Ofuda - Details and Historic Aspects

御札   At their simplest, they are slips of paper with at least one word of Kotodama written on them by a magic user. They're used to store a spell for use by anyone (magic user or not) or to apply it for longer and more powerful effects. The creator, shrine, or temple often stamps the talisman with their seal in red ink to mark it as official.   Most any substance that can be used to write with or written on can be used. But the farther the supplies are from high-quality stick ink and bamboo or cotton paper, the harder it is and the more ki is required.   Ofuda protection talismans (kind of like a blessing) can be purchased at most shrines and temples. Tradition says, that they last a year and should be returned (to be burned) and replaced.   In Onmyoudou and Ofuda: A Research Compendium, Tsuchimikado Yukitada stated that he felt keeping things simple and straightforward was best. So he would use at most 2 words on his ofuda. The ki could be easily directed into the paper or other medium for the strongest effect of the spell. While some practitioners preferred to use ancient symbols for their talismans, Tsuchimikado felt that a fluid script fit the flow of ki better.   
Tome of Onmyoudou and Ofuda by Amy Winters-Voss


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Heal Ofuda - by Tsuchimikado Yukitada

Cover image: EeJaNaiKa Scene (cropped) by Kawanabe Kyōsai


Author's Notes

For the Liminal Chronicles lore, I have deviated a bit from ofuda you will actually find in Japan. The ones I have seen are from shrines and temples and are for protection -- say for one's house or from fire mishaps and you hang it in a place of honor at your house. For more info on Ofuda, see this article as a starting point.

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29 Dec, 2020 00:18

Ooo interesting. I like that most people use ancient symbols but flowing script might be better for them.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
1 Jan, 2021 01:16

Thank you!

Forgemaster Janet
Janet Forbes
29 Jan, 2021 09:46

Fab article! I love how the quality of materials affects the quality of the spell!

  • Janet Forbes (Founder of World Anvil, author, RPG designer, streamer)
  • Grab your hammer and GO WORLDBUILD!
    29 Jan, 2021 15:45

    Thank you!

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