Ch’ang-O

March 11th, 2008 by sabrina

Ch’ang-O is the Chinese Goddess of the moon. She and her husband Houyi, God of archery, lived in the heavens with the other immortals. Their fall from grace came about after the Jade Emperor’s ten sons turned themselves into ten suns. Their combined power was too much for the earth, and it began to scorch. The Jade Emperor could not persuade his sons to stop, and he asked Houyi to help. Houyi was only supposed to scare the sons with his arrows, but he was so angry with the destruction that they were causing that he shot nine of them down. The Jade Emperor was furious and banished Houyi and Ch’ang-O to the earth to live as mortals.

Seeing how the loss of immortality saddened Ch’ang-O, Houyi set out to find Hsi Wang Mu, the Goddess of immortality. She agreed to give him the elixir of immortality and warned him that there was just enough for himself and Ch’ang-O. Houyi returned home with the elixir, but was called away before he had a chance to take any or to tell Ch’ang-O what it was. Her curiosity got the better of her, and she drank the potion to see what it would do. Just as Houyi was returning home, Ch’ang-O started to float up to the heavens. Houyi tried to reach to her, but she had floated too far. She continued upwards until she landed on the moon, and there she stays. Her only companion is a jade rabbit, who works to make another immortality elixir for Houyi, so that they can be reunited.

Ch’ang-O’s name is also seen as Chang’e, Chang-O, and Heng-O.

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