Diasporas are experienced and theorized by those who move from one country to another, who may narrate their lives as ones of exile and separation, or alternatively as part of a divinely coordinated plan for exodus. The perspectives of the modernist and syncretistic religion of Caodaism stress the trauma of colonial conquest, and incorporate many new external elements into a constantly expanding cosmopolitan cosmology, while followers of the spirit possession practices of Đạo Mẫu instead look back at the grandeur of the imperial past, taking the “originalist” stance that the most ancient practice has the most authority. I argue that new rituals and new gender configurations emerge to “sacralize the diaspora,” to craft different interpretations of religious symbolism, and to provide an innovative response to displacement.

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