Hualien, Taiwan

MAZU — goddess of the sea

While trying to understand the spiritual landscape in Taiwan, we ­encounter with Mazu: a Chinese sea goddess. It was believed she roams the seas, ­protecting her believers through miraculous interventions. She is now ­regarded as a ­powerful Queen of Heaven. Mazuism is popular in Taiwan and her temple ­festival is ­celebrated in a truly unique way: the believers derive through the city and landscape holding the Mazu statue without knowing the final destination during the temple festival. This process can take up several days and even up to a week. All the actions and the whole process are based on signs from nature and Mazu herself. Depending on how a thrown stone falls, decisions are made. Directed by Mazu as they say. Can we also find signs in our controlled landscape? Is it still possible to ‘read’ ways nature directs us in life or did we create a structure where there is no room for signs anymore?