Tag Archive: chinese mythology


Goddess Xi Hou

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“Xi Hou’s themes are kinship, longevity, unity, divination and weather. Her symbols are sunlight and gold dragons. As the Chinese mother of the sun, this Goddess joins our festivities today to celebrate Her child’s rebirth. Each morning, Xi Hou diligently bathes one of ten suns in the lake of creation so it can shine in purity, and then She puts it on top of the trees, where it’s received by a dragon chariot that moves the sun across the sky.

Consider following Chinese custom, and rejoice in the solstice by gathering in the kitchen with your housemates and leaving offerings of chopsticks, oranges, incense, and candles for unity and long life for all those gathered. Open a curtain to let the sun light flood in, than thank Xi Hou for Her child and its warmth. Also, at some point during the day, enjoy some Oriental-style dumplings (dim sum) for kinship.

Among the favorite activities today are weather prophecies. Go outside and see what direction the wind is coming from. An east wind portends trouble, west winds indicate the ripening of an effort or a good grain crop, south winds counsel watching your money, as the harvest will be poor (don’t invest in crop shares!), and north winds foretell bounty.

Red clouds reveal that your personal energy will wane and droughts may follow, black clouds predict floods, yellow clouds precede prosperity and abundant crops, and white clouds reveal arguments or war.”

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

Hsi-Ho-large

“Hsi-Ho” by Janet Hess

The Goddess Xi Hou (pronounced SHE-hoe) is the “mother of the ten suns; this ancient Chinese heroine created the calendar by selecting the order in which She would bathe Her children – thus establishing which day came before which.  After bathing the child in the sweet waters of the Kan Yuan Gulf, She hung the day’s sun in a mulberry tree and raised it into the sky” (Monaghan, p. 156).

Also seen as Xi He and Hsi-Ho (see my February 7th entry Goddess Hsi-Ho).

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Hsi-Ho”.

 

Suggested Links:

Cnculture.org, “Ho Yi Shoots down the Suns“.

Wikipedia, “Dōngzhì Festival“.

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Goddess Dou Mou

“Dou Mou’s themes are death, ghosts, divination and health. Her symbols are the sun, moon and stars. Dou Mou is the Chinese Goddess of the North Star. To this day, people invoke Dou Mou to protect spirits of departed loved ones and to safeguard the living from sickness. From Her heavenly domain between the sun and the moon, Dou Mou records each birth and death, and she is the patroness of fortune-tellers.

In mid-November, the Chinese celebrate the last of three festivals for the dead. Today they burn clothing for departed loved ones to keep them from death’s chill, along with money and other gifts that the smoke delivers.

If there’s someone you’d like to send a message to on the other side, burn it. Dou Mou will transport it to their attention.

Because of today’s focus on death and divination, you might wish to go to a medium today or try a fortune-telling method that uses spirits guides (like the Ouija).

***The only caution here is to invoke Dou Mou before you proceed, so only spirits that have your best interest at heart will respond!!!
Just as you wouldn’t leave your front door open to strangers, let the Goddess stand firmly between you and the spirit realm.

To generate Dou Mou’s protection for your health, wear silver and gold or white and yellow items today (representing the sun and the moon). Or dab yourself with lemon and lime juice for a similar effect.”

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

This is another name for the Goddess Tou Mou, whom I did an entry on back on April 13.  You can click here to read my entry on Her.

 

 

Suggested Links:

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Doumu“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Tou Mu“.

Taoist Resources, “Constellation Mother“.

Taoistsecret.com, “Goddess of the Northern Star“.

Vabien. Vabien’s Deities Site, “The Mother of Taoism – Dou Mu Yuan Jun“.

Werner, E.T.C. Myths & Legends of China, ”Goddeses of the North Star“.

 

“Ti Chih Hsing Chun’s themes are learning, communication, karma and history. Her symbols are all alphabets, paper and pen or pencil.  This Goddess is the record keeper of heaven in this part of the world, making detailed notes of all good and evil deeds. As such, She makes us more aware of the importance of effective communication and keeping accurate histories. Ti Chih Hsing Chun also reminds us of how our actions (or inaction) affect all things, helping us get our karma back in balance.

This day, Hangul Day, commemorates the origination of the Korean alphabet, which became the official writing system and heralded a new age of development for the Korean people. Koreans traditionally practice handwriting (or calligraphy) on this day, which for us translates into carefully tending to your personal journal or book of shadows (your personal spell and ritual collection).

As you write, invoke the Goddess’s aid for accuracy. Also review the notes you’ve made thus far this year. Ti Chih Hsing Chun lives in those words and will show you how much your spirit has grown toward true Goddess-centered living. This awareness inspires hope, which in turn will energize your efforts through the next two months.

Finally, consider learning a new alphabet type today, such as the runes. These magical sigils provide all types of symbols to empower your spells, and they can become useful tools in expressing ideas not easily communicated with words.”

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

Well, I could nothing on today’s Goddess.  Based on Her description as a “record keeper of heaven making detailed notes of all good and evil deeds” and connection with karma, I believe Ti Chih Hsing Chun may be an epithet or alternate name for the Chinese Goddess Tou Mou.

“Sunset Kwan Yin” by Christal

Bixia Yuanjin’s themes are air, protection, luck, freedom, birth and movement. Her symbols are wind, clouds, kites and chrysanthemum petals.  A weather Goddess who lives in cloudy high places, Bixia Yuanjin attends each person’s birth to bestow good health and luck upon the child. She is also a wind deity, helping to liberate and motivate us with fall’s gently nudging winds.

During mid-autumn, the Chinese take to nearby hills and fly kites to commemorate a sage, Huan Ching, who saved villagers from disaster by instructing them to take to high places, thereby protecting them from a mysterious plaque.  So, consider doing likewise today, even if it means just climbing a ladder! Move up off the ground, breath deeply of Bixia Yuanjin’s fresh air, and discover renewed wellness.

If you feel adventurous, chrysanthemum wine and cakes are traditional feast fare for longevity and good fortune. An alternative is steeping chrysanthemum petals in water and then adding the strained water to any soups, or other water-based foods and beverages for a similar effect.

Should the winds be with you, fly a kite named after a burden and liberate yourself in the winds. Also, carefully observe the shapes in the clouds today. If you have a pressing question on your heart, Bixia Yuanjin can answer it through these, her messengers.”

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

“Bixia Yuanjin (pronounced BEE-cha you-on-JEEN) is the Chinese Taoist Goddess of the dawn, childbirth, and destiny. As Goddess of dawn, She attends the birth of each new day from her home high in the clouds. As Goddess of childbirth, She attends the birth of children, fixing their destiny and bringing good fortune. Bixia Yuanjin is venerated in the Temple of the Purple Dawn at the summit of the holy mountain, Tai Shan, where women wishing to conceive come to ask for Her help. Her father, Tai Shan Wang, is the god of the mountain and judge of the underworld. Her name is also seen as Bixia Yuanjun, Bixia Yuan Jun, Pi Hsia Yuan Chun, and T’ien Hsien Niang Niang, and epithets for her include Princess of the Rosy Clouds, Princess of the Azure Clouds, and the Jade Woman.” [1]

“Bixia Yuanjun (Sovereign of the clouds of dawn) is a Daoist Goddess connected with Mt. Tai in Shandong province.  As the easternmost of the five sacred peaks of China, Mt. Tai was considered the gateway to the afterlife throughout Chinese history.  Bixia and Her main temple located there attained prominence in the early Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644).  Centered in northern China, the Goddess’s popularity extened from the imperial family to common people.  Bixia was granted elevated titles, such as Tianxian shengmu (Heavenly immortal, saintly mother) and Tianxian yünu (Hevenly immortal, jade maiden), but She is commonly known as Taishan niangniang (Our Lady of Mt. Tai) or Lao nainai (Granny) in Chinese popular religion.  She was charged with setting human life spans and judging the dead, but Her ability to facilitate the birth of male children made Her a particularly popular Goddess among women.

Several disparate versions of Bixia’s hagiography outline Her origins.  Elite texts preserved in the Daoist canon declare Her to be the daughter of the god of Mt. Tai whose history as a judge in the courts of hell extends back to the seventh century.  Late Ming popular sectarian scriptures, or baojuan (precious volumes), assert that Bixia was the daughter of a commoner.  According to the accounts, Her prayers to an ancient Daoist Goddess Xiwangmu (Queen of the West), along with Her practice of self-cultivation, helped Her to achieve immortality.

Temples throughout northern China include images of Bixia.  She is most readily identified by Her headdress, which features three or more phoenixes, Bixia usually appears seated with legs pendant and sometimes hold a tablet inscribed with a representiation of the Big Dipper as a symbol of Her authority.  Two Goddesses who often attend Bixia are Zisu niangniang (Goddess of children) and Yanguang niangniang (Goddess of eyesight), but Bixia can also appear with in a group of Goddesses” (Jestice, p. 128 – 129). [2]

 

 

Sources:

Jestice, Phyllis G. Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia, Volume 1, “Bixi Yuanjun (Pi-hsia yuan-chün)“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Bixia Yuanjin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Fertility Goddesses and Goddesses of Pregnancy and Childbirth“.

Javewu.multiply.com, “Pictures of Bi Xia Yuan Jun“.

Kohn, Livia. Daoism Handbook, “Women in Daoism” (p. 393).

Little, Stephen. Toaism and the Arts of China, “The Taoist Renaissance” (p. 278).

Naquin, Susan & Chün-Fang Yü. Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China (Studies on China), “PI-HSIA YUAN-CHÜN” (p. 78).

Pomeranz, Kenneth. Saturn.ihp.sinica.edu.tw, “Up and Down on Mt. Tai: Bixia Yuanjun in the Politics of Chinese Popular Religion, ca. 1500 – 1949“.

Song, Eric. Ericsong.hubpages.com,Bixia Yuanjun’s Palace“.

Tour-beijing.com, “Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple, Miao Feng Shan Niang Niang Temple“.

Westchinatours.com, “Taishan Attractions“.

Wikipedia, “Mount Tai“.

Goddess Sung Tzu Niang Niang

Sung Tzu Niang Niang – Her themes are prayer, kindness, children and offerings. Her symbols are dolls.  Called ‘She Who Brings Children’ in the Far East, this Goddess had abundant energy that not only generates fertility but also instills a kinder, gentler heart within us. Sung Tzu Niang Niang is said to always listen to and answer prayers addressed to Her with compassion.

Traditionally, childless couples bring an offering of a special doll to this Goddess today and pray for physical fertility. For couples wishing for natural or adopted children, this ritual is still perfectly suitable.  Find any small doll and dress it in swatches of your old clothing, or bind a piece of both partners’ hair to it. Place this before your Goddess figure and pray, in heartfelt words, to Sung Tzu Niang Niang for Her assistance.

On a spiritual level, you can make any artistic representation of areas where you need productivity or abundance and give it to the Goddess.  In magic terms, these little images are called poppets. For example, stitch scraps of any natural silver or gold cloth together (maybe making it circular like a coin) and fill it with alfalfa sprouts. Leave this before the Goddess until more money manifest. Then, give the poppet to the earth (bury it) so that Sung Tzu Niang Niang’s blessings will continue to grow.”

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

In Chinese myth, this Goddess is known as the “Lady Who Bestows Children”. She is sometimes found in the company of Zhang Xian. [1]

Also seen as Song-zi niang-niang and Sung-tzu niang-niang.

Wikipedia states that ” Songzi Niangniang (‘The Maiden Who Brings Children’), also referred to in Taiwan as Zhusheng Niangniang, is a Taoist fertility Goddess.  She is often depicted as Guan Yin Herself in drawings, or alternatively as an attendant of Guan Yin; Guan Yin Herself is also often referred to as ‘Guan Yin Who Brings Children’. She is depicted as an empress figure, much like Xi Wangmu and Mazu.” [2]

She is also sometimes shown as an attendant of Bixia Yuanjun, who is also known as the “Heavenly Jade Maiden” or the “Empress of Mount Tai“. [3]

 

 

Sources:

Marks, Dominic. Lowchensaustralia.com, “Chinese Goddesses – Song-zi niang niang“.

Wikipedia, “Songzi Niangniang“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Chamberlain, Jonathan. Chinese Gods: An Introduction to Chinese Folk Religion (p. 160).

Holymtn.com, “The Legend of Quan Yin: Goddess of Mercy“.

Javewu.multiply.com, “Pictures of Bi Xia Yuan Jun“.

Pregadio, Fabrizio. The Encyclopedia of Taoism: 2-volume set.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Kwan Yin“.

Wikipedia, “Songzi Niangniang” (translated from Dutch).

Wikipedia, “Mount Tai“.

Goddess Ch’ang O

Painting in the Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

Ch’ang O’s themes are the moon, relationships, purity, devotion, instinct, growth and manifestation. Her symbols all lunar symbols or items.  This Chinese moon Goddess is stunningly beautiful, shining on our lives with all the best energies of the moon. On this day, Her birthday, She reaches out to embrace the earth and its people, inspiring pure, devoted relationships, stirring long-forgotten insights and sharing energy for growth and manifestation in nearly any area of our lives.

Celebrating the Birthday of the Moon is in honor of the moon Goddess and is a national event in China; the traditions are easily adapted to our efforts. Begin by gathering with family or friends and exchanging moon gifts (anything that represents the moon and meets a magical need for the person to whom it’s intended).  After the gift exchange, enjoy some moon-shaped cookies or cakes, as well as other foods that invoke Ch’ango’s favor, like dumplings shaped like a crescent moon (dim sum) and grapefruit slices.

Don’t forget to go moon gazing (if the weather is poor, use a poster or book image). Hold hands with your companions and bask in the silvery glow. Moonlight is said to enliven creativity, romance, and other positive emotions today.Additionally, looking upon Ch’ango’s visage draws the Goddess’s blessing and protection.”

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

“Chang-O” by Lisa Hunt

Patricia Monaghan writes: “In ancient China, it was said that this moon Goddess originally lived on earth, where Her husband was a famous archer.  To honor the mans’s prowess, the gods gave him the drink of immortality, but Chang-O beat him to the bottle and drank it down.  Then She fled to the moon, where Shed asked the hare who lived there for protection from Her (probably righteously) furious husband.

There, some say, Chang-O gained immortality – as a toad.  Other legends say that Chang-O’s residence was one of the twelve moons, each a different shape, that cross the sky” (p. 84).

Now apparently, there are at least 3 different versions of Her story; click here to read them.

While researching Chang-O, I found this commentary particularly insightful: “I feel like She has grown beyond Her silly mistake – that perhaps that was the necessary fumble for Her, so She would be in isolation, and able to explore the mysteries of humanity and divinity in solitude.

I see Her, not as selfish or stupid, but as gentle, and grown wise from Her mistakes. I feel that She has a lot of compassion for humans, being that She once stood where we are now.” [1]

“Alternate names: Hêng Ô, Chang E, T’ai-yin Huang-chin (‘The Moon Queen’), Yuehfu Ch’ang Ô (‘Ch’ang Ô of the Lunar Palace’)”. [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Autumnsdaughter. Tarotforum.net, “Goddess Tarot: 9 ~ Contemplation: Chang O“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Chang-O”.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Ch’ang Ô“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Yahoo! Voices, “The Myth of Chang O, Chinese Goddess of the Moon“.

Moonbird, Maeve. Order of the White Moon,Ch’ang-O Chinese Goddess of the Moon“.

Wikipedia, “Chang’e“.

Wikipedia, “Mid-Autumn Festival“.

Goddess Meng Jiangnu

“Meng Jiangnu’s themes are the harvest, children, unity, kinship and community. Her symbols are pumpkin and squash.  In the true spirit of a global culture, Meng Jiangnu is ‘imported’ for today’s festivities from China, being a pumpkin girl born from the vines of two different households. Her birth united the two families and brought them harmony where strife had once been. Today She continues to offer us unity with those we love, plus a profusion of positive feelings.

Around this time of year in France, people gather in central markets looking for the Mother of all Pumpkins, which actually gets enthroned for the festivities! This is later made into a communal soup, so those who eat it are magically partaking of Meng Jiangnu’s energy. Eating this soup reaffirms community spirit and ensures a good pumpkin harvest the next year. So definitely make pumpkin or squash a part of your menu today. Consider pumpkin bread for breakfast with a friend or family member to encourage good feelings toward each other throughout the day. At lunch, a warm buttered squash side dish keeps love warm. Last of all, don’t forget some pie for dessert after dinner to bring sweetness to your relationships!

Carve a pumpkin or squash with a symbol of any pressing need you have in a relationship. Put a candle inside and light it up so the pumpkin girl can shine Her energy into that situation and begin the healing process.”

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

In reading the above description given by Patricia Telesco, I truly don’t believe that pumpkins would be a symbol for Meng Jiangnu considering that pumpkins are native to North America and wouldn’t have been found in China when Meng Jiangnu’s story takes place – which was set during the Qin Dynasty (221 BCE-206 BCE).  “Extensive documentation [tells us] that pumpkins (Curcubita Pepo) are a New World crop introduced to China along with corn, peppers, potatoes, tobacco etc., durng the late Ming [1368 CE – 1644 CE]/early Qing period [1644 CE – 1912 CE].” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Meng-Jiang Jyu a “Chinese folktale heroine…was born in a miraculous way.  Two neighboring families, both of them childless, found a watermelon exactly halfway between their homes.  Within it was this magical girl, whom the families decided to raise jointly.  Meng-Jiang was a good girl who make both sets of parents happy.  When she came to marry, she was lucky enough to find a young man in the village [Fan Qiliang] who cherished her.  All went well until one summer day the emperor’s soldiers came and, without giving him a choice, conscripted Meng-Jiang’s husband to build the Great Wall.

Months passed and, worried that her husband would be cold without his winter clothes, Meng-Jiang set off to find him.  She walked and walked, asking everyone for her lover, but each village sent her further.  She almost drowned crossing the Yellow River, but the river god became sympathetic to her cause and saved her.  Finally, she reached her destination, only to find that her beloved husband had died; his bones had been interred somewhere in the Wall.  She cried out to heaven, and the Wall collapsed – revealing thousands of bones.  How could she find her husband’s?  Recalling their vow to be blood of each other’s blood, she bit herself and, bleeding, walked among the bones.  Those of her husband’s recognized and absorbed her blood, so she was able to give them a proper burial” (p. 215).

“Meng’s tragedy was related to the atrocious Emperor Qin Shihuang who came to survey the damage done to the wall. But when he saw Meng Jiang, he was enchanted by her beauty and wanted to marry her. Meng Jiang said she would only marry him on three conditions – first, her former husband was to be given a grand burial; second, the emperor and his court must go into mourning for Qiliang; and third, she wanted to visit the ocean. Although the emperor hated the idea of officially mourning a commoner, he agreed so he could gain her hand in marriage. After Meng Jiang got her third wish, she scolded the Emperor bitterly and committed suicide by casting herself into the ocean. The Emperor sent his men to dredge the ocean but the waves chased them away.

The image of Meng represents the kindness of ancient women and the torture brought on the people by war. The story shows the dislike ancient people had towards war. It has been passed down from generation to generation in Bo Shan.

the Statue Lady Meng

The section of the Great Wall that was toppled by Meng and the sea where she committed suicide are in today’s Zibo City, Shandong Province. The Temple of Lady Meng-Jiang, first established in the Song Dynasty about 1,000 years ago, has been maintained and worshipped at the eastern beginning of the Great Wall till this day in Qinhuangdao City of Hebei Province today.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Meng-Jiang Jyu”.

Wikipedia, “Lady Meng Jiang“.

 

Suggested Links:

Kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com, “A Chinese Folklore: Tears of Meng Jiang Nu“.

Goddess Lan Caihe

“Lan Caihe’s themes are longevity and nature. Her symbols are flowers and flutes.  The Buddhist patroness of florists or anyone who enjoys making things grow, this Goddess often walked the streets playing flute music. Her name means ‘red-footed genius’, alluding to a strong connection with the earth and rich soil.

Around this time of year, people in China drink chrysanthemum wine for longevity and wisdom, eat chrysanthemum petals in salads, and enjoy a plethora of flower displays throughout the land.

If anyone in your neighborhood grows chrysanthemums, definitely try a few petals tossed with a green salad and lemon juice. Consume Lan Caihe’s green thumb and internalize Her awareness of earth directly!

Since it’s September, take a leisurely walk today and enjoy people’s gardening efforts. This honors Lan Caihe and allows you to revel in this Goddess’s artistry firsthand. If you can’t walk around because of bad weather, send yourself a bouquet filled with Lan Caihe’s abundance. When it arrives at work or home, it bears this Goddess’s energy within.

Finally, get out and work with the land in some way today. Plant a little hanging flower arrangement. Weed your lawn or garden. Lan Caihe will reward your efforts with a growing connection to earth and its greenery.”

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

Wikipedia says that: “Lan Caihe is the least defined of the Eight Immortals (or Ba Xian). Lan Caihe’s age and sex are unknown. Lan is usually depicted in sexually ambiguous clothing, but is often shown as a young boy or girl carrying a bamboo flower basket.

Stories of Lan’s behaviour are often bizarrely eccentric. Some sources dress Lan Caihe in a ragged blue gown, and refer to them as the patron immortal of minstrels. In another tradition, Lan is a female singer whose song lyrics accurately predict future events.

Lan is often described as carrying a pair of bamboo castanets which they would clap and make a beat with by hitting the ground, they would then sing to this beat and a group of onlookers would follow and watch in amazement and entertain themselves. After these performances they would give them lots of money as they asked for it, Lan Cai. They would then string this cash and coins on a long string of money that they carried. As they walked the coins would fall off and Lan Cai. They would not care, other beggars would then take the money.

S/he is often described as wearing only one shoe and other foot being bare, in the Winter it was said S/he slept naked in the snow and it melted and in the summer it was said S/he stuffed His/Her clothes full and wore thick clothes despite the heat.

Like all the other immortals they were often said to be in a drunken stupor and left this world by flying on a heavenly swan or crane into heaven. One day while in a tavern, they had supposedly gotten up to go to the bathroom. But before leaving they flew off on the crane or swan and stripped off their clothes on the way up.” [1]

On an interesting note, I found that “one theory about this age/gender ambiguity is that it is meant to portray certain Taoist shamanic cross-gender practices.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Reninger, Elizabeth. About.com – Taoism, “Profile of Lan Caihe“.

Wikipedia, “Lan Caihe“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

McBride, Belinda. Dreamspinnerpress.com, “Lan Caihe: The Yin Yang God“.

Newworldencyclopedia.org, “Lan Caihe“.

Goddess Zhinu

“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]

 

 

 

Sources:

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“.

Goddess Nugua

“Nu Kua” by Susanne Iles

“Nugua’s themes are balance, masculinity, femininity, cooperation and equality. Her symbols are the Yin-Yang symbol and opposites.  In China, Nugua is know as ‘she who restores balance.’ Nugun’s energy brings life back into equilibrium when circumstances may have threatened us with chaos. In art She is depicted as being part rainbow-colored dragon and part woman, representing the importance of maintaining balance between the lower and the higher self.

Around this time of year, when the daylight and nighttime hours are growing closer to equal, the Chinese hold a dragon-boat festival that revels in Nugua’s balance-the masculine (yin) and feminine (yang), the light and the dark and the cooperative energies that dance between the tow. To commemorate this yourself, be sure to carry a coin with you (the heads/tails represents duality), but keep it where you won’t accidentally spend it. Bless it saying,

‘By day and dark, Nugua’s balance impart.’

If negativity threatens your sense of stability, follow Chinese custom and drum out the evil. Use anything that has a drum-like sound, move counterclockwise, the direction of banishing and visualize Nugua’s rainbow filling every inch of your home.

Offering beans, peachers and rice are also customary. So, either leave these in a special spot or eat them to internaoze any of Nuguga’s attributes you need today.”

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

“Nu-Gua” by ~nuu

Today’s entry is another name for a Goddess that was previously researched back on February 13, Nu Kua.  Instead of reblogging that entry, I will cite what Patricia Monaghan says about Nu Kua.

“The creator Goddess of ancient China made the first human being from yellow clay.  At first, She carefully molded them.  At length, finding this too tedious, Nu Kua just dipped a rope into slip-like clay and shook it to so drops splattered onto the ground.  Thus were two types of beings born: from molded figures, nobles; from the clay drops, peasants.

Later this serpent-bodied Goddess quelled a rebellion against the heavenly order and, when the dying rebel chief shook heaven’s pillars out of alignment, She restored order by melting multi-colored stones to rebuild the blue sky.  Finding other problems on earth, Nu Kua set about correcting them: She cut off the toes of a giant tortoise and used them to mark the compass’ points; She burned reeds into ashes, using them to dam the flooding rivers.  She also concerned Herself with the chaos of human relations, and established rites of marriage so that children would be raised well.  Order restored, Nu Kua retreated to the distant sky – Her domain and Her attribute” (p. 233 – 234).

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Nu Kua”.

Suggested Links:

Ferrebeekeeper, “Nüwa, the Serpent Goddess“.

Iles, Susanne. Susanneiles.com, “The Dragon & Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Nu-kua, the Goddess of Creation.”

Squidoo, “Nu Kua, Dragon Goddess of Love“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Nu Kua“.

Wikipedia, “Nüwa“.

Wu, Helen. Chinesestoryonline.com, “Chinese Were Created by a Goddess – Nuwa“.

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