The Development of Chinese Magick pt. 1

Zhang Daoling.jpg

Formal Taoist magickal schools first arose during the Han period; this was an age that saw a general proliferation of many different types of occult ideas and their attendant art forms. The founding father of religious Taoism, as an organized system of magician-priests, was the deified Chang Tao-ling. He was a magician from the province of Szechwan, and around the year 150 C.E., he established a school that came to be known as the Heavenly Master Sect. This was otherwise known as the Way of the Five Bushels of Rice, because of the fact that each prospective student was required to provide the group with just such an amount of food, prior to initiation.

This sect emphasized the use of talismans, spirit evocation and exorcism, the esoteric use of sex, and other magickal and shamanistic practices. It also established the idea that personal spiritual evolution could be greatly enhanced by formal membership in the organized Taoist religion. Forgiveness for earthly acts that transgressed Heavenly law, and greater spiritual movement away from the artificial aspects of life and toward the Tao, would be offered by the gods to those who had been formally initiated into the Taoist religion. Chang’s community was based on the mutual dependency of its members, and for a time, it even governed its own lands on an autonomous basis.

-Richard Herne, Magick, Shamanism, and Taoism

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