Daoist magic is in a sense a craft that needs to be learned and has several tools at its disposal that can be found on any Maoshan Altar as on the picture on the left.

However each tool must be properly cultivated. One cannot simply buy a Daoist instrument off Taobao and start using it. Just as we, as humans cultivate ourselves through ritual and alchemy, a ritual tool must be 'cultivated' too through processes of ritual, purification and empowering. This is no simple process, some tools require a year of constant and daily empowerment to 'work'.

For example the Five Thunder Ling Pai, a kind of command block used to summon or control has to undergo rituals that tie or bind certain Spirit Generals to it or it is powerless. The same is true of the other Daoist instruments, each requiring their own process, growth and birth into our world so to speak.

Indeed the very altar itself requires years of cultivation.

From left to right we can see the following.

  1. Canopy Ruler. For protection, commanding and controlling spirits.

  2. Ghost and Black Magician Beating Stick. As the name implies it is used to beat down yin spirits , demons and evil sorcerers and sorceries.

  3. Chao Jian. A Report Tablet is used in communing with and requesting the Gods and Immortals.

  4. Cinnabar. Is a multi functional yang and solar mineral used in talismans, inks and so forth.

  5. Spirit Catching /Power Storing Calabash. As its name implies it is used to catch spirits and store power that can be released when needed.

  6. Seals. Are used to authorise talismans.

  7. Lingpai. Command Blocks are used in getting the attention of spirits or sending commands and are most often associated with Thunder Magic.

  8. Five Battalion Flags. Have been empowered to call the Celestial Troops.

  9. Five Thunder Fan. Is used in exorcism and healing as well as clearing bad qi in feng shui situations.

  10. San Qing Bell. Represents the sound of the San Qing, the Three Pure Ones.

  11. Below you can see a talisman set traditionally used to empower and protect an altar, above an ancient wooden image of Taishang Laojun with an Immortal Tablet behind him. Behind everything is the seven coloured cotton cloth used in cultivation and connected to the Five Elements and the Seven Dipper Stars and their corresponding centres in the microcosm.