Tag Archive: tao


“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 Tou Mou

“Tou Mou’s themes are cleansing, luck, charity, Karma and history.  Her symbols are pens (or quills), books and light.  The Chinese/Thai Goddess of record keeping takes special notice of our actions (or inactions) today, keeping careful notes for the Karmic bank account. In works of art, Tou Mou is depicted sitting behind books and glowing with the beautiful light of the aurora. It is this brightness that shines on our lives today, revealing both the good and the bad. Suitable offerings for this Goddess include rice, fruit, and all acts of goodness.

In Thailand, Songkran begins with tossing water down the street to chase away evil influences. I suggest using your driveway instead, or a glass of water on the kitchen floor that is judiciously mopped up later.

People in Thailand traditionally wash their parents’ hands with scented water today to bring them honor and long life. So, remember your elders today, and do something nice for them – it’s good Karma, and it definitely catches Tou Mou’s attention. Another activity extends good deeds to the natural world – that of freeing songbirds, who then bear their liberator’s prayers directly to Tou Mou’s ear. You might want to simply scatter some birdseed for similar results.

Finally, it might be a good day to balance your check book to make sure your financial Karma stays in good standing. Burn a green candle nearby for prosperity.”

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

Tou Muthe Chinese mother and sky Goddess, is an important deity in the Taoist hierarchy.  She is the Chinese Goddess of the North Star, and keeper of the book of life and death, controlling the days of humans and  supervises a register in which the life and death of each person on earth is recorded.  She is said to have the ability to save people who call on Her from many evils and troubles.  She is a Goddess who controls not only the natural process of heaven and earth, but also helps to maintain the Universe in equilibrium.

Tou Mu, Goddess of the North Star, 1922. From Myths and Legends of China, by Edward TC Werner.

Having attained all of the celestial mysteries, Tou Mu alone is able to cross between the moon and the sun. She is the mother of the Nine Celestial Kings. She is portrayed sitting on a lotus blossom, and She has four heads (each facing one of the four cardinal directions) and eight arms. In Her hands She holds such things as 2 Circles which represent the Sun and the Moon (which cannot be omitted or replaced); a bell which represents the power to summon/control all the elements; a seal which represents authority; bow and arrow, curved spear, sword, etc. which is to eliminate negative entities/force; a flag, and/or a flower. Tou Mu’s name means “Mother of the Great Wagon”, and is also seen as Tou Mou, Dou Mu, and Dou Mou.  Her official title is Sheng De Zi Guang Tian Hou Da Sheng Yuan Ming Dou Mu Yuan Jun.  [1] [2] [3]

On his site, Vabien explains Her coming into being “in simple terms, She was an energy that was created after the manifestation of San Qing (The Pure Ones) and way before the formation of the Universe. Only after the collision of energies of Dou Mu (extreme negative) and Dou Fu (extreme positive), the universe was formed and this is when the star lords are being manifested from the collision. This is why, She is the mother of all star lords.

Many people even me, at the beginning mistaken Her as Guan Yin or Chun Ti as the features are very similar such as sitting on a lotus, two hands grasp the Sun and the Moon and even the weapons held are also the same or similar to that. So how do we know if we are honoring Dou Mu or deities of other religion.

  1. Dou Mu have four faces. (Note: No more than 4 faces)
  2. 8 Arms holding onto different object. (Note: Usually 18 arms would be Chun Ti)
  3. Hand symbol aka mudra. (The hand symbol is put in front of Her chest but this feature is quite hard to see as a slight difference in the hand symbol mean it will be another deity and sometimes it is can’t been seen clearly.)
  4. Usually She would be depicted holding a bell and a seal but this varies, as She holds a range of different items.” [3]
“She is rather like a Kwan Yin, being a compassionate Goddess and  is venerated by those who wish a long life and personal compassion.  In Taoist temples a hall is often dedicated to Her. She is also venerated by Chinese Buddhists.” [4]

Sources:

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Tou Mu“.

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

Suggested Links:

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

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Tou-Mu, Mother-of-the-Pole-Star“.

Taoist Resources,Constellation Mother“.

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

“The Mother of Ten Thousands Things’s theme is luck.  Her symbol is any lucky token.  This Goddess represents the unknowable and uncontrollable things we face daily. In Indo-Chinese tradition, she is part of the Universe’s ebb and flow, ever changing and ever the same. Turn to her when you feel as if ten thousand things in your life were up in the air.

Take out any item that you associate with good fortune. Name it after the one area of your life in which you need more luck (naming something designates its purpose and powers). Hold the token to the night sky (symbolic of the Universe’s vastness), saying something like this:

“Mother, see this symbol of my need
Empower it with your fortunate influence to fill my year with < ….. >
< fill in with the name of your token >”

Carry this with you as often as possible to manifest that energy in your life.

Vietnamese New Year, known as Tet, is filled with ceremonies for luck over several days, including an offering to the Goddess and ancestors to give fortune a boost. Eating rice today invokes the spirit of prosperity. Or you can try a traditional divinatory activity instead. Make note of the name of the first person you meet today. If the name has an auspicious meaning (check a baby-name book), your meeting presages a wonderful year filled with the Mother’s serendipity.”

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

The ten thousand things is a Chinese expression used to mean the indefinite multitude of all forms and beings in manifest existence.

Thus, it denotes the fecundity of the all-creative maya – the boundless abundance of Our Mother God, and also the world of multiplicity, change and flux as opposed to the unitary transcendence of the Spirit.  Thus, the expression ten thousand things represents not only all the possible productions of space and time, but the full extent of space and time themselves: and thus the total creation of Our Mother God. [1]

“Source of the ten thousand things in Taoist philosophy, She holds creation in Her womb.  She is non-dual consciousness, who encompasses emptimess and form; yin and yang; happiness and sorrow; heaven and earth; creation and destruction; birth and death.  Through Her, all things come to be; in Her, life bears fruition.  She is pristine awareness, undefiled mind and sinless purity.” (Beverly Lanzetta, “Radical Wisdom: A Feminist Mystical Theology“)

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.” (Laozi, “Tao Te Ching” Ch. 1 as translated by Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English [1972])

Desire, the Mother of Ten Thousand Things” by Beth Mitchum is a neat blog to read, inspired by the Mother Herself.

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