China-Nation of Occultism, Spiritism, and Magic
China is an Asian country that has the largest population in earth, over one and a half billion people that is split into two lands: the very large mainland China and the very small island nation of Taiwan. Mainland China is Communist-Socialist while Taiwan, also known as Formosa, is Democratic.
In Chinese society, there are millions and millions of people who study occultism; the paranormal. In the Chinese religion of Taoism, the priests perform ritual prayers asking the gods for blessings, as a bountiful harvest for farmers, peace, prosperity, and abundance for families and even entire villages. Taoist priests also perform exorcisms to chase away evil spirits to prevent them for doing harm. And Taoist priests have blessed boats used in the Dragon Boat Festival.
A big spiritual practice of the Chinese people is that during funerals the burning of what is called “Hell Money”. Such money are bills that look like cash paper currency. These small rectangular pieces of paper have images of money, wealth, good luck, joy, abundance, and have numerical money denominations like real paper currency has. Hell Money, also known as Hell Bank Notes, at times with an image of a bank and a name of a bank. Burning wads of Hell Money at funerals allegedly provides lots of money for the deceased person to have to spend in the afterlife.
One funeral custom of the Chinese people is to light exploding firecrackers to scare away evil spirits. Another funeral custom of Chinese individuals, popular many years ago, was to make a big paper model of a house that has various items inside, then lit it on fire, making sure everything burns, and making sure the fire goes completely out including checking that there are no hot smoldering ashes or hot embers left. The belief is the burnt paper model house would be transferred to the deceased individual that could turn into a real house in the afterlife.
The Chinese folks have a big interest in fortune telling. There are a number of ways the Chinese perform fortune telling. One way is to have a lot of small but long, very thin, vertical wooden sticks that have tiny numbers written on them that are placed in a large tube looking box. The box is shaken up and a few sticks are made to fall out. The number on those sticks means certain things as wealth, danger, success, happiness; each number on those sticks is is looked up in a small booklet which gives their divinatory interpretations.
The most famous form of fortune telling in China pertains to the ” I Ching” also known as ” Yi Ching” which translates into “The Book of Changes ” or “Classic of Changes”. This book was first written over 5,000 years ago in China, but became very highly revised over the many centuries.
This book or manuel of divination and based on drawings of eight symbolic trigrams and sixty four hexagrams which have special interpretations regarding situations or factors in life. Yarrow sticks seem to be used originally, but the use of coins became the most favored to employ. Six coins, five identical and one different were thrown together at a line that was previously drawn on a table and the coin that lands closest to that line will produce the first line of the hexagram and so forth. How the coin lands shows the yin or yang. The obverse of the coin represents yang and the reverse of the coin represents yin. The distinct coin forms a moving line. Traditionally, in using coins with the I Ching, Chinese coins are used.
With the I Ching, the eight trigrams are as follows: Heaven, Lake, Fire, Thunder, Wind, Water, Mountain, and Earth.
The sixty four Hexagrams pertain to all sorts of things. The first seven hexagrams are, for example, these things in proper order: creative, receptive, difficulty, folly, waiting, conflict, and army.
The special combined significance of the trigrams and hexagrams give an alleged divination for a person.
Another form of Chinese fortune telling by a book and regular playing cards and a special gaming board is The Gong Hee Fot Choy Oracle which in translated Chinese means “The Greetings of Riches” and is a system of divination created by world traveler Margarete Ward (1890-1977) an American who developed a lifelong interest in Chinese popular culture and religion while a resident of Shanghai, China in 1919. At least by 1938, The Gong Hee Fot Choy Oracle became commercially produced and made available to the American and other Western Hemisphere buyers. This book and the special card significance details in a divination chart is a combination of Ward’s own occult knowledge with those of many famous Readers of Cards in the Orient and in Europe.
There have been a number of alleged spiritualist mediums and reputed psychics in China. Also, there have been famous Chinese magicians for centuries. And large numbers of Chinese people carry what they believe to be amulets, talismans, and good luck charms.