Weather Conjuring with Jade

Today at Four, Watch Rain Clouds Disappear with Your Local Sorcerer, Jadah Boroo Khun

After being offered a Christian baptism, the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan asked why he should convert to a faith whose priests lacked the powers that his shamans possessed–that is, the power to exercise magic and control storms.

The Mongols had a strong belief in the practice of weather conjuring. Their practice involved using a stone, specifically the jade stone. One legend tells that a jade stone was passed down from Noah to his son, Japhet, after the Flood and that this stone contained a great power for sorcery, and that it ended up in Central Asia.

Oral tradition as recounted by Marco Polo tells of one instance during the era of Genghis Khan’s early wars in the late 12th century when weather conjuring was used to invoke a snowstorm. Snow blew so fiercely that it covered a region in so much fog, darkness, mist, and snow that the fighting armies all either froze to death or got lost and disoriented and rode right off the edge of some cliffs. In other cases, dust storms could be summoned to blind enemy armies. Kublai Khan in the middle to late 13th century kept a retinue of sorcerers at his summer palace in Xanadu (modern: Shangdu Town, Inner Mongolia, China) to ensure sunshine. They would disperse clouds and prevent storms from spoiling his stays there. To the southwest, natives on the island of Scotra (modern: Socotra, Yemen) were able to conjure up storm winds in order to drive away or draw in ships to its coasts. And in 2008 A.D., China used cloud seeding before the 2008 Olympics to maintain good weather for the events.

The practice was prevalent among the Mongols as well as other Tartar groups, Tibetans, the Hindu of Kashmir, and the Chinese. Even sunny Southern California had a purported rain-making weather conjuror in the early 1900s.

During the medieval era in Central Asia, the use of the jade stone was the preferred methodology for the task. In other regions prayer and still the use of stones and incantations were employed to the same end. Likewise, in some of these same regions, cannibalism was practiced.

Source: Polo, Marco, Henry Yule, and Henri Cordier. The Travels of Marco Polo: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition : Including the Unabridged Third Edition (1903) of Henry Yule’s Annotated Translation, As Revised By Henri Cordier, Together With Cordier’s Later Volume of Notes and Addenda (1920). New York: Dover Publications, 1993.

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