Badai(1962-) was born in the indigenous Puyuma (Beinan) village of Tamalakaw near Taitung City. In addition to writing, he is also an accomplished scholar of his tribe’s mystical arts, with an academic thesis on the subject to his credit. Badai injects his academic interests into his creative works and looks to his stories to keep tribal traditions and folk tales alive. His stories plumb Puyuma tribal history and ponder the present condition of Taiwan’s indigenous citizens. Badai is modern Taiwan’s best-known authority on domestic paranormal and shamanistic cultural traditions.
Witch Way both describes the shamanistic path of a modern-day Puyuma maiden and attempts to unravel a centuries’ old mystery … Why did a coven of Puyuma shamans gather in 1636 to call upon a newborn infant girl? Furthermore, why did this infant, as if determined to depart the mortal realm, refuse to either eat or drink?
Meiwan, born into a Puyuma shaman family, felt the draw of her shamanistic calling while preparing for her senior high school entrance examinations. She had been selected by the ancestors to carry the family’s shaman mantle forward. At school, Meiwan encountered the vision of a dead girl’s restless spirit. To help the spirit recover her memories, Meiwan decided to finally give her shamanistic powers a try. Little did she realize how powerful she actually was!
Witch Way helps preserve Puyuma shamanistic traditions through its description of Meiwan’s path to becoming a shaman while concurrently exploring the Puyuma tribal worldview. In the chapter “Meeting of the Tree Spirits”, the various tree species assume different forms to attend a meeting that, while superficially an extension of their ‘silent war’ against one another, actually reflects the contemporary situation faced by Taiwan’s disjointed indigenous tribes. Behind each advocated position is a deeper meaning worth the reader’s consideration.