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  • Nicolas Milioni
    replied
    Originally posted by Sacerdos View Post



    Did somebody ask for an unnecessarily long post on Yu Di / Yu Huang / Da Di / Shang Di / the Jade Emperor / the Heavenly Emperor / that one dude with way too many cool names? Because that's what you folks just got yourselves into.

    So yeah, Scion 1E said Guan Yu is the Jade Emperor, and I'm still looking for any single solid source on that. Wikipedia mentions it, somewhere, but as a source, it only links to a Chinese website, which, it being in Chinese, I can't read. Also, it's Wikipedia, so I'm suspicious. I also once read a really off-handed footnote somewhere that claimed that in some 19th-century European traveler's account, some local temple attendant on Taiwan had claimed that the old Jade Emperor had stepped down and made way for the hugely popular Guan Yu - being elected into that office by a panel that included the Buddha, Jesus Christ, and the Prophet Muhammad. So, um, I'm also not going with that. That's not to say that the writers of 1E necessarily just pulled the idea out of thin air, I'm sure they had a source that made things clearer than, well, this mess, but in any case, it must be a pretty obscure reference, and not exactly one representative of the broad, popular opinion about the Jade Emperor all over China and SE-Asia. Also, if I might say as much, I find it to be a pretty boring road to take, because both Guan Yu and Yu Di are hugely interesting, colourful figures that are much more fun interacting with each other than being one person. But that begs the question for all of us: Who is Yu Di?

    Let's maybe start with some speculation on how 2E will treat Yu Di. He is mentioned several times in the recent Preview, not as an alias of Guan Yu, as far as I can see, but as an entity in its own right. Yet he isn't profiled, neither as a God, Titan, nor Primordial. The most interesting mention, in my opinion, is right in the beginning, when he called "one of the Three Pure Ones". From that I guess that 2E will conflate Yu Di with Yuanshi Tianzun, which is a quite reasonable choice, if still not the one I myself would have made. Yuanshi Tianzun, now, is the highest of the Sanqing, the Three Pure Ones, a triune Trinity of highest deities in Daoism (Laozi is, in fact, the main earthly incarnation of another one of them, Daode Tianzun). The Pure Ones personify the Way, the Dao, the cosmic principle itself; they started the process of creation, and live in the three Heavens right below the top one. Powerful Primordials for sure. It is indeed said that in the beginning, Yuanshi Tianzun himself was the Heavenly Emperor, but that he withdrew from creation after it had been set in motion, and passed the office on to his pupil, the Jade Emperor - that means, though, that with 2E's system of mantles, they can still be the same entity, in a way. Another part of that legend, however, is that Yu Di now sits upon a throne the left armrest of which names his predecessor, Yuanshi Tianzun, and the right armrest of which prophesises his successor, whoever that will be. Those who would have Guan Yu be the new Heavenly Emperor are exploiting that part of the legend.

    All of that still doesn't tell us who that Yu Di fella is, though, except someone vaguely Daoist. To explain his character in detail, I'd like to look at his history, for a moment. The oldest deity similar to Yu Di, and one whose name he still sometimes bears as an epithet, is Shang Di. Shang Di was a deity of the eponymous Shang Dynasty, the oldest archaeologically attested Chinese dynasty. Back then, the Chinese didn't worship gods in the usual sense, there was no nation-wide pantheon like the Greek one. People only worshipped their ancestors, back to the lineage founder, and Shang Di was the mythical lineage founder of the ruling family, and thus the ruler of all of Heaven full of ancestors itself. Religion in China changed from that time (2nd Millennium BCE) until the Imperial Era (beginning ca. 200 BCE), though, and the ancestral Shang Di was replaced by a vaguely circumscribed Heavenly Emperor, who didn't play much of a role in actual cult while other figures like Xi Wangmu and Huang Di were focussed on. It wasn't until the introduction of Buddhism, with its hierarchy of Devas headed by Indra/Shakra supporting the faith, and the development of the bureaucratically-inspired religious Daoism (both ca. 300 CE), that the office of a Ruler of Heaven became really important, though. Religious Daoism originally had four Heavenly Emperors, ruling the four directions in Heaven (not identical to the four directional emperors of ancient mythology, who are led by Huang Di, or the directional guardians like Azure Dragon, White Tiger, etc.), with the Three Pure Ones above them as the acutally most important beings. But as Daoism was adapted and simplified by popular religion, and as such popular deities (which did also include folks like Guan Yu, after all) gained state recognition, the heavenly hierarchy was slimmed down to one supreme Heavenly Emperor, Yu Di, who ruled from the Purple Palace of Heaven in the North over a structured hierarchy of ministers and officials.

    This long history explains the countless contradictions that riddle the image of the Jade Emperor. Daoism preferred for its deities to have sprung from original Chaos, but popular religion preferred for them to be deified humans, so I could rattle off at least three origin stories for Yu Di just off the top of my head. What everyone can agree on, though, is that he is supreme - he has a kind of Epic Administration, so to say, and it's claimed that he alone with his good governance keeps the other deities from warring among themselves. Or, well, most agree on that. There is a version where he weasels his way into office in spite of being incompetent. Still, pretty imperial. Dwells in a palace of stars, has constellations stitched into his robes - the constellations are heavenly office buildings in Chinese thought, all filled with celestial officials who all, ultimately, report back to Yu Di. That also means, though, that Yu Di, just like the ideal human emperor, stays eternally unmoved himself, has others do all the detailed work, and just makes decisions himself. Most important are the Three Officials of Heaven, Earth, and Water, who report on all things that happen everywhere to him (they're often said to be the deified forms of the sage emperors Yao, Shun, and Yu), and his son Zao Jun, the "Kitchen God" who spies on people's in their homes. Thus, Yu Di allots lifetime, luck, and health according to virtuousness of behaviour, and is on his birthday, the 9th of the First Lunar Month, asked to be merciful and liberal in that.

    Long story short, Yu Di is a broad and colourful figure I could hardly capture here, and you can have enormous amounts of fun with him, whether you see him as Shang Di, Yuanshi Tianzun, Guan Yu, or just himself, whether he springs from chaos, is deified for his administration skills, or cheats his way to the top. To finish off, an idea of what to do with Guan Yu now that he doesn't rule anymore: As I mentioned some time ago for the Gods of Wealth (http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...68#post1080768), the Celestial Bureaucracy, following the example of the real world imperial state, is in many conceptions of popular religion divided into a military and a civil branch, each headed by a powerful minister (the heads of the Heavenly Ministries of War and Literature, respectively) - the Martial Emperor of Heaven, Guan Yu, and the Civil Emperor of Heaven, Wenchang Wang. The two of them together act as something like the right and left hand of Yu Di. Have fun with that, I guess
    Thank you!

    Leave a comment:


  • Sacerdos
    replied
    Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
    I just reread Scion 1e take on the Shen,it said The Jade Emperor is Guan Yu,but since that wasn't in his write up in 2e I was wondering if 1e was being innacurate?
    Originally posted by Watcher View Post

    Sacerdos will be able to explain in more detail, but yeah, 1e was not being accurate there. If I remember my conversations with Sacerdos when doing preliminary examinations of the Shen for a revision, there were some rather obscure medieval period theologens who suggested that Guan Yu might be the next Jade Emperor, but that theological branch was not traditional, and didn't have any real staying power IIRC.

    The Jade Emperor is most certainly himself an independent being. Exceptionally old, exceptionally powerful. Sort of on the same tier with the Greek Primordials.

    But! Don't take my word entirely for it. Sacerdos will probably swing through later today with a better explanation.
    Did somebody ask for an unnecessarily long post on Yu Di / Yu Huang / Da Di / Shang Di / the Jade Emperor / the Heavenly Emperor / that one dude with way too many cool names? Because that's what you folks just got yourselves into.

    So yeah, Scion 1E said Guan Yu is the Jade Emperor, and I'm still looking for any single solid source on that. Wikipedia mentions it, somewhere, but as a source, it only links to a Chinese website, which, it being in Chinese, I can't read. Also, it's Wikipedia, so I'm suspicious. I also once read a really off-handed footnote somewhere that claimed that in some 19th-century European traveler's account, some local temple attendant on Taiwan had claimed that the old Jade Emperor had stepped down and made way for the hugely popular Guan Yu - being elected into that office by a panel that included the Buddha, Jesus Christ, and the Prophet Muhammad. So, um, I'm also not going with that. That's not to say that the writers of 1E necessarily just pulled the idea out of thin air, I'm sure they had a source that made things clearer than, well, this mess, but in any case, it must be a pretty obscure reference, and not exactly one representative of the broad, popular opinion about the Jade Emperor all over China and SE-Asia. Also, if I might say as much, I find it to be a pretty boring road to take, because both Guan Yu and Yu Di are hugely interesting, colourful figures that are much more fun interacting with each other than being one person. But that begs the question for all of us: Who is Yu Di?

    Let's maybe start with some speculation on how 2E will treat Yu Di. He is mentioned several times in the recent Preview, not as an alias of Guan Yu, as far as I can see, but as an entity in its own right. Yet he isn't profiled, neither as a God, Titan, nor Primordial. The most interesting mention, in my opinion, is right in the beginning, when he called "one of the Three Pure Ones". From that I guess that 2E will conflate Yu Di with Yuanshi Tianzun, which is a quite reasonable choice, if still not the one I myself would have made. Yuanshi Tianzun, now, is the highest of the Sanqing, the Three Pure Ones, a triune Trinity of highest deities in Daoism (Laozi is, in fact, the main earthly incarnation of another one of them, Daode Tianzun). The Pure Ones personify the Way, the Dao, the cosmic principle itself; they started the process of creation, and live in the three Heavens right below the top one. Powerful Primordials for sure. It is indeed said that in the beginning, Yuanshi Tianzun himself was the Heavenly Emperor, but that he withdrew from creation after it had been set in motion, and passed the office on to his pupil, the Jade Emperor - that means, though, that with 2E's system of mantles, they can still be the same entity, in a way. Another part of that legend, however, is that Yu Di now sits upon a throne the left armrest of which names his predecessor, Yuanshi Tianzun, and the right armrest of which prophesises his successor, whoever that will be. Those who would have Guan Yu be the new Heavenly Emperor are exploiting that part of the legend.

    All of that still doesn't tell us who that Yu Di fella is, though, except someone vaguely Daoist. To explain his character in detail, I'd like to look at his history, for a moment. The oldest deity similar to Yu Di, and one whose name he still sometimes bears as an epithet, is Shang Di. Shang Di was a deity of the eponymous Shang Dynasty, the oldest archaeologically attested Chinese dynasty. Back then, the Chinese didn't worship gods in the usual sense, there was no nation-wide pantheon like the Greek one. People only worshipped their ancestors, back to the lineage founder, and Shang Di was the mythical lineage founder of the ruling family, and thus the ruler of all of Heaven full of ancestors itself. Religion in China changed from that time (2nd Millennium BCE) until the Imperial Era (beginning ca. 200 BCE), though, and the ancestral Shang Di was replaced by a vaguely circumscribed Heavenly Emperor, who didn't play much of a role in actual cult while other figures like Xi Wangmu and Huang Di were focussed on. It wasn't until the introduction of Buddhism, with its hierarchy of Devas headed by Indra/Shakra supporting the faith, and the development of the bureaucratically-inspired religious Daoism (both ca. 300 CE), that the office of a Ruler of Heaven became really important, though. Religious Daoism originally had four Heavenly Emperors, ruling the four directions in Heaven (not identical to the four directional emperors of ancient mythology, who are led by Huang Di, or the directional guardians like Azure Dragon, White Tiger, etc.), with the Three Pure Ones above them as the acutally most important beings. But as Daoism was adapted and simplified by popular religion, and as such popular deities (which did also include folks like Guan Yu, after all) gained state recognition, the heavenly hierarchy was slimmed down to one supreme Heavenly Emperor, Yu Di, who ruled from the Purple Palace of Heaven in the North over a structured hierarchy of ministers and officials.

    This long history explains the countless contradictions that riddle the image of the Jade Emperor. Daoism preferred for its deities to have sprung from original Chaos, but popular religion preferred for them to be deified humans, so I could rattle off at least three origin stories for Yu Di just off the top of my head. What everyone can agree on, though, is that he is supreme - he has a kind of Epic Administration, so to say, and it's claimed that he alone with his good governance keeps the other deities from warring among themselves. Or, well, most agree on that. There is a version where he weasels his way into office in spite of being incompetent. Still, pretty imperial. Dwells in a palace of stars, has constellations stitched into his robes - the constellations are heavenly office buildings in Chinese thought, all filled with celestial officials who all, ultimately, report back to Yu Di. That also means, though, that Yu Di, just like the ideal human emperor, stays eternally unmoved himself, has others do all the detailed work, and just makes decisions himself. Most important are the Three Officials of Heaven, Earth, and Water, who report on all things that happen everywhere to him (they're often said to be the deified forms of the sage emperors Yao, Shun, and Yu), and his son Zao Jun, the "Kitchen God" who spies on people's in their homes. Thus, Yu Di allots lifetime, luck, and health according to virtuousness of behaviour, and is on his birthday, the 9th of the First Lunar Month, asked to be merciful and liberal in that.

    Long story short, Yu Di is a broad and colourful figure I could hardly capture here, and you can have enormous amounts of fun with him, whether you see him as Shang Di, Yuanshi Tianzun, Guan Yu, or just himself, whether he springs from chaos, is deified for his administration skills, or cheats his way to the top. To finish off, an idea of what to do with Guan Yu now that he doesn't rule anymore: As I mentioned some time ago for the Gods of Wealth (http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...68#post1080768), the Celestial Bureaucracy, following the example of the real world imperial state, is in many conceptions of popular religion divided into a military and a civil branch, each headed by a powerful minister (the heads of the Heavenly Ministries of War and Literature, respectively) - the Martial Emperor of Heaven, Guan Yu, and the Civil Emperor of Heaven, Wenchang Wang. The two of them together act as something like the right and left hand of Yu Di. Have fun with that, I guess

    Leave a comment:


  • Watcher
    replied
    Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
    Thank you again,you're really kind
    Oh, I am absolutely happy to help! I love being able to share the weird little tidbits of world mythology with people.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nicolas Milioni
    replied
    Originally posted by Watcher View Post

    Sacerdos will be able to explain in more detail, but yeah, 1e was not being accurate there. If I remember my conversations with Sacerdos when doing preliminary examinations of the Shen for a revision, there were some rather obscure medieval period theologens who suggested that Guan Yu might be the next Jade Emperor, but that theological branch was not traditional, and didn't have any real staying power IIRC.

    The Jade Emperor is most certainly himself an independent being. Exceptionally old, exceptionally powerful. Sort of on the same tier with the Greek Primordials.

    But! Don't take my word entirely for it. Sacerdos will probably swing through later today with a better explanation.
    Thank you again,you're really kind

    Leave a comment:


  • Watcher
    replied
    Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
    I just reread Scion 1e take on the Shen,it said The Jade Emperor is Guan Yu,but since that wasn't in his write up in 2e I was wondering if 1e was being innacurate?
    Sacerdos will be able to explain in more detail, but yeah, 1e was not being accurate there. If I remember my conversations with Sacerdos when doing preliminary examinations of the Shen for a revision, there were some rather obscure medieval period theologens who suggested that Guan Yu might be the next Jade Emperor, but that theological branch was not traditional, and didn't have any real staying power IIRC.

    The Jade Emperor is most certainly himself an independent being. Exceptionally old, exceptionally powerful. Sort of on the same tier with the Greek Primordials.

    But! Don't take my word entirely for it. Sacerdos will probably swing through later today with a better explanation.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nicolas Milioni
    replied
    I just reread Scion 1e take on the Shen,it said The Jade Emperor is Guan Yu,but since that wasn't in his write up in 2e I was wondering if 1e was being innacurate?

    Leave a comment:


  • Nyrufa
    replied

    Leave a comment:


  • Nicolas Milioni
    replied
    Originally posted by Watcher View Post

    Nope, but, that confusion is entirely understandable! Griff would be able to explain to you in more detail, but essentially Tonatiuh is the Fifth Sun, and Huitzipochtli carries (I believe, he might just walk with it) the Fifth Sun through the sky.

    After the end of the Fourth Sun, the Teotl gathered in Teotihuacan, planning the creation of The Fifth Sun. Tecuciztecatl said that he would be the Fifth Sun, and the Teotl all agreed with this, sending Nanahuatzin to go with him. When the whole ritual situation was organized, and it was time for Tecuciztecatl hesitated to jump into the giant pyre in cowardice, but Nanahuatzin did not, and threw himself into the fire. Because of this, Nanahuatzin became the Fifth Sun, becoming Tonatiuh. Ashamed by this, Tecuciztecatl jumped in afterwards, and became the moon. The Teotl picked up a rabbit and hit the Moon, Nanahuatzin, with it to dim its brightness so that it would not challenge the sun's brightness. (There are other stories explaining the creation of the Moon, it comes up a lot)
    Thanks Watcher,and yeah i miss griff

    Leave a comment:


  • Watcher
    replied
    Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
    Are tonatiuh and huitzipohctli the same god?
    Nope, but, that confusion is entirely understandable! Griff would be able to explain to you in more detail, but essentially Tonatiuh is the Fifth Sun, and Huitzipochtli carries (I believe, he might just walk with it) the Fifth Sun through the sky.

    After the end of the Fourth Sun, the Teotl gathered in Teotihuacan, planning the creation of The Fifth Sun. Tecuciztecatl said that he would be the Fifth Sun, and the Teotl all agreed with this, sending Nanahuatzin to go with him. When the whole ritual situation was organized, and it was time for Tecuciztecatl hesitated to jump into the giant pyre in cowardice, but Nanahuatzin did not, and threw himself into the fire. Because of this, Nanahuatzin became the Fifth Sun, becoming Tonatiuh. Ashamed by this, Tecuciztecatl jumped in afterwards, and became the moon. The Teotl picked up a rabbit and hit the Moon, Nanahuatzin, with it to dim its brightness so that it would not challenge the sun's brightness. (There are other stories explaining the creation of the Moon, it comes up a lot)
    Last edited by Watcher; 05-29-2017, 05:09 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nicolas Milioni
    replied
    Are tonatiuh and huitzipohctli the same god?

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Since I mentioned it in another thread, I'll do the same here: Stephen Chow's take on Journey to the West. The first part came out a couple of years ago, and is really good. I think the second part came out this year, but I'm not sure if it's made it to the US yet.

    Leave a comment:


  • wyrdhamster
    replied
    I'm reading Norse Mythology of Gaiman right now - it's collection of Norse Myths as stories, ordered so you would know what element is from where. But they are mostly just tales. Still, it's good written and right now I'm on Balder's Death in it. It gave me few ideas for Norse Myths CoD cosmology in Nine Realms topic, even.

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    I believe Neil Gaiman has a new book out, Norse Mythology. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'm sure it'll offer some interesting ideas.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sacerdos
    replied
    Originally posted by trebius View Post
    Does anyone have any suggested resources for Chinese mythology? In particular I'm trying to find more information on TAI SUI XING, god of time and astrology.
    Huh, pretty obscure figure, hard to find much on him. Keith Stevens has written an article all about him (and related deities): "The Celestial Ministry of Time". In: Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. 40 (2000), pp. 113-154.
    Otherwise, I can think of no particular sources on him, though I can tell you what I've picked up from some mentions of him here and there: He was originally the personification of the twelve stars who stand directly opposite to Jupiter throughout the course of its twelve-year-orbit, but later also became associated with the planet Jupiter itself (although its deity is more usually the Star of Luck, Fu Xing). In that function, he is popularly held to be the Celestial Minister of Time, and lords over 60 lesser gods. Generally, he is a god of ill omen and bad luck.

    Generally, "resources on Chinese mythology" is a giant field, because there are multiple roots and layers to Chinese mythological tradition, encompassing three or four different religions and a good 3,000 years of contradictory development. Apart from Tai Sui, is there anything that interests you in particular? Older deities, newer deities? Popular deities, Daoist deities, Buddhist deities? That would make it easier to pin down a handful of sources instead of turning this into a three-page essay

    Leave a comment:


  • trebius
    replied
    Does anyone have any suggested resources for Chinese mythology? In particular I'm trying to find more information on TAI SUI XING, god of time and astrology.

    Leave a comment:

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