Tag Archive: daoism


“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 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 Bai Mundan

“Warm Winds II” by Jia Lu

“Bai Mundan’s themes are love, devotion, romance, femininity and promises. Her symbols are any items associated with love and romance; and the peony. This Goddess is beautiful and sensual, but also filled with only the most honorable intentions. It is Her sacred task to tempt the ascetics in the keeping of their vows (turning the tables somehow on the theme of this holiday). Her name means ‘white peony’, a flower that in Chinese tradition affords this Goddess’s protection.

The story of Ch’un Hyang is one of the best known ancient novels of Korea. The heroine, Ch’un Hyang, secretly married a nobleman’s son. Even when beaten by a lusty governor, however, she remained devoted and refused all advances, as if guided by Bai Mundan’s fidelity and esteem. For modern-minded people, this basically means ‘loving the one you’re with’ and really appreciating their companionship today. If it’s been a while since you’ve gotten your partner a gift for no reason, or spent quality time alone with them, by all means, do so! Bai Mundan’s energy is wherever two hearts emit true, faithful emotions.

If you don’t have a partner, try this Bai Mundan love spell. You’ll need a white peony (or any other white-petaled flower, like a daisy). Slowly tear off all the petals, saying,

‘Bai Mundan, for love I ask; help me in this sacred task.’

Let the earth and air accept the petals but one, which you should carry with you as a love charm. Release it in thankfulness when your wish is answered.”

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

It took me quite awhile to pan out anything Goddess related for Bai Mundan.  At first, I found that Bai Mudan or Bai Mu Dan, is known as ‘White Peony’ and is a type of White tea made from plucks, each with one leaf shoot and two immediate young leaves. [1]

I also found that Bai Mu Dan was a character in a Singapore TV series entitled “Legend of the Eight Immortals“; though Bai Mu Dan wasn’t a part of the original Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology (or so I originally thought) as Immortal Woman He, or He Xiangu, was the only female deity among them…

I found some clips on Youtube of a Chinese opera called “Lu Dongbin and Bai Mudan“.  Lu Dongbin, or Lǚ Dòngbīn, is a historical figure and also a deity/Immortal revered by many in the Chinese culture sphere, especially by Daoists/Taoists. Lǚ Dòngbīn is one of the most widely known of the group of deities known as the Eight Immortals and considered by some to be the de facto leader. [2]

Lǚ Dòngbīn’s apparent well known overindulgence and taste for women led me to a story in which Lǚ Dòngbīn once incurred the wrath of a heavenly queen for wooing the famous Luoyang courtesan White Peony. [3]  On the Foundations of Daoist Ritual, 6 – 8, it sites a few more references to White Peony: from the book “The Taoist Body” by Kristofer Schipper, it describes Lü Tung-Pin’s (Lǚ Dòngbīn) seduction of White Peony, or Ho Hsien-ku (the Immortal Maiden Ho) as the future Immortal would be called.  After making love with Lü Tung-Pin, She received his “powerful drug of immortality [and] in this way it happened that the young woman was victorious in the battle of love and, at the same time, fulfilled Lü’s desire by allowing him to recruit the Immortal he needed to complete his band” to bring to the Queen Mother of the West‘s forthcoming banquet of peaches. [4]  So, I do conclude that Bai Mundan (White Peony) is indeed Ho Hsien-ku.

A reference to White Peony is also made in the Ming-dynasty novel Pure Yang Lu: of the Tang Dynasty Achieves the Dao, the 5th chapter “Pure Yang Lu: Sleeps with White Peony”, based on the play Lu: Dongbin’s love affair with White Peony, “Yellow Dragon is the instigator.” [5]

 

 

Sources:

Foundations of Daoist Ritual, 6 – 8, “White Peony“.

Schipper, Kristofer Marinus. The Taoist Body, “The Immortals” (p. 163).

Taiwan-panorama.com, “It’s a God’s Life“.

Wikipedia, “Bai Mudan Tea“.

Wikipedia, “Lü Dongbin“.

 

Suggested Links:

Idema, Wilt L. The Butterfly Lovers: The Legend of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, Four Versions With Related Texts.

Goddess Chin Mu

“Chin Mu’s themes are health, longevity, femininity and magic. Her symbols are peaches, mulberries, cats and gold-toned objects. Chin Mu is the Queen of the West in China, dispensing peaches that cure disease and grant eternal life to all who eat them. Chinese art depicts her as an ageless, beautiful woman living in a golden castle (a solar symbol), thereby getting her translated name of ‘golden mother’. She is also sometimes shown as a cat-woman, which represents her yin energy and connection with sorcery.

Honoring Chin Mu today brings health, long life and a year filled with magic. One simple way to do this is by wearing a piece of gold jewellery or gold clothing.Traditionally, Chinese women carry a bowl of hot vinegar into each room of the house today to protect those who live there from sickness all year. To try this yourself, slice up a peach (frozen if necessary) and add to the heated vinegar (peach tea bags work, too, and release a nice fragrance). The peach invokes Chin Mu’s blessing. Walk clockwise around your home, visualizing it filled with golden light (you can pray or chant as you go, if you wish). If you’re pressed for time, eat a peach or drink some mulberry wine instead and internalize Chin Mu’s hearty energies just the same!

Finally, meditate on the feminine aspects of yourself and the divine (a good time to do this is during your morning shower, or while driving to work). Honor the women who have influenced your life, even if you do this just by saying thanks.”

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

For some really great in depth info, check out the following sites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xi_Wangmu#Additional_Readings

http://www.suppressedhistories.net/goddess/xiwangmu.html

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