Hua Miao spirit worship.
8. Worship of the door a-nzhang.

Compiled by Wang Ming-ji.


When called to a case of sickness, one course of action that the shaman-healer might prescribe was to perform a sacrifice for the "place of arriving", that is, the door. The animal to be sacrificed was a young pig, but the shaman-healer took no further part in the rituals involved. These all had to be conducted by the head of the family and took place indoors, including, despite the obnoxious smell in a house without a chimney, the burning of the bristles, the cleansing of the carcass and the disposal of the waste, all of which would normally have been done outside.

A young female pig was valuable for the progeny that it might be expected to produce. It may therefore be that this animal was chosen for sacrifice in the belief that, in the spirit world, the spirit of the gilt would give birth to spirit piglets for the use of the spirit of the door. The four trotters alone figured in the sacrificial meal, clearly a symbolic reference to the comings and goings through the door. The rest of the meat was eaten in the normal way, a feast for the whole family.

No one could explain why the door had to be worshipped when there was no thunder about.

This being a private, family occasion, the exclusion of outsiders was understandable. Nevertheless it would have been no easy matter, especially for the men who, in general, had some knowledge of the language and constantly used it in the market place, to go a whole evening and night without uttering a single word of Chinese.

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