27 May 2008

站筊 - A standing divinity cup: a miracle

First of all, I guess I need to explain what this thing is. It does not have a proper English name. I tried to google it but can only find "bamboo rope", which is quite incorrect. "Bamboo Rope" means something else and it refers to the object described in an ancient Chinese text. I also found another one "divinity cups" that seem quite correct for the meaning of using it. So let's call this object "divinity cups".

In Chinese tradition of praying, "divinity cups" are very important. They are used as a means to communicate with gods and goddesses. If you have a certain question, usually a yes or no question, you can pray to the gods and ask them to give you the answer by using this object. They consist of two pieces with the same shape. Using it is very simple and all you do is throw them on the floor. If one piece has the flat side facing up while the other one's flat side faces down, then this is considered a yes answer. If the flat side of both pieces all faces down, then this is a no answer. If the flat side of both pieces all faces up, then we call this answer "a smile" which means your question is not clear, or the gods consider the question inappropriate. If this happens, you need to ask the question again or reformulate your question.

The procedure of using "divinity cups" is debatable. Most people, especially those who work in the temple, say that for yes answer you must get three yes in a row, meaning throwing them three times consecutively all with yes answers. If you get a no answer for the first throw, then the answer is no for sure. As for the smile for the first throw, you must repeat your question again or ask in another way. However, there are also some who think only getting one yes would suffice. For me, I go for three yes since it is never that easy to get a yes answer from throwing this object. Getting three yes in a row could really mean the answer should be correct.

But in my case, what we have talked about is not applicable because I got a standing one! Scientifically speaking, the possibility of getting a standing one when you throw them on the floor is almost close to zero. The endings of the piece are sharp angels. It is not possible to put it in a standing position, let alone throwing it. But I got this, as the picture shows, a week ago.

This has meanings! We learned from the elderly that if such condition happens, the god must want to indicate something. So I went to the great Mat-Zu Temple in Tainan (台南大天后宮). I asked Mat-Zu (The goddess of the sea and the queen of the heaven, 媽祖) if this standing divinity cup means anything. I used another way to ask for answers, that is, to ask for a poem from the goddess. After drawing for more than 20 poems, I finally got the one. It was a great one saying something amazing and great will soon happen to me, my future will be prosperous, and I will have what I wish come true. I am very happy!

Indeed, as the elderly says and the staff at the temple as well, a standing divinity cup is a miracle and a good sign. This way of saying corresponds to the poem I received from Mat-Zu. I believe in it and I am so happy that such miracle really happened to me!

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