Research Project


The Establishment of a Divination Database: Centered on Publications of Phoenix Halls in Taiwan

Guoping Li

This project aims to establish a database of divination records, focusing on the religious lives of lay people. The basic material is drawn from the publications of phoenix halls in Taiwan. A multitude of books are published by such cult groups, and certain halls even issue regular magazines to introduce their activities and propagate their teachings. Many of these magazines publish the questions posed by believers and answers received from immortals and deities, such as Guandi, Lüzu, etc. These divination records comprise the primary data of the database. At present, the project concentrates solely on one magazine called Luanyou 鸞友, which has been published from 1969 to the present (852 issues). Beginning with no. 272 (15 August, 1980), Luanyou began to publish divination records in a regular column named "Guidance in the sagely way" (Shengdao zhinan 聖道指南). In the latest issue, this column continues to play a significant role. A question and its answer can be treated as a case, and there are thousands such cases. A database comprising these cases can help to identify which concerns are foremost in the believers' religious lives, what patterns the answers have, and how the questions correlate with gender, time, etc.

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