A Message to All Realms
There are three types of Daoist rites and the Rites to All Realms (罗天大醮) is one normally administrated by a major Daoist facility.
The other two include Rites to the Universe (普天大醮) and Rites to All Worlds (周天大醮), which should be hosted by the head of the state (used to be an emperor) and the prominent figures in the state, and invite 3,600 and 2,400 VIPs from other space-time domains, respectively.
This is an ancient painting depicting the Rites to All Celestial Realms and the effects on the sky.
This is the sky during the 9-day Rites to All Celestial Realms, taken place between 27 November and 5 December 2023, on Mt Mao (茅山), Changzhou (常州), Jiangsu Province (江苏省).
This is the site of the all-women Daoist temple Qianyuan Guan (乾元观).
This is the ritual altar for the grand Rites to All Celestial Realms, which was shielded with five coloured cloths during the ceremony.
The main programs of the Rites to All Celestial Reamls include incense burning to open the passage (焚香), banners raising to mark the premises (扬幡), a welcoming ceremony to the celestial VIPs (请圣), a presentation of the cross-realm meeting (上表), lowering banners (落幡) and seeing off celestial VIPs (送圣).
The rites invited a total of 1,200 VIPs from various realms, including Three Purity Domains (三清境), Four Ethereal Heavens (四梵天), Galexes (星空界), Three Worlds (三界), Four Chambers (四府), Yang Sphere (阳褱), Aquatic Zone (水国) and Underworld (丰都), etc.
The Daoists who participated in the rites. The three women Daoists from Qianyuan Guan sitting in the middle of the front row, hosted the grand 9-day ritual.
A Daoist swordswoman attended the grand event.
A Daoist master attended the splendid fair.
A Russian Daoist attended the magnificent ceremony.
Large crowds flocked to Mt Maoshan witnessing the spectacular Daoist ritual.
Rites to All Realms is not a fixed-schedule event. It’s usually organised when foreseeing some crucial celestial or terrestrial occurrences.
In the last forty years, White Clouds Temple in Beijing (北京白云观), All Realms Temple in Shanxi (山西大罗宫), Daoist Association of Hong Kong (香港道教联合会), Daoist Association of Hunan (湖南省道教协会), Evergreen Temple in Hubei (湖北长春观), Mt Wudang in Hubei (湖北武当山) hosted the rites.
The latest service was arranged in 2018 by Mt Green Town (四川青城山) in Sichuan.
Classical Chinese Daoist tune: Send Message to All Realms (开天符), sung by women Daoists
Classical Chinese Daoist tune: Send Message to All Realms (开天符), sung by a man Daoist
Two Situations on Earth
In morality, humanity has been going backwards, particularly in the last half a century, as the nurturing qi (life energy) on this planet drained out, so people drifted away from consciousness and inner resources but sought external help from technology.
Fortunately, a new cosmic circle is to begin and fresh nurturing qi has already started to grace the planet. We’ll see a preview of a human society that pays more attention to consciousness and conscience and inner development in the next two decades.
However, before entering the new era, there will be great upheaval and chaos as the world is going through a reshuffle.
Such a situation can be explained by two graphs in I Ching.
In the Fortune Graph (泰卦), we have Heaven humbly remaining below to help Earth rise, which speaks of interconnection, interaction and integration between Heaven, Earth and all things in between, of a collective spirit and a united effort, of having Yang force filled inside with yin essence lingering around, of being strong within but gentle in its approach towards the surrounding environment, and of getting good people in power with the wretched to be kept in a distance.
The opposite is the Misfortune Graph (否卦), with Heave above Earth below. In this case, Heaven and Earth go their separate ways, and all things are disengaged with their sources and from each other. There is no communication between the elite class and the grassroots, and the nation cannot hold itself as one piece. It is a situation where Yang force is exposed to the public with Yin essence filled its core, where one bullies around but is a coward by nature, where one presents oneself as a noble character while deep down being a truly wretched creature, where the wretched get their way while the nobles are suppressed.
The outcome of the wrestling between the old jungle order and the new civilisation will depend on the internal strengths of both parties. The one who is the first to break down from within will lose the ultimate battle.
The sky is darkest before dawn. But dawn will be here before long.
Classical Chinese Daoist tune: Rejoice for the Message Successfully Sent to All Realms (焚化贊)
Snows kill germs and disinfect the air for a refreshing spring.
Rites to All Reamls (罗天大醮仪), by Wang Xinruo (王钦若 962-1025), a prime minister of North Song Dynasty.
Book of Seven Daoist Principles and Practices (云笈七签), by Zhang Junfang (张君房), a scholar-official and Daoist of North Song Dynasty
Cyclopedia of Daoist Principles and Practices (道藏), compiled by the Ming Dynasty Royal Library.