by William B. Guthrie
"Black Way." "Black Way" is the literal translation of Hac Tao. It is easy to render this phrase as "black magic," since this area of folklore (or spiritual technology) has much in common with Western magic. Hac Tao is the generic name for the whole range of dirty tricks of Chinese spiritualism: healing, cursing, fertility and barrenness spells and the making and counteracting of poisons, or at least very bad luck.
"Debased Taoism" is a phrase often used in academic folklore, anthropological and comparative religion when the real subject — in Cantonese terms — is Hac Tao. While the word tao or "way," makes this connection tempting, much of the apparatus and myth is traditional Chinese, drawn from other sources: Buddhist, Confucian, and non-sectarian folklore.