By Wilson Yong
Wilson Yong, 19th generation initiated Taoist in the Western Upper Heaven Sect, offers classes in the ancient art of Taoist talismans. Learn how to draw Chinese characters and how to draw, prepare, and use talismans for use in feng shui. Attend a special 3-day event on August 29.
The Celestial Calligraphy also known as Talisman (Fu) is a very ancient and special form of magic that uses specific combinations of materials (paper, cinnabar, ink), special characters or writing styles (ancient forms of ideograms), and the weaving of specific amounts of mystic energy into the Talisman that is capable of storing a magic spell. Inscribed into these sheets is the written representation of the Ch'i power that is now locked within the Talisman. Anyone can activate paper-inscribed Celestial Calligraphy by simply setting fire to the paper and holding it whiles the characters or text burn. It is the combustion of Ch'i power that triggers the magic by releasing the energy stored within the Calligraphy. However, some forms of Celestial Calligraphy, Talismans, are not burned. These are instead placed in a household or area, or carried on the body in order to invoke its power.
The Chinese paper talismans (called "Fu" in China) are probably the most powerful enchantment tools. Each talismans power is different, and so is the way to activate and use that power.
Fu's and incantations can be used to manifest psychic or spiritual energy. It is the intent behind the Fu's that determines whether it is white or black magic. For illustrations, Fu's can be used to invoke gods, protect a household, exorcise demons, etc..It has been said that magic charms are the expression of psychic power in a totally focused mind. In writing Fu's, the most important key is to have mental concentration. Thus the scribed Fu becomes an extension of the mental aspect of the scribe, and this is why it can be efficacious. This is especially true in Fu's written by someone whose soul is "alive." Because of the instilling of psychic energy into the scribing process, such Fu's are especially effective.
Basically, paper talismans are folded in rectangular pieces of paper with complicated writing on them. True Chinese paper talismans are drawn with a brush made of peach wood and a pigment made of red cinnabar or black ink, which is believed to have strong magical properties. They are always written on yellow, green, white and red paper drawn using either red or black ink, and in a special script called Celestial Calligraphy.
Use of talismans was a long-established part of Chinese religion. Taoism traces the use of talismans and charms back to the earliest figures of civilization. In the apocryphal Taoist texts called Ku Wei Shu (Old Mystical Text, c. 100 CE), the role of talismans and charms is mentioned in connection with last legendary Five Emperors, Yao and Shun and the mysterious Emperor who founded the Hsia dynasty, the Great Emperor Yu.
Based on the legend the Great Emperor Yu had managed to subdue a terrible flood that devastated most of China. According to the legend he received a revelation from heaven a talisman called the "River Map" or "Ho T'u", which have the ability to control the stars, river and the five elements.
There are numerous texts within Taoism concerned with the use of talismans, such as the "Qi Men Tun Chia", which contains charms and talisman for the Twenty-Eight Constellations and the Nine stars. The historical origins extend back over two thousand years in Chinese history to the Han Dynasty. The first Heavenly Master of Taoism, Chang Tao Ling, established the first formal practice of Taoism at Lung Hu Shan, the Mountain of the Dragon and Tiger, in Jiangxi Province during that Dynasty.
He was born in 35 CE and believed to have descended to heaven to become an immortal in 157 CE. Well known as Chang Tien-Shih or Heavenly Master Chang a title granted to him by his descendants. When he ascended to heaven he left behind a mystic text, a collection of talismans, a seal and a sword. It is these that form the basis of Taoist charms and talisman study.
In this book some of the talismans are either associated with Chang Tao-Ling or linked to a particular deity. Most talismans begin with several formal ways. Those linked to Chang Tao-Ling usually begin with Chen, meaning "submission". However some of the talisman may begin with "Ch'ih" or "to order". The earliest term used in talismans is "Ch'ih", often combined with "Kwei" or "ghost" during the Han period (207 BCE-9CE).
You may find the term Cheng appears in talismans as used in Taoist literature to describe Tao, the principal of universal order. Furthermore the term "Lei" or "thunder" is often used as it is deemed to be a powerful force destroying evil forces. This character is often written by elongating the final stroke of the principal talisman character into a curving line denoting lightning!
It is believed that a bolt of lightning erupting in the midst of the dark universe disrupts the primordial chaos. Hence at the beginning of time, chaos is altered into order by lightning. This emphasis is on re-establishing order.
Heavenly Master Chang Talismans from Chinese Almanac
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