CHINESE MYTHOLOGY

No. 7: 1st Part.

BY SINENSIS.

[Extracted from Chinese Recorder, vol. 4, 1872, pp. 93-7.]


In the description given of the Yin and Yang or hermaphroditic Shang-te (No. 4. 4.) the Yang or male principle of nature is said to dwell upon the east of T'ackeih or the animated world and the Yin or female principle on the west. [ These two beings are the Great Father and Mother of the whole Gentile world; and as Imperial Heaven (the Yang) is born from the Yin, the latter is his mother as well as his wife and sister; while, on the other hand, as this Imperial Heaven or Mind in coming out of chaos equally throws off or generates the Yin, the latter is his daughter; e.g. "The Yin is the Mother of [p.94] the Yang, and Yang is the Father of the Yin." &c., Sing-le &c. Sec. XI. p. 21. This Yin (the Hindoo Yoni) is the same as the western Venus (or Juno &c.) who, in the material system, was the female principle of nature, while the Yang (the Hindoo Linga) like Jupiter (or Osiris, or Baal &c.) is the animated heaven, and the male principle of nature. "Mylitta or Venus ... being ever worshipped in conjunction with the great father, was esteemed the female principle of generation." Fab. Vol. I. p. 251. This being was also "the infernal Oceanic Venus or the great mother." Ibid. p. 263. "Venus is immediately connected with the symbolical egg and is declared to be that general receptacle out of which all the hero-gods were produced." Ibid. p. 178. Shang-te, as the animated Heaven, is styled "the lad in the azure jacket," or "The Azure Imperial Princely boy." Confucius says in his "The azure Heaven (Shang-te) resembles a cover ; he is like a little boy dressed in azure clothes, and sporting in the midst of space." Hence Fuh-he, or Shang-te in human form, is represented as being arrayed in azure garments, while every thing in his palace was of that colour, "His character (the Gothic Surtur or the black) is that of the great universal father whom the Hindoos and Egyptians agree in representing of a black or dark azure colour." Faber. Vol. I. p. 214. Shang-te or Imperial Heaven is not only represented as a child, but also as an old man, and styled, "The venerable man of the Southern Extreme" (the point where the Yang terminates); "Of this female (the Great Mother or female principle—Yin) Noah was reckoned sometimes the husband or father, and sometimes the offspring. In the former character he was represented as a venerable old man; in the latter, as a new born infant. Thus the Egyptians, on account of his allegorical birth from the Ark (the Yin) depicted him as a child sitting in the calix of the aquatic lotus which was a type of the ship Argo or Argha; and yet esteemed him the most ancient Eros or Cupid." Ibid. Vol. 21. p. 144-5.

1. The part of the Earth which begins to appear as the waters of chaos or the deluge subside, is, of course the highest point, that is to say the centre, as the Earth is described as being elevated in the centre, and depressed at the four corners; "The four quarters of the Earth incline downwards, and rest upon Heaven; Heaven embraces Earth, and his ether penetrates every place, so that the whole (world) is Heaven. Chung Yung Pun-c-hwae-tseuen, Ch. I. p. 26. On this vast plain or mound, surrounded on all sides by water (called the four seas), arise the mountains of K'hwan-lun, the highest in the world according to the Chinese geographers; "K'hwan-lun is the name of a mountain; it is situated at the North-west, 50,000 le from the Sung-kaou mountain, and is the centre of the Earth. It is 11,000 le in height." Kang-he. On this mountain then, the "region beyond which there is nothing," Kėen or Imperial Heaven, or Shang-te, the Yang or male principle, is born from the Yin or turbid chaos, or ovum mundi, or female principle of generation. The Yih-king tells us that this Kėen or Imperial Heaven is born from T'ae-keih, or Monad, or the Circle of the world, and accordingly we are told that the K'hwan-lun mountain stands in the centre of a circle of four other immense chains of mountains by which it is surrounded. In this locality each destruction of the world by Deluge takes place, and here also, at each renovation, the whole universe again comes forth. And, as Kėen or Shang-te, in his human capacity, is evidently Noah, who, according to the Yih-king emerges from the ovum mundi or Ark, with his wife. Imperial Earth, and his three sons and their three wives; the prototype of K'hwin-lun (as of the western Olympus) is mount Ararat. But mount Ararat, and the mount of Eden are the same, and therefore we shall find, in connection with this locality, traditions of Paradise as well as of the Deluge.

2. This locality, being the abode of the gods, is Paradise; it is round in form, and, like Eden, it is the "mount of assembly " "Khwan-lun is 11,000 le in circuit. It sends forth the cloudy air of five colours, and streams of five colours. The River of China (the Yellow River) flows towards the south-east." Sze-hung-foo, Ch. VII. p. 1. In the Shoo-king there is a legend about Shang-te appearing in a vision to King Woo-ting of the Shang Dynasty, (Sec. 211. p. 37), and in the full account of this story, given in the history of the gods, the following passage occurs; "In a chariot sat a person arrayed in Imperial Cap and Robes, and having the appearance of a king, who called Woo-ting to the side of the chariot and said, I am (T'ae-haou, or Fuh-he deified), and I am going now to the assembly on K'hwan-lun;" Sec. Shin-sėen &c. Vol. IV. Sec. III. p. 4. It is recorded also, that the Emperor Yu called "a general convocation" on the Maou hill, which is one of the many Chinese transcripts of mount Ararat, and changed the name of that hill to "Hwuy-ke" or the mount of the general assembly. See Med's Shoo'king, p. 340. Yu, who is certainly one of the Noetic family, was buried [p.96] on this mount, as Adam and Noah were buried on mount Ararat, its prototype. "To this sacred Northern hill (i.e. Ararat), northern with respect to so large a portion of the ancient civilized world, there is more than one allusion in Scripture: and the language of inspiration is such, as to leave but little doubt, that Eden was the prototype of the Olympic synod or holy garden of the pagan hero-gods &c. The Babylonian monarch (Isaiah XIV. 13), not content even with the impiety of an ordinary deification, claimed, in the pride of his high speculations, the loftiest seat of the holy northern mounts that hill of the congregation or synod of the demon-gods, whether known by the name of Meru or Ida or Olympus or Atlas." Fab. Vol. 1. p. 349.

3. Imperial Heaven or Shang-te, who is both Adam and Noah, or rather Noah as a reappearance of Adam has his earthly abode in this region. "Within the seas, in the valley of K'hwan-lun, at the North-west is the Ruler's (Shang-te's) lower recreation palace. It is 800 le square, and 80,000 feet high. In front there are nine wells enclosed by a fence of precious stones. At the sides there are nine doors through which the light streams, and it is guarded by beasts." Kang-he. These beasts are what Faber styled "Gentile Cherubim," or the Scriptural Cherubim distorted by tradition; and they are placed in the very position assigned to the latter in Gen. III. 24. "Each has a Tigers body, and nine heads with faces like men. They stand on the east side, where all the gods dwell." Shin-sėen &c, Vol I V. Sec. v .p. 1. In the passage from the history of of the gods, the "White Dove" is mentioned as being amongst the Birds and Beasts which are congregated in this locality. See Med's. Chin. Dict. Shang-te's wife (the Yin personified) also dwells in this region, immediately over which is Shang-te's heavenly palace which is situated in the centre of the Heavens, as his earthly one is in the centre of the Earth. "The fifth (i.e. the one in the centre of the sacred circle) is the K'hwan-lun mountain, the centre of the Earth. One says that it is in the midst of the eight waters. Above are the shoulders of Heaven in the form of a cover .....The Queen-Mother (Yin or female principle of generation) dwells alone in its midst; in the place where the Genii sport. On the summit there is a resplendent temple of precious stones, and a glittering azure hall, with lakes enclosed by precious gems, and many temples. Above rules the clear ether of the ever fixed star (i.e. the Polar Star). It (the mountain) rests in the midst of Heaven's one original ether (i.e. from which every thing in creation is made, ). These five mountains are beyond the (four) seas." i.e. beyond the Chinese Empire. Shin-sėen &c. Vol. V. Sec. III. p. 4. "The Western (the Yin or female principle of generation dwells on the West of the sacred Circle) Queen-Mother is a goddess in human form, having Tiger's teeth and the tail of a leopard. She has dishevelled hair; her head is ornamented; and she delights to dwell in the cave. In the Chow Dynasty king Meh made an excursion to the K'hwan-lun mountain to see her, and the Western Queen-Mother come out to receive him; &c. Urh-ya. p. 36. "The great Western," mountain sacred to his goddess, "is in midst of the Tsing sea the Western Queen-Mother erected upon it a beautiful white temple, and established three purely white cities, where there are trees bearing white gems, auspicious beasts, the water of immortality and beautiful birds; which she bestows upon her sons and daughters dwelling there, in order that they may become refined by contemplating them. Above this mountain rules the subtle ether of (Venus), and it rests in the midst of the seventh Air or White Heaven." (Heaven consists of nine stories according to the Confucianists and the stoics). Shin-sėen, &c. Vol. V. Sec. III. p. 4. This Being then, is the "White goddess" of the Greeks and Romans. This fable (of Proserpine) is but a repetition of those respecting the dove of Juno, Isi, Derceto, and Venus. "The Hindus" designate Isi, (the female principle of generation) "the White goddess." Fab. Vol. III. p. 41. The mountain which this goddess presides over is in the midst of a sea which represents the Deluge; and as the waters retired it would resemble an island; and hence this is the "Holy White Island of the West," or the Ararat of Hindoo mythology. See Fab. Vol. I. p. 392. "By the cavern of a mountain was meant the Ark resting on amount Ararat." Ibid p. 135, note. This idea is based on the fact that Lot and his daughters were saved in a cave from a Deluge of fire. As the Great Father and Mother, or Imperial Heaven and his wife, are astronomically the Sun and Moon, these luminaries are to be found in this region; "More than 2,500 le up the mountain (K'hwan-lun) is the place where the Sun and Moon are hidden, and whence their light is reflected." Kang-he. "The hermaphroditic lunar deity is fabled to have there (in mount Meru—the Hindoo Ararat) [p.97] concealed herself, and afterwards to have become the mother of a numerous progeny by the Sun." Fab. Vol. III. p. 204. Hence we are told, "The Sun enters the centre of the Earth, and as it were copulates with her." Sing-le &c., Sec. xl. 21. The Earth or is the Moon, astronomically. Hence it is said of Fuh-he or Shang-te in his human character. "He had the virtuous nature of a Sage, and his appearance was bright as the Sun and Moon; hence he is called T'ae-haou." Mirror of Hist. Vol. I. p. 13.