, that is a sign that the evil breath as entered.

In that case one must ... address the Great One, so that with his little bells of liquid fire he drives away the evil breaths".

p. 436 the Great One, chief of all the gods in the body

"(Within the head) in the Palace of Mysterious Cinnabar is

Lord Great One, who has the appearance of an infant at the moment when it has just been born.

He is seated on a golden throne, in a jade veil;

he is dressed in a garment of silk with purple embroideries.

From his belt is suspended a little bell of fire : the bell of liquid fire is without substance, it is nothing but a red light; when it is shaken, the sound is heard at a distance of ten thousand li".

p. 437 books in Heaven

"not only were the world and the gods produced spontaneously, but also the Sacred Books.

These were formed of the purest breaths in characters ten feet high.

Only the firstborn of the gods, the Celestial Venerable of the Original Beginning, is pure enough to read this primordial edition of the Taoist Books, hovering above them.

Any other being who might inadvertently pass above these sacred characters would feel his body dissolving and the breaths he is made of disentwining and going off into vapor.

The Celestial Venerable recited these books to the highest gods, and

these in turn wrote them in characters of gold on sheets of jade;

they explained them to the gods below them, and thus

from level to level each class of gods and immortals received knowledge of the sacred books and the procedures of salvation ...

From time to time the gods taught them to men, choosing for this ... those who are worthy to write their name in the register of immortals."

p. 440 prayer (to be made every day at dusk) to "the yellow-clad god who dwells in the Yellow Chamber in the middle of the chest above the heart" :

"Perfect Man in the center of the Yellow Chamber,

Yellow Essence with long gown, ...

Permeate my whole body!

Call my higher souls (hun), rule my lower souls (p’o)! ...

O yellow transcendent, remain concealed in my body!"

Henry Maspero (translated from the French by Frank A. Kierman, Jr.): Taoism and Chinese Religion. U. of MA Pr, Amherst, 1981. pp. 431-441