"The Society and the Religion of the Ancient Chinese".

p. 209 courting-song (describing post-mortem transmogrifications) of the 'Black' Tai

as sung by male

If woman will become __,

man will become __






bamboo-tube (for sucking up the wine)


napkin (to be dyed)


bamboo-branch (for melon-vine to twine)



[doe] deer

buck [deer]


as sung by female

male is likened to :

female is likened to :

blackbird which must perch

fish which must be caught in net

p. 210 "The songs … turn more and more to obscenity, … and they end up with the young people's coupling."

p. 211 popular annual rites in antient principalities







river Yi


mature men & boys

Dragon-dance in river


conflu. of rivers C^>in & Wei


youths & girls

pluck lan (orchids); call out to hun to re-unite with p>o


Yu:an mound


youths & girls

waved fans of egret-plumes

p. 212 the ode "White elms of the Eastern Gate"


plant mentioned

young man


young woman

bunch of ailanthus

Couples formed and hsian-nu:eh ('frolicked together') and hsin-fu-fu-s^ih ('did the husband-and-wife act').

p. 214 Tai symbolic ball-games at sacrifice to Earth-God

"the priest … throws the ball three times to the wife of the district chief"

"young men and young women divided into two teams throw the ball back and forth."

These games consist of "making the ball pass through a circle of paper" to "pierce the circle". {Emblematic of piercing a hymen?? -- cf. also the MesoAmerican ball-game with goal of knocking a ball through a circle.}

pp. 216-217 customary seasons for courting and for matrimony

"the ritual books noted … the custom of singing together in the spring

and of marrying only in the autumn."

p. 217 "custom … of the present-day Lolo: the young woman does not come to dwell in her husband's house and the marriage is not definitive until she is pregnant."

p. 219 C^iao-te-hsin of the Li-c^i

The chief of the __

praesided [over the sacrifices] to the __





p. 222 directional trees


tree of direction

dynasty of that tree, according to the Lun-yu:


sun ('pine')



huai ('acacia')



po ('thuya')

Yin (tree for Sun state)


li ('chestnut')

C^ou (at Hao)


tzu ('catalpa')


p. 228 mythic lands, in the intermediate directions: beyond the overhang of the sky, for (according to Tsen-tzu) "since the earth is square and heaven is round, the four corners of earth are not covered by heaven"

direction (of corner)


characteristics: where __

"southwest" [one of these southwests must be wrong]


"cold, heat, day, and night are not separated and where the ever-sleeping inhabitants awaken only one in fifty days."


Ciu-yin ("9 Yin")

heaven sheltereth not, and the sun never illuminateth


C^u-lun ("Torch Dragon")

"whose body is more than a thousand li long." He neither eateth, nor sleepeth {cf. the never-sleeping dragon Ladon}, nor breatheth; "the wind and rain block his throat;" when he openeth his eyen it is day in the land of the 9 Yin; when he closeth them it is night there; when he breatheth it is windy there.

"opposite corner [from 9 Yin]": "southwest" [southeast?]

Ta-ho ("Great Abyss")

bottomless gult whereinto the waters of the Caelestial River (= Milky Way) cast themselves; "above, there is immense space, and there is no sky." {In the Vision of Adamna`n, there are 3 rings (cf. circle of galaxy) "in the south-east, but a crystal veil is between ..., so that they cannot see ... distinctly." (IVO-W, p. 100)}




IVO-W = St. John D. Seymour: Irish Visions of the Other-World. London, 1930.

p. 229 daily itinerary of the Sun [a little boy]

time during nychthemeron


[mythic] location


"his mother Hsi-Ho bathes him in the lake" Hsien-c^>ih

Kan-yu:an ("Sweet Gulf")

bright daytime

"climbs into the branches of the tree" Fu-san or K>un-san

Yan-ku ("Luminous Valley")


whither "king Mu, according to the romance" Mu-t>ien-tzu, "went to gave upon the spectacle of his setting."

mt. Yen-tzu



valley Hsi-liu


p. 229 of the 'White' T>ai


"the country of the Dwarfs below."


"earth is ... a great horizontal circular white stone slab, with rim forming a slightly raised vertical footing, the Foot of Heaven"

{in the Puran.a-s, the circular mountain-ridge Loka-aloka}

"the Road of the Pig, the Milky Way."

{the whiteness of the galaxy is perhaps suggested by the "deep snow" (CDCM, s.v. "Heracles"] in the runway of the boar at Erumanthos}

"The sun and the moon are great golden globes which young boys and girls," the Lords of the Sun, Pu Nen, and the Ladies of the Moon, Nan Bu:on, "roll before them like big balls."

{in Aztec mythology, gold is the faeces of the gods; so, in Kemetian mythology, the sun is a dung-ball which is rolled-along in the sky}

CDCM = Pierre Grimal: Concise Dictionary of Classical Mythology.

course of the sun, according to the 'White' Tai



sun's itinerary



"by way of the Eastern Mountain, the Golden Peak at the End of the Waters, Pa kam la nam. He climbs the outer side of the mountain, the side opposite where men live, ... until he reaches the top of the mountain ...;



there he finds a gate ... in the Foot of Heaven, the Gate of Light of the Golden Peak Summit, through which he passes into the sky: this is his rising.



He crosses the sky from east to west by a special road;



in the evening he arrives at another mountain, the Mountain Where the Sky Finishes, by which he descends: that is his setting.



At night he returns from west to east by rolling on the earth, outside of heaven on the southern side."

P. 230 re "outside of heaven": according to the Black Tai, the lords Tao Suon & Tao Nu:n ate the mu:on of Um, the mu:on of Ai "outside of heaven."


p. 230 of the 'White' Tai

S.E. U.S.A.

"each month the Lords of the Sun see the ladies of the Moon; ... they leave their balls for a moment".

"frog...meat is tabued to ball players" (MCh, p. 306)

"In heaven there is an enormous frog, the Frog Who Eats the Moon.

"Eclipses were believed to be caused by a giant frog that lived in the sky and tried to swallow them." (ChM&L) "a story common among Shawnee and Yuchi, as well as other southeastern tribes, that a frog eats the sun or moon when there is an eclipse." (HFF)

Ordinarily the Lord of the Han~ Pool keeps it chained ..., but

{cf. Bauddha "chain of dependent origination"}

when this god sleeps the frog sometimes manages to break his chain and escape. ... The Ladies of the Moon run immediately to awaken the Lord of the Han~ Pool, and

{cf. Bauddha 'awakenment' (bodhi) as an escape from chain of dependent origination}

to help them young women on earth hit the rice mortar with the pestle as soon as the eclipse begins." {cf. "a mortar of yellow brass over which stood a column [= pestle] of Chinese iron." (ASBDhY, p. 247)}

The Creek beat a drum in order to scare off the great frog when it is swallowing the sun during a solar eclipse. (M&Th)

HFF = http://www.larryville.com/articles/caron/verse3.htm

MCh = Myths of the Cherokee, by James Mooney = Nineteenth ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BUREAU OF AMERICAN ETHNOLOGY 1897-98, Part I. 1900. http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/cher/motc/motc059.htm

ChM&L = http://www.telliquah.com/cherokee.htm

M&Th = http://www.snowwowl.com/legends/cherokee/cherokee52.html

water-filled tunnel through mountain at edge of universe

p. 230 of the 'White' Tai


"The waters of the sea flow eastward [?should be: "northeastward"] into a grotto at the foot of the mountain, going in through a square opening and going out at the summit through a round opening. That water is the source of the heavenly river, Nam Te-tao ...

"an opening in the side of the mountain through which the water entered ...; all the water was flowing through that opening, having ... the current ... forcing him through the opening ... there was nowhere any space for breathing" -- its exit is "like the eye of a needle" (ASBDhY, p. 112).

At the grotto entry stands Lord Si-su of the End of the Waters, who, assisted by giant birds ... prevents the trees which drift along with the current from penetrating".

From drifting "planks" one goeth thence via "a bird five times larger than a camel" (ASBDhY, p. 116)

ASBDhY = PROJECT OF TRANSLATION FROM ARABIC. Lena Jayyusi (translatrix): The Adventures of Ben Dhi Yazan. 1996.

p. 230 mythic primaeval cannibalism

‘White’ Tai


"It is from "... outside heaven" that the lords Suong and Ngu:n, ancestors of the noble clan Lo-kam, and first princes of Mu:ong-muai, came at the beginning of the world.

"In those days, the lords Lao Suong and Tao Ngu:n ate the muo:ng of Um, the mu:ong of Ai outside of heaven. ...""

{cf. the cannibalism rife amongst Maori}

p. 231 ritual prayer

of the 'Black' Tai of Nhai-lo^


mushroom-cap-like heaven

{Mukenai ('mushrooms') as abode of Eurustheus}

"the seven mountains ... were created ..., the seven water currents were created";

{this is the cosmogony of the Puran.a-s, the 7 sets of ruts & ditches created by Priya-vrata (DB 4:8)}

"the three masses of crags were created"

{cf. "Tri-kut.i" of the Radha-Swami}

"the beanstalks had to be severed with axes"

{this is the tale of "Jack in the Beanstalk", evidently imported, by European mariners, from China}


of the 'White' Tai of Phu-qui


"earth was ... a pepper plant leaf"


"heaven was ... a little shell"

{according to Australian aborigines, "The sky is a shell." (SS)}

"there were trees, and they had no leaves"

{"a tree without leaves" (HAG, p. 101)}

DB = Devi-Bhagavata Upa-puran.a http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/db/bk08ch04.htm

SS = Singing the Snake. http://www.geocities.com/stoneking31/snake.html

HAG = Ernest A. Wallis Budge (tr.): The History of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version. Cambridge U. Pr, 1889.

p. 235 soul-animals

according to the S^u-c^in ("Classic of History")

{Astika philosophy}


{jagrat (waking state) -- cf. hawk to which S`ibi offered his own flesh as food (the waking-state being the only state of consciousness in which food is nutritive)}


{tortoise may figure the turiya state in the Upa-nis.ad-s

Yu: the bear, controlling flood-waters [of oblivion?]

sus.upti (dreamless sleep) -- cf. bhallava the bear seeking honey-sweetness, "honey ... to ... sleep sound In dreamless" (VSL) state of consciousness}

yellow fish

{svapna (the dreaming-state of consciousness) is figured by a fish swimming between river-banks in BA 4:3:18}

VSL = http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17119/17119-h/17119-h.htm

BA = Br.had Aran.yaka

according to the 'White' Tai of Phu-qui: persons sent, successively, to cut down banyan-tree wherein rice-eating birds perched



persons sent

time spent in chopping



lord I-t>u & lady +I-t>u:on

100 years




100 years



Pu-yu: & his wife +Na-mu:

9 years + 9 months

[banyan-tree in moon?]

pp. 239-247 beliefs & customs of the ‘Black’ Tai (Mu:on) of upper Tonkin, in the region between the Red River, the Black River, and Son Ma


multiple souls of each person


"Some of these souls are localised and control a limb, a joint, a portion of the body"

"the souls of the eyes, small, which see clearly"


the soul of the nose


"the soul of the mouth which can speak"


souls of the feet, of the hands, etc.


"Others command ... an affection, a quality,"

"the soul that works in the garden near the house and makes rice fields" {related to the soul of rice?}


"the soul which watches over the whole body"


"At death, all the souls are separated from one another and form four groups which go to live in separate places as four distinct individuals."

"The soul of the top of the head, together with the soul of the hands, remains in the house. These are the fi-han, the spirits of the house, who remain there constantly to protect their descendants.


The soul that watches over the whole body and the soul of the bones dwell in the tomb with the corpse, living there under the orders of the village god, fi-ban.


Finally, the soul that works in the rice-fields, the soul of the heart and the head, those of the feet, those of the eyes, and so on, go very far away. Some go up into heaven, into the celestial villages,


others stop halfway and dwell in villages on the borders of heaven and earth, where heaven and earth touch one another."


mythical cosmology


"three superposed stages"

"below is the world of dwarfs;


in the middle is the terrestrial world; and


above is the heavenly world. Heaven is like a great ceiling made of blue stones; on all sides it is held up by a slightly elevated vertical foot, the Foot of Heaven, which rests directly upon the high mountains at the end of the earth, in the places where the sun rises and sets."


doors into Heaven

"The Foot of Heaven is pierced by a number of doors designed to give passage to the souls of the dead, the sorcerers who – accompanied by their fi-mot – go up to heaven ..., and also the sun, the moon, the winds, and so on." {cf. Manichaean cosmology}



"The sun ... ascends to heaven in the east by climbing the outer side of the Golden Peak of the End of the Waters, outside the heavenly ceiling. It is a golden ball which young men, the Lords of the Sun, Pu Ngen, roll before them up to the Summit of the Mountain; they pass it through the door of the Summit of the Golden peak, piereced in the Foot of Heaven; for human beings it is sunrise.



A road leads them westward in the evening to the Mountain where Heaven Ends. There they find another door in the Foot of Heaven, and through that they push the sun outside heaven and send it back to earth; that is sunset.



Then all night they go, rolling the sun from west to east outside of heaven (that is why men do not see it) on the southern side." {This "southern side" at night would be true only in the southern haemisphaere.}


the moon

"The moon follows almost the same track in the heavens, pushed by young women, the Ladies of the Moon, Nang Bu:on; but on earth they bring it back by the northern side. (as is appropriate for the northern hemisphaere}


lunar phases [cf. p. 230]

"The Ladies of the Moon ... swaddle and unswaddle the Moon all month long with a long strip of cloth, rolling it up one turn each day from the sixteenth on and unrolling it one turn from the first to the fifteenth ...


lunar eclipses [cf. p. 230]

They must also defend it against the Frog Who Eats the Moon. This monster causes eclipses by taking advantage of the fact that the Lord of the Han~ Pool, Pu Nong Han~, is asleep. The Frog then escapes from the pool where he is kept tied up by a golden chain, and swallows the moon in one mouthful. The Ladies of the Moon must then run in search of the Lord of the Han~ Pool ; only he can make the monster vomit it up. To help them wake him up, girls on earth strike their rice mortars with their pestles."


divine river & its source [cf. p. 230]

"Between heaven and earth flows a river ... waters ..., flowing eastward to the Golden Peak at the End of the Waters, penetrate the base of the mountain and come out again at its summit, and they become the source of the heavenly river. At the entry to the grotto which is dug in the foot of the mountain, stands Lord Si-su of the End of the Waters. who, assisted by giant birds and crabs, prevents trees and animal corpses from passing by. [(fn. 2) "a river ... carrying the corpses of drowned buffalo and trunks of trees torn from its banks in high waters : Lord Si-su is in charge of taking them out."]


the stars

He also ... every evening ... opens the Door of Heavenly Darkness ... At the same time the Star Girl, On-nang-dao, removes the veil which conceals the stars by day, uncovering them, to cover them up again at dawn."


deity & souls in heaven & quasi-caelestial


chief of the deities

"The heavenly world, which extends above the firmament’s ceiling of blue stones, ... is governed by Father T’en the Great, Po-t’en Luong, the supreme chief of gods ...,who ... has under his orders less important celestial deities, the Po-t’en.



Each human family was created by a Po-t’en and, after death, those souls from that family who rise to heaven dwell in this god’s villages,


another realm

while those who do not go to heaven stay behind in villages still situated ... outside of heaven, at the foot of the mountains on which the Foot of Heaven is set."


contrasted fates of souls of dead commoners & of dead nobility


of commoners

"in this world of the dead ... souls ... live there and they die there. Life there is merely somewhat longer than in this world, lasting several centuries. At the end of this time the soul dies in heaven ...; but after this heavenly death, ... Each of the separate little souls resumes its individuality :

they become caterpillars {cf. caterpillar along Hawai’ian path travelled by souls of the dead} and then, when the caterpillars themselves die,

their souls are transformed into a sort of moss which ... produce a dampness that makes them slippery {cf. [Norse] SLeIPnir}, so that whoever walks on them ... falls down.

This is the fate of ordinary men."


of nobility

"after death, ... those who ... belong to the noble Lo-kam family ... will live in a village apart with Po-t’en Luong, the chief of the gods. There ...

the rice grows by itself in the rice fields and

comes by itself into the granaries;

the fish come out of the river by themselves and

go into the cooking pot.

Thus these souls need do thing but

indulge themselves in perpetual feasts and revels.

They do not die.

This is because the Lo-kam are not men like the others :

they did not, like commoners, come out of the colossal gourd which grew on earth at the beginning of the world;

their ancestor had not been created by one of the Po-t’en;

they were the descendants of one of Po-t’en’s own sons,

who was sent down here from the villages siutaled "outside of heaven" to govern men."


winged horse

"a little winged wooden horse, "the horse-bird of the column".

Below the parasol is a little packet of rice as food for the horse."


"The souls, in leaving the house [wherein they had died], climb the column by the little crossbars ...

Then taking the parasol to shelter them during the long voyage {cf. H^3I,BI,t (‘parasol’) used by Kemetian souls of the dead for travelling}, they mount the horse and ascend to heaven." {Robert Graves, in GM 75.5, likened Bellero-phon to the Aiguptian custom (in Diodoros Sikelos 1:85)}

Henry Maspero (translated from the French by Frank A. Kierman, Jr.): Taoism and Chinese Religion. U. of MA Pr, Amherst, 1981. pp. 197-248.