M355
Hua Miao spirit worship.
2. The spirits bi-jio-a-su.

Compiled by Wang Ming-ji.

Introduction.

In his list of Miao spirits (M371), Yang Yung-xin said that the spirits bi-jio-a-su were kin to the ki-zo that lived in caves, and that they assumed human form, when they were harmless, or the form of animals, when they could cause sickness. However, Yang Yung-xin offered no suggestion as to how such sickness might be treated, and, in fact, did not return to the subject again.

Wang Ming-jiís account of these spirits is quite different. It comes between the two halves of his treatment of the Spirit Zu-gi-za and the ancestors, and, indeed, he sought to make a connection with what went before, by saying that the bi-jio-a-su were privy to the thoughts of the Great Spirit and could pacify him. The expression used means "to comfort", as one might comfort a bereaved person, but how this operated is neither explained nor illustrated.

The further statement that the bi-jio-a-su had to dwell in the bodies of human beings because the Spirit Zu-gi-za filled all other space and there was no room for them, is hard to understand. Other spirits, described in Sections X, XI and XII, seem to have encountered no such difficulty. Moreover, the bi-jio-a-su were at the command of the shaman-healer, and assumed animal forms when sent out at his behest. The statement comes at the close of a rather florid passage in the Miao and it may be that Wang Ming-ji allowed his rhetoric to run away with him a little.

Again there is no suggestion as to how sickness caused by such spirits might be treated. Possibly, because they were subject to the shaman-healer, a payment to him in cash or kind, or, alternatively, an attack upon his person or his property, might have been considered a more certain cure than sacrifices, libations or exorcisms.

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