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Years ago, the first ideas about what is now the CAS-E saw the light of day when listening to a presentation on the Indian art of topomancy (Vastu). The comparison between the habits of an Indian specialist and a Chinese expert of the corresponding Fengshui led us to the more general question of the strongly differing status of esoteric practices in a global perspective: according to political, religious, and scientist ideologies, they are subject to different degrees of rejection or acceptance. Presenting Taiwan as a case study, I will inquire into the status of these arts and practices with regard to their place in education, politics, and daily life. The focus will lie on practices like the temple oracle, Fengshui, physiognomy, and spirit-writing. Since none of the practitioners would use the term “esoteric” as a self-designation, we will have to keep in mind that we are operating with a default term.
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