Consulting deities, Lim Tai See Tai Chong Soo Kiu Leong Tang Clan Association


This lady was seated on a chair next to ancestral tablets and an altar with some deities that I did not recognise. She seemed deep in thought and prayer. After some moments had passed she got up and threw two wooden blocks on the floor. After gravity did its work and the blocks settled, she looked expectantly at the way they had landed.

She was throwing a jiǎo bēi, a form of divination blocks. Taoists use the jiǎo bēi to address questions to deities who would answer the questions by influencing the way the wood blocks land.

You can only ask “yes” or “no” questions.

According to Wikipedia:

There are four possible answers that the jiaobei blocks can produce:
1. Shèngjiǎo (聖筊, divine answer): One block flat and another block round is a ‘yes’ answer.

2. Nùjiǎo (怒筊, angry answer) also kūjiao (哭筊, crying answer): Both blocks round is a ‘no’ answer. It is said that the gods are displeased by the question, and is shown in the way the blocks directly fall flat on the floor.

3. Xiàojiǎo (笑筊, laughing answer): Both blocks flat have different interpretations; either it can be an emphasized ‘no’ answer and a sign that the gods are laughing at the question, or that they are laughing because the querent knows the answer to his or her question. One characteristic of this answer is when the blocks sway back and forth when dropped, a symbolic show of laughter.

4. Lìjiǎo (立筊, standing answer): One or both blocks fall but stand erect on the floor indicate that the deities do not understand the referent’s question, therefore the question is nullified and the procedure must be repeated.

I wonder what she asked.

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