mark; sign; talisman; to seal; to correspond (to); tally; symbol; written charm; to coincide
|simp. and trad.
符 (fú) is short for 符籙 (mysterious writing used by Daoists to fight against ghosts and spirits). A Daoist priest would burn writing which was deemed to have magical properties, and then mix the ashes with water. This water was believed to have healing powers. Zhang Jue (d. 184), the leader of the Yellow Turban Rebellion gave out this water during the outbreak of an epidemic disease. In this way, he attracted a large following, which eventually led to the rebellion.