Mazu (媽祖) is a Chinese sea goddess. Some say she was a tenth century shaman called Lin Moniang (林默娘) who was deified as the protector of seafarers. Myths and legends ascribe various heroic deeds to her, all to do with the sea.
So popular a goddess is she that Mazu is regarded as the Queen of Heaven (天后, Tianhou), the wife of the Jade Emperor. She is also known as Heavenly Consort (天妃); and Holy Heavenly Mother (天上聖母, Tianhou Shengmu). However, some legends say that she is celibate.
One story tells that the demons Qianliyan and Shunfeng’er competed for Mazu’s hand in marriage, but when she defeated them both in combat, they swore eternal loyalty to her and became her guardians. Thus, you can find their statues or images at Mazu temples.
The Jade Emperor (玉皇) is the chief of the Daoist gods. His names include Heavenly Grandfather (天公, Tiān Gōng) and the Great Emperor of Jade (玉皇上帝, Yu Huang Shangdi or 玉皇大帝, Yu Huang Dadi).
The Jade Emperor is said to have inherited his post from the first of the Three Pure Ones, the Jade Pure One (Yuqing 玉清), also known as The Celestial Worthy of the Primordial Beginning (Yuanshi Tianzun 元始天尊). In time, the Heaven-honoured One of the Dawn of Jade of the Golden Gate (金闕玉晨天尊) will replace Yuanshi Tianzun.
The Jade Emperor lives in his palace in heaven with his wife the Jade Empress, Tianshang Shengmu (天上聖母, Holy Heavenly Mother), who is often conflated with Mazu (媽祖), and their large family. Continue reading “The Jade Emperor”→