Daily Archives: January 30, 2012

Handfasting of the Lord and Lady

Handfasting of the Lord and Lady

By Terri Roessler

 

The Lord and Lady stood before the Celestial Altar,
Facing the High Priestess, who was seen but not seen,
heard but not heard,
the stars were Her gown, a nebula was Her cloak, and the Milky Way Her headdress,
swirling around Her head.

The Lord and Lady, were smiling shyly, for this was Imbolc,
The Sacred day,
The Joyous day,
The day that They would become one.

Around them in the circle
Stood Their children.
Witnessing Their wedding day.
Men, Women and Children,
Birds and Beasts,
Creatures imagined, and some unimagined,
Spirits and Angels,
Creatures of the Land and of the Sea,
The Fey in their multitude of Form,
And creatures of the Otherworld.
All happy to witness the handfasting of their Lord and Lady.

The children looked at the Lady in awe, Her bright face turned up to the Lord,
Multitudes of flowers in Her hair, faeries and butterflies daintily holding the ribbons away from Her face.

And at the Laughing God, decked in greenery, bearded and horned, smiling down on His Lady love.

The High Priestess, Her Awe-inspiring voice heard with the heart,
not with the ears,
did say to the children:

“Do any say nay?”

The hush was instant,
Breath indrawn.

She gazed at the children with Her terrible eyes,
The children looked down with respect and no little fear, not meeting Her eyes.

She turned back to the Lord and Lady,
at the beautiful eyes and the handsome face,
Her smile returned.

Suddenly, She held a cord.
The children’s breath let out, almost a sigh.

The Lord and Lady proffered Their wrists.
Wrapped around them almost instantly,
Was a cord, sparkling with all the colors of the rainbow, the Moon and the Sun.

“Then as the entire Universe as witness”
She said in a voice suddenly loud,
“I proclaim you Husband and Wife!”

The crowd cheered, throwing rose petals into the air.
The petals fell to the ground to be stepped on and release their pungent smell.

The Laughing God bent His Horned Head to the Lady’s mouth, eager to taste the sweetness there.
The Lady’s Eyes opened wide, His Passion a surprise.
The Laughing God’s eyes danced in response.

The Kiss ended.
They turned to the altar,
The Star Woman was gone, as They knew she would be.
They laughed happily and turned to the crowd,
Their sparkling eyes, taking in the sight of Their Children.

Smiling Their blessings to the crowd,
They too were gone.

The children turned their eyes towards the bright heavens,
And beheld the Laughing God and their Lady,
Dancing in the stars.
Somewhere in a nebula far, far away, the Star Woman laughed happily.
The Children danced too,
In joy, on the earth, in the sea, and in the skies. their faces aglow,
As the stardust fell down…..

Poem copyright © 1997 Terri Roessler

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Brighid Lore for Imbolc

Brighid Lore for Imbolc
by Doreen Motheral

 

The goddess Brighid (also known as Brigit, Bride, Biddy and other names throughout Europe) is a goddess who is near and dear to my heart for many reasons. I like the fact that she is associated with both water (her wells in Kildare and other parts of Ireland) and fire (her fire pit in Kildare). I like the fact that she spans both the pagan and Christian worlds and some of her traditions are still celebrated today.

Since the festival of Imbolc (also called Óimelc) is this weekend I thought I’d write a few thoughts for those who aren’t familiar with her (and perhaps renew an acquaintance for those who already were). Imbolc is the time of the year that the ewes lactated, and the successful timing of this event was approximate, so the exact date of Imbolc could vary from region to region and from year to year depending on the climate. Production of this milk supply was very important to both man and animal. From the milk comes butter and cheese. Newly calved cows were also put under Brighid’s protection. Here’s an old saying:

Samhain Eve without food,
Christmas night without bread,
St. Brighid’s Eve without butter,
That is a sorry complaint.

Cormac mac Cuillenàin, who lived in the 9th century said, “Brighid i.e. a learned woman, daughter of the Dagda. That is Brighid of learning, i.e. a goddess who filid worshipped. For her protecting care was very great and very wonderful. So they call her a goddess of poets. Her sisters were Brighid woman of healing, and Brighid woman of smithcraft, daughters of the Dagda, from whose names among all the Irish a goddess used to be called Brighid” In this writing, Cormac mentions her triple aspect of three sisters, common among the Celts. I often call on one or more of her aspects of creativity, writing and healing, but she is much more than that.

The Christian aspects of Brighid and the pagan aspects often overlap, so it’s difficult to figure out which stories have pre-Christian beginnings. I think there is a seed of paganism in many of the later stories associated with her. We’ll never know for sure, but in my own private practice I take many of her current customs and use them for my own worship of her – and I don’t worry about the pre-Christian aspect of the story or not. Your mileage may vary, of course.

On the eve of Imbolc, a piece of linen, other cloth or ribbons is placed outside (some folks put them on their window sill). This piece of cloth is called Brighid’s Brat or Brighid’s Mantle. It is said that Brighid travels all over the land on Imbolc eve and if she sees this cloth, she will bless it and give it healing powers. Some folks in Ireland say that the older your brat is, the more powerful it is. Mugwort Grove (the grove to which I belong) destroys ours from year to year. We put out a whole piece of linen and tear it into strips for members of the Grove during our Imbolc ritual. People take the strips home to use for healing and some are kept on personal altars throughout the year.

Other folklore says that if the mantle gets bigger overnight, you will be especially blessed. It’s a nice tradition, especially if you have a lot of illness to overcome for the following year, and a brat is nice to have for healing rituals later in the year.

Brighid’s fiery aspect makes her the perfect goddess of the hearth – in fact, my hearth at home is dedicated to Brighid. There are many hearth prayers dedicated to Brighid, especially concerning smooring. Ashes and embers were often deposited in the fields. Also, indoor activity associated with Imbolc often took place near the hearth, and if there was a feast, an extra place was set for Brighid. It is also considered bad luck to do any type of spinning on Brighid’s Day.

There is also the custom of Brighid’s Bed. A small bed is made near the hearth and a doll (called a Brídeog), often made from a sheaf of corn and made into the likeness of a woman and is sometimes placed in the bed. In Ireland the doll was often made from a churn dash decorated in clothing (associations t milk again). Sometimes the doll was carried around town to visit houses in the neighborhood. Songs, music and dances are performed – then prayers are said to St. Brighid for blessings upon the house (this is similar to wassailing in other countries around Christmas). Then the family is asked to contribute a donation – which used to be bread and butter (there’s that dairy again!) but now it’s often money (sometimes given to charity).

There is much, much more about Brighid I could share, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. A bit of trivia – Brighid is so loved by the Irish people that in 1942 a survey was taken on “The Feast of St. Brighid”. The replies about the customs run to 2,435 manuscript pages. A great book, if you can find it, is The Festival of Brighid Celtic Goddess and Holy Woman by Séamas Ó Catháin. There are many really cool stories and legends about her.

Last but not least one of the other interesting aspects of Brighid is a prayer attributed to her from the 11th century which goes like this:

I would like a great lake of ale, for the King of the Kings
I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us.
I would like an abundance of peace.
I would like full vessels of charity.
I would like rich treasures of mercy.
I would like cheerfulness to preside over all.
I would like Jesus to be present.
I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts.
I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me.
I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity.

Drink up!

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Candlemas: The Light Returns

Candlemas: The Light Returns
by Mike Nichols

It seems quite impossible that the holiday of Candlemas should be considered the beginning of Spring. Here in the Heartland, February 2nd may see a blanket of snow mantling the Mother. Or, if the snows have gone, you may be sure the days are filled with drizzle, slush, and steel-grey skies — the dreariest weather of the year. In short, the perfect time for a Pagan Festival of Lights. And as for Spring, although this may seem a tenuous beginning, all the little buds, flowers and leaves will have arrived on schedule before Spring runs its course to Beltane.

‘Candlemas’ is the Christianized name for the holiday, of course. The older Pagan names were Imbolc and Oimelc. ‘Imbolc’ means, literally, ‘in the belly’ (of the Mother). For in the womb of Mother Earth, hidden from our mundane sight but sensed by a keener vision, there are stirrings. The seed that was planted in her womb at the solstice is quickening and the new year grows. ‘Oimelc’ means ‘milk of ewes’, for it is also lambing season.

The holiday is also called ‘Brigit’s Day’, in honor of the great Irish Goddess Brigit. At her shrine, the ancient Irish capitol of Kildare, a group of 19 priestesses (no men allowed) kept a perpetual flame burning in her honor. She was considered a goddess of fire, patroness of smithcraft, poetry and healing (especially the healing touch of midwifery). This tripartite symbolism was occasionally expressed by saying that Brigit had two sisters, also named Brigit. (Incidentally, another form of the name Brigit is Bride, and it is thus She bestows her special patronage on any woman about to be married or handfasted, the woman being called ‘bride’ in her honor.)

The Roman Catholic Church could not very easily call the Great Goddess of Ireland a demon, so they canonized her instead. Henceforth, she would be ‘Saint’ Brigit, patron SAINT of smithcraft, poetry, and healing. They ‘explained’ this by telling the Irish peasants that Brigit was ‘really’ an early Christian missionary sent to the Emerald Isle, and that the miracles she performed there ‘misled’ the common people into believing that she was a goddess. For some reason, the Irish swallowed this. (There is no limit to what the Irish imagination can convince itself of. For example, they also came to believe that Brigit was the ‘foster-mother’ of Jesus, giving no thought to the implausibility of Jesus having spent his boyhood in Ireland!)

Brigit’s holiday was chiefly marked by the kindling of sacred fires, since she symbolized the fire of birth and healing, the fire of the forge, and the fire of poetic inspiration. Bonfires were lighted on the beacon tors, and chandlers celebrated their special holiday. The Roman Church was quick to confiscate this symbolism as well, using ‘Candlemas’ as the day to bless all the church candles that would be used for the coming liturgical year. (Catholics will be reminded that the following day, St. Blaise’s Day, is remembered for using the newly-blessed candles to bless the throats of parishioners, keeping them from colds, flu, sore throats, etc.)

The Catholic Church, never one to refrain from piling holiday upon holiday, also called it the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (It is surprising how many of the old Pagan holidays were converted to Maryan Feasts.) The symbol of the Purification may seem a little obscure to modern readers, but it has to do with the old custom of ‘churching women’. It was believed that women were impure for six weeks after giving birth. And since Mary gave birth at the winter solstice, she wouldn’t be purified until February 2nd. In Pagan symbolism, this might be re-translated as when the Great Mother once again becomes the Young Maiden Goddess.

Today, this holiday is chiefly connected to weather lore. Even our American folk-calendar keeps the tradition of ‘Groundhog’s Day’, a day to predict the coming weather, telling us that if the Groundhog sees his shadow, there will be ‘six more weeks’ of bad weather (i.e., until the next old holiday, Lady Day). This custom is ancient. An old British rhyme tells us that ‘If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.’ Actually, all of the cross-quarter days can be used as ‘inverse’ weather predictors, whereas the quarter-days are used as ‘direct’ weather predictors.

Like the other High Holidays or Great Sabbats of the Witches’ year, Candlemas is sometimes celebrated on it’s alternate date, astrologically determined by the sun’s reaching 15-degrees Aquarius, or Candlemas Old Style (in 1988, February 3rd, at 9:03 am CST). Another holiday that gets mixed up in this is Valentine’s Day. Ozark folklorist Vance Randolf makes this quite clear by noting that the old-timers used to celebrate Groundhog’s Day on February 14th. This same displacement is evident in Eastern Orthodox Christianity as well. Their habit of celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 6th, with a similar post-dated shift in the six-week period that follows it, puts the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 14th. It is amazing to think that the same confusion and lateral displacement of one of the old folk holidays can be seen from the Russian steppes to the Ozark hills, but such seems to be the case!

Incidentally, there is speculation among linguistic scholars that the vary name of ‘Valentine’ has Pagan origins. It seems that it was customary for French peasants of the Middle Ages to pronounce a ‘g’ as a ‘v’. Consequently, the original term may have been the French ‘galantine’, which yields the English word ‘gallant’. The word originally refers to a dashing young man known for his ‘affaires d’amour’, a true galaunt. The usual associations of V(G)alantine’s Day make much more sense in this light than their vague connection to a legendary ‘St. Valentine’ can produce. Indeed, the Church has always found it rather difficult to explain this nebulous saint’s connection to the secular pleasures of flirtation and courtly love.

For modern Witches, Candlemas O.S. may then be seen as the Pagan version of Valentine’s Day, with a de-emphasis of ‘hearts and flowers’ and an appropriate re-emphasis of Pagan carnal frivolity. This also re-aligns the holiday with the ancient Roman Lupercalia, a fertility festival held at this time, in which the priests of Pan ran through the streets of Rome whacking young women with goatskin thongs to make them fertile. The women seemed to enjoy the attention and often stripped in order to afford better targets.

One of the nicest folk-customs still practiced in many countries, and especially by Witches in the British Isles and parts of the U.S., is to place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house, beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1st), allowing them to continue burning until sunrise. Make sure that such candles are well seated against tipping and guarded from nearby curtains, etc. What a cheery sight it is on this cold, bleak and dreary night to see house after house with candle-lit windows! And, of course, if you are your Coven’s chandler, or if you just happen to like making candles, Candlemas Day is THE day for doing it. Some Covens hold candle-making parties and try to make and bless all the candles they’ll be using for the whole year on this day.

Other customs of the holiday include weaving ‘Brigit’s crosses’ from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection, performing rites of spiritual cleansing and purification, making ‘Brigit’s beds’ to ensure fertility of mind and spirit (and body, if desired), and making Crowns of Light (i.e. of candles) for the High Priestess to wear for the Candlemas Circle, similar to those worn on St. Lucy’s Day in Scandinavian countries. All in all, this Pagan Festival of Lights, sacred to the young Maiden Goddess, is one of the most beautiful and poetic of the year.

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Lady A’s Spell of the Day for Jan. 30 – Home Safety Spell

Lady A’s Spell of the Day

Home Safety Shield

Items that you will need:

  • A nail file, small knife, or other sharp tool
  • A black candle
  • A candle holder
  • Matches
  • A piece of white paper
  • A ballpoint pen with black ink

Best Time To Perform:

  • As needed, but preferably on a Saturday

The Spell:

Collect the items listed above. Cast a circle around the area where you will do your spell. Use the nail file or other tool to engrave a pentagram into the candle wax. Fit the candle in its holder and light.

On the piece of paper, draw a sigil that uses the word “protection.” As you work, envision your home completely surrounded by a very high wall of pure white light that intruders can’t penetrate or scale. If you like, add symbols, words, or other images that convey safety to you. When you’ve created.

Drip a bit of melted candle wax on each corner of the paper. Use the nail file or other tool to inscribe a pentagram in the warm wax. Repeat the procedure, until you’ve made a shield for each door into your home. Extinguish the candle and open the circle. Attach a safety shield to the inside of each door to repel unwanted visitors.

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Incense of the Day for Jan. 30 – SABBAT INCENSE

SABBAT INCENSE

4 parts frankincense
2 parts Myrrh
2 parts Benzoin
1/2 part Fennel
1/2 part Bay
1/2 part thyme
1/2 part Pennyroyal
1/2 part Solomon’s Seal
1/4 part Rue
1/4 part wormwood
1/4 part Camomile
1/4 part Rose petals

Burn at Wiccan Sabbats.

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Herb of the Day for Jan. 30 – Toadflax

Herb of the Day

Toadflax

Botanical: Linaria vulgaris (MILL.)
Family: N.O. Scrophulariaceae

—Synonyms—Fluellin. Pattens and Clogs. Flaxweed. Ramsted. Snapdragon. Churnstaff. Dragon-bushes. Brideweed. Toad. Yellow Rod. Larkspur Lion’s Mouth. Devils’ Ribbon. Eggs and Collops. Devil’s Head. Pedlar’s Basket. Gallwort. Rabbits. Doggies. Calves’ Snout. Eggs and Bacon. Buttered Haycocks. Monkey Flower.
—Part Used—Herb.
—Habitat—The genus Linaria, to which it belongs, contains 125 species, native to’ the Northern Hemisphere and South America, seven of which are found in England.

The Toadflax grows wild in most parts of Europe, on dry banks, by the wayside, in meadows by hedge sides, and upon the borders of fields. It is common throughout England and Wales, though less frequent in Ireland. In Scotland, it is found, as a rule, only in the southern counties. Having been introduced into North America, probably originally with grain, it has become there a troublesome weed. It is especially abundant in sandy and gravelly soil and in chalk and limestone districts.

—Description—From a perennial and creeping root, the Toadflax sends up severalslender stems, erect and not much branched, generally between 1 and 2 feet long, bearing numerous leaves, which are very long and narrow in form. Both stems and leaves are glaucous, i.e. of a pale bluish tint of green, and are quite destitute of hairs.

The stems terminate in rather dense spikes of showy yellow flowers, the corolla in general shape like that of the Snapdragon, but with a long spur, and with the lower lip orange. The Toadflax flowers throughout the summer, from late June to October.

The mouth of the flower is completely closed and never opens until a bee forces its entrance. The only visitors are the large bees – the humble-bee, honey-bee, and several wild bees – which are able to open the flower, and whose tongues are long enough to reach the nectar, which is so placed in the spur that only long-lipped insects can reach it. The closing of the swollen lower lip excludes beetles from the spur. When the bee alights on the orange palate, the colour of which is specially designed to attract the desired visitor, acting as a honey-guide, it falls a little, disclosing the interior of the flower, which forms a little cave, on the floor of which are two ridges of orange hairs, a track between them leading straight to the mouth of the long, hollow spur. Above this is the egg-shaped seed-vessel with the stamens. Between the bases of the two longer stamen filaments, nectar trickles down along a groove to the spur, from the base of the ovary where it is secreted. The bee pushes into the flower, its head fitting well into the cavity below the seed-vessel and thrusting its proboscis down the spur, sucks the nectar, its back being meanwhile well coated by the pollen from the stamens, which run along the roof, the stigma being between the short and long stamens. It is reckoned that a humble-bee can easily take the nectar from ten flowers in a minute, each time transferring pollen from a previous flower to the stigma of the one visited, and thus effecting cross-fertilization.

The Toadflax is very prolific. Its fruit is a little rounded, dry capsule, which when ripe, opens at its top by several valves, the many minute seeds being thrown out by the swaying of the stems. The seeds are flattened and lie in the centre of a circular wing, which, tiny as it is, helps to convey the seed some distance from the parent plant.

Sometimes a curiously-shaped Toadflax blossom will be found: instead of only one spur being produced, each of the five petals whose union builds up the toad-like corolla forms one, and the flower becomes of regular, though almost unrecognizable shape. This phenomenon is termed by botanists, ‘peloria,’ i.e. a monster. As a rule it is the terminal flower that is thus symmetrical in structure, but sometimes flowers of this type occur all down the spike.

The name Toadflax originated in the resemblance of the flower to little toads, there being also a resemblance between the mouth of the flower and the wide mouth of a toad. Coles says that the plant was called Toadflax, ‘because Toads will sometimes shelter themselves amongst the branches of it.’

The general resemblance of the plant in early summer to a Flax plant, accounts for the latter part of its name, and also for another of its country names, ‘Flaxweed.’ The Latin name, Linaria, from linum(flax), was given it by Linnaeus, from this likeness to a flax plant before flowering. The mixture of light yellow and orange in the flowers has gained for it the provincial names of ‘Butter and Eggs,’ ‘Eggs and Bacon,’ etc.

Gerard says:
‘Linaria being a kind of Antyrrhinum, hath small, slender, blackish stalks, from which do grow many long, narrow leaves like flax. The floures be yellow with a spurre hanging at the same like unto a Larkesspurre, having a mouth like unto a frog’s mouth, even such as is to be seene in the common Snapdragon; the whole plant so much resembleth Esula minor, that the one is hardly knowne from the other but by this olde verse: “Esula lactescit, sine lacte Linaria crescit.”
‘ “Esula with milke doth flow,
Toadflax without milke doth grow.” ‘

This Esula is one of the smaller spurge, Euphorbia esula, which before flowering so closely resembles Toadflax that care must be taken not to collect it in error, the milky juice contained in its stems (as in all the Spurges) will, however, at once reveal its identity.

The leaves of the Toadflax also contain an acrid, rather disagreeable, but not milkyjuice, which renders them distasteful to cattle, who leave them untouched. Among the many old local names given to this plant we find it called ‘Gallwort,’ on account of its bitterness, one old writer affirming that it received the name because an infusion of the leaves was used ‘against the flowing of the gall in cattell.’ The larvae of several moths feed on the plant, and several beetles are also found on it.

—Part Used Medicinally—Cultivation. For medicinal purposes, Toadflax is generally gathered in the wild condition, but it can be cultivated with ease, though it prefers a dry soil. No manure is needed. Seeds may be sown in spring. All the culture needed is to thin out the seedlings and keep them free of weeds. Propagation may also be carried out by division of roots in the autumn.

The whole herb is gathered just when coming into flower and employed either fresh or dried.

When fresh, Toadflax has a peculiar, heavy, disagreeable odour, which is in great measure dissipated by drying. It has a weakly saline, bitter and slightly acrid taste.

—Constituents—Toadflax abounds in an acrid oil, reputed to be poisonous, but no harm from it has ever been recorded. Little or nothing is known of its toxic principle, but its use in medicine was well known to the ancients.

Its constituents are stated to be two glucosides, Linarin and Pectolinarian, with linarosin, linaracin, antirrhinic, tannic and citric acids, a yellow colouring matter, mucilage and sugar.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Astringent, hepatic and detergent. It has some powerful qualities as a purgative and diuretic, causing it to be recommended in jaundice, liver, skin diseases and scrofula; an infusion of 1 OZ. to the pint has been found serviceable as an alterative in these cases and in incipient dropsy. The infusion has a bitter and unpleasant taste, occasioned by the presence of the acrid essential oil. It was at one time in great reputation among herb doctors for dropsy. The herb distilled answers the same purpose, as a decoction of both leaves and flowers in removing obstructions of the liver. It is very effectual if a little Peruvian bark or solution of quinine and a little cinnamon be combined with it. Gerard informs us that ‘the decoction openeth the stopping of the liver and spleen, and is singular good against the jaundice which is of long continuance,’ and further states that ‘a decoction of Toadflax taketh away the yellownesse and deformitie of the skinne, being washed and bathed therewith.’

The fresh plant is sometimes applied as a poultice or fomentation to haemorrhoids, and an ointment of the flowers has been employed for the same purpose, and also locally in diseases of the skin. A cooling ointment is made from the fresh plant – the whole herb is chopped and boiled in lard till crisp, then strained. The result is a fine green ointment, a good application for piles, sores, ulcers and skin eruptions.

The juice of the herb, or the distilled water, has been considered a good remedy for inflammation of the eyes, and for cleansing ulcerous sores.

Boiled in milk, the plant is said to yield an excellent fly poison, and it is an old country custom in parts of Sweden to infuse Toadflax flowers in milk, and stand the infusion about where flies are troublesome.

The flowers have been employed in Germany as a yellow dye.

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Crystal of the Day for Jan. 30 – Amber

Crystal of the Day

Amber

 

 

 

 

  • Common Name: Amber
  • Appearance: Light yellow to orange, sometimes found in shades of green
  • Element(s): Fire
  • Planetary connection: Sun
  • Healing powers: Used to treat eyesight disorders, afflictions of the throat
  • Magical uses: Provides clarity and confidence, strength and protection
  • Other Info: Amber is not truly a stone, but a resin
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Deity of the Day for Jan. 30 – SHOU-XING

Deity of the Day

SHOU-XING

Also known as SHOU-HSING, SHOU-LAO, NAN-JI-XIAN-WENG
 

God of Longevity and Old Age, and the most venerable member of the SAN-XING happiness squad.

 

His name means ‘Star Of Long Life’. He is old and bald, and always carries a Golden Peach of Immortality from XI-WANGMU’s Holy Peach Garden. These are found only in Heaven and ripen once every three thousand years.

 

Ironically he didn’t actually get to eat one. His long life came about by quite different means. Once he was a young and sickly lad named Zhao-Yen, who was destined to die when he reached 19. Told by a fortune-teller to enter a certain field armed with a packed lunch, he found two men playing checkers.

Having been warned to keep his mouth shut, he silently offered them spring rolls and wine, which were gratefully accepted. So gratefully, in fact, that the men, revealing themselves to be the Gods of Birth and Death, offered him longevity.

First they took his allotted lifespan of 19 years and reversed it, giving 91 years. Then they munched another spring roll, had another sip of wine, and decided he deserved immortality. That must have been a very impressive packed lunch.

 
ABOUT SHOU-XING : FACTS AND FIGURES
Location : China
Gender : Male
Category : Deity
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Pronunciation : Sshoh Sheeng
Alternative names : SHOU-HSING, SHOU-LAO, NAN-JI-XIAN-WENG
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