Poe divination (/pu̯e/, from the Hokkien Chinese: 跋桮; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: poa̍h-poe, Min Dong BUC: buăk-bŭi, 'cast moon blocks', also written bwa bwei, Mandarin Chinese: 擲筊; pinyin: zhì jiǎo / zhí jiǎo; lit. 'throwing poe') is a traditional Chinese divination method, in which the diviner throws or drops two small wooden pieces on the floor, and interprets the divine answer using the positions of the pieces. This method can be used to tell whether the future course of action the diviner is considering is recommended or not. The pieces, called 桮; poe (bwei) in Taiwanese or jiaobei in Mandarin, look somewhat like two shells of a clam or bivalve mollusk.
Upon throwing the wooden pieces, poe divination often results in three answering positions. The first is 聖笅; shèng jiǎo, when one of the blocks has its flat side facing up and the other has its flat side facing down; this shows the Deity's agreement with the devotee's question or plea. The second is 陰笅; yīn jiǎo, is when both blocks have their curved sides facing up; this shows the Deity's disagreement with the devotee's question or plea. This position may also indicate anger in some cases. The last would be 笑笅; xiào jiǎo, when both blocks have their flat sides facing up; this shows the Deity's amusement at the devotee's question or plea.
A unique, rare result would be the 站笅; zhàn jiǎo, which occurs when one of the blocks stands with both its flat and curved sides facing in a horizontal position. This uncommon position often means the deity is sending a strong message; in this case, devotees sometimes invite temple staff or mediums to determine the meaning of the message.
See also edit
- Poe (Kotobank) (in Japanese)