Each type of religions has the own rites to practice their beliefs, so does the Worshipping of The Mother Goddesses. In the beliefs of the Worshipping of The Mother Goddesses, one of the important rites is trình đồng mở phủ, which is the ritual of practices of this religion.
Actually, what is “trình đồng mở phủ” and how does the rite of trình đồng mở phủ take place?
First of all, you must understand the meaning of trình đồng mở phủ. Trình đồng mở phủ is a ritual of presenting a new medium to saints and divinies in the Council of Three or Four Palaces, which proves that he or she is not only a follower or believer but also officially becomes a medium in the beliefs of The Worshipping of the Mother Goddesses of Three or Four Realms. Saying in another word, this is a ceremony of a believer who has destiny becoming a servant or attendant of saints and divinies. Without this, a believer cannot be a medium of Four Palaces.
Before applying for the faintful in the Worshipping of The Mother Goddesses Religion, it’s necessary for followers have strong beliefs in saints, divinies or Gods/Goddesses. After that, if you determine yourself having destiny of a medium, you should practice ritual of trình đồng mở phủ for application. In other words, you need to organize an initiation ceremony to present yourself to saints and divinies.
Picture a follower (in the red, in the middle) together with for servants in a ritual of trình đồng mở phủ,
representing to saints and divinies to become official new medium.
Rites of trình đồng mở phủ basically look like a normal rites of hầu đồng. For openers, followers or the faintful would have to invite a master of medium and a shaman if they want to arrange this rite. The master will support new mediums to open the palace (mở phủ) by teaching them how to practice rituals while the shaman will help them change the clothes and practice rituals of offerings.
An altar with all of needed offerings (paper puppets, votive papers, betel and areca,
flowers, fruits, etc…) for preparation of a ritual in trình đồng mở phủ ceremony.
There are some important factors in a ritual of trình trình đồng mở phủ, included: rituals of worshipping, ritual music, ritual clothes and rituals in practicing of Makeshift platform. Rituals in practices of Makeshift platform is the main factor which shows completely the typical nature of rites of Four Palaces in Four Realms. Makeshift platform includes: 7 eggs for male and 9 for female medium, betel and areca, rice, mirror and comb, books and pen, knight and scissors, perfume, soap, face-cloth, ruby compote, sealed casket, chóe (a kind of vase, used for containing rice, fresh water or salt for worshipping), river water, altar cloth (each color correspond with a palace)
Each palace in The Four Realms is managed by a Mother Goddess, a King and its own divinies. In a rite of trình đồng mở phủ, Liễu Hạnh Mother is known as the Greatest Mother Goddess in role of an administer of two Realms: The Heaven and The Earth. She only descends on earth by incarnating into the medium who is host of the ceremony. Mediums usually attend about 6 or 7 séances in a ceremony and each one plays a role of saint or divinies in the order: The First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Great Mandarin who will follow their own colors to practice typical ritual of their palaces. 4 Great Mandarin, included The First, The Second, The Third and The Fourth are in charge of practicing the rituals to open gates of corresponded palaces while The Fifth Great Mandarin will be responsible for finishing the rite.
A scene of reconstituting rituals of nature hầu đồng in Tứ Phủ - Four Palaces show, by Việt Tú Director.
The actress from Viet Theater and two attendants in a reincarnation of The Lady of Honor of Forest in Four Realms.
A new medium has to prepare a lot of things for a rite of trình đồng mở phủ, of which there are a veil (face-covering), clothings of The Council (Council uniform) and Garb for offerings. Although the fact that it’s necessary for medium to prepare for each attendance the new clothings, sometimes you just have to prepare 5 ones or you can borrow from others. However, clothings of The Council (Council uniform) must be new and cannot give or lend to anyone else.
The rite of trình đồng mở phủ is considered as the most important in The Viet beliefs of The Worshipping of The Mother Goddesses that affirms the connection between medium and divinies in the theophany of divinities in the Three or Four Realms as well as a swear of following divinities to pray for people.
On the other hands, this rites and rituals of trình đồng mở phủ partly help The Viet beliefs of The Worshipping of The Mother Goddesses of Three or Four Realms pass from generation to generation despite of changes of history and society until now.