Tag Archive: dragon


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“.

Goddess Srinmo

“Srinmo’s themes karma, Universal Law, excellence, sports and cycles. Her symbols are the wheel and boomerang. In Tibet, this Goddess holds the Great Round, a cosmic wheel upon which the movement of human life is recorded with each thought, word, and deed. Srinmo’s demonic visage represents the human fear of death and reminds that one should strive for good in this life for the beauty it brings now and n our next incarnation.

In Virginia, the Boomerang Festival is a festival of skill centering on the ancient boomerangs believed to have been used originally by the Egyptians.

Metaphysically speaking, the boomerang’s movement represents the threefold law and Srinmo’s karmic balance (i.e., everything you send out returns to you thrice).
To give yourself a greater understanding of this principle, or to recognize the cycles in your life that may need changing, carry any round object today, such as a coin. Put it in your pocket, saying

‘What goes around comes around.’

Pay particular attention to your routine and the way you interact with people all day, and see what Srinmo reveals to you.

For aiding the quest for enlightenment, and generally improving karma through light-filled living, try this little incantation in the car each time you make a right-hand turn today:

‘As I turn to the right,
I move closer to the Light!'”

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

Today’s research comes from a fantastic piece written by  Victor & Victoria Trimondi; and the following excerpt is the story of the bondage of the earth Goddess Srinmo and the history of the origin of Tibet.  “According to Tibetan tradition, the whole Tibetan territory can be represented as a vast wild female demon lying on her back facing East and stretching her limbs all over the country. The accounts of this conception are found in several Tibetan texts that originated between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, including the famous terma-revealed chronicle Maṇi Kabum (ma ni bka’ ‘bum, 12th century) and above cited chronicle The Clear Mirror (rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long) written by the great scholar Södnam Gyaltsen (bsod nams rgyal mtshan, 1312-1375).” [1]

“The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is considered the progenitor of the Tibetans, he thus determines events from the very beginning. In the period before there were humans on earth, the Buddha being was embodied in a monkey and passed the time in deep meditation on the ‘Roof of the World‘. There, as if from nowhere, a rock demoness by the name of Srinmo appeared. The hideous figure was a descendent of the Srin clan, a bloodthirsty community of nature Goddesses. ‘Spurred on by horniness’ — as one text puts it — She too assumed the form of a (female) monkey and tried over seven days to seduce Avalokiteshvara. But the divine Bodhisattva monkey withstood all temptations and remained untouched and chaste. As he continued to refuse on the eighth day, Srinmo threatened him with the following words: ‘King of the monkeys, listen to me and what I am thinking. Through the power of love, I very much love you. Through this power of love I woo you, and confess: If you will not be my spouse, I shall become the rock demon’s companion. If countless young rock demons then arise, every morning they will take thousands upon thousands of lives. The region of the Land of Snows itself will take on the nature of the rock demons. All other forms of life will then be consumed by the rock demons. If I myself then die as a consequence of my deed, these living beings will be plunged into hell. Think of me then, and have pity’ (Hermanns, 1956, p. 32). With this she hit the bullseye. ‘Sexual intercourse out of compassion and for the benefit of all suffering beings’ was — as we already know — a widespread ‘ethical’ practice in Mahayana Buddhism. Despite this precept, the monkey first turned to his emanation father, Amitabha, and asked him for advice. The ‘god of light from the West’ answered him with wise foresight: ‘Take the rock demoness as your consort. Your children and grandchildren will multiply. When they have finally become humans, they will be a support to the teaching’ (Hermanns, 1956, p. 32).

Nevertheless, this Buddhist evolutionary account, reminiscent of Charles Darwin, did not just arise from the compassionate gesture of a divine monkey; rather, it also contains a widely spread, elitist value judgement by the clergy, which lets the Tibetans and their country be depicted as uncivilized, underdeveloped and animal-like, at least as far as the negative influence of their primordial mother is concerned. ‘From their father they are hardworking, kind, and attracted to religious activity; from their mother they are quick-tempered, passionate, prone to jealousy and fond of play and meat’, an old text says of the inhabitants of the Land of Snows (Samuel, 1993, p. 222).

Two forces thus stand opposed to one another, right from the Tibetan genesis: the disciplined, restrained, culturally creative, spiritual world of the monks in the form of Avalokiteshvaraand the wild, destructive energy of the feminine in the figure of Srinmo.

In a further myth, non-Buddhist Tibet itself appears as the embodiment of Srinmo (Janet Gyatso, 1989, p. 44). The local demoness is said to have resisted the introduction of the true teaching by the Buddhist missionaries from India with all means at Her disposal, with weaponry and with magic, until She was ultimately defeated by the great king of law, Songtsen Gampo (617-650), an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara (and thus of the current Dalai Lama). ‘The lake in the Milk plane,’ writes the Tibet researcher Rolf A. Stein, ‘where the first Buddhist king built his temple (the Jokhang), represented the heart of the demoness, who lay upon Her back. The demoness is Tibet itself, which must first be tamed before She can be inhabited and civilized. Her body still covers the full extent of Tibet in the period of its greatest military expansion (eighth to ninth century C.E.). Her spread-eagled limbs reached to the limits of Tibetan settlement … In order to keep the limbs of the defeated demoness under control, twelve nails of immobility were hammered into Her’ (Stein, 1993, p.34). A Buddhist temple was raised at the location of each of these twelve nailings.

Mysterious stories circulate among the Tibetans which tell of a lake of blood under the Jokhang, which is supposed to consist of Srinmo’s heart blood. Anyone who lays his ear to the ground in the cathedral, the sacred center of the Land of Snows, can still — many claim — hear Her faint heartbeat. A comparison of this unfortunate female fate with the subjugation of the Greek dragon, Pythonat Delphi immediately suggests itself. Apollothe god of light (Avalokiteshvara), let the earth-monster, Python (Srinmo), live once he had defeated it so that it would prophesy for him, and built over the mistreated body at Delphi the most famous oracle temple in Greece.

The earth demoness is nailed down with phurbas. These are ritual daggers with a three-sided blade and a vajra handle. We know these already from the Kalachakra ritual, where they are likewise employed to fixate the earth spirits and the earth mother. The authors who have examined the symbolic significance of the magic weapon are unanimous in their assessment of the aggressive phallic symbolism of the phurba.

In their view, Srinmo represents an archetypal variant of the Mother Earth figure known from all cultures, whom the Greeks called Gaia (Gaea). As nature and as woman She stands in stark contrast to the purely spiritual world of Tantric Buddhism. The forces of wilderness, which rebel against androcentric civilization, are bundled within Her. She forms the feminine shadow world in opposition to the masculine paradise of light of the shining Amitabha and his radiant emanation son, AvalokiteshvaraSrinmo symbolizes the (historical) prima materia, the matrix, the primordial earthly substance which is needed in order to construct a tantric monastic empire, then She provides the gynergy, the feminine élan vitale, with which the Land of Snows pulsates. As the vanquisher of the earth Goddess, Avalokiteshvara triumphs in the form of King Songtsen Gampo, that is, the same Bodhisattva who, as a monkey, earlier engendered with Srinmo the Tibetans in myth, and who shall later exercise absolute dominion from the ‘Roof of the World’ as Dalai Lama.

Tibet’s sacred center, the Jokhang (the cathedral of Lhasa), the royal chronicles inform us, thus stands over the pierced heart of a woman, the earth mother Srinmo. This act of nailing down is repeated at the construction of every Lamaist shrine, whether temple or monastery and regardless of where the establishment takes place — in Tibet, India, or the West. Then before the first foundation stone for the new building is laid, the tantric priests occupy the chosen location and execute the ritual piercing of the earth mother with their phurbas. Tibet’s holy geography is thus erected upon the maltreated bodies of mythic women, just as the tantric shrines of India (the shakta pithas) are found on the places where the dismembered body of the Goddess Sati fell to earth.

Srinmo with different Tibetan temples upon her body

In contrast to Her Babylonian sister, Tiamat, who was cut to pieces by Her great-grandchild, Marduk, so that outer space was formed by Her limbs, Srinmo remains alive following Her subjugation and nailing down. According to the tantric scheme, Her gynergy flows as a constant source of life for the Buddhocratic system. She thus vegetates — half dead, half alive — over centuries in the service of the patriarchal clergy. An interpretation of this process according to the criteria of the gaia thesis often discussed in recent years would certainly be most revealing. (We return to this point in our analysis of the ecological program of the Tibetans in exile.) According to this thesis, the mistreated ‘Mother Earth’ (Gaia is the popular name for the Greek earth mother) has been exploited by humanity (and the gods?) for millennia and is bleeding to death. But Srinmo is not just a reservoir of inexhaustible energy. She is also the absolute Other, the foreign, and the great danger which threatens the Buddhocratic state. Srinmo is — as we still have to prove — the mythic ‘inner enemy’ of Tibetan Lamaism, while the external mythic enemy is likewise represented by a woman, the Chinese Goddess Guanyin.

Srinmo survived — even if it was under the most horrible circumstances, yet the Tibetans also have a myth of dismemberment which repeats the Babylonian tragedy of Tiamat. Like many peoples they worship the tortoise as a symbol of Mother Earth. A Tibetan myth tells of how in the mists of time the Bodhisattva Manjushri sacrificed such a creature ‘or the benefit of all beings’. In order to form a solid foundation for the world he fired an arrow off at the tortoise which struck it in the right-hand side. The wounded animal spat fire, its blood poured out, and it passed excrement. It thus multiplied the elements of the new world. Albert Grünwedel presents this myth as evidence for the “tantric female sacrifice” in the Kalachakra ritual: ‘The tortoise which Manjushri shot through with a long arrow … [is] just another form of the world woman whose inner organs are depicted by the dasakaro vasi figure [the Power of Ten]’ (Grünwedel, 1924, vol. II, p. 92).

The relation of Tibetan Buddhism to the Goddess of the earth or of the country (Tibet) is also one of brutal subjugation, an imprisonment, an enslavement, a murder or a dismemberment. Euphemistically, and in ignorance of the tantric scheme of things it could also be interpreted as a civilizing of the wilderness through culture. Yet however the relation is perceived — no meeting, no exchange, no mutual recognition of the two forces takes place. In the depths of Tibet’s history — as we shall show — a brutal battle of the sexes is played out.” [2]

Well damn…who knew??  I really had no idea how misogynistic Buddhism was until it was brought to my attention back in mid June of this year.  A person had shared several links with me and to be honest, it was very unsettling.  One relevant link that was shared I will share here in this entry is entitled Thai Buddhism and Patriarchy by Ouyporn Khuankaew.

“Although many people believe Buddhism is an ‘egalitarian’ religion, the fact will remain that sexism/gender bias has been a very integral part of the faith for many centuries. Overall, there is less virulent anti-woman bigotry within Buddhism than many other religions, especially the Abrahamic cultus of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but misogyny and chauvinism have been apparent enough in the Eastern faiths as well, including the Buddhist.” [3]

Man, way to pop my happy little Zen bubble, huh?

 

 

 

Sources: 

Murdock, D.M. Examiner.com, “Women in Buddhism“.

Sehnalova, Anna. 4shared.com, “The Myth of the ‘Supine Demoness’“.

Trimondi, Victor & Victoria. Trimondi.de, “2. The Dalai Lama (Avalokiteshvara) and the Demoness (Srinmo)“.

Suggested Links:

Cabezón, José Ignacio. Thlib.org, “Pabongkha Hermitage“.

O’Neill, Brendan. Reason.com, “The Truth About Tibetan Buddhism“.

Trimondi, Victor & Victoria. Trimondi.de, “Part I – 1. Buddhism and misogyny – an historical overview“.  (Here is a link to the Contents page)

Visitourchina.com, “History of Jokhang Temple“.

Wikipedia, “Women in Buddhism“.

Rainbow Serpent

“Rainbow Serpent Dreaming” by Lorraine Williams

“Rainbow Serpent’s themes are beauty, life, joy, fertility, tradition, children and health. Her symbols are flowers, rainbows, rainwater and pearls. The Aborigine Goddess, also sometimes called Julunggul, represents the fertile rains and the waters in the seas. According to tradition, She flows into people’s lives, bringing children, joy, the knowledge of magical healing arts, and protection for sacred traditions.

The city of Queensland, Australia, blossoms around this time of year in a colorful array of flowers. This carnival honors the joy of living, something the Rainbow Serpent embodies.

If you have floral prints, definitely wear them today to inspire the Rainbow Serpent’s ability to flow and adapt, using beauty and happiness as a powerful coping mechanism.

If it rains today, it is a sign of this Goddess’s blessing. Release your inner child and dance in the downpour. Jump in puddles and let Her fertile, productive energy splash freely all over your life and everything around you.

 

To internalize a little of the Rainbow Serpent’s attributes, collect rainwater in a clean pan on or around this date, then steep some edible flower petals (like roses) in the water. Drink or cook with this today so Her power can blossom in your heart.”

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

The Australian Rainbow Serpent” by Susanne Iles

“In the Australian Aboriginal mythology of Arnhem Land, Julunggul is a rainbow snake Goddess, who oversaw the maturing and initiation of boys into manhood. She was a fertility Goddess, associated with rebirth and the weather.

She is also known as Kalseru.

Another name for this deity, Yurlunggur, is also the name of an extinct genus of madtsoiid snakes (Yurlunngur), specifically named after the Aboriginal myth.” [1]  Some believe that belief in the Rainbow Serpent is closely linked to the Wonambi naracoortensis which is an extinct ancient snake of gigantic proportions.” [2]

Patricia Monaghan says that “the rainbow snake Goddess of Australia was able to be male, to be neuter, or to be androgynous.  She was said to be embodied in the ocean and waterfalls, in pearls and crystals, and in the deep pools in which She lived.  A Goddess of initiations, Julunggul was approached in Arnhem Land by boys who, symbolically swallowed and regurgitated by the mother snake, were vomited out again as men” (p. 173).

“The Snake Painting” by Peter Eglington

“The stories associated with the different types of Rainbow Serpents across Australia depend on the tribe and what part of Australia they come from. Those tribes that experience monsoons depict the Rainbow Serpent as interacting with the sun and the wind to create them in their Dreamtime stories. Those tribes that are more central in Australia and do not experience such turbulent weather tell their tales of a Rainbow Serpent that reflect their own environmental condition.” [2]

Susan Iles explains: “There are as many legends of the Rainbow Serpent as there are tribes of people, but the common elements can be found as follows.

“Kandimalal and the Rainbow Serpent” by Boxer Milner, Billiluna

The All-Mighty Creator formed the Earth and the heavens. However, at the time of creation the Earth in the Dreamtime was flat, colourless and desolate. The Rainbow Serpent descended from the sky and moved over the face of the Earth creating deep valleys and rivers, nourishing the planet and giving it form. Some legends tell the story of the Rainbow Serpent populating the world with plants, humans and animals. Other versions tell of the great serpent calling out to all the living creatures of the planet to come out of hiding and enjoy the land. The wise serpent taught them the laws of community, structure, ethics and respect.

By embracing our mythical past and remembering the wisdom of our ancestors we can re-create the sacred trust between Heaven and Earth to ensure a future for humankind.” [3]

Hhmm…there’s that whole Ancestors theme popping up again… 😉

On the Australia.gov.au website, it explains that “in most stories of the Dreaming, the Ancestor Spirits came to the earth in human form and as they moved through the land, they created the animals, plants, rocks and other forms of the land that we know today. They also created the relationships between groups and individuals to the land, the animals and other people.

Once the ancestor spirits had created the world, they changed into trees, the stars, rocks, watering holes or other objects. These are the sacred places of Aboriginal culture and have special properties. Because the ancestors did not disappear at the end of the Dreaming, but remained in these sacred sites, the Dreaming is never-ending, linking the past and the present, the people and the land.

Our story is in the land … it is written in those sacred places … My children will look after those places, That’s the law.
Bill Neidjie , Kakadu elder.

The Creation or Dreaming stories, which describe the travels of the spiritual ancestors, are integral to Aboriginal spirituality. In many areas there are separate spheres of men’s and women’s stories. Knowledge of the law and of the Dreaming stories is acquired progressively as people proceed through life. Ceremonies, such as initiation ceremonies, are avenues for the passing on of knowledge.

Photo of Uluru/Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, Australia by Lil [Kristen Elsby]

Traditional knowledge, law and religion relies heavily on the Dreaming stories with its rich explanations of land formations, animal behaviour and plant remedies.” [4]

 

And now for your viewing pleasure, a video about the Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories – story by Dick Roughsey and narrrated by David Gulpilil.

 

 

 

Sources:

Australia.gov.au, “The Dreaming“.

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

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

Mythicalcreatureslist.com, “Kalseru“.

Wikipedia, “Julunggul“.

 

Suggested Links:

Aboriginalartonline.com, “The Rainbow Serpent“.

Adelaideartscult.weebly.com, “Origins Of The Rainbow Serpent Myth“.

Didjshop.com, “The Rainbow Serpent“.

Expedition360.com, “Dreamtime Stories“. (Includes some suggested critical thinking and writing activities).

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Voices.yahoo.com, “The Rainbow & Various Myths Surrounding It“.

Muenster.org, “Rainbow Serpent“.

 

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“.

Goddess Nu Kua

“Nu Kua, Chinese Creation Dragon Goddess” by Susanne Iles

“Nu Kua’s themes are luck, opportunity, abundance, order and divination.  Her symbols are clay and serpents.  Nu Kua is an ancient Chinese creatrix who created who formed people out of yellow clay and invented the flute. Today She plays Her music bearing good fortune, opportunity and the organizational skills with which to make both  useful. She also serenades the earth back to fullness after winter.  In legends, this serpent-bodied Goddess re-established order on the earth after a terrible rebellion. Nu Kua used melted stones to refashion the sky, tortoise toes to mark the four winds, and reeds to hold back overflowing rivers. Once this was done, the earth returned to its former beauty.

The eighth day of the Chinese new year celebrates the birthday of humanity, fashioned by Nu Kwa, and is filled with omens about human fate. For example, any person or animal born on this day is considered doubly blessed and destined for prosperity. So consider taking out a divination tool today and seeing what fate holds for you.

To generate Nu Kua’s luck or organizational skills in your life, make and carry a clay Nu Kua charm. Get some moulding clay from a toy store (if possible, choose a color that suits your goal, like green for money). Shape this into a symbol of your goal, saying:

‘From Nu Kua blessings poured
Luck and order be restored.’

If you can’t get clay, bubblegum will work too.”

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

She is one of the oldest and most powerful of the female deities from one of the Earth’s oldest civilizations.  She is depicted as a beautiful creature, half-woman, half-dragon…who wanders the Earth.   It is She who created order from the primordial chaos of the Universe, settling the land, the sea, and the sky into place. Some tales make Her the wife of Her older brother, Fu-hsi, one of the first sovereigns, whom She later succeeded.  The following myth tells the story of how the world began.

In the beginning of time, there was nothing but a cosmic egg which was formed of chaos.  A giant named P’an Kun was formed from the chaos; he slept for 18,000 years, and when he awakened, the egg cracked, and darkness poured out…along with the light which had been hidden within the chaos.  The darkness fell to create the Earth, while the light fragments joined together and created the heavens (Yin and Yang). However, P’an Kun feared that chaos might return if the light fell into the dark below, he made it his mission to keep the two separated until he was sure it was safe.

Thousands of years passed by; eventually, P’an Ku sunk down into the Earth in exhaustion and died. His expired breath became wind and clouds while his body and his limbs formed the mountains and hills. His blood began to flow as the streams and the rivers. His hair took root became the vegetation; his teeth became the minerals and the precious gems.

“Nu Wa” by *uuyly

It was then that Nü-Kua emerged from the heavens and roamed the Earth and was awed by all of its beauty, but the world was devoid of creatures, and She had no one but Herself to enjoy it. So, She decided that She would create humans so P’an Ku’s sacrifice would not be in vain. She scooped up the yellow clay and lovingly made scores of men and women, lining them up in front of her, but as perfect as Her creations appeared, they had no life. They were mere statues. She picked them up, and one by one, She breathed Her Divine breath into their lifeless bodies.  At first, She took great pride in molding them, but after awhile, it became so tedious that She began dipping a rope slip into the clay, then shaking it so that drops splattered to the ground.  Thus, two types of humans were born.  From the molded figures came the nobles; from the clay drops, the peasants were born.

In another tale, there was a great battle, the monster Kung-Kung wreaked a lot of havoc, flattening mountains, tilting the earth and tearing a hole in the sky. Fires raged out of control, the waters overran the world, and the cardinal points became misaligned. Nü Kua restored order with five colored stones, fixed the directions on the legs of a tortoise, controlled the water and put out the fires, and repaired the sky.

Another version of the myth calls Nü Kua a goddess-Queen who defeated a powerful King; angered at being beat up by a girl, he ran to the top of a mountain and pulled down the Heavenly Bamboo, tearing the sky in the process, and letting in floods of water from the heavens beyond. Nü Kua then repaired the sky and restored order. The Heavenly Bamboo can be seen as a variant of the axis mundi, or axis or the world, representing the mythical center of the world.

She is also said to have tamed a dangerous giant called King-of-Oxen, by running a rope through his nose. She was said to have brought civilization, taming wild animals and teaching humans irrigation and invented marriage.

Nü Kua represents the restoral of order and innocence after chaos. She is the tempering influence that calms situations and brings level-headedness. This card is also representative of a return to innocence, the ability to adopt a new positive attitude after events threaten to make one jaded.

Alternate names: Nü-kua, Nü Kua Shih, Nü Hsi, Nü Wa, Nugua

Titles: “Mother of the Gods”, “Defender of the Gods” [1] [2]

 

Click here for more information.

 

Suggested Link:

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

Goddess Benten

“Benten’s themes are luck, wealth and beauty. Her symbols are boats, dragons, guitars, snakes and saltwater.

As the Japanese Goddess steering the New Year’s Treasure Ship, Benten is a perfect figure to call on for financial improvements this year. She is the only Goddess of luck in Japan – the sole female among the Seven Gods of Fortune, and is referred to as queen of the seas and patroness of gamblers. Japanese woman invoke her to bring beauty and fortune into their lives; for she resides over love, eloquence, wisdom and the fine arts.  She is the patroness of geisha and those who take joy in the arts. Benten is depicted as riding a gold dragon, playing a biwa (guitar), and sending out white snakes with her missives. Her robe bears a jewel that grants wishes.

To welcome Benten’s prosperity into your home, sprinkle a little saltwater on the threshold today. Or, to generate beauty within and without, soak in a bath of Epsom salts while listening to guitar music.

The Shigoto Hajime festival honors the beginning of the work week in Japan, where it is believed that good omens for work begin today. If you want to get a peek at how your employment will fare this year, try divination by dice (a traditional gambler’s tool). Hold one die in your hand, ask for Benten to provide a sign, then roll it. The results can be interpreted as follows:

(1) a negative omen;
(2) feeling torn between two good options;
(3) a good omen;
(4) financial security;
(5) not much material change, but improvements in interoffice relationships;
(6) an excellent omen; roll again If you get two more sixes, Benten’s treasures will be yours!”

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

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “among the seven Japanese divinities of good luck, only one was a goddess: Benten, who brought inspiration and talent, wealth, and romance to those who honored her.  Benten was also queen of the sea, a dragon woman who swam in state through her domain with a retinue of white snakes.  In her dragon body she protected her devotees from earthquakes by mating with the monstrous snakes who thrashed under the Japanese islands.  But she could also wear the form of a lovely human woman, and in this form she was usually portrayed, mounted on a dragon who was both her steed and her paramour” (p. 69).

saraswati benzaiten_saraswati

Benten, also called Benzaiten “is the Japanese name for the Hindu goddess Saraswati. Worship of Benzaiten arrived in Japan during the 6th through 8th centuries, mainly via the Chinese translations of the Sutra of Golden Light, which has a section devoted to her. She is also mentioned in the Lotus Sutra and often depicted holding a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute, in contrast to Saraswati who holds a stringed instrument known as a veena. Benzaiten is a highly syncretic entity with both a Buddhist and a Shinto side.

Benzaiten as a female kami is known as Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto.  Also, she is believed by Tendai Buddhism to be the essence of kami Ugajin, whose effigy she sometimes carries on her head together with a torii. As a consequence, she is sometimes also known as Uga Benzaiten or Uga Benten. Shrine pavilions called either Benten-dō or Benten-sha, or even entire Shinto shrines can be dedicated to her, as in the case of Kamakura’s Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine or Nagoya’s Kawahara Shrine.” [1]

il_fullxfull.361170508_aluv

“Japanese Goddess of Sea” by KatyDidsCards

In Japanese mythology “…Benten was said to have descended to earth where she met and married a dragon in order to stop him eating young children. Because of this, she is sometimes depicted as riding a dragon in art.

Another legend tells of how the goddess helped the young poet Baishu. He had found a poem written by a maiden and had fallen in love with her, despite never having seen what she looked like. Praying to the goddess for help, Benten arranged for the young poet and the girl to meet outside the shrine. Later, it turned out that the young girl Baishu had fallen in love with was actually the soul of the women he later met and married.

chineese-goddess

8-Armed Benzaiten (Jp. = Happi Benzaiten 八臂弁財天)
At Hoan-den (Enoshima Island in Japan)
Kanagawa Pretectural Asset, Kamakura Period

In art, Benten is sometimes shown with snakes. Some statues of her reveal eight arms, six of these which are raised and the hands holding different objects. These include a bow and arrow and two hands are folded in prayer” [2] as well as a sword, a jewel, a wheel, and a key.

From The White GoddessArea of Influence:

Water, Words, Speech, Eloquence, Music, Knowledge, Fortune, Beauty

il_570xN.365169550_j2cu

“Benzaiten (Benten) Shinto Goddess of Music & Luck” by LaPetiteMascarade

Pantheon: Japanese

Abode: Caverns

Animals: Dragons, Sea Serpents

Colours: Bue, Silver, White, Yellow

Crystal: Conch, Mother of pearl, Iron, Gold

Direction: East, West

Element: Air, Water

Musical Instrument: Lute

Offerings: Honey, Yellow flowers, Wild berries

Planet: Venus

Plant/Tree: Lotus, Waterlillies, Yellow flowers

Symbols: Sword, Bow and arrow, Wheel, Key, Axe, Spear, Pestle

Tarot Card: Cups

Time: Summer Solstice

 

 

 

Also known as: Benjaiten, Bensai-Ten, Benzai-Ten, Benzai-Tennyo, Benzaiten, Ichiki-Shima-Hime, Sarasvati, Zeniari, [3]; and according to Thalia Took, “Benzaiten is also linked to Kwannon or Kwan Yin, the sometimes female, sometimes male Bodhisattva of compassion in Buddhism.” [4]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, “Benten“.

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

Slayford-Wei, Lian. Humanities360.com, “The History and Significance of the Goddedss Benten“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Benzaiten“.

The White Goddess, “Benten – Goddess of everything that flows“.

Wikipedia, “Benzaiten“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

A-to-Z Photo Dictionary: Japanese Buddhist Statuary, “BENZAITEN, BENTEN“.

The Broom Closet, “Benten: Japanese Goddess of Eloquence“.

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, “Benten“.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Benten“.

Lindemans, Micha. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Benten“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Benzaiten“.

 

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