What is a Tai Sui Amulet
A Tai Sui amulet is a protective charm or talisman used to mitigate or appease the negative energy associated with the Tai Sui (Grand Duke Jupiter). A Tai Sui amulet typically features an image or representation of the annual Tai Sui General, along with other sigils, spellings, or mantras that are designed for blessings and to ward off negative influences.
Tai Sui amulets can be made from various materials, including metal, wood, or paper, and they are often worn as pendants, carried in wallets or purses, or displayed in homes or offices. People may also perform rituals or prayers to honor and seek the favor of the Tai Sui during their respective years.
These “Tai Sui amulets” above, though polished, and delicate, have been heavily merchandized for modern people’s needs for fast food feng shui. Nonetheless, what really matters to us is, do this type of Tai Sui trinket work? To answer this question, let us delve into the original form of Tai Sui amulet.
The Origin of a Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman and Its Development
In ancient times, a Tai Sui Amulet or Talisman was often presented as a piece of oblong yellow paper (talisman paper) with a series of sigils, mantras, or prayers written on it, either in messy strokes or clear strokes.
However, the original Tai Sui amulet is the product of a series of Daoist rituals. Depending on the different lineages/schools/sects, the content of these rituals can vary and be customized to individual requests. Nonetheless, one of the essential rituals for a Tai Sui amulet is the ritual of consecration, which is the key to activating any amulet (the details of this ritual can vary depending on the content of the talisman).
It is only after the successful completion of this ritual that an authentic Daoist priest is allowed and confident to call that paper an amulet (rather than a piece of paper with symbolic writing). Regardless of what mantra, prayer, or sigils were written on the paper, an amulet/talisman does not take effect until it is consecrated. We will go further on what is involved in an authentic Daoism talisman consecrating ritual later in this article. As you can guess, only affluent or noble families can afford this type of ritual and thus have the final product of talisman for their own purposes. Even though the material of a Tai Sui talisman may look like nothing (a piece of paper, a wood pendant, etc.), it has been instilled with awesome spiritual power and energy through the consecrating ritual, and that is what makes it a Tai Sui amulet rather than a decorating piece.
Though average people cannot afford such rituals, the Tai Sui talisman itself has become popular since it is easy to replicate. A lot of temples will produce Tai Sui Talismans in large amounts to feed the needs of the masses, the talisman selling has also become a way to support these temples’ daily operations.
In modern times, the manufacturing of Tai Sui amulet has also adapted to different needs in the market. There are Tai Sui cards, Tai Sui amulet keychains, Tai Sui coin charms, printed copies of Tai Sui talisman, the mass-produced Tai Sui talisman that is included in the temple’s Tai Sui joss paper packet, etc., and there is confusion between a Tai Sui plaque and a Tai Sui amulet, which the earlier one is a wood plaque carved with Tai Sui information(the verse is slightly different from a talisman), and the Tai Sui plaque is mainly used as a Tai Sui alter display for the annual praying purpose(or a ritual tool as a seal/stamp), it requires complex ritual such as ushering the annual Tai Sui God to the altar and it is not used very often. However, in modern days, the Tai Sui plaque is for sale in the market as a trinket as if an alternative to Tai Sui talisman. Either a Tai Sui plaque or a Tai Sui amulet has become merely a product nowadays, a form without spirit, especially in the occidental market, where authentic metaphysical tradition and knowledge are not very accessible to most practitioners, the Tai Sui amulet has been merchandized rather heavily and has lost its authenticity.
Does a Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman Really Work? (Conditions and Requirements)
In short, a Tai Sui talisman works only if both requirements below are met:
- 1. This Tai Sui talisman must be correctly and thoroughly consecrated following the principle of an authentic Daoism lineage’s consecrating ritual requirement for a Tai Sui amulet.
As I explained earlier in this article, the true value of a Tai Sui amulet relies upon the correct ritual of the talisman consecration. Though the consecrating details and the actual content of a Tai Sui amulet can vary based on the schools, the general ritual of a Tai Sui talisman consecration is similar. It involves the ritual of inviting the Grand Master God of your lineage, cleansing relevant ritual items, brush, ink stone, water (or clear rice wine), paper, etc., inviting the relevant Tai Sui God for this specific Tai Sui amulet, creating content of the talisman followed the lineage’s direction(what sigils or prayer to use, by what order, what prayers and hand mudras, to synch with each portion of talisman, etc.), sealing the talisman, and activate it per your lineage’s teaching. There are also ways of maintaining the consecrated talisman, re-charging it, disposing of it when it is torn or broken by accident, and sending away the protecting spirit instilled in the talisman at the end of the year, etc.
The whole process of a Tai Sui talisman consecration is very elaborate and complex, like any other talisman consecration, it requires a great amount of attention and energy from the practitioner. The whole process should be carried out in a fluent flow. If the practitioner makes an error, misses an important detail, any stumbles or stammers when reciting an incantation, the ritual is considered failed, and the practitioner must be back to the starting point again. For that reason, disciples are required to be extremely familiar with all the important verses, and all steps must be strictly followed to lineage teaching, and the important step should be completed “in one breath,” to ensure the final execution of the consecration ritual is correct, thorough, and fluent. I recalled the old days, when I first started as a disciple, the grand master would pick new practitioners to recite a large number of multiple prayer verses within a short period of time to ensure they have practiced and memorized the verse. But the classic teaching has yielded good results.
Unfortunately, today’s mainstream esoteric merchants are basically making a fast-food version of Tai Sui amulet by simply replicating a drawn Tai Sui talisman directly. The goal of a merchant is to minimize the cost time and all components of the budget so that he can generate more revenue. Nonetheless, the creation of a Tai Sui amulet is a project of customizing a craft, which takes time and expertise to complete, and a customized consecrating talisman is impossible to reproduce massively. A consecrated talisman as a medal for a race, or a certificate for a Law school degree, the true value does not rely on the physical appearance of the physical talisman, or the material it is made of. Thinking a non-consecrated Tai Sui amulet would work for personal protection is like applying for a copy of a Law school degree from someone else would gain you the same knowledge and expertise as the original certificate holder. Sadly, the true value of a Tai Sui talisman is a blind spot for most people without an esoteric and metaphysical study background, and the amulet advertised in the mainstream market apparently reinforced the mass misconception.
- 2. The person who performs this consecrating ritual should be a disciple of an authentic Daoist lineage.
As you can see in requirement 1, the consecration ritual ties very closely to a lineage. In general, the very first step of a consecrating ritual is to invite the Grand Master God of the lineage. The Daoist (or any practitioner) as a mundane being, is unable to do any magic craft. It is only through the lineage’s spiritual agreement, and the presence and consent of the Grand Master God or Goddess, who is the creator of this lineage’s magic law, that the Daoist can summon and channel the spirit of the esoteric realm in a safe and effective manner.
For example, one of my Daoism lineages is Quan Zhen Zi Yang Sec, in which our Grand Master Goddess is Jiu Tian Xuan Nv (Mysterious Goddess of the Ninth Heaven), who imparted mysterious talisman craft to Yellow Emperor back in ancient times around B.C. 2600. For any talisman within my lineage, my consecration ritual is always started with a prayer of my appealing to Jiu Tian Xuan Nv’s presence and support. In the final stage of the consecration ritual, I would chant the lineage’s ultimate consecrating incantation to channel Grand Master Goddess Jiu Tian Xuan Nv’s power to activate the talisman.
Without a lineage’s spiritual agreement and blessing, summoning gods and spirits is either impossible or potentially dangerous. Horror movies in this genre can be exaggerated, but they sure echo some real-life experiences. I have heard many stories that people stole the craft or tried to do it on their own by following an esoteric talisman book they bought, but the ritual has gone wrong, and or something tragic occurred. I have seen some new-age esoteric practitioners doing a variety of self-taught creative magic. I strongly recommend one does not try it on his own. If one wants to learn the craft of consecrating a talisman, just follow an authentic lineage master, do not just buy a book and DIY a talisman, one will never know what key steps are missing in the book, or if the spelling is complete, or the spirit one is inviting are the right one. Once a person has mastered the rules and fundamentals of his lineage, he can explore his creative side later, but at least he has a position in the lineage and is under the lineage’s shelter and agreement with spirits, his magic will be effective, and you can be protected from interfering spirit or karmic force that he may involve in resolving the problem for others.
I know there will be people saying that as far as you believe something works, it will work. Metaphysics does have a logic of its own; however, simply believing in something does not change reality. No matter how faithfully a person believes the 1-dollar bill in his hand is a 100-dollar bill, the store will only accept its value as one dollar. Intrinsically, magic follows the rule of Yin and Yang like any other metaphysical practice. Believing is just the Yang portion of a magic practice. If the actual process, which is the Yin portion, is not performed correctly, there is not enough Yin for Yang to reside and communicate, therefore, the result is fruitless. What is worse, the extra Yang energy generated from one’s heart-felt belief power will have repercussions on a believer’s fortune. This is why the law of attraction works for some, but not everyone. The pure believing power, no matter how strong, or how high the frequency (as if this is really a subject of physics) is, if there is no down-to-earth hard work, it will not manifest the outcome one desires, because only the proportional pairing of Yin and Yang can communicate, grow, and develop.
Types of the Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman in the Market and Their Effectiveness
I listed five types of Tai Sui amulets we often see in the market.
This is probably the most popular type of Tai Sui amulets in the market, with no ritual of consecration involved or any format, solely manufactured to appeal to the masses who are interested in this subject but without any professional metaphysical knowledge. Most of these “Tai Sui trinkets” do not follow the traditional paper talisman form since a nice brass pendant, a golden metal card, or a well-crafted wood plaque apparently looks more attractive than handwritten paper and, thus, can be sold or higher in the market price.
If you are interested in esoteric-looking items and do not care about the actual effect, this type of trinket is for you. Just be aware that what is advertised may not be what you are looking for. If you would like a good protection talisman that can improve your fortune, look further.
- Printed copies
Most of the printed copies of talismans are mass-produced paper copies of computer-designed images, they are basically the imitation of the traditional paper form of talismans without any spirit. It is funny that sometimes merchants will provide a certificate of consecration with the printed copy, or even include a verse in the digital print, stating “Already Consecrated” to convince people who have doubts about the validity of the talisman. As an insider, I am confident to say that there is no serious Daoist who would put down such a verse or issue a certificate for a consecrated talisman, it is simply not an authentic convention. If one sees a verse like “Already Consecrated” printed on a talisman, or a “consecrated” certificate, one can almost be certain that this talisman is never consecrated, or at least not consecrated with an authentic method.
A printed copy often includes clear sigils and writing. Nonetheless, in practice, certain sigils and writing must be avoided for certain regions of the house because they will cause local conflict and stir problems for the people who live in it. I would advise people, especially beginners in this subject, to avoid using random printed copies. Most of the printed talismans are used as part of joss paper packets in certain rituals. However, most retailers who do not have little professional esoteric knowledge simply promote this to be used the same way as a consecrated talisman. Following their instruction may bring about issues that you never expect. Certain sigils and writing must be avoided for certain regions of the house because they will cause a local conflict and can be harmful to people who live in it.
There are some special cases in which printed copies may have a spot being useful, but that should be done by careful calculation and tailored by the content of the ritual, I will reserve this subject for a future article.
- Temple mass-produced copies
They are very similar to printed copies, except the temple printed copies may be involved in a mass “consecration” process. It is a ritual process where all the stacks of copies are placed on an altar for a mantra reciting. Once this process is completed, the stacks of thousands of paper talismans, or talisman packets (including some peripheral items such as talisman bags, a temple booklet, or a sweeper, etc.) will be released to the public and labeled as “consecrated” for sale.
People have a slightly different take on the effectiveness of these talismans. Most agree that they are not as good as the authentic consecrated one, but these temple talismans may “still have some power.” I consider this mantra reciting process as a good way of growing and supporting the spirit of a talisman, on the premise that the talismans must already have been correctly consecrated. For example, if I want to strengthen a consecrated talisman, I will place this talisman on the altar for a certain number of days, chanting the relevant invocation to “grow the spirit” in this talisman. However, if you pay attention to some of these temple’s mass “consecration rituals,” you would find the mantra being recited may have nothing to do with the content of the talisman. For instance, the mantra chanted during the “consecration” process can be about meditation, enlightenment, or wisdom, but the Tai Sui talisman is for mundane protection. There are some Daoist temples that have a tradition of running this type of mass talisman consecration ritual and thus have a more appropriate ritual process; as a result, the talismans they produce can be considered an option if one cannot afford a customized consecrated talisman.
The other reason that these temple talismans are being questioned is that the amount of talisman consecrated in this process are thousands, while given the same amount of time, one Daoist may only be able to consecrate one or two talismans thoroughly. The level of focus and customization on each talisman is drastically different. For that reason, I think the temple mass copies can be a step up for the printed Tai Sui Talisman, but it is far from ideal.
- Manually created Tai Sui Talisman – Caligraphic Art
In recent years, there is another type of talisman that is rising online. Focusing on the artistic side of the talisman, it often goes with elegant strokes well well-designed sigils, most of the time they are bigger than the traditional oblong paper, and some are big canvas size. The creator is often someone who has some drawing or calligraphic background, and the final product looks almost like beautiful abstract art. However, the tough question is, do they work? Do they possess the same magic power as the authentic talisman?
One of the biggest misconceptions about metaphysics is that people often judge a work by its looks. In fact, practical metaphysic has little to do with aesthetics. Don’t get me wrong, on the premise that the talisman must be consecrated correctly, it doesn’t hurt to make it look nice. But the beautiful look of a talisman alone really has nothing to do with its power, an ugly messy stroke talisman can do wonders if it is consecrated. It really has nothing to do with the looks, the material, or the type of writing of the talisman. The very core of a powerful talisman relies upon the correct and thorough consecration ritual and the authenticity of the creator’s lineage. This type of handmade sigil can be a beautiful art piece, a great calligraphic work, not a great option to use as a true talisman for sure. However, there are some occasions when the creator of this artwork is also a Daoist, and they have a tradition of consecrating this art form type of talisman for display(most of them would not be a Tai Sui Talisman though). In that case, one just needs to make sure if this artwork has been completely consecrated and followed by what school. If it is indeed consecrated by an authentic Daoism talisman sect, this artwork should work as a regular talisman as well.
- Authentic Talisman
There are two components of authenticity here for what I consider an authentic Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman, one being the consecration ritual performed for this talisman must be authentic, it follows the essential requirement to be done correctly and thoroughly; one being the creator must be a disciple of an authentic lineage, so the spiritual power has its authentic and pure source to channel from.
There are several Daoism talisman sects that are known with long tradition and credibility, some are primary schools, such as Quan Zhen Sect, Mao Shan Sect, Lv Shan Sect, and Liu Ren Sect, and some are bit less known to the public, such as Feng Yang Sect, Bai Lian Sect, etc. My experience is, in general, that as long as the talisman creator is an authentic lineage disciple, and the talisman is consecrated correctly and thoroughly, the Tai Sui talisman should be a great Tai Sui amulet.
Though there are variations in terms of topic, content, and flexibility in each school. For example, I am a disciple of both Mao Shan and Quan Zhen Sects, and both two schools provide multiple versions of the Tai Sui amulet, there is a version that is preferable for in-house display, and there is also a version that is for personal carrying. Nonetheless, one of them can be customized specifically for an individual. In my experience, though the customized Tai Sui talisman requires additional time and work, it does work much better than the general ones.
Who Needs a Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman
The general belief is if one’s zodiac offends the Tai Sui of the year (you can check out the details for zodiacs offending Tai Sui each year), that person should wear the Tai Sui amulet for the whole year. But in practice, I would recommend everyone should wear it for two reasons.
First, think of a Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman as the most appropriate protection angel of the year. Besides the factor of Feng Shui, the other factor that may affect people most is their inherent fortune, which is difficult to change. People are usually advised to be aware of something and be careful of something in this year, but there is indeed little to do about it since personal fortune is inherent to his natal chart, which is destined to be at this point. After all, your destiny is determined by your Karma, and it is impossible to change one’s Karma.
Karma is indeed difficult to change, it is not something tangible, not a rock or a block in front of you that you can either move or detour around, the category of karma is in a pure spiritual realm. To improve the karma, there are two ways to improve your karma, Yin way and Yang way. Yang’s way is to give, to do good effort by dedicating your time, your money, and your kindness to others; Yin’s way is to receive, which is to receive and perform the correct rituals, prayers, and talismans to help yourself. It is Daoism esoteric practice. Daoism magic is one of the most effective practices dealing with matters in the spiritual realm, and talisman, Tai Sui talisman in this case, is probably the most accessible karma-improving practice that most people can use, given some rituals are extremely complex and may not be applicable to everyday life.
The other reason is that Tai Sui amulet is not just for Tai Sui alone, it is for Tai Sui and other relevant negative types of annual energy that are caused by Tai Sui. In esoteric practice, there are 12 types of rotating annual energy called 12 Sui Juns (annual lords), Tai sui being the primary, the rest are Tai Yang (Sun), Sang Men (Funeral Door/Bereavement), Tai Yin (Moon), Wu Gui (Five Ghosts), also known as “Guan Fu,” Si Men (Death Tally), Sui Po (Year Breaker), Long De (Dragon Virtue), Bai Hu (White Tiger), Fu De (Virtue and Blessing), Tian Gou (Celestial Dog), Bing Fu (Sickness). The translation may vary in different scriptures, but you get the gist of them. Twelve Sui Juns’ annual rotating positions are determined by the position of the annual Tai Sui. Once the house of Tai Sui is set for the year, the rest of the 11 types of energy will settle to fill the rest of the other 11 houses. Out of these 12 energy types, eight of them imply certain negative outcomes or impacts, such as sickness, accidents, and disharmony. These eight ominous Sui Juns are known as Sang Meng (Bereavement), Five Ghosts, Death Tally, Sui Po (Year Breaker), White Tiger, Tian Gou (Celestial Dog), and Bin Fu(sickness). In most of Daoism’s esoteric practice, one needs to perform multiple relevant rituals to ward off the types of negative energy that fall into his natal house. For example, there is a ritual specifically for White Tiger if White Tiger is in your zodiac house, one ritual for Tian Gou if Tian Gou is in your zodiac house, etc., If one has multiple negative Sui Jun in his natal house, it is an indication of a difficult year, and it is advised to perform relevant rituals to minimize the negative impact.
However, you do not have to, one of the great things about my lineage’s Tai Sui amulet is that it targets not only Tai Sui but also all other 7 types of relevant negative energy that are caused by Tai Sui. Basically, having one right talisman alone can save you a lot of time and trouble. Below is an unstamped sample of a customized Tai Sui Amulet.
How to Wear and Take Care of a Customized Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman?
Upon receiving the Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman, one can either keep it in a clean area temporarily for now and start wearing it on the day of the start of spring. For example, if you receive a Tai Sui talisman for 2024, the year of the wood dragon, you can start carrying it on February 4th, 2024, or you can start carrying it when you receive it.
If you would like to keep it in a clean area for now, you can choose areas, such as an office bookshelf, home altar, etc., to keep this talisman. Avoid areas such as kitchen, bathroom, basement, storage room, etc.
1. Before the start of spring, one can carry this talisman and go to a local temple, any Buddhist temple or Daoist temple would work. Find the major incense burner of this temple, do your prayer there, hold the talisman above the burning incense tips, and circle clockwise three times. Please keep some of your hands above a certain distance from the incense tips to prevent yourself from scalding. If there is no local temple available, you can do this step at your home altar, if there is no altar at home, you can skip this step.
2. Pick a time on the day at the start of spring that does not directly clash with your zodiac and the zodiac of the date(for example, if you are a zodiac rat, avoid the time of horse between 1100-1300, if the day happened to be the day of dog, then avoid the time of dragon 0700-0900, then you go search the rest of the hours are generally good to go), keep this talisman in one of the items you carry closely (purse, cellphone, etc.).
3. You can wear this talisman for the rest of the year until the start of spring next year, for example, you can wear the 2024 Tai Sui amulet until February 4th, 2025.
If you decide to wear the talisman right away, you can keep this talisman in one of the items you carry closely (purse, cellphone, etc.). Please bear in mind that a Tai Sui talisman will start taking most of its effect after the start of spring.
1. Before the first time you carry it, wash your hands, take a shower, put on clean clothing, and take a few minutes to do a 15-minute meditation. There is a red talisman protection pocket included for you to keep this talisman in (simply fold the talisman to fit in).
2. Then do your own prayer with a talisman in your hand. Once prayer is done, you can wear this talisman for the rest of the year until February 4th, 2025.
Dos and Don’ts, and How to Keep the Energy of This Amulet/Talisman Charged
1. If the talisman is torn or broken, it loses its power. Do not throw it away in the trash can. Simply say a prayer of gratitude and burn it to ashes. Do not throw the talisman ashes into the trash can. Dispose of the ashes underneath a tree or a plant in your front yard or back yard and let it be. Do NOT dispose of ashes in the trash can. Please reach out to me at [email protected] for more details as sometimes the resolving method may vary depending on the situation, I will assist you with the disposal process.
2. Do not place the naked talisman directly on the ground, its energy will be drained quickly and lose its power.
3. Make it a daily ritual to pray with this talisman in your hands. When it comes to keywords of your prayer such as “protection”, imagine there is a golden shield covering your body.
4. The energy of a Tai Sui amulet can be drained very quickly if you engaged in high-risk jobs, such as firefighter, policeman, military, air flight captain, attendant, etc., or your working place is in a relatively “Yin” location, such as funeral home, hospital, clinic, police station, prison, court, etc. You can recharge the talisman by going through the temple incense ritual again once a year or every few months, it will keep the energy of the talisman charged.
5. Tai Sui Talisman is a great complementary tool for the Feng Shui annual arrangement. Please feel free to inquire about more information if you have requested one on my website.
- How to Dispose of the Old Tai Sui Talisman/Talisman and Change to the New One?
The Tai Sui talisman of the year must be disposed of by the start of spring next year, usually on February 4th, the same day you start carrying the new Tai Sui talisman. It is recommended to dispose of the old Tai Sui Talisman before you wear the new Tai Sui Talisman.
1. Find an area where you can see the sky, it can be your backyard or front yard, use a clean container.
2. Hold the talisman in your hands and say the prayer below:
“This is First Name Last name who was born at Year, Month, Date, Time, currently living in XXXX address. I am grateful for a year of safety, peace, and smoothness. For the Tai Sui God, General, and soldiers stationed in this talisman, the duty and work have been completed successfully. Wan Yin Wan Ling (All wishes have come true). Please return to heaven or your original place.”
3. Then lit the talisman with fire and burned it to ashes in the container. You can include golden joss paper and burn it together to express gratitude.
4. Dispose of the ashes underneath a tree or a plant in your front yard or backyard and let it be. Do NOT dispose of ashes in the trash can.
How to Fold the Tai Sui Amulet/Talisman
The shape you fold your Tai Sui talisman into does not change the power of this talisman. You can fold it in half or in fourths, in a triangle or Ba Gua shape. It is up to your preference. I often fold it into triangles just because that is what one of my grandmasters has shown me and it has since been my preference.
To fold a triangle shape, you can either fold it from the front or from the back, simply align the bottom of the short side each time to one of the long sides. If there is any extra edge left in the end, just tug it into the triangle. My talisman paper size will ensure you get a triangle shape in the last step. The only thing you need to be aware of is to not tear the talisman paper or drop it to the ground during the folding process. Once you are done, just put the folded talisman into the talisman protection pocket.
If you have any questions regarding Tai Sui Amulet, please feel free to join my Facebook Group Willow’s Feng Shui Best Guide.