Sourcery in Sichuan: bendilaowai spends a day on Witch Lane

Travel | by Aimee Groom
Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Updated: June 20th, 2011 | Comments
Fortune teller in Xichang old town Last week we included a mention of the Xichang Torch Festival in our August festival roundup and as a result, I've been reading around about this small city in the mountainous region of southern Sichuan and came across this great post by Rachel Beitarie on her blog, bendilaowai. Rachel has been in China since 2002 in various guises that have included teacher, volunteer, backpacker and tour guide and she now devotes herself to full-time writing and journalism. Bendilaowai is full of wonderfully written, thought-provoking people, places and experiences, the latest of which happens to come from Xichang and the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture where she encounters the local fortune-tellers. Some cultures search for answers in the stars, others in old tea leaves but in Xichang, it seems eggs are the preferred medium for spiritual consultation:
Sourcery is alive and well at the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in south Sichuan. The Yi people who, I’ve been told, prefer to be referred to as Nusuo, were traditionally animists and used shamans to communicate with the spirits. This they still do today: In each one of the Liangshan towns, men or women can be seen in markets and street corners, crouching under a big parasol, giving advice to the sick or the troubled, based on reading of ancient scripts and egg yolk... read more
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