Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Ma Gu

Ma Gu is an immortal and considered a goddess by some, said to be the goddess of hemp and longevity. Her name means “Hemp Maid”. She appears young and beautiful, with her hair often in a bun, her fingernails long and alike to birds talons, along with being clothed in a dress with a collar made of leaves. Ma Gu is also known to carry a basket and depictions of her often show her on a crane or deer or holding peaches or wine.

Her birthday is celebrated on the sixth day of the sixth lunar month.

The temple complex in Yantai of the Shangdong Province of China is said to be the only temple dedicated to Ma Gu that survived the Cultural Revolution. Cultivation and attainment of immortality by Ma Gu is also said to be at this temple. At her temple, violence is taboo and hunting and fishing are also banned under order of this goddess. Those who violate this apparently end up drowning in the lake or becoming hopelessly lost.

Ma Gu freed slaves who worked for her father and showed how to farm reclaimed land from the sea before becoming immortal. Her husband later murdered her and dumped her body in a lake, where her body washed up where her temple stands. After death, she gained the status of fairy and became handmaiden, serving peaches of immortality.

Ma Gu is protector women and gives favour also over shamans, alchemists and mystic seekers.

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