Tag Archive: korea


Ungnyeo (Bear Woman)

“Bear with Me” by Raventalker

“Ungnyeo’s themes are change, peace, devotion, inspiration and patience. Her symbols are bears, wormwood and garlic. Korean myth recounts the tale of two friends, a bear and a tiger, who wished to be human. To receive this transformation, the two had to stay in a cave eating wormwood and garlic for one hundred days. Unfortunately, the tiger lacked patience, found this too difficult, and left. The bear, however, stayed determined. After one hundred days, she transformed into a beautiful human woman and then bore a son who founded Korea, naming it ‘the land of the morning calm’. This quiet peacefulness and devotion is what Ungnyeo inspires, especially for personal transformation.

In Korean tradition, today is Gaecheonjeol (National Foundation Day), the time when Ungnyeo’s son founded the country.  To commemorate this and strengthen your connection with Ungnyeo, include garlic in your diet today (or, if you’re a really devoted garlic fan, add it to one meal a day for one hundred days)!

Should you need improved tranquillity, try visualizing yourself in a deep cave (this is Bear Woman’s womb). Stay here as long as you wish in your meditations until the quiet solitude saturates your inner self.

Finally, for any personal transformation you need to undertake, carry any image of a bear with you. This will inspire Ungnyeo’s tenacity for success.”

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

“Ungnyeo in the Cave” by Charles Alexander Moffat

Ungnyeo was a bear that became a woman. She was featured prominently in the creation myth of the Korean nation.

In the tale, a tiger and a bear (Ungnyeo) lived together in a cave and prayed to the divine king Hwanung to be made human. Hwanung heard their prayers and gave them 20 cloves of garlic, a bundle of mugwort and ordered them to stay out of the sunlight and eat only this food for 100 days. Due to hunger, the tiger left the cave after roughly 20 days, but the bear remained inside. After 21 days, she was transformed into a woman.

Ungnyeo was grateful and made offerings to Hwanung. Her lack of a husband drove her to depression, and she began to pray beneath a sacred betula tree to be blessed with a child. Hwanung heard her prayers and was deeply moved. He took Ungnyeo as his wife and soon after, she gave birth to a son, Dangun, who would go on to found the nation of Korea.” [1]

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Ungnyeo“.

 

Suggested Links:

English.visitkorea.or.kr, “The Legend of Dangun“.

Mythologydictionary.com,Korean Lore, Gods, Demigods, Heroes, Symbols, and Other Famous Mythological Characters“.

Rendezvous-inmyblog.blogspot.com, “The day the heavens opened – Korea’s founding myth“.

Wikipedia, “Hwanung“.

Callisto

“Callisto’s themes are instinct, protection and flexibility.  Her symbols are a bear, a willow branch and the constellation Ursa Minor.  Appearing sometimes as a she-bear guarding her cubs, the Greek Goddess Callisto reinspires the natural instincts with which we have lost touch and illustrates the intensity of maternal love. Her other name is Helic, which means ‘to turn’ or ‘willow branch’; she thus had the power to help with personal transformations. In mythology, Callisto became Ursa Major while pregnant with Zeus’s child. Artemis changed her into a bear, along with her son, who became Ursa Minor.

In Korea, the festival of Chilseong-je begins at midnight with an offering of white rice and water to the seven stars (Ursa Major). This gift ensures Callisto’s assistance when needed throughout the coming months. If you can’t stay up till midnight, just leave the rice and water in a special spot before you go to bed.

From her celestial home, Callisto stands ready to protect us in the new year and provide us with adaptability as a coping mechanism. To encourage this, carry a silver or white stone bear, or a piece of dried willow wood. Bless this token, saying words like:

‘Callisto, release in me the power of flexibility
Where’re I carry this little charm
keep me ever safe from harm.’

If these tokens aren’t handy, you can substitute any white or silver item, or a hand-drawn picture of Ursa Major (the Big Dipper).”

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

For more information on Callisto, click here.

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