Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness, 13



The S^i 'Corpse/Personator' Caerimony

Michael Carr


p. 343 s^i 'corpse' rite

"IN ANCIENT CHINESE ancestral sacrifices, a participant called the shi ... 'corpse, cadaver' ritually represented the spirits of a deceased ancestor. ... During a shi 'corpse' sacrifice, the ancestral spirit supposedly would enter the personator, preferably a grandchild of the deceased, who would eat and drink sacrificial offerings and convey messages for the departed."

{Cf. how, for the TL-MRJ (antient Aiguptian) caerimonial rite "Opening of the Mouth and of the Eyen", (among participants was) "The Sa-mer-ef [fn. 1 : "I.e., the son who loveth him.""], or man who was either the son of the deceased or his representative. ... All these [participants] became actors in the scenes ... which took place in connexion with the burial of ... the deceased" (WB:EM, p. 193).}

WB:EM = Wallis Budge : Egyptian Magic.

p. 344 historical duration of practice of the s^i rite

"Legends say the custom of shi personation began during the Xia ... Dynasty

(ca. 2205-ca. 1766 BCE) ... . ...

{The most detailed antient Chinese historical texts describe the Hsia and S^ang dynasties as co-aeval (instead of making the Hsia praecede the S^ang); if so, then this author (M.C.)'s chronology here is erroneously antedating events by a good half-millennium.}

Shi personation ceremonies continued until the early Han ... Dynasty ... ."

pp. 348-9 Wu-jing ('Five Classics')

p. 348

"The Yijing ... "Classic/Book of Changes" is a divination manual ... .

The core section (called Zhouyi ... "Zhou Changes") with 64 hexagrams ... possibly dates from the early Western Zhou (ca. 11th-10th centuries BCE), and

the "Ten Wings" of philosophical commentary probably come from the late Western Zhou (ca. 9th-8th centuries BCE).

The Shijing "Classic of Poetry" (or "Book of Songs/Odes") has four sections. ...

The Song ... "Eulogies" are hymns praising the gods and ancestral spirits of the House of Zhou (ca. 11th-10th centuries BCE).

The Daya ... "Major Elegancies" are odes describing early mythology ... (ca. 10th-9th centuries BCE).

The Xiaoya ... "Minor Elegancies" are miscellaneous odes ... (ca. 9th-8th centuries BCE).

The Feng ... "Airs" (or Guofeng ... "Airs of the States") are essentially folk songs (ca. 8th-7th centuries BCE) ... .

The Shujing ... "Document Classic" ("Book of Documents/History") is a collection of writings and speeches

p. 349

attributed to rulers of the Later Shang period. Chinese scholars divide the canonical Shujing between the ... "New Text" section ... and the "Old Text," ... .

The Chunqiu ... "Spring and Autumn (Annals)" ... in the state of Lu (home of Confucius) ... is augmented by three zhuan ... "commentaries" ... .

The shorter Gong[-]yang[-]zhuan ... and Gu[-]liang[-]zhuan commentaries are mostly in question-and-answer format, and the longer Zuo[-]zhuan ... gives ... detail and background. All three probably date from 5th and 4th centuries BCE.

The Lijing ... "Classic of Rites," which described ancient Chinese rituals, ... went into the Sanli ... "Three Ritual Compendia." ...

The Liji ... "Record of Rites" is an anthology of religious vocabulary ... and social conventions.

The Zhouli ... "Zhou Rites" details the idealized duties for various ranks ... .

The Yili ... "(Book of) Etiquette and Rites" describes formal procedures and ... ceremonies.

These three classics ... contain assorted descriptions of ritual from approximately the 5th to 3th centuries BCE."

pp. 405 & 350 the sixth Classic

p. 405, n. 17

There was formerly accounted, as "sixth text, the Yuejing ... "Music Classic"".

{Music was demoted from litterary-Classic status, perhaps because it hath always been summoning of spirits for spirit-mediumship; and spirit-mediumship was no longer sponsored by the imperial government after the Qin dynasty.}

p. 350

"The Chuci ... "Songs/Elegies of Chu" is ... primarily credited to Chu Yuan ... (ca. 340-278 BCE) from the southern of Chu." {The area of C^>u is now known as Hupei.}

{These "Ch>u elegies" consisted of "Words intoned at the highest and lowest pitches of the musical scale ... to suggest a slow-moving ... incantation" (ChLHI, p. 52) : thus resembling the slowly-proceeding traditional chanting favored in the Christian churches (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Melkite, etc.).}

ChLHI = Ch>en Shou-yi : Chinese Literature : a Historical Introduction. Ronald Pr Co, NY, 1961.

pp. 349-50 handbooks of public ethics

p. 349

"the Lunyu ... "Compiled/Arranged Words" (or "Confucian Analects") that the disciples of Confucius put together circa the 5th century BCE; and

pp. 349-50

the Mengzi ... "(Book of) Master Meng," compiled around the 3rd century BCE by followers of Mencius (372-289 BCE)."

p. 350 antique Chinese glossary and dictionary

"The Erya ... "Approaching Elegancy/Correctness" is a compilation of early glosses to Zhou texts arranged (ca. 3rd century BCE) into semantic categories.

The Shuowen jiezi ... "Commenting on {Explaining} Simple and Analyzing Complex ..." dictionary was edited (ca. 100 CE) by Xu Shen ... ."

pp. 350-1 types of Chinese writing-characters

p. 350

"Pictographs or pictograms hieroglyphically depict material things ... . ..

Ideographs or ideograms indicate abstract meanings. ...

Semantic-phonetic or radical-phonetic characters ... have the following two elements :

p. 351

Radicals, significs, classifiers ... are recurring graphic components that ... hint at the semantic field for a word ... . ...

Phonetics or phonetic elements are character components that roughly indicate pronunciation. ...

Phonetic loan characters or loan-graphs involve the rebus-like substitution of one homophonous character for another ... ."

p. 352 history of Chinese writing-characters

"Oracle or shell and bone characters ...

were ancient{ly-}written{-up}on divination{-}records from the ... Shang ... .

{These "divination records" are tortoise-shells and animal-bones, which were "written {up}on" (via incision) -- in antient times (S^ang dynasty) -- by scribes recording the result of each particular instance of divination.}

Bronze characters ... primarily from the Zhou period

were inscribed {wrong word!} on sacrificial and ceremonial bronzes ... .

{Inaccurate! The writing was not "inscribed" (subsequent to the smelting-and-casting process) with a stylus on the already-cast bronze; but, rather, the writing, in raised relief, was instead part of the wax mould used for packing clay around it, in order to praepare for making a baked-clay mould via the cire`-perdue ('lost wax') process; so that the resultant bronze, when extracted from the hollow interior of that mould, would have, on its surface, writing standing-in-relief.}

Small seal characters ... were enforced as the imperial standard during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BCE) -- ...

a more angular pictograph. {This squared-off writing may have been imitated from the lines of latitude and of longitude first being depicted on maps in this epoch -- as likewise during the contemporaneous Hellenistic epoch in the Mediterranean region.}

{The pictographs were systematically "squared off" (squares replacing natural circles : the sun, e.g., depicted square, instead of round as it had been depicted thitherto). This sort of stylization was modified in Maya writing so as to contain each glyph within a square box (having rounded corners, however) : a modification somewhat resembling the cartouche-enclosure of a royal name in TL-MRJ language hieroglyphics.}

Regular/Model characters ... have been the standard since the Later Han Dynasty (25-221 CE)".

p. 356 caerimoniously seeing and hearing the ghost of the defunct [Liji 47:2a-2b -- Carr 1996; cf. Legge 1885, 27, pp. 210-1 (book XXI [chapter XXIV], section I, paragraphs 2-3 : in 1967 reprint, vol II, p. 211)]

"one sees those ["spirits"] ... .

On the day ... when one enters the temple, apparently {apparitionally} one must see them at the spirit-tablet.

When one returns to go out the door ..., one must hear sounds of their appearance.

When one goes out the door and listens, ... one must hear sounds of their sighing breath.

The context unequivocally uses biyou ... 'must be/have; necessarily/certainly have' to describe events within the ancestral temple; ... "must have sight of, must see" and ... "must have hearing of, must hear" the deceased parent."

{This seeing and hearing could occur if the living mortal mortals were to ingest some particular psychedelic drug; mention of which may have been deleted from the extant text when a law prohibiting that drug was instituted (perhaps in the Han dynasty).}

Carr 1996 = Michael Carr : "... Spirit Visions in the Liji". REVIEW OF LIBERAL ARTS 91:99-126.

Legge 1885 = James Legge (transl) : The Li Chi. reprint : SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, Voll. 27-28. Oxford Univ Pr, 1897. later reprint 1967 : University Bks, New Hyde Pk (NY). {2. "he will see those ... . 3. On the day ... when he enters the apartment ..., he will seems to see (the deceased) in the place (where his spirit-tablet is). After he has move about ..., and is leaving at the door, he will seem ... hearing the sound of his movements, and ... seems to hear the sound of his sighing."}

p. 357 antient graphic forms of the /s^i/ 'cadavre'-word

"the oracle character [/s^i/] pictures a person with bent legs;

{In the funebrial customs of many cultures, a cadavre is praepared for interrment by tying the flexed legs to the torso, in order to produce a foetal posture, and thus to indicate being reconciled to rebirth (in a forthcoming lifetime) of the defunct.}

the bronze [/s^i/] has a more bent back with dangling arms and legs".

p. 361 phonetic etymology of the word /s^i/ 'cadavre'

"Karlgren, who pioneered word families, simply relates [1934] si < *sjer ... 'die, dead' with shi < *s`jer ... 'the dead, corpse'."

Karlgren 1934 = B. Karlgren : "Word Families in Chinese". BULLETIN OF THE MUSEUM OF FAR EASTERN ANTIQUITIES 5:9-120.

p. 367 S^i-jing ode 247

wild ducks on __

repraesentative of defunct __

wine __

viands __

felicity __


at peace

is clear


maketh perfect

sands in river





island in river





junction of river

is revered

pile up


"is befumed"

maketh merry

roast and boiled

no after-trouble

p. 370 standing vs. sitting by participants in the s^i rite [Liji 10:25; cf. Legge 1885, 27, pp. 405-6 (book VIII [chapter X], section II, paragraphs 5 : in 1967 reprint, vol I, pp. 405-6)]

"Under the Chou [Zhou] dynasty the representatives of the dead sat. ...

Under the Hsia [Xia] dynasty, the representatives of the dead had stood ...

(whereas) under the Yin [Shang] they sat."

{At Roman Catholic mass, the congregation sitteth;

but at Eastern Orthodox mass, the congregation standeth.}

p. 374 suitable spirit-media

"the philosopher Iamblichus (ca. 250-ca. 325 CE) says [Jaynes 1976, pp. 344-5] "young and simple persons" make the most suitable mediums."

{"youthful mediums ..., ... whose youth makes them predisposed to religious states of ecstasy." (M:"EM", p. 85)}

M:"EM" = Alison R. Marshall : "Engendering Mediumship".

p. 375 female personators of dead women [Yili 14:9b, transl Steele 1917, p. 119]

"A man personates a dead man, and a woman a woman. In the latter case, a woman of a different surname is chosen ... . ...

This ... means ... selecting ... the wife of a ... grandson.

Legge translates ... a Liji description of a wife['s] personating her husband's dead grandmother."

Yili, transl Steele 1917 = John Clendinning Steele (transl) : The I-Li, or Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial. London : Probsthain.

p. 376 "corpse-like" personator

"From a Jaynesian perspective, the 'inactive; corpse-like' perspective personator would be a conscious individual who could no longer hear voices." {But, in Chinese litterature, it is praecisely to these "corpse-like" personators that the hearing of spirit-voices is ascribed! -- A sign of how far out-of-touch with historic litterature that Jaynesians typically are.}

{All Chinese personators of cadavres are themselves described by the term /s^i/ ('inactive; corpse-like'). It is dubious whether any of these membres of the materialistic nobility could ever hear any such "voice", however : more likely, every one of them simply feigned, in theatrical fashion, being the ghost of the defunct. All official, political-state-ordained caerimonial, whether Chinese or otherwise, would tend to be merely so much play-acting, which, nevertheless, is quite emotionally satisfying to rich hypocrites, who swaggeringly enjoy publicly displaying their skills in fakery.}

pp. 379-80 shape of the mu-zhu

p. 379

"Eduard Erkes (1891-1958) ... proposed that the zhu was a wooden ancestral tablet shaped in the image of the deceased ...

p. 380

citing other early texts that describe a human-shaped mu[-]zhu, which he aptly translated "wooden lord," using the 'lord; master' sense of zhu."

p. 381 other meanings of the word /s^i/ 'cadavre' {AChCh 449 : /shih1/, Radical 44 (Wegner's 32 A)}

"Shi is a place name (in Henan);

a surname ...; and

a variant of shi ... which is used in the names of birds ... ."

AChCh = G. D. Wilder & J. H. Ingram : Analysis of Chinese Characters. 2nd edn. College of Chinese Studies in China, 1934.

pp. 385-7 antique opinions as to the value of the personation-caerimony : "Henri Dore' (1859-1931) summarizes the ... principal opinions put forth by Chinese scholars"

p. 385

"Tang dynasty scholar Du You ... (735-812 CE) offers the following : [Dore' 1914, vol. 1, p. 99]

The ancient employed a personator. ... Some ... literati of our days would fain re-establish the ceremony of the personator. ...

The Han historian Ban Gu ... (32-92 CE) explains : [Dore' 1914, vol. 1, p. 100]

p. 386

... the loving sentiment of filial piety finds no means of displaying itself, hence a personator has been chosen to whom meats are offered, after which he break the bowls ... . ...

The Yuzhou dayiyi ... "Discussion of Universal Great Doubts" says : [Dore' 1914, vol. 1, p. 101]

The personator is employed ... in order to carry the ancestral tablet ... . ... .

... neo-Confucianist philosopher Cheng Yichuan ... (1033-1107 CE)writes : [Dore' 1914, vol. 1, pp. 101-2]

p. 387

The ancients ... employed the personator, because the soul and the vital force of the dead person{,} after being separated from the body, seek an agent of the same nature. ...

His eminent follower Zhu Xi concurs : [Dore' 1914, vol. 1, p. 102]

In ancient times all employed a personator ... . ... the personator ... shares ... in the life of the departed person, and

the ancestor's soul ... undoubtedly ... reposes therein to enjoy the sacrifice offered."

{It is actually entirely doubtful that any "soul" of a defunct mortal hath ever entred the body of any living mortal for any reason. Even where, in authentic spirit-possession situations (such as, in Okinawa, in Viet-Nam, in sTod-Bod, et al.), genuine spirit-possession is occurring, it is most likely that such possessing-spirits are immortals quite distinct and different from the "soul" of any defunct mortal, even in cases wherein the possessing-entity, speaking through the mouth of the soul-absent mortal's body, may identity itself as the "soul" of a defunct mortal (for, though that occupying entity may indeed imagine itself to be the soul of that defunct mortal, it is likely to be experiencing a misunderstanding produced by its reception, via thought-transference, of such expectations from the minds of mortals in attendance at such caerimonial occasion). [written 9 June 2017]}

Dore' 1914 = Henri Dore' (transl by N. Kennelly) : Researches Into Chinese Superstitions. 15 voll. Shanghai : Tusewei.

p. 390 "why the Chinese ritual texts rarely mention wu shamans"

[quoted from von Falkenhausen 1995] "the ancestral spirits descend into individuals designated ... the "Impersonators" (shi ...). Occupying their ritual ro^le by virtue of their kinship position vis-a`-vis the ancestor ..., the Impersonators are not trained religious specialists like the Spirit Mediums.

Although it has been speculated that the actions of the shi may have originally involved trance and {spirit-}possession,

{In labeling this notion of any such involvement a mere "speculation", von Falkenhausen is not favoring any such notion, but, rather, is demurring from it.}

the surviving source materials -- none earlier than the Western Zhou period -- show them as

staid ..., acting with the utmost demeanor and dignity."

{This manner of behavior would naturally be that of a faking live mortal play-actor, and not that of any possessing-spirit, least at all that of any defunct. Von Falkenhausen is implying that all participants praesent knew the praetence of "spirit-possession" to be sheer fakery.}

"The "interpreted possessed" oracle would be a zhu invocator overseeing a personator ... . ...

{At they oracle of Delphoi, there were likewise "interpreters", who paraphrased the original prose of the pythoness's pronouncements into metred verse.}

Again, the answer is definitely {how? -- it is merely asserted to be "speculated"!} affirmative {actually, negative!}, shi personation is congruous with the overall ... hypothesis."

{Again, the answer is evidently negative : this fake theatrical-style performance is not at all supportive of Julian Jaynes's speculative conjectures. How can deliberate fakery be "congruous" with anything authentic?}

von Falkenhausen 1995 = L. von Falkenhausen : "Reflections on the Political Role of Spirit Mediums in Early China : the Wu Officials in the Zhou li". EARLY CHINA 20:297-300.

p. 394 two kinds of postmortem souls

"These two Chinese 'soul' words are hun ... 'spiritual/ethereal soul ...' and

po ... 'bodily/corporeal ...soul ...',

respectively combining the "ghost radical" ... with yun ... 'cloudy ...' and

bai ... 'white' phonetics."

{Geographically, yun hun (< */yum hum/) could be localized at Yuma, AZ [where "cloudy" could refer to "cometh with clouds" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 1:7) and to "coming in the clouds of Heaven" (Markos 14:62 & Matthaios 26:64), which is "garnished with all manner of precious stones" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 21:19), and thus to (ANE:B1000N&N, vol. 4, p. 302) "Takni, the Castle of Jewels" located at TACNa in Yuma county, AZ]; contrasting with bai po localized at Hai-Phong, Tonkin.}

ANE:B1000N&N = R. F. Burton : The Arabian Nights' Entertainments : The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. London, H. S. Nichols & Co, 1894.

p. 394 arrival and departure of each of the two kinds of souls (p. 411, n. 167 : "see Brashier, 1996.")

"the po soul

comes at conception and

and after death remains on earth until the corpse decomposes,

while the hun soul

comes at birth and

goes to heaven after death."

Brashier, 1996 = K. E. Brashier : "Han Thanatology and the Division of 'Souls'". EARLY CHINA 21:125-58.

{In their each simultaneously upholding two distinct and different thanatologies, Pharasaic and Christian systems each have similar double outlooks : (1) defunct soul remaining in cadavre within tomb until resurrection, and (2) defunct soul immediately upon death being transported to heaven. In the <ibriy language, these two souls are distinguished by nomenclature : (1) /nepes^/ (litterally 'appetite' (ISBE, s.v. "Appetite"), the "appetitive soul" of Aristotelian metaphysics [: according to Ibn Gabirol, (HB:"PhE", p. 304) "The Serpent is the appetitive soul." This would be the kund.alini.]), and (2) /ns^amah/ (litterally 'breath'; cf. the TL-MRJ Books of Breathing in AEBA, pp. 23-5).}

ISBE = International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

HB:"PhE" = 31.3 Sara Klein-Braslavy : "The Philosophical Exegesis". In :- Magne Saebo/Magne Sæbø (ed.) : Hebrew Bible / Old Testament. Vol. I : "From the Beginnings to the Middle Ages". Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Go:ttingen, 2015. pp. 302-320.

AEBA = Erik Hornung (transl by David Lorton) : The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife. Cornell Univ Pr, Ithaca (NY), 1999.

p. 394 Chinese revenant

[p. 411, n. 168 : quoted from Eberhard 1968, p. 337] "the dead ... is a so-called revenant, a living corpse. ... Thus, until his final death, i.e., some time after physical death, he can have a family life : when an unmarried young man died, he was posthumously married to a girl who also had recently died before."

Eberhard 1968 = W. Eberhard (transl by A. Eberhard) : The Local Cultures of South and East China. Leiden : E. J. Brill.

pp. 394-6 the 2nd death {This could be understood as the moment when the ghost departeth from the vicinity of the cadavre into order to entre a distant foetus for redincarnation.}

p. 394

"Erkes's proposal that si and wang originally referred to two different kinds of "death.""

{This would be pertinent to that expression in the textus receptus Tao-Te C^ing : "to die but not perish" [cited infra, p. 411, n. 164].}

p. 395

"They died but suffered no decay." (Zuo-zhuan, as translated in Legge 1895e, p. 507)

{Though this could referr to the incorruptible cadavre of a hagios/sanctus 'saint', the transfigured status of the imperishable subtle body of a Taoist Immortal is even more pertinent.}

p. 396

"Concerning ... the Incas, ... when it was reported by the Conquistadors that these people declared that it is only a long time after death that an individual 'dies', ...

{A "2nd death" is a doctrine inculcated by the New Testament : ( "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." This is the "death of Death", for ( "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Thus, the 2nd death is quite harmless according to Apokalupsis of Ioannes 2:11, "The double-negative ... [... ou me] emphasizing the impossibility of being hurt by the second death." (BST:C:R2.11)}

the proper interpretation is that it takes this time for the ... voice to fade away."

{The guardian-angel of a defunct will continue communicating through a designated mortal spirit-medium until that guardian-angel (as divine social-worker) be duly assigned to another living mortal (as client).}

Legge 1895e = James Legge : The Chinese Classics, Vol. V : The Ch>un Ts>eu with the Tso Chuan. Oxford Univ Pr.


p. 397 two kinds of Hawai>ian souls

"The Hawaiians ... contrast metaphysical <uhane '... soul; ghost' and

physical <unihipili {possibly from /<uniki/ 'graduation-exercises'} 'spirit of a dead person, believed to remain in bones or hair of the deceased'

{How can any "spirit of a dead person" be characterized as particularly "physical"?} {Many South-AmerIndian tribesfolk describe the "bone-soul" : praesumably, those mortals observe such hairy skeletal entities prowling around in the mortals' psychedelic-enhanced visits to a dream-world.}

(cf. <unihipili {This word is, instead, /<uhinipili/, according to P&E:HD, p. 337a.} '... grasshopper-like; flexed position in traditional burials, with bound arm and leg bones')." {Compound word : /<uhini/ 'grasshopper' (P&E:HD, p. 336b) + /pili/ 'to cling, cleave to' (P&E:HD, p. 303b).}

{When living mortals travel (via "wake-induced lucid dreaming") into the divine world, those mortals perceive the deities as of titanic size; while those deities designate the mortals viewing them as (B-Midbar 13:33) "grasshoppers", a term alluding to the music-simulating chirring-sound producing by grasshoppers' rubbing-together (rubbing the ridges of the legs, alike to a utensil traversing a scrubboard). This is because the pervasive divine music is harkened unto by such mortals, such as titanic-sized heroine Revati (whose "sweet music" [BhagPur 1:10:67] mountain Raivataka is "the heaven of" [BKCh:BhP, p. 40] teak-continent S`aka-dvipa) harkened unto singing by Gandharva-s in the divine court of Brahma.}

P&E:HD = Mary Kawena Pukui & Samuel H. Elbert : Hawaiian Dictionary. Univ Pr of HI, Honolulu, 1971.

B-Midbar 13:33

BhagPur = Bhagavata Upa-puran.a.

BKCh:BhP = B. K. Chaturvedi (transl.) : Bhavishya Purana. Diamond Bks, New Delhi, 2006.

Revati & the Gandharva-s in Vis.n.u Puran.a


Marcel Kuijsten (ed.) : Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness : Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited. Julian Jaynes Society, Henderson (NV), 2006.