There are 2 things that we see on the Taoist altar all the time, one is the red ribbon with the mirror and the other is the pair of “golden flower” which are placed on the side like “ears”. These are essentials for your altar, and you will not want to miss them out after knowing what their purpose is.
The red ribbon is called the Sun Hung 神紅 (God Red). The round mirror in the middle symbolizes the portal that opens between heaven and human world, which allows the gods to come down. The red ribbon part symbolizes the pathway, of how the gods will flow into the altar and into their “seats” (statues and such). In short, this magical tool allows the connection between the altar and heaven to be built, and so the gods can come down through this “sky door”. To invoke the gods (cheng sun), you must have this tool.
The golden flower, is called Gum Fa 金花, which is a pair of featured “thingy”, it just looks more like a decoration to most people’s eyes. However, in Taoist magic, this is used as pair of guardians and “general” to secure your sky door pathway. The left and right flowers are symbolizing two guardians for the altar, they are called the water and fire gods (水神，火神). Standing from the altar and looking outward, the left is water, and right is fire. The water god helps to bring down resources from the above (call in more gods and help). The fire god helps to send your command to execute and sets the magic to LIVE mode, so that the work can be done.
These two gods are also connected with the 2 tapered candles beside the incense pot, so when we lit incense we should know that we are also going through their powers and communicating with the gods too. You can read more about the 2 candles in the other post on "The 2 Altar Candles".
How is it Used in Magic?
These tools are just plain decorations to start with, they are not magical by itself. What makes it magical is the magic work we do to them to make them really what they are meant to be. Just having them hung up doesn’t do anything.
After the activation of these tools, which are usually done by your uppers if you are newbie here, you can hang them up and they will be actually working as it should. You will learn to activate them as you learn more in the lineage, and eventually you will have to do it yourself every month to empower them up.
Gum Fa and Sun Hung are not limited to only using it on the altar, actually it could be used on anything you think that is very “big” and need the gods to always be watching over and giving blessings – such as some people will put it over their signage for their business or even on their ancestor’s altar (so that the gods can help to protect their ancestors too).
Here is the big question – what if there isn’t such a thing made, then our altar cannot connect to heaven? No. This is a traditional item that we kept using because it stays traditional-looking, and we do not need to reinvent the wheel. However, even without these, and just using the magic you learn here, you can still have the same thing done, the portal will still open, as long as the gods care about you. Remember that communication with the gods is the most important thing. No matter your altar is a newbie altar without these tools or you have these tools already, if your heart and mindset is crooked, no magic will work for you, because the gods just don’t like you. Try calling someone to ask for help, and piss them off at the same time. Gods are not dead energy like electricity, they are alive, and they have feelings. Your heart is the most important thing that makes your magic work or not.
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