Singapore, the Little Red Dot, a safe haven is known for its Nightlife, Shopping, Human Resources, Airlines, Michelin Star Street Food, Restaurants and Port as well as having rich cultural history. With numerous beautiful temples tucked away in the city, the First Episode of Asia's Next Top Model was shot in the Hong San See Temple, Singapore.
Chinese and Buddhist temples hide away in the city like little gems. Kuan Yin is also known as Kuan Yum and Guan Yin. She is a goddess revered throughout South-East Asia, popular in Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Tibet, where her counterpart is known as Tara.
She is a patron goddess of Women and the Madonna of the East, granting both children and protection. Her name means "she who hears the cries of the world" and she is the goddess of compassion. It is said that if one calls out to Kuan Yin, with sincerity one can sense her presence. She is often depicted carrying a vase. Her eternal compassion encompasses even those on the fringes of society.
Chinese Society is spiritual and like most South-East Asian cultures, believes in the presence of spirits, both good and bad. There is also an emphasis on fortune tellers and oracles. The Kuan Yin Oracle is available at every Chinese temple in Singapore. It consists of a cylinder with 100 numbered sticks.
The Method of Consulting The Oracle
1. Those who visit the temple to consult the oracle, pick up the cylinder from the tables on the side where they are placed. They then proceed to sit in front of the altar, and hold the cylinder horizontally and shake it, till one stick falls out. Whilst shaking the sticks, the process is to think of the question that needs to be answered. If multiple sticks fall out, then the seeker has got it wrong and the process has to be repeated, until only one stick falls out.
2. Having gotten the stick with a number, further confirmation is required and a pair of moon blocks are tossed. The heads and tails are named Yin and Yang. One throws the Moon Blocks so that they may fall down to the ground. When you get one head and one tail, then it is a confirmation that this is a message from the goddess else the person has to start the entire process of shaking the canister to obtain a new stick and then again cast the moon blocks again, to check in with the presiding deity of the temple.
3. Once the stick has been drawn, and the moon blocks confirm that the message is authentic, then the seeker proceeds to the cubby holes on the sidewalls of the temple and draws a slip with the fortune on it. This is then interpreted, to fit the question on hand.
I do use the Fortune sticks when we have friends and family visit us in Singapore, and whilst it talks about harvest and is rural owing to the fact it is ancient, the oracle does point in the right direction. I remember having a friend go with me to the temple, and she wanted to know if they were moving out of Singapore. The oracle asked her to do good deeds and abstain from drinking. She made a list and as soon as the last activity on the list was crossed out, they got an offer to return to Europe. The process took three months, considering they had been waiting for 4 years!
Your DIY Fortune Sticks.
1. For the fortune sticks, one may use ice cream sticks and put them into a cylinder.
2. I use I-Ching coins to check if the message of the sticks was for me, and I think that coins could work well as a substitute for the moon blocks.
3. The Divination Book is at hand. (The Book is freely available at the Chinese Temples. I’ve taken pictures and uploaded it to Dropbox for those who would be interested to have a copy.)
How to cast the sticks
Chinese fortune sticks or Kau Chim sticks are very popular in the US, and are known as Chi-Chi sticks. The poetry is similar to the I-Ching and it is interesting to have a go at an Oracle from another culture.
This post has been authored by Kamal Bhogal Bhatia; Divination enthusiast, unashamed bibliophile and traveler! This former flight attendant, now mother of two, is based in Singapore, where she has access to many forms of Eastern divination!
Learn more about Kamal here.
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