© 2019 KAMILA DELART

FILMS | PHOTOGRAPHY | NARRATIVES

T h e  Sacrifice

Once a year, the Daoist community gathers to observe a sacred ceremony that aims to attract good luck and safeguard the devotees from misfortune. Raising the Heavenly Pole, the worshipers invite the great Jade Emperor to descend from the skies - ready to prove their devotion and earn his blessings.

Refraining from animal food and walking through a labyrinth of a cleansing circle, they rid themselves of impurity, parting from past misfortune by putting cut-off nails and hair into tiny sachets loaded onto a boat that is hungrily swallowed by ritual flames on the sea.

Screening Time 12:45 min

Release Date: March 2019

Temple Ceremony

Thean Hou Temple

MALAYSIA

DAOISM

But the power of humans is limited and the sacrifice not great enough. Ready to suffer on behalf of the community, appointed mediums lend their bodies to Gods, letting them act as they will. 

In deep trance, they take away the pain from those who suffer, run through blazing flames of ritual fire, cut with sharp swords through the tender flash of their tongues to sacrifice blood - eventually collapsing as the deities withdraw, leaving their exhausted bodies behind.

 

Eternally grateful, the community concludes the ceremony by running through glowing ash and climbing a steep stairway to return the statues of their deities to the temple altar - receiving from the mediums a final blessing: Whether a blood mark on the forehead or a ritual cloth stained with holy blood carried in a pocket on hung on a door of one’s home, imbued with godly powers, they are sure to divert misfortune and bring a year of good luck and prosperity.

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