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twin-faced kids

To: alt.philosophy.taoism
From: (Jaybuzin0000)
Subject: Re: twin-faced kids (Re: Taoism in Theory and Practice (was Re: Furious Taoists (was Re: Assholes that crosspost
Date: 18 Jun 2000 00:40:20 GMT

Jay wrote:
[...Liu Xiaogan...]


Dr Liu is an authority whom I admire.

In searching for the twin-kids, 
eye turned up this; fwiw.
Also, Zhoubu might have a take
in part of which yu-might relate.

This may, or may not, apply.
'The Myth of the Queen Mother of the West
       This myth seems to have influenced Chinese worldview
expressions most strongly at a time well after the acceptance of
the Yin-Yang theory. The emphasis on the narratives of the Queen
Mother and her partners, on her gift of immortality, and on the
meetings of the Weaver and the Oxherd assumes a place among the
series of answers that tried to account for what happens after
death. The Queen Mother of the West features in literature and
iconography from the Chan-kuo period onwards. One version of the
myth begins:

South of the western lake, by the shores of the flowing sands, behind
the Red River and before the Black river, there is a great mountain called "The
heights of K'un-lun." There are spirits there with human faces and the bodies
tigers, striped and with tails, white in all cases. Below, there are the depths
the Jo River which encircles the spot. Without, there is the mountain of the
flaming fire, and when an object is cast therein it is immediately burnt. There
a person who wears a sheng on the head, with the teeth of a tiger and the tail
a leopard; she dwells in a cave and is named "Queen Mother of the West." On
mountain there are found all manner of living creatures.12

Of all the attributes of the Queen Mother of the West, perhaps the
sheng, or characteristic headdress is the most important, in so far
as the literary and artistic evidence for this feature combines to
identify certain figures as the Queen.
     The suggestion that the Queen Mother of the West became
invested with powers to control the destiny of the cosmos probably
derives from a passage from the Book of Songs:

In Heaven there is a River Han
Looking down upon us so bright.
By it sits the Weaving Lady astride her stool,
Seven times a day she rolls up her sleeves.
But though seven times she roles up her sleeves
She never makes wrap or skirt.
Bright sines that Draught Ox,
But can't be used for yoking to a cart..13

The next reference is later, in one of the "Nineteen Old Poems" of
the Han period. 

Far away twinkles the Herd-boy star;
Brightly shines the Lady of the Han River.
Slender, slender she plies her white fingers;
Click, click go the wheels of her spinning loom.

At the end of the day she has not finished her task;
Her bitter tears fall like streaming rain.
The Han River runs shallow and clear;
Set between them, how short a space!
But the river water will not let them pass,
Gazing at each other but never able to speak.14

By the sixth century C.E. the myth appears with greater detail and
some explicit features. 

On the seventh day of the seventh month it is the night of the meeting of the
Oxherd and the Weaving Maid. That evening the women of the household reel their
finest silk yarn and thread their seven holed needles, sometimes making their
needles of gold, silver, or copper. They set out tables and mats in the house
wine, preserves, gourds and fruit, and with these they pray for skill. If a
spins his web upon a gourd this is taken as the answering token that their
will be granted.

East of the River of Heaven was the Weaving Maid, daughter of the God of
Year by year she toiled at her loom and shuttle, weaving the cloth of Heaven,
embroidered with a pattern of clouds. The God of Heaven took pity on her lonely
state and promised that he would match her with the Oxherd swain from the west
of the river. But once the two were married the Weaving Maid abandoned her work
weaving. The God of Heaven grew angry; he charged her with neglect and
her to cross back to where she belonged on the east side of the river; and now
once a year does she cross the river to meet her swain, on the night of the
day of the seventh month.15 

The next form of the myth of the Queen Mother of the West in the
early texts is expressed in this following version:

On K'un-lun there rests a copper pillar whose heights reach unto the very
it is named the Pillar of Heaven. It is three thousand li wide in girth and it
curls around like unto a crooked knife. Below there are the meandering houses,
establishments of the nine courts of the immortal beings. Above there is the
bird whose name is "Seldom seen;" he faces south; he stretches his left wing to
cover the Prince of the East; and he stretches his right wing to cover the 
Mother of the West. On the back of the bird there is a small plot that has no
feathers and that is one myriad and nine thousand li large. Once each year the
Queen Mother of the West climbs upon the wing to go unto the Prince of the
   An inscription that is engraved for the bird says: "The bird `Seldom seen'
flashes brightly in emerald and scarlet hues; he sings not neither does he eat;
the east he covers the Prince of the East, in the west he covers the Queen
of the West. When the Queen Mother desires to go east, she climbs upon the bird
and herself makes her passage. Yin and Yang are then partnered together, and
when the twain do meet is their work fully accomplished.16

     Compare now the stages in the development with a modern
compilation of the myth:

      It was said that Weaving Maid was the daughter of a celestial god, and
she could weave exquisite colorful clouds on her loom. These clouds would
colors according to the time and season of the year and they were called
garments." She had six sisters who were also engaged in weaving.
      On the west bank of the Silver River lived Cowherd who had lost his
when he was a mere child. He lived with his older brother and sister-in-law but
they finally chased him out of the house, allowing him to take nothing but an
cow. He was able to make a simple living, but his days were lonely.
        One day, the old cow suddenly opened her mouth and began to talk like a
human. She told him that Weaving Maid and other fairy maidens would soon come
the Silver River to bathe themselves and, if he could snatch away her clothes
they were bathing, she would become his wife. The startled Cowherd did as he
told and hid himself in a clump of reeds near the Silver River, waiting for the
fairy maidens to arrive. After a short while, Weaving Maid and her sisters did
arrive. After they had taken off their silk gowns and jumped into the river.
Cowherd rushed out among the reeds and snatched Weaving Maid's clothes. The
maidens, taken by surprise, dashed onto the bank, put on their clothes and flew
away like little birds. All, that is, except one, who was left behind, unable
come out of the river. Cowherd told her that he would not return her clothes
she agreed to become his wife. Weaving Maid modestly nodded her head in
        After the marriage, the wife did weaving, the husband farmed the land
they lived a happy and loving life. Soon, a daughter and a son were added to
family and they lived peacefully together until the whole affair became known
Weaving Maid's father, who was enraged that his own daughter had married a
and ordered her brought back to heaven.
        The whole family was saddened by this news and, when Weaving Maid was
abducted, Cowherd gave chase with the children in two baskets hung from each
of a pole across his shoulder. However, when he arrived at the bank of the
River, it had already been raised up into the sky together with his wife. The
Silver River (Milky Way) flowed with the same shimmering blue, but now high up
the sky.
       Cowherd and his children were desperately disappointed after this
For the second time, then, the old cow talked to him: "I am going to die very
soon. After I die, you may strip off my skin. Wrap it around your body and you
ascend to heaven." The cow passed away after saying this, and Cowherd wrapped
skin around himself and flew up to heaven, carrying his children in the baskets
the pole. When he reached the Silver River, he saw Weaving Maid on the opposite
shore. Just at that moment, however, it turned into a wide and raging river,
impossible for anyone to cross.
       Weaving Maid's father, touched by the love of this family, finally
to allow Cowherd and Weaving Maid to meet once each year on the seventh day of
seventh lunar month. On that day, all the magpies in the world would form
themselves into a bridge, and husband and wife would meet on it.
      From then on, Cowherd and his children lived in heaven on one side of the
Silver River, Weaving Maid on the other. To this day, we can see the Cowherd
(Altair) on one side of the Silver River and the Weaving Maid Star (Vega) on
other shore.'

I'll keep searching
four eyes two-sea.

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