Linh Chi Dan Dreams

Linh Chi Dan sounds like the name of a beautiful, young Vietnamese girl.  Linh means “spirit, spiritual; soul; miraculous; supernatural; sacred; divine; mysterious; efficacious; effective”.  Chi means “plant of longevity; fungus; seed; branch; mushroom; excrescence”.  Dan means “medicinal pill”.  Put it all together and we have a Supernatural Mushroom Pill.

As pretty as the name sounds, it is actually quite ugly in form, and red as a baboon’s butt, to boot. This odd-shaped red mushroom has been cultivated by the ancient herbalists and go back as far as memory will allow. In fact, ancient scholars date the usage of this mushroom back over seven-thousand years ago.    The Chinese called it Linghzhi (靈芝),  the Koreans called it YeongJi (영지,靈芝), and the Japanese called it Reishi (靈).  It was quite rare back then, and only the royalty had access to the mushroom. However, in recent times, the Japanese found a way to mass-cultivate this mushroom and now, it is much more accessible to the general public.

It is suppose to be used for general-health-and-well-being; however, if you ask my grandfather, who was a bona-fide card carrying herbal medicine doctor and teacher of the art and science of ancient herbal medicines (and a Taoist to boot), he would tell you the wondrous magical qualities of Linh Chi Dan. According to him, it is considered to be a drug which, when taken regularly, can assist the Taoist into immortality, as it is suppose to cultivate and develop the Shen.

Oh, those Taoist Immortals. What will they think of next?

Well, to be fair to those ancient folks, who am I to argue with Taoist Immortals, eh? I figured, if it gives me some small boost to my immune system, I’d take it just to keep from getting those nasty, nuisance, colds. If I get some extra Shen boost out of it, then Yay!

But I have a feeling that’s not going to happen to me. I’m just not quite made of the stuff that Taoist Immortals are suppose to embody.  I’m too—bombastic. I’m too—blonde!

Well, I found out that I wasn’t too blonde to get intense, vivid, lucid Linh Chi Dan dreams. As I have stated before, I am not much into health foods, but I had heard that Linh Chi Dan, when taken regularly, promoted among other things, really cool dreams. I was like, sign me up! I promptly bought two bottles and started taking it twice a day, along with my daily double dose of skate liver oil (more on that later) in hopes of getting clearer and more lucid dreams.

After a few weeks on this stuff, I have to say, it really does deliver the dreams. Forget the immortality Shen part, just give me the cool dreams!

Black Sorcery and Ngải Plant (cont…)

Ngải is a poisonous family of perennial flowering plants, growing from creeping rhizomes or, in drier climates, from bulbs. They have long, erect flowering stems which may be simple or branched, solid or hollow, and flattened or have a circular cross-section. The rhizomatous species usually have 3–10 basal sword-shaped leaves growing in dense clumps. The bulbous species have cylindrical, basal leaves.

Two of the most potent and dangerous Ngải plants are the Phù phấn Ngải (Betrayal Powder Ngải) and the Bạch đại ngải (Big White ngải). Their leaves are covered with a highly poisonous pollen that will cause immediate swelling of the skin when it is inadvertently touched by the uninitiated. If not treated within 100 days by a Ngải Master of high ability, death will follow. These two plants are very similar to
each other, with only one major difference. Bạch đại ngải is still in limited circulation within the Ngải community, while the Phù phấn Ngải is thought to be extinct. However, within the Ngải community, there are stirrings of whispered conversations about the appearance of the Phù phấn Ngải, back in the hands of a few very high level Ngải Masters.

Phù phấn Ngải and Bạch đại ngải are highly poisonous, but with the strange ability to cure deathly illnesses via a homeopathic strategy, using poisons to cure poisons. It has even been said that the Phù phấn Ngải can also bring the dead back to life. The drawback is that, due to their highly toxic nature, only Ngải Masters of the highest caliber can locate and transplant this type of ngải, using not physical means, but rather, teleportation of the magical sort. These two types of ngải plants are only grown and kept by Ngải Masters, due to their dangerous properties, and never transferred over to the uninitiated.

The more common varieties of ngải plants that are considered ‘safe’ to be handled by the common folk are much less lethal, or at the very least, safe to touch. However, as mundane as these garden-variety ngải plants are, they still have stringent requirements that, if not adhered to, will cause the plant to wilt and eventually rot away. The ngải potting soil must be taken from the mountain side. There must be, in specific measured amounts proportion to the pot and the mountain soil, four other ingredients: iron shavings, sulfur, decomposed wood chips, and sea salt. These ingredients make up the five  requirements, which must be thoroughly mixed before the plant can be transplanted into the pot.

For the so-called ‘garden variety ngải‘, a Ngải Master simply plants the ngai into a pot and then transfers the pot over to the person who is to use the powers of the Ngải. Some of the most powerful Ngải Masters don’t even need the plant to be present. They can call forth a plant already in existence, from a distance, to come to where they are presently located and the ngải plant must obey. All the Master needs is ngải potting soil, either in a garden or in a pot, and within a single night, a healthy large green ngải plant can be seen growing where it is told to grow. This teleportation method is most often seen for the ‘trục ngải’ of the aforementioned Phù phấn Ngải or Bạch đại ngải.

This is just the start. For the Ngải plant to exhibit various desired powers, a Ngải Master (Black Sorcerer) needs to “bỏ công trục ngải”, or expend considerable powers to call forth a spirit to enter the ngải plant. The most powerful Ngải Masters might only take one night, while less powerful Masters may spend anywhere between three to seven nights to successfully ‘trục ngải’.

A ngải plant that has not yet been trục ngải will be comprise of 100% plant matter which can photosynthesize all their energy needs from the sun. Once it has been trục ngải however, half of its makeup is made of animalistic, carnivorous matter that now requires the feeding of live animal sources.

The most common (and easiest to obtain) animal food source is a raw chicken egg. The quickest way to feed the plant is to crack the egg open and pour the egg, yolk and all, into the soil that nourishes the plant. If the egg is not delivered straight into the soil, it takes the plant at least a full day to empty the egg of its contents, without even the need to disturb the shell. Some Ngải Masters who are powerful enough to control the plant may need more power from the plant, which can be obtained by giving the ngải plant fresh blood from a chicken. There have been cases, however, where the Ngải Masters have lost control of the ngải plant, and serious damage was done to the Masters themselves.

Methods of “bỏ công trục ngải” are not common knowledge. However, I have managed to locate a spell for the safe handling of the Bạch đại ngãi. Word of warning. Use this at your own risk.

Nhiệm màu thay nhiệm màu thay
Bạch đại ngãi bạch đại ngãi
Tạo hoá ban cho ta nhổ lấy
Nơi đây rừng buòn sương sớm chiều mây
Bạch đại ngãi bạch đại ngãi
mặt trời mọc phương đông lặn về tây
Thái dương lên làm ngày
Thái âm về làm đêm tối

Muôn thú muôn lòai nước nguồn cây cội
Bạch đại ngãi bạch đại ngãi
Xin hãy thương ta ta nhổ lấy
Đem xa rừng ở cùng ta mãi mãi
Án ba na, hấp tì na
Án ba na mê xi na cum pa
Đông tây nam bắc
Án ba na án ba na cum pa