“Daughters Of Aine- Zhinu” by thecrunchyblueberry

“Zhinu’s themes are love, relationships, unity, devotion and divination. Her symbols are stars and silver items.  Zhinu is a stellar Goddess in China, residing in the constellation of Lyra, a home from which She tends to harmony within relationships. According to legend, Zhinu came to earth to bathe with six friends, but a herdsman stole Her dress. She could not return to the heavens this way, so She married him. Later, however, the gods called Her back to the stars and the herdsman followed Her. On the seventh day of the seventh moon, the two are allowed to meet as husband and wife.

A similar celebration to the Seven Sisters Festival is the Weaving Festival in Japan (see July 7 entry), which commemorates the love between two stellar deities who meet in the silver river of the Milky Way one day out of the year.

Follow with custom and cover you altar with rice and melons, both of which can become offerings. Eat these as part of a meal later to internalize Zhinu’s love and devotion. If you’re single, offer Her combs, mirrors and paper flowers to draw a partner into your life.

Burning incense and reading one’s future is also common today. Watch the smoke from the incense while thinking about a specific relationship. See if any shapes form in the clouds. A heart, for example, indicates adoration. A scale reveals a relationship with a healthy balance and two interconnected rings indicate unity in mind and soul.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Painting in the Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

Zhinu (also known as Chih Nu, or Kamauhata hime in Japan) was the daughter of Yu-huang, the Jade Emperor, She spends all Her time spinning beautiful silk robes and lacey garments for the Heavenly Host. She also makes the finest gossamer clouds and Her tapestry of the constellations is a work of art.

Her father was so pleased with Zhi-Nu‘s diligent work that He married her to the Heavenly Official In Charge Of Cowsheds. (That may not sound like much of a reward, but then you haven’t met him.)

The two of them fell headlong in love and pretty soon She was getting behind in Her spinning duties. So they were whisked off into the sky and separated by the Milky Way. You can still see them there; She is Vega in the constellation Lyra and he is Altair in the constellation Aquila.

Now they are only allowed to meet once a year, when a flock of magpies swarm into the sky and create a bridge for them to cross. For the rest of the year they live apart and She is the Heavenly Spinster in more ways than one. This is what comes of a marriage made in Heaven.

Now some versions of this tale assert that Zhi-Nu actually came down to Earth and had Her clothes stolen while She bathed in a river.


The culprit was Niu-Lang, a humble cowherd who was amazed at Her beauty and fell instantly in love.

Without Her clothes She could not return to Heaven — at least, not without some very awkward questions being asked. So She decided to marry him instead as he was sweet and gentle, and not bad looking for a mortal and had two children with him.  Seven years later She found Her clothes. Some say that She returned to Heaven on Her own accord, others say Heaven found out eventually, and whisked them off to the stars as before.

It doesn’t really matter which version is true. The end of this story is far more important than the beginning, as all Chinese lovers will testify. The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is when Zhi-Nu and Niu-Lang cross the magpie bridge and their happy tears often cause rain on earth. In some parts of China an annual festival allows lovers to meet in honor of these astral deities. Their stars burn brightly in the Heavens, lovers hold hands and gaze into the night sky, and Chinese Valentine’s Day begins…” [1] [2]





Godchecker.com, “Zhi-Nu“.

Encyclopedia Mythica, “Chih Nu“.

Suggested Links:

MTXODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology and You, “Chih Nu“.

Tara the Antisocial Social Worker. Dailykos.com, “How a Woman Becomes a Goddess: Chih Nu“.

Waldherr, Kris. Goddess Inspiration Oracle, “Zhinu“.