Đạo Mẫu

Đạo Mẫu (Vietnamese: [ɗâːwˀ mə̌wˀ], 道母) is the worship of mother goddesses in Vietnam.[1][2] While scholars like Ngô Đức Thịnh propose that it represents a systematic mother goddess cult, Đạo Mẫu draws together fairly disparate beliefs and practices.[3][4][5][6] These include the worship of goddesses such as Thiên Y A Na, The Lady of the Realm (Bà Chúa Xứ), The Lady of the Storehouse (Bà Chúa Kho) and Princess Liễu Hạnh,[7] legendary figures like Âu Cơ, the Trưng Sisters (Hai Bà Trưng), and Lady Triệu (Bà Triệu), as well as the cult of the Four Palaces. Đạo Mẫu is commonly associated with spirit mediumship rituals—known in Vietnam as lên đồng—much as practiced in other parts of Asia, such as Southern China, Myanmar (Mon people) and some community in India... Although the Communist government had initially proscribed the practice of such rituals, deeming them to be superstitions, they relented in 1987, once again legalizing their practice.

A Lên đồng practitioner performs in a pagoda.

Four Palaces (Tứ Phủ)

The most prominent form of Đạo Mẫu is Four Realms (Tứ Phủ), which worships a hierarchical pantheon of Vietnamese local deities with a strong influence from historical figures, Taoism and Buddhism. Four Realms is the most common in the North. Other forms in different areas have also developed an interference with other local beliefs.

The name literally means "Four Mansions", which includes the four realms Heaven, Highlands, Water and Earth.

Worship of Saint Trần

Saint Trần


  1. ^ Asian Ethnology, Volumes 67-68 2008 p.305 "mother goddess religion (Đạo Mẫu)"
  2. ^ Karen Fjelstad; Thị Hiền Nguyễn (2006). Possessed by the Spirits: Mediumship in Contemporary Vietnamese Communities. SEAP Publications. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-0-87727-141-3.
  3. ^ Ngô Đức Thịnh,"The Cult of the Female Spirits and the Mother Goddesses 'Mẫu'," Vietnamese Studies 121, no.3 (1996):83-96
  4. ^ "Đạo Mẫu ở Việt Nam" [The Mother Goddess Religion in Vietnam] (Hà Nội: Nhà Xuất Bản Văn Hóa Thông Tin, 1996)
  5. ^ "The Pantheon for the Cult of Holy Mothers," Vietnamese Studies 131, no.1 (1999): 20-35
  6. ^ "The Mother Goddess Religion: Its History, Pantheon, and Practices," in Possessed by the Spirits: Mediumship in Contemporary Vietnamese Communities, ed. Karen Fjelstad and Nguyen Thi Hien. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Southeast Asia Program, 2006), 19-30.
  7. ^ Nguyen Quoc Tan, Mother Goddess Liễu Hạnh under the View of Religious Studies, Religious Studies Review Vol. 1, No. 2 – May 2007.

External links


Ali Illahism (Persian: علی‌اللّهی‎) is a syncretic religion which has been practiced in parts of Iranian Luristan which combines elements of Shia Islam with older religions. It centers on the belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity throughout history, and Ali Ilahees reserve particular reverence for Ali, the son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is considered one such incarnation. Various rites have been attributed as Ali Ilahian, similarly to the Yezidis, Ansaris, and all sects whose doctrine is unknown to the surrounding Muslim and Christian population. Observers have described it as an agglomeration of the customs and rites of several earlier religions, including Zoroastrianism, historically because travelogues were "evident that there is no definite code which can be described as Ali Illahism".Sometimes Ali-Illahism is used as a general term for the several denominations that venerate or deify Ali, like the Kaysanites, the Alawis or the Ahl-e Haqq/Yarsanis, others to mean the Ahl-e Haqq.


Antireligion is opposition to religion of any kind. The term has been used to describe opposition to organized religion, religious practices or religious institutions. This term has also been used to describe opposition to specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not. Opposition to religion also goes beyond the misotheistic spectrum. As such, antireligion is distinct from deity-specific positions such as atheism (the lack of belief in deities) and antitheism (an opposition to belief in deities); although "antireligionists" may also be atheists or antitheists.

Cao Quỳnh Cư

Cao Quỳnh Cư (1888–1929) was one of the founder figures of the Vietnamese religion Cao Đài, participating with Phạm Công Tắc and Cao Hoài Sang in the first Hội Yến Diêu Trì to Đạo Mẫu in 1925.

Comparative religion

Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the world's religions. In general the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethics, metaphysics, and the nature and forms of salvation. Studying such material is meant to give one a broadened and more sophisticated understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual, and divine.In the field of comparative religion, a common geographical classification of the main world religions includes Middle Eastern religions (including Iranian religions), Indian religions, East Asian religions, African religions, American religions, Oceanic religions, and

classical Hellenistic religions.

Four Palaces

The Four Palaces (Tứ Phủ) is the most significant form of Đạo Mẫu, a worship of Mother Goddesses in Vietnam. This form is popular in the Northern and have a profound association with the worship of Đức Thánh Trần.

Its name literally means "Four Palaces" as its deities are believed to reside in four palaces, each of which serves as a ministry governing one realm of the universe.

There are four realms: Heaven, Highlands, Water and Earth. The palaces governing those realms are named as follow:

Thiên phủ (Heaven Palace), ruled by Mother Goddess of Heaven (Mẫu Thượng Thiên)

Nhạc phủ (Highlands Palace), ruled by Mother Goddess of Highlands (Mẫu Thượng Ngàn), also known as Mother Goddess of Forest Residence (Lâm Cung Thánh Mẫu)

Thoải phủ (Water Palace) ruled by Mother Goddess of Water (Mẫu Thoải), also known as Mother Goddess of Water Residence (Thủy Cung Thánh Mẫu).

Địa phủ (Earth Palace) ruled by Mother Goddess of Earth (Mẫu Địa Phủ), also known as Mother Goddess of Earth Residence (Lục Cung Thánh Mẫu).


Ishik or Ishik Alevism (Işık Aleviliği), also known as Chinarism (Çınarcılık), is a new syncretic religious movement among Alevis who have developed an alternative understanding of Alevism and its history. These alternative interpretations and beliefs were inspired by Turkish writer Erdoğan Çınar with the publication of his book Aleviliğin Gizli Tarihi (The Secret History of Alevism) in 2004.

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic." A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

Liễu Hạnh

Princess Liễu Hạnh (Vietnamese: Liễu Hạnh Công chúa, chữ Hán: 柳杏公主) is one of The Four Immortals of Thanism, and also a leading figure in the mother goddess cult Đạo Mẫu, in which she governs the celestial realm.

Her personal cult was created by women in Nam Định Province, in the village of Van Cat. It is believed that the cult was created by rice farmers in need of land and water, and at its peak was extremely popular. The cult was mostly suppressed during the Communist Party of Vietnam's early reign, as worship was considered to be Taoist in nature, and was a tool of oppression. However, after Doi Moi (begun 1986) the cult has been regaining popularity steadily.

Lên đồng

Lên đồng (Vietnamese: [len ɗə̂wŋm], "to mount the medium", or "going into trance") is a ritual practiced in Vietnamese folk religion and the mother goddess religion Đạo Mẫu, in which followers become spirit mediums for various deities. Also known as hầu bóng (lit. "serving the shadows"), hầu đồng, or đồng bóng, sessions involve a number of artistic elements, such as music, singing, dance and the use of costumes. The invocation songs (Vietnamese: hát văn) used to induce a trance in mediums have been described as a "particularly noteworthy expression of the performing art of the Kinh people"; the lên đồng ritual itself is considered to be an element of Vietnam's intangible cultural heritage.

Mẫu Thượng Thiên

Mẫu Thượng Thiên (上天) is one of the four heavenly mothers in the Four Palaces in Vietnamese folk religion. She is one of the spirits invoked in the form of lên đồng mediumship particularly associated with Đạo Mẫu worship.

Organized religion

Organized religion (or organised religion—see spelling differences), also known as institutional religion, is religion in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established. Organized religion is typically characterized by an official doctrine (or dogma), a hierarchical or bureaucratic leadership structure, and a codification of rules and practices.

Religion in Vietnam

Long-established religions in Vietnam include the Vietnamese folk religion, which has been historically structured by the doctrines of Confucianism and Taoism from China, as well as a strong tradition of Buddhism (called the three teachings or tam giáo). According to official statistics from the government, as of 2014 there are 24 million people identified with one of the recognised organised religions, out of a population of 90 million. Of these, 11 million are Buddhists (12.2%), 6.2 million are Catholics (6.9%), 4.4 million are Caodaists (4.8%), 1.4 million are Protestants (1.6%), 1.3 million are Hoahaoists (1.4%), and there are 75,000 Muslims, 7,000 Bahá'ís, 1,500 Hindus and other smaller groups (<1%). Traditional folk religions (worship of gods, goddesses and ancestors) have experienced a rebirth since the 1980s.According to estimates by the Pew Research Center in 2010, most of the religious Vietnamese practiced folk religions (45.3%). 16.4% were Buddhists, 8.2% were Christians (mostly Catholics), and about 30% were unaffiliated to any religion. Officially, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is an atheist state as declared by its communist government.

Royal Canadian Chaplain Service

The Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (French: Service de l'aumônerie royal canadien) is a personnel branch of the Canadian Armed Forces that has approximately 192 Regular Force chaplains and 145 Reserve Force chaplains representing the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths. From 1969 to 2014 it was named the Chaplain Branch. It was renamed on October 16, 2014.

Thiên Y A Na

See also Lady Po NagarThiên Y A Na is a Vietnamese goddess. She is worshipped in the Vietnamese folk religion and Đạo Mẫu, the mother goddess religion. She is also known as Lady Po Nagar, the Cham deity from whom she originated. The Cham people of Vietnam had been much influenced by India, and it is believed that Pô Nagar is represented with the characteristics of Bhagavati Uma. The cult of Thiên Y A Na is popular in Vietnam, particularly among women. She is channeled through Lên đồng rituals. There have been many temples and shrines devoted to her throughout the last several centuries.

It is widely believed that the deity known as Thiên Y A Na is the Vietnamized version of the Cham deity, Pô Nagar, meaning “Lady of the Kingdom”. When the Việt came down from the North to central Vietnam and took over control of the land occupied by the Cham people, they attempted to assimilate the Cham into Việt culture. In doing so, they Vietnamized certain aspects of Cham culture that appealed to the Việt. It is through this process that the goddess Pô Nagar became Thiên Y A Na.

Thánh Trần worship

The Thánh Trần worship (tín ngưỡng Đức Thánh Trần) is a cult in Vietnamese folk religion associated with the spirit of historical general Trần Hưng Đạo, who repulsed the Mongolian invasions. The shrines are sometimes collectively called Trần Triều, literally "Trần dynasty".

Mediumship with the spirit of Thánh Trần is part of lên đồng mediumship and particularly associated with Đạo Mẫu (道母), mother goddess worship. Mediums are mainly female, possession of a male by the spirit is viewed as unusual.

Vietnamese folk religion

Vietnamese folk religion or Vietnamese indigenous religion (Vietnamese: tín ngưỡng dân gian Việt Nam, tôn giáo bản địa Việt Nam), is the ethnic religion of the Vietnamese people. About 45.3% of the population[1] in Vietnam are associated with this religion, making it dominant in Vietnam.

Vietnamese folk religion is not an organized religious system, but a set of local worship traditions devoted to the thần, a term which can be translated as "spirits", "gods" or with the more exhaustive locution "generative powers". These gods can be nature deities or national, community or kinship tutelary deities or ancestral gods and the ancestral gods of a specific family. Ancestral gods are often deified heroic persons. Vietnamese mythology preserves narratives telling of the actions of many of the cosmic gods and cultural heroes.

The Vietnamese indigenous religion is sometimes identified as Confucianism since it carries values that were emphasized by Confucius. Đạo Mẫu is a distinct form of Vietnamese folk religion, giving prominence to some mother goddesses into its pantheon. The government of Vietnam also categorises Cao Đài as a form of Vietnamese indigenous religion, since it brings together the worship of the thần or local spirits with Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, as well as elements of Catholicism, Spiritism and Theosophy.

Virtual Museum of Protestantism

The Virtual Museum of Protestantism, created in 2003 by the Fondation pasteur Eugène Bersier, recounts the history of Protestantism in France from the 16th century to the present.


Yazdânism, or the Cult of Angels, is a proposed pre-Islamic, native religion of the Kurds. The term was introduced by Kurdish scholar Mehrdad Izady to represent what he considers the "original" religion of the Kurds.According to Izady, Yazdânism is now continued in the denominations of Yazidism, Yarsanism, and Ishik Alevism. The three traditions subsumed under the term Yazdânism are primarily practiced in relatively isolated communities; from Khurasan to Anatolia, and parts of western Iran.

The concept of Yazdânism has found a wide perception both within and beyond Kurdish nationalist discourses, but has been disputed by other recognized scholars of Iranian religions. Well established, however, are the "striking" and "unmistakable" similarities between the Yazidis and the Yaresan or Ahl-e Haqq, some of which can be traced back to elements of an ancient faith that was probably dominant among Western Iranians and likened to practices of pre-Zoroastrian Mithraic religion. Mehrdad Izady defines the Yazdanism as an ancient Hurrian religion and states that Mitanni could have introduced some of the Vedic tradition that appears to be manifest in Yazdanism.

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