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Thread-cross

Thread-cross (Tib., mdos). Implement used in the magical rites of Tibetan religions, principally to deflect negative influences away from a person or community. The simplest form consists of two sticks bound together in the form of a cross with threads of five colours stretched over it to resemble a cobweb, but complex forms can be as much as eleven feet in height, resembling the stūpa in shape and symbolism. The thread-cross can serve as a temporary residence for a deity in rites of ‘creating good’ (such as protection for travellers), but more commonly in rites of ‘dispelling evil’ (such as assisting a person bothered by demons). R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz (Oracles and Demons in Tibet, 1956), has drawn attention to the finding of thread-crosses in S. Africa, S. America, Australia, and Scandinavia, as well as in several areas of India.

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