Dynamic Dreamer~Art Weaver~Studio Hermit
Ch’ang-O also called Chang’e is the Chinese Goddess of the Moon. She does not personify the moon like other moon goddesses. She lives on the moon and is sometimes called the “Woman on the Moon”.
Cha’ngo and how she came to live on the moon has many stories in Chinese mythology and variations.
One story is that Ch’ang-O was a young immortal girl working in the palace of Heaven for the Jade Emperor. One day she accidentally broke a valuable porcelain jar in the palace and the Jade Emperor in anger banished her to live as a mortal on Earth. She could return to Heaven he said if she contributed valuable service during her time on Earth.
Ch’ang-O as a mortal was a daughter of poor farming family. When she 18 years old she met the young archer Houyi and they became close friends. One day something strange happened. Ten suns rose over the Earth in the sky instead of one and began to burn the Earth. As an expert archer, Houyi saw the suns and was able to shoot down nine suns and leave one with his bow and arrow. Houyi was a hero for saving the Earth. He became king of the land and married Ch’ang-O.
In time Houyi became more of a demanding ruler. He ordered an elixir be made to give him immortality. The pill for this elixir was almost ready for him when Ch’ang-O discovered it and swallowed the pill. Houyi found this out that he went after Ch’ang-O in anger. She escaped out of a window in the palace but did not fall out. She floated instead up into the sky because of the pill’s effects. She landed on the moon. The king still tried to shoot her down with arrows but with no success due to her immortality.
Ch’ang-O felt lonely at first on the moon but then befriended the Jade Rabbit show also lives on the moon and makes herbal medicine and mixes elixirs. Houyi eventually ascended to live and build a palace on the sun and so Ch’ang-O and Houyi came to symbolize yin and yang.
The Mid-Autumn Festival also called the Moon Festival in China happens on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar which is sometime in late September or early October around the Autumn Equinox. It is an autumn harvest festival and one of the most important celebrations of the year in China.
This festival is also celebrated in Chinese communities everywhere including Chinatown in New York and San Francisco.
The moon is fullest and brightest this day of year and is called the Harvest Moon. The Chinese relied the lunar cycles and phases for planting and harvesting so this Mi-Autumn Festival is to celebrate the end of autumn harvest and to bring friends and family together to give thanks to the Earth.
Ch’ang-O is worshipped as the Moon Goddess on this day. An altar is set up facing the full moon to her outdoors and in homes and gardens. Photos of Ch’ang-O floating up to the moon as well as on the moon with the Jade Rabbit are also sold for this festival and decorate homes. This day is also considered.Ch’ang-O’s birthday. On this day she inspires devotion in all relationships and sends energy for growth and manifestation in all life areas. This is a time for women to ask the moon goddess Ch’ang-O to bless them with good fortune for the coming year. When the moon rises women light incense and offer thirteen pastries to Ch’ang-O called moon cakes shaped like the moon as a symbol for the cycle of the year. They light candles, bow, and pray to her. They then recite poems in her honor. Girls of the family stay up late to pray their mothers have long and happy lives. Stories of Ch’ang-O are told this night. At midnight everyone honors Ch’ango and Jade Rabbit and eat the moon cakes under the full moon.
A feast is made for this festival that symbolize the moon including dumplings shaped like crescent moons, moon shaped rice cakes, melons, grapes, cookies, and moon cakes are some traditional foods. Families and friends gather on the night of the Mid-Autumn festival and enjoy this feast under the full moon. On the way to this feast they carry brightly lit lanterns that symbolize the moon light shaped as various animals, birds, or fish in procession outside for the celebration at night. This is a time for family reunions. Planting Mid-Autumn trees is also a traditional activity for this day and Fire Dragon Dances.
Ch’ang-O is associated with courage, power , and fertility. You can call upon her for courage and to break free, growth, manifestation, to believe in oneself, and a fresh start.
Ch’ang-O Ritual for Manifestation, Belief in Oneself, and Courage
1 White Candles
1 Silver Candle
Oil to anoint candle
Altar cloth-silver, dark blue, or black
Small round bowl of water
Journal or piece of paper to write on and pen
You can also include symbols of Ch’ang-O and the moon such as rabbit and any moon images or images of Ch’ang-O herself,
Any type of round or crescent moon shaped cake or cookie, melons, grapes as offerings to Ch’ang-O on your altar are appropriate too
Set up altar. Place the white candle in the Center, the silver candle in the South, the moonstone in the North, the incense in the East, and the bowl of water in the West. These represent the five directions and elements. Place the journal and any other symbols, images, or food offerings as well on the altar.
Anoint candles with oil and light them.
Light incense and purify space.
Cast the circle using the five directions and elements:
North Elements of Earth
East Element of Air
South Element of Fire
West Element of Water
Center Element of Spirit and the Goddess
“Ch’ang-O, Moon Goddess Guide me to manifest the goals, wishes, and intentions in my life I am setting now.“
Meditate visualizing what you would like to create and manifest in your life right now.
After this is clear write down those specific intentions, goals, and wishes you would like to set now.
Say “Ch’ang-O bless me with the belief in myself and courage to take the steps to manifest these intentions, goals, and wishes I am setting now “
The circle is open but unbroken.
Let the candles burn out and begin to work on manifesting what you have written on your list.
Autumn Equinox The Enchantment of Mabon, by Ellen Dugan
365 Goddess, by Patricia Telesco