We frequently hear people say that their father was their hero when they were little. But what if he were, literally, a god? Essayist Lin Che Li describes growing up with a father who served his community as the earthly vessel of a deity.
We frequently hear people say that their father was their hero when they were little. But what if your father were, literally, a god? Essayist Lin Che Li describes growing up with a father who dedicated his life to serving his community as the earthly host of a local deity. The book puts a modern face on a millennia-old mystical tradition that many Westerners know nothing about.
When he was young, Lin Che Li’s father didn’t believe in gods and spirits. Not only had they never helped him, the mystics and mediums of seemingly every temple in Taiwan flat-out refused to intervene after his brother contracted an inexplicable illness that led to his death. But one day, without warning, a spectral entity entered his body and spoke to him. It was no longer a question of belief.
In a series of essays originally published in periodicals, Lin Che Li describes her father’s career as a divine medium, from his first, unexpected visitations (when the god helped a woman heal her young daughter) to his weekly seances for the community. His unasked-for power transformed their family’s living room into a community gathering place that could become volatile amid the haze of incense smoke, as people brought fears, concerns, and hopes to the feet of a man who occasionally spoke with the voice of a god.