Saturday, 15 August 2015

The Jade Emperor

I decided to do a monthly theme for the coming lunar cycles, as part of a series about magic. I will pick a theme and do posts about dirties, crystals, animals and oils that could be incorporated into this theme. This month the theme is Positvity. I want to work on being more positive in my words and thoughts, and discarding criticism of myself or others.
For each lunar cycle, I will pick a diety card at the beginning of the to find someone to help with my monthly theme. This month I was drawn to the Gods and Titans Oracle and pulled the Jade Emperor.

I will be the first to admit that I do not know a lot about the Jade Emperor or even Chinese Mythology. I did some research and the Jade Emperor to find out more. The author of the deck has assigned the meaning of "order" to this card. The Jade Emperor in Taoist mythology is also called Heavenly Grandfather, and is in charge of ordering the universe. He started as the prince of the kingdom of Felicity and Majestic Heavenly Lights and Ornaments. When he was born, he emitted a light so bright it lit the universe. He spent his childhood doing benevolent deeds and was wise and kind to animals and humans alike. When his father died he ascended the throne, and made sure there was peace and contentment throughout the earth.
One myth tells of how he fought a great evil. That when he came to the throne life on earth was hard and he was saddened by human suffering. He spent time meditating to become more powerful and fought off a great evil demon who wanted to take control of the earth. The demon was defeated and the evil entities army were scattered. Because of this feat he was declared the supreme God in the Taoist pantheon.
There are many stories featuring the Jade Emperor. One tells of how the 12 zodiac animals of Chinese astrology were chosen. The emperor wanted a visit from the animals of the earth to see how things were going. The cat was very excited to go and didn't want to miss it. He asked rat to wake him up. Rat was worried that he would look ugly next to the cat so didn't wake him. The pig went instead. The Jade Emperor was so pleased with the animals that he named each of the 12 years in the zodiac cycle after the animals who visited him. When the cat found out he was furious. That is why cats hate rats to this day.
Twelve is an important number in this diety's symbolism. Besides ordering the zodiac he also had twelve symbols embroidered on his robe - the sun, moon, a constellation of stars, mountain, dragon, pheasant, two goblets, seaweed, grain, fire, an axe head, and the fu symbol which denotes good from evil.
The Jade Emperor is still worshipped by Taoist followers today, and his feast day is part of Chinese New Year. Just before Chinese New Year he sends the Kitchen God to visit each household and report back on how the family is doing. They are then rewarded according to the reports. During his feast day offerings of incense and food are made. While he is a vegetarian, he accepts meat as he might have non vegetarian guests.
It is interesting that I pulled this card for help with being more positive. Looking into the mythology helped me understand why, as he seems to be a benevolent and kind god, who is concerned with serving others and keeping things ordered. Perhaps by helping others, being of service and keeping things organized it will help me to stay positive. The guidebook entry for the card advises organizing one's time and putting your environment in order by de-cluttering. I think this is good advice too.
What are your thoughts about Chinese mythology. If you know anything more, I would love to hear your comments.

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