The mysterious red ink for drawing FU Talisman is often mistaken to be "blood", and some movies also show that the Taoist master will cut his finger and drip some blood into the dish of red "ink". Here, let us tell you the truth, and what the real ink is!
For writing FU talisman, we commonly use black and red for the text, and they are used for a special reason. Using the wrong color for your FU will result in a wrong effect. Imagine plugging your battery reversed in your electronics, what do you think will happen? The common yellow paper combined with red ink is what we call the MO FU 武符, which is the FU that has to cause effect by using the internal resources or elements. The black FU is MUNN FU文符, which is to add more elements into a system, like putting in more resources or programming things, and not to really create an effect by using up the energy. Black connects and input elements to create energy, red use up energy of elements and create power. This is the common and basic knowledge of FU text color. We also use other colors such as white, gold, silver, etc, but we will leave those out this time, just not to get too off-topic.
The red ink can be as simple as an ink stick, which is made of cinnabar (from what I got out of google translate). The word in Chinese is硃砂 Jue-sa. It's something usually used in painting and/or as a medicine in Chinese medicine. When consumed over a certain amount of this herb, one can have health issue or die from it, but with the right amount being consumed, it does have the effect of calming people down and such. Most people thought, that Talisman FU worked because of the "herbal element" and so it helps people to bring them peace, which is - totally wrong. FU Talisman doesn't only bring you peace, it can do many other things, such as exorcism, fixing fungshui of a house, bringing you better luck, help you success with exams, or protection against evil spirit possession, blocking away evil spirits from home, and such. If the herb is what worked, then all we need is a bunch of Chinese doctors, not us the magic wizards, right? People are trying too hard, way too hard, to make a sense out of things they don't understand. In the past, there wasn't much choice of colors, and most people rely on these herbs and things that have pigments to make colors, and that is why it's used.
Today, we are so fortunate that we have many choices for the color of red, easily purchased from online, and we don't need to grind ink or search of these herbs anymore. The key is "red", not the herb. We can use herbs, and have special formulas to make it "better", for some advance FU-work, but it's not necessary. While writing FU does require the use of a calligraphy brush, to ensure smooth flow and bright color, we must use an ink that works well with the brush for writing, and avoid those thick paint like acrylic and such - which totally don't work at all, for the writing part.
In our lineage, we use both bottled red ink and ink stone, or even special formula with herb, depending on our need. To get started, we suggest our new disciples to use a red ink stick and the traditional method of grinding ink. When you get advanced, you will need to write FU in bigger quantity, and so the bottled ink is best for that bulk-FUing purpose. Same goes to black ink!
The red is not "blood red", it is a bit to the orange side, but still red when put on yellow paper. The herb formula will include the food coloring powder, which has a more vivid red to it, but to be honest, both will work well for your FU Talisman, no worry - as long as your ink is empowered properly.
Oh yes, all your gears, including your paper, brush, ink, and everything you use for FU work is magically empowered, or else, why will they work as magical tools? When you are learning in our lineage, you will be purchasing these gears from your Dai Sifu in the lineage, and she will do her first time empowerments for you before shipping you the products. This activates the tool with a first time magic power infused done in advance for you. When you get the tools, you have to learn to at least do the simplest way of 'chick'ing the tools, which means, to bond in your energy and activating the tools as your magic tools. The more you learn, the more you know how to 'chick' them better and do more to them to put in more elements, and magic power, making them stronger and better.
Once your ink stick or bottled ink is chicked, you can do your FU talismans accordingly and stamp them up, activate your FU, and such.
What is the difference between ink stick and bottled ink? If we have the luxury of bottled ink, why still stick to the old painful method of grinding ink?
The ink stick itself is a hardened essence of ink, which is one magical tool. When you grind ink, you are doing another cultivation to polish up your magic power and literally grinding your essence from your preheaven energy to the post heaven dimension here. When you are grinding ink, you are doing work, you are putting in more elements, you are training and cultivating, to strengthen up yourself, and also the "ink". When you write FU with the ground ink, it's always more powerful and more condensed. While you grind ink, there is also a spell to recite, which keeps connecting and pouring the essence out from your body to the ink as well.
Not forget, that your ink stone pad is also a magical tool, and it needs care! The ink stone pad will also develop more power as you use it more, and infuse more essence into it, which of course will make your FU more powerful as you use the pad more. As you can see, every single detail counts.
The brush is made with real animal hair, which has the energy for connecting the pre and post heaven dimensions. Yes, we can use modern brush with fake hair too, or even a pen, but the hair also give things a better boost. When you have a choice, you can choose the better and more suitable ones, right? When we are in a rush, we can just skip that part and use the more handy version.
New disciples often have the minimal tools, their altar is baby or even mobile, and their power is not yet developed. What they need, is more assisting elements, more cultivation, more training. Therefore, we will have them use the ink stick method to help them get things more powerful, stable and also give them the chance to cultivate more while allowing them to start doing some FU work even their power is not yet developed. Once they got better with their foundation, and start doing some advanced FU-work, they will be able to move on to bottled red ink and eventually get to the more handy tools to cut down the hassle. Starting hard, but it gets easier as you sail along the path. It's all done for your own good.
Those of you who just got ordained in the lineage, make sure you consult your Dai Sifu and ask her what you need to buy to start your FU talisman learning! You will for sure need more than just brush and ink! Send her an e-mail and see what you will need!