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The Numinous Ancestor Elevated. On the Deity Lingzu in the Fayan tan Ritual Tradition

Volker Olles

Pages 451 - 472


The title Lingzu 靈祖 (Numinous Ancestor) generally denotes Wang lingguan 王靈官 (Numinous Officer Wang), the well-known Daoist temple protector who is worshiped as an exorcistic deity connected with the forces of thunder and fire. In the Fayan tan 法言壇 ritual tradition, Lingzu is said to refer to Kuixing 魁星, the first four stars (or the first star) of the Northern Dipper 北斗 constellation, and as a deity he is known under the titles Precelestial Numinous Ancestor of the Dipper Bowl (Xiantian doukou lingzu 先 天斗口靈祖) and Numinous and Majestic Holy Emperor of the Precelestial Dipper Palace (Xiantian douque lingwei shengdi 先天斗闕靈威聖帝). However, the title Doukou lingzu is not understood as a personal name, but as designation of a celestial office (zhiwu 職務) that may be held by various personalities. Consequently, the deity Lingzu in the Fayan tan liturgy is also identified as Wang lingguan. The present paper examines the unique career of Lingzu in the Sichuanese Fayan tan tradition.

This article is written in English.


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