Nine From The Magical 8th 

October 18, 2018

The eighth day at the Nine Emperor Gods festival is a comfortable one. The established patterns linger amidst the anticipation of the finale on the ninth. The day’s rituals are inclusive, rich in blessing and in energy. Here are nine…

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Mediums In Action

October 12, 2018

Protecting the sacred space of the festival is the priority of the rituals held on Days 3, 6 and 9. These rituals are designed to honour the 5 Taoist Generals and the spiritual armies of soldiers that arrive at the…

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Renewal (version 2018)

October 11, 2018

I always wonder how we got here, once again, so quickly. This is the beginning; the cycle of renewal; new energies layered on top of the years gone by. On the eve of the festival, it’s all about the smoke…

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The Lure of the Bright Lights

December 4, 2017

This is a short story about a dreamer, or rather it’s the beginning of a story about a dreamer. It comes from backstage at the Chinese Opera, a place where I often lose myself in romantic ideals of the itinerant…

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Dancing Through Fire

November 24, 2017

This past week, I had reason to think about equivalents, particularly what that means to photography, but also what it means to music, to poetry, to painting, and drawing. Minor White wrote that, in a photograph, “that which seems to…

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Before the Show

November 15, 2017

The sound of the nomadic Tuareg people of Mali is still echoing through the city as I write this. Theirs is a music that comes from time, that comes from a sense of knowing and a sense of longing. Tinariwen,…

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Merged Energies in an Evening of Expectation

November 2, 2017

The eve of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Ampang is always one of great expectations. Before the sun sets, the dragons and lions dance before the altar in a frenzied performance of respect. In that ritual, the sacred space…

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Being Reminded in the Beginning

November 1, 2017

There is an interesting energy on the eve of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. For me it is a day of looking back and of looking forward, of seeking to remember what lies ahead. It always feels a little empty…

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Sacred Space and Energy on Hong Kong St

October 28, 2017

Hong Kong St Tow Bow Keong is a gathering place. It is the heart of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Penang, respected, honest, dedicated. Here I see a convergence of energies, criss-crossing lines, colours merging. During the rituals, the…

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The Huki and The One

October 27, 2017

In Georgetown, the other evening, I witnessed a ritual at Tiong Sim Thnuah on Hong Kong Street. They worship the nine emperors as ONE, and present a beautiful, intricately-carved statue of that deity that they refer to as “a kind…

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