Tag Archive: taoism


“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 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“.

Goddess A-Ma

"The Grace of Mer" by Autumn Skye Morrison

“A-Ma’s themes are water, providence, protection, magic, and weather.  Her symbols are fish and red cloth.  This Goddess is the patroness of all fishermen and sailors in the region of Macau, where today is Her festival day and Her birthday. Also sometimes called Matsu, this divine figure offers safety in any of life’s literal or figurative storms, often by teaching magical weather charms.

Legend says that A-ma achieved enlightenment and a mastery of magic at the young age of twenty-eight, after which She went to nirvāna and became a Goddess.

In Portugal, the day is spent enjoying parades for the Goddess, eating lots of seafood, adorning altars with food and incense, and setting off firecrackers in A-ma’s honor. So by all means, have some type of fish today (if you’re allergic, eat fish-shaped candy instead).

Before eating it, thank the founder of your feast with this prayer:

 ‘A-ma, thank you for your providence and protection
Let the seas of my soul find solace in you
Let the waters of my spirit be refreshed in you
So be it.’

Wear any red-colored clothing today to commemorate A-ma’s birthday and inspire Her magical assistance. Ties or scarves are especially nice for this, as you can bind one of A-ma’s attributes within the knot for the day. Anything bearing a fish motif is also suitable.”

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

Statue of A-Ma on Coloane Island measuring 65.6 feet high made of striking white marble. The statue is erected on the highest point of Coloane and its construction was financed by Taiwanese Taoists and also those from Fujian.

“A-Ma is a Taoist Goddess and is particularly revered in Macau. Also known as Tin Hau, She is the deity of fisher folk and other seafarers. Legend told of the story where a junk, while sailing across the South China Sea, was caught in a tremendous storm and was about to sink. All aboard were terrified but at the last-minute, a beautiful young woman stood up and ordered the elements to calm down. It did and the junk reached land safely. This mysterious woman is none other than the Goddess A-Ma. A temple was built on the spot where She landed and it is still there to this day, on the Inner Harbor. The name Macau came to be when many centuries later, when Portuguese soldiers asked for the name of the place, the locals replied “A-Ma-Gao” (Bay of A-Ma). It was eventually shortened to Macau. In recent times, a statue of A-Ma was erected on the highest point of Coloane Island. During the A-Ma Festival, offerings are made. There are also performances of Chinese opera.” [1]

“Tianhou, meaning heavenly mother in Chinese or “Empress of the Sky”, is a Goddess with many names. She is also known as Tianfei, Matsu-po (meaning Elder Lady Matsu), and A-Ma (Grandmother). Historically, She was given official titles by the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties in China. In 1839 Chinese Emperor Dao Guang bestowed upon Her the last title of Holy Mother in Heaven.” [2]

“According to legend the Goddess was at one time mortal. According to legend, Lín Mòniáng was born on March 23, 960 AD (during the early Northern Song Dynasty) as the seventh daughter of Lin Yuan on Meizhou Island, Fujian. She did not cry when she was born, and thus her given name means “Silent Girl.”  Although she started swimming relatively late at the age of 15, she soon became an excellent swimmer.  She wore red garments while standing on the shore to guide fishing boats home, even in the most dangerous and harsh weather.” [3]

 

“Many miracles are attributed to Lín Mòniáng. It is said she saved her brother, caught in a terrible typhoon, while fishing. As the stormed raged her family feared her father and brother drown. Lín Mòniáng fell into a trace while praying for the pair. While praying she reached out to the drowning pair, holding her brother out of the water with her hands, and her father with her mouth, to keep them out of harm’s way.

Lín Mòniáng’s mother found her, and in her deep trance thought her dead. Her mother broke down, thinking her daughter was dead, as were her husband and son. Lín Mòniáng, listening to her mother’s cries, made a small noise to reassure her she was still among the living. Because she opened her mouth, she dropped her father, whom drowned in the storm. Her brother returned from the ordeal and told the villagers how he was miraculously held out of the water during the savage typhoon.”  [4]

 

 

There are two stories concerning Lín Mòniáng’s death. In one, she dies at 16-years-old, drowning while searching for her father’s body. In another, she dies at 28-years-old after climbing a mountain. In one account, “Lín Mòniáng’s death, at the age of 28, was as remarkable as her birth.  One day, she simply told her family it was time for her to leave and that she must go alone.  Her neighbors and family watched as she walked to the top of a mountain near her home.

Reaching the top, Lín Mòniáng was encircled by clouds of dense fog, and to the accompaniment of enchanting celestial music, was carried into the heavens in a golden glow of light.  Where she had been last seen, a great rainbow appeared.

"Mazhu and the Dragons" by BlackUniGryphon

In Chinese mythology, the rainbow signifies the presence of a dragon, a symbol of great blessing and good fortune.  The dragon is a serpent that quenches its thirst in the sea and, as a sky dragon, unites heaven and earth.

The rainbow also has a significance in Taoism – the colors representing the five Buddha families, with the color orange associated with the bodhisattva, those who have achieved enlightenment but choose to remain on earth to be of service to their fellow humans.

Honoring her humility and compassion, her devotion and spiritual enlightenment, following her death Lín Mòniáng was elevated to the list of Buddhist deities and declared a Goddess by the Chinese government as well. During the millenium after her death, the Imperial Courts of several different dynasties, raised her status with new and grander titles (twenty-two promotions in all) and the construction of new temples and extensive repairs to the ancient ones. Yet the true power of the Goddess Matsu, who was once the female shaman Lín Mòniáng, is the great and abiding love of Her people.” [5]

“Fishers and sailors started to worship the compassionate and protective Goddess after Her death. Her fame spread. There are 1500 temples to Her in 26 countries around the world.

The Tian Hou Temple in Shekou is now surrounded by shipyards, and is a little piece of tranquility in a city of approximately 10 million.” [6]

“As Mazu, She is widely worshipped in the south-eastern coastal areas of China and neighbouring areas in Southeast Asia, especially ZhejiangFujianTaiwanGuangdongHainan and Vietnam, all of which have strong sea-faring traditions, as well as migrant communities elsewhere with sizeable populations from these areas. She also has a significant influence on East Asian sea culture, especially in China and Taiwan.” [7]

Her many names include but are not limited to:

Tian Hou
Tin Hau
Thiên Hâu
Tianhou Shengmu (Heavenly Holy Mother)
Tianshang Shengmu
Thiên Hâu Thánh Mâu
Tian Fei (Heavenly Princess Consort)
Huguo Mingzhu Tianfei (Protector of the Empire and the Brilliantly Outstanding Heavenly Princess)
Mazu (Mother-Ancestor)
Mazu-po (Elder Lady Mazu)
Matsu
A-Ma or A-Po (Grandmother)
Holy Mother of Heaven Above
Holy Mother in Heaven   [8]

“Secondarily, She is also a Goddess of procreation to whom prayers are addressed for conception. In this She shares definite associations with both Guanyin and Xiwangmu.” [9]

“Like Kuan Yin, Matsu decided not to marry in spite of immense social pressure to do so.  Two warriors of great fame became inflamed with lust when they saw the beautiful young girl and wanted to “marry” her. She challenged the pair to fight her for the privilege, insisting that they would have to do her bidding forever if she won.

General Chien-li-yen (Eyes that See a Thousand Miles) and General Shun Feng Erh (Ears that Can Hear the Wind) died that day during the fight that took place on Mount Peach Blossom.  To this day, the pair of defeated subordinates are seen by Her side in statuary and images and as puppets in the annual processional that celebrate Matsu’s birth.  The entourage traditionally includes guards costumed as ancient soldiers, and thirty-six martial artists carrying special weapons.  Tens of thousands make the eight-day pilgrimage to the oldest temple of Matsu in Taiwan each year. Countless other treks and festivals are held on Her birthday throughout the coastal regions where the Goddess Mazu is still revered.” [10]

Sources:

The Art of War: Physical, Social, Mental and Spiritual Success, “Chinese Goddess: Tianhou“.

GoddessGift.com, “Mazu, Chinese Goddess of the Sea“.

Peer, S. Yahoo! Voices, “The Legend of Tianhou: The History of the Asian Sea Goddess“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Tien-Hou“.

Wikipedia, “Events and festival in Macau“.

Suggested Links:

Camau Association of America – Thien Hau Temple, Los Angeles, “Shrines – Mazu: the Indigenous Goddess of the Sea“.

ChinaCulture.org, “The Goddess of the Sea – Mazu“.

Chinese Folktales, “Two Legends About the Sea Goddess Mazu (Fujian & Taiwan)“.

DameBoudicca. Pride & Sensibility, “Goddess of the Week: Mazu“.

Opentopia, “Who is Matsu?“.

Shenjiaqing. Pengerang Sea Shore, “The Parade of Goddess Mazhu“.

TravelChinaGuide.com, “A-Ma Temple“.

Wikipedia, “Matsu Islands”.

Wikipedia, “Thean Hou Temple“.

Goddess Kwan Yin

Painting by Zeng Hao

“Kwan Yin’s themes are children, kindness, magic, health and fertility.  Her symbols are a lotus, black tea, rice and rainbows.  Kwan Yin is the most beloved of all Eastern Goddess figures, giving freely Her unending sympathy, fertility, health and magical insight to all who ask. It is Her sacred duty to relieve suffering and encourage enlightenment among humans. In Eastern mythology, a rainbow bore Kwan Yin to heaven in human form. Her name means ‘regarder of sounds’, meaning She hears the cries and prayers of the world.

If you hope to have children or wish to invoke Kwan Yin’s blessing and protection on the young ones in your life, you can follow Eastern custom and leave an offering for Kwan Yin of sweet cakes, lotus incense, fresh fruit and/or flowers. If you can’t find lotus incense, look for lotus-shaped soaps at novelty or import shops.

For literal or figurative fertility, try making this Kwan Yin talisman: During a waxing-to-full moon, take a pinch of black tea and a pinch of rice and put them in a yellow cloth, saying:

 ‘As a little tea makes a full cup
so may my life be full
As the rice expands in warm water
so may my heart expand with love and warmth
The fertility of Kwan Yin, wrapped neatly within.’

Tie this up and keep it in a spot that corresponds to the type of fertility you want (such as the bedroom for physical fertility).”

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

Padmapani Avalokiteshvara

“The Goddess Kwan Yin is known as the Goddess of Mercy and Her specialty is compassion, for She knew all about suffering.  In Her first life in India She was born as a male named Avalokitesvara, who sought to help poor lost souls be reborn to a better life on their journey to enlightenment. But he was overwhelmed and anguished when more lost souls kept coming in what seemed an endless cycle. In his despair he shattered into a thousand pieces.

From his remains they shaped him as a woman, a Goddess — more suitable for bringing compassion and mercy into the world, they thought.

Painting in Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

They gave Her a thousand arms and eyes in the palms of each of Her hands so that  She would always see the people’s distress and be able to reach out to encircle them.

Then they sent Her back to earth to do Her work. So successful was She at comforting the people, that word of Her began to spread to other lands and other religions. ‘We need Her here,’ the people cried.

And so She went, reincarnating Herself wherever She was needed. Known by many names and stories in many places, She was revered as a Buddhist deity and then a Taoist one.” [1]

In Chinese tradition, “Kwan Yin (‘She Who Hears the Prayers of the World’) was originally the mother Goddess of China, who proved so popular She was adopted into the Buddhist pantheon as a bodhisattva (much like the Goddess Bride was made a saint). A bodhisattva is a person who has attained enlightenment but chooses to forgo Nirvana and remain in the world to help others attain enlightenment.” [2]

Before She became a bodhisattva, Kwan Yin was a princess named Miao Shan. “At the time of Miao shan’s conception the queen, Pao-ying, dreamed that she swallowed the moon. When the time came for the child to be born, the whole earth quaked, and wonderful fragrance and heavenly flowers were spread near and far. The people of that country were astounded. At birth She was clean and fresh without being washed. Her holy marks were noble and majestic, Her body was covered over with many-colored clouds. The people said that these were signs of the incarnation of a holy person. Although the parents thought this extraordinary, their hearts were corrupt, and so they detested Her.” [3]  As Miao Shan, She was rejected at birth and abused by a father who had wanted a son.  He sought to marry Her off, but She refused, only wanting to become a nun.  She endured many trials, but eventually Her father relented and She was allowed to pursue her dream of religious life and dedicated Her life to Buddhism.

But Her suffering did not end there. Her vengeful father even hired a man to kill Her, but She forgave him. In the end, Her great love and mercy saved his life and reconciled Her parent’s to Her divinity. [4] [5]

“As the still-popular mother Goddess of China, Kwan Yin is known as a great healer who can cure all ills. She is also a Goddess of fertility, and is often shown holding a child. In this aspect She is known as Sung-tzu niang-niang, “The Lady Who Brings Children”. She is shown holding a crystal vase, pouring out the waters of creation. Simply calling Her name in time of crisis is believed to grant deliverance.” [6]

"Kwan Yin" by Pamela Matthews

“Guanyin is also revered by Chinese Taoists (sometimes called Daoists) as an Immortal. However, in Taoist mythology, Guanyin has other origination stories which are not directly related to Avalokiteśvara.” [7]

“She is known as the Goddess Tara in the Himalayas and Mazu in Her incarnation as the Goddess of the Southern Seas, but She is best known by Her Chinese name, Kwan Yin (also spelled Kuan Yin), the Goddess of Compassion.

Depicted in statues and paintings, the Goddess Kwan Yin often appears as a calm, gentle woman of middle-age who radiates serenity. She is sometimes referred to as an Asian madonna.”  [8]

Guanyin (Kannon) & Child
Painting at Tzu-chi Foundation Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan.

“Some syncretic Buddhist and Christian observers have commented on the similarity between Guanyin and Mary of Christianity, the mother of Jesus Christ. This can be attributed to the representation of Guanyin holding a child in Chinese art and sculpture; it is believed that Guanyin is the patron saint of mothers and grants parents filial children. When the Tzu-Chi Foundation, a Taiwanese Buddhist organization, noticed the similarity between this form of Guanyin and the Virgin Mary, the organization commissioned a portrait of Guanyin and a baby that resembles the typical Roman Catholic Madonna and Child painting.

Some Chinese of the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Philippines, in an act of syncretism, have identified Guanyin with the Virgin Mary.

During the Edo Period in Japan, when Christianity was banned and punishable by death, some underground Christian groups venerated the Virgin Mary disguised as a statue of Kannon; such statues are known as Maria Kannon. Many had a cross hidden in an inconspicuous location.” [9]

 

 

Kuan Yin has countless stories and countless forms. You can view a few by clicking here to visit Goddessgift.com.

 

"Kuan Yin #2" by Penny Slinger

ASSOCIATIONS:

  • the color white
  • white flowing robes
  • white lotus blossom
  • avase of dew/nectar
  • fish (carp) & oysters
  • rice-cakes
  • oranges
  • garlic
  • six arms or a thousand
  • eight heads, one sitting atop the next
  • eyes on the palms of the hands
  • peacocks
  • vase of dew
  • willow branches
  • jade and pearls
  • the number 33
  • a boat made of bark
  • blossoming flowers
  • the Hou (a mythological creature resembling the Buddhist lion)
  • a rosary in one hand or a book
  • rose quartz, pink tourmaline, emerald (pink or green stones)

NAMES OF THE GODDESS

  • Kuan Yin (Kwan Yin. Guan Yin, Guan Shih Yin, Quan Yin, Guanyin, Kuanin)
  • Avalokitesvara
  • Mazu, A-ma, Matsu
  • Goddess of the Southern Sea
  • Kwannon (Japan)
  • the Asian Santa Maria
  • One Who Hears the Cries of the World
  • Sung-Tzu-Niang-Niang
    (Lady Who Brings Children)
  • The Maternal Goddess
  • The Observer of All Sounds
  • Bodhisattava of Compassion
  • The Thousand-hand Kuanyin    [10]

 

Om Mani Padme Hum is the six syllabled mantra particularly associated with the four-armed Shadakshari form of Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan Jainraisig, Chinese Guanyin), the bodhisattva of compassion. Mani means “the jewel” and Padma means “the lotus”.  The following Om Mani Padme Hum mantra is sung by OM Carol with Tibetan singing bowls.

I had to include the following video.  If you’ve not seen this before, be prepared to be amazed.  The performance is called “Thousand-handed Goddess of Mercy” performed by China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe.  They are all deaf and mute.  The amazing leading dancer is Tai Lihua , who is a dance teacher at a deaf-mute school in Hubei, China.  Through this amazing dance, these disabled performers demonstrated their passion, love and divine grace.

 

 

Sources:

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, “Chinese Cultural Studies: The Legend of Miao-shan“.

Goddessgift.com, “The Goddess Kwan Yin“.

Goddessgift.com, “Symbols & Names of the Goddesses Who Embody Kuan Yin“.

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

Wikipedia, “Guanyin“.

 

Suggested Links:

Axinia. 1000 Petals by Axinia, “She Has Been Worshipped By More Devotees Than Any Other Goddess In History“.

Goddessgift.com, “Avalokitesvara and the Origins of the Goddess Kuan Yin“.

Lotus Moonwise. The Order of the White Moon, “Kwan Yin: Goddess of Compassion“.

My Kwan Yin, “About Kwan Yin“.

OnmarkProductions.com, “Virgin Mary & Kannon, Two Merciful Mothers“.

Revel, Anita. Reconnect With Your Inner Goddess, “Kwan Yin“.

Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism: Thai Exotic Treasures – Gifts and Information, “Kuan Yin, Kwan Yin, Avalokiteshvara, Chenrezig“.


“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.

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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