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EWong: Taoist Sand Divination

To: alt.occult.methods,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.divination
From: nagasiva 
Subject: EWong: Taoist Sand Divination
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 19:40:43 GMT

nagasiva :
>I'll post something here of relevance soon.

here you go!

compare this to Hermetic geomancy, New Age automatic writing, 
or to a spiritualist's planchette and ouija/spirit board.



	A kind of divination unique to Magical Taoism is sandwriting.
	It involves asking deities and spirits to send their messages
	or reveal the future through the sorcerer. Acting as a medium,
	the sorcerer enters a trance and writes the messages in sand.

	Sorcerers must be specially empowered before they can act as
	a medium in sandwriting divination. An authorized medium --
	male or female -- petitions the deities to allow the initiate
	to perform the divination. A talisman that endows the initiate
	with this power is burned and its ashes are collected in a cup
	of water. After the initiate drinks the talismanic water, she
	is authorized to do sandwriting divination.

	The equipment of sandwriting divination consists of a box
	measuring approximately four feet square that is filled with
	fine, white sand. The sand is carefully smoothed before
	divination takes place. Most mediums hold a stick that acts
	as a pen, but I have also seen quite elaborate sandboxes that
	have one end of the writing stick suspended over the box and
	the other end mechanically attached to a handle. The diviner
	grasps the handle to move the stick and write the words.

	The divination begins with the medium chanting incantations
	and drawing talismans to ask the deity to descend into her
	body. The medium then falls into a trance and then moves the
	stick through the sand to write the words. Helpers stand by
	to record what is written and smooth out the sand so that
	the writing will not be disrupted.

	Practitioners of sandwriting divination tell me that while
	they are in a trance they have no control over the writing
	stick: the stick seems to take on a power of its own and
	all they can do is hang onto it; moreover, the mediums do
	not remember what was written during the trance. Having
	attended several sandwriting divination sessions, I have to
	admit that something out of the ordinary happens in these
	situations. On each occasion, the diviner closed his eyes
	and the stick moved rapidly over the sand. Beads of sweat
	poured from the medium; helpers smoothed out the sand with
	wooden blocks as soon as the words were recorded.

	Sometimes the writing appears in archaic script -- something
	that the diviners do not know how to write in their normal
	mode of consciousness. I am told that, traditionally,
	illiteracy was one of the requirements for being a sand-
	writing diviner. This ensures that the messages from the
	deities are genuine.

	The message delivered in sandwriting divination is sometimes
	cryptic, and an interpreter is often needed to decipher the
	message. Generally, the interpreter is someone other than the
	diviner, because the two tasks require different skill and
	disposition. One might say that the interpreter needs to
	have knowledge and intuition, and the medium needs to have
	power to hold the deity or spirit within.
	"The Shambhala Guide to Taoism", Eva Wong, 
	 Shambhala, 1997; pp. 107-8.

also compare this with mirror and crystal scrying, as is well-
known to be associated with the activities of John Dee and
Edward Kelley. one of the presuppositions about their work
was that Dee valued Kelley's scrying *because* of his presumed
ignorance concerning magical symbolism and phenomena. this
qualification by ignorance is a very interestion multicultural
commonality, based on the text above. (nagasiva)

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