Miao spirits that were worshipped and those that caused sickness.
11. Be-a-dli. (Sowing souls.)

Compiled by Yang Yung-xin.


The Miao winnowed grain by tossing it up in the air from a flat basket. The breeze blew the chaff away, and the heavier grain fell back into the basket. In his list of Miao spirits, (M371), Yang Yung-xin gives "zao-ki-lao", which means "winnowing spirits" as an alternative to "be-a-dli", "sowing souls", as a name for this fertility rite. During the performance of the ritual some kind of seed was thrown into the air, and had to be caught by members of the family holding up the skirt of their nether garments by the hem.

Yang Yung-xinís account of this ritual is even briefer than that of Wang Ming-ji, (M365), and again the impression is given that there was more to it than we are actually being told.

The remark that, when they were sowing the souls of people, "each family sowed for itself", is not altogether clear. Possibly it implies that though this was normally a private, family affair, if the object was to improve the flocks and herds or the crops, several families might share it together.

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