(via Wind God Ritual)
August 10th- 12th, 2017
medium-sized Dongba ritual
for the purpose of exorcizing ghosts
in a multiple-strange-deaths case
Part I: Preparations
(at the host-family's house, in Lijiang City):
Making wood-board paintings, paper flowers, paper clothes, bamboo cage, straw deer, zodiac tabs, etc- All things to be destroyed/ abandoned within 12 hours. HeXiudong gives instructions and teaches everyone how to help make flowers and flags. WuZhimi inks lines for Ghosts onto the boards, while HeQiang adds color.
We finish our tasks around 4pm, and thats when preliminary set-up for ritual begins. HeXiudong starts chanting with the first scripture book, while molding the first dough figurine- HadoDoma, "a bad ghost." He ties black yarn (a stand-in for hemp) around his own neck and the figurines, and the two hosts imitate and do the same. In the middle of the living room, a few pieces of wood are placed on a large paddle-board and lit on fire, a piece of bacon balanced on top. An assistant holds one of the chickens close to the board, facing the fire, so that it witnesses the burning. HadoDoma is then taken and stamped on all the doorframes of the house, and the chests of the two hosts. Dongba removes all yarn from humans using the cymbal's claw, moves the string to the figurine. Once the chant is complete, we pack up and bring everything to the ritual site near the mountains.
Chief Dongba: HeXiudong
Apprentices: HeQiang, WuZhimi
Part II: Ritual
(at the foot of the mountains, in Baisha):
HeXiudong directs the ritual from the edge of the God-Altar. The paper flowers adorn four Naka (God's-Eye weavings), which frame the ghost fence, straw deer, and the Zodiac/ Ghost Clothesline. The bamboo Ghost Cage hangs by the Egg Tree, which is circled by Superbad Ghosts. Three dough figurines are sculpted (Yama, HeYigeukwo, Lido), and placed by the offerings at the altar. Incense goes at the base of all Ghost boards and fence pieces, replace when shortened.
Shortly before midnight, the goat is slaughtered, and after midnight, both chickens (rooster first, hen second). We cook and eat these, with rice. HeQiang and WuZhimi feed and drive out ghosts, three times total.
One chicken skullcap is analyzed and read out loud. Lido figurine is poured over with tea and wine, then sent away into the trees. HeXiudong performs two Dongba dances in the night, the second around 4:30am, accompanying the smashing of the Egg Tree and half of the Ghost Boards. We disassemble and burn these pieces in the fire. During closing, Chief Dongba uses bamboo switch to drum on the floor while chanting, and at the end of the chant, folds it into a knot that spears into the earth in front of the Deer enclosure. We clean up and head home by 5am.
Everyone sleeps around sunrise.
Visited the ritual site a week later, to look for HeXiudong's lost keys. Couldn't find the keys, but took some photos of what remained...
Our Youtube Playlist with clips from the event (12 videos total):
But you can also find footage from the ritual as the second half of Alfred's film, link: here on Youtube (begins at 19:30).
(last edited: September 13, 2017 // F. Wing)