Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Fortune Teller Told Me | Nguyễn Ngọc Vi

As readers of this blog probably know, I'm immersed in a personal photographic project documenting the Spirit Mediums of Vietnam; a project which is slowly progressing and will eventually result in a photo book.

One of the derivative 'sub-projects' from my traveling to Vietnam is documenting the life story of Ms. Nguyễn Vi, who is not only an active Hầu Đồng practitioner and a medium, but also is a psychic, a clairvoyant and a fortune teller. She tells me that her innate insight into people's futures helps them in their lives. As with many Vietnamese Buddhists, Vi embraces its teachings on compassion and altruism.

I started documenting Vi's life story in July when she graciously invited me to her family home in Hanoi. It was there that she worships, actively follows her belief system, and deploys her fortune telling skills. In our conversations, it was evident she hasn't had an easy life, and had suffered a number of personal setbacks over the past years until finding her calling in the Đạo Mẫu religion. 

Not only was I privileged to have been invited to her home again in October, but we became friends, and I was glad to be amongst her group that traveled to the north of Vietnam to attend one of her ceremonies.

She is one of the best practitioners of Hầu Đồng I've seen, using her personal charisma, fashion sense and considerable experience to enthrall her audiences. Extremely talented in many fields such as graphic design, photography and fashion, Vi has nevertheless chosen a life path that is difficult; almost monastic to a certain degree.

As I intend to produce a much lengthier documentary on Vi's life, I consider this short movie as a trailer for what is about to come in the near future.