Belief in the Golden Mother
( Author: Liu Zhongyu   ,    Translator: Chen Xia )

The Golden Mother is also called the Golden Mother of the Jasper Lake, or the Queen Mother of the West.
She is frequently called Auntie Queen Mother among the common people for thousands years.

The Queen Mother of the West is an important deity in ancient Chinese legends. She was first recorded in the Book of Mountains and Seas. In the Han Dynasty, she was promoted to a higher position and connected to Immortality beliefs. The Han Taoist Book of the Master of Huainan mentioned that Yi asked the Queen Mother of the West for the drug of Immortality. But after he got it, his wife Chang'e stole it. After Chang'e swallowed the medicine, she flew to the moon. This story explains why the Queen Mother of the West was closely connected to the belief in Immortality. The Queen Mother of the West and the King Father of the East 1, surrounded by flying winged-people, appear together in the Han copper mirror. This signifies that she had become a center for those who aspire to Fly to Immortality 2.

The Queen Mother of the West holds a high position in Taoism. Her position got higher after the masses gave her new interpretations.

The Queen Mother of the West has always been an important deity since Taoism came into being. Ge Hong's Book of Pillow Secrets says that the highest deity is the Primordial Celestial King, i.e., the Perfected Pangu. He existed before the creation of Heaven and Earth. After that, he lived in the center of Heaven -- the Jade Capital Mountain. The Vital Breath of Dao contracted and formed another deity, the Primordial Holy Mother. The Fushang Emperor and the Queen Mother of the West were their descendants. In later times, the Highest Clarity tradition regarded her highly and produced Taoist registers related to her. The Collected Records of Immortals 3 states that the Queen Mother of the West is the Nine-Soul Great Sublimity Golden Mother of the Tortoise Mountain 4, and is also called the Great Void Ninefold Glory Golden Mother of the Tortoise Platform 5. She was born out of the Most Perfect Vital Breath of the Eastern Essence 6, and works together with the King Father of the East, who was born out of the Most Sublime Pre-Existent Vital Breath of the Western Essence 7, to manage the two vital breaths of yin and yang. She dwells at the capital Kunlun Mountain. The Primordial Celestial Emperor awarded her the Register of the Nine Glories of Turtle Mountain 8 and enabled her to summon all the spirits. All the female Immortals in Heaven and on Earth, in the Three Realms and Ten Directions are under her authority. So she is generally regarded as the leader of Female Immortals.

Belief in the Queen Mother of the West has lasted for more than two thousand years, and has spread all over China. Queen Mother temples and halls are very popular. There are many Queen Mother temples in Guangdong Province where other female Immortals are also enshrined. One of them is the Golden Flower Lady 9, who is in charge of childbirth. Many people worship her to pray for children. Belief in the Golden Flower Lady has now spread to Southeast Asia, following the flow of Chinese migrants. Since the Ming and Qing dynasties, belief in the Queen Mother of the West has changed somewhat among the common masses, with some people believing in the Unborn Venerable Mother 10 and regarding her as the Highest Goddess. This has influenced folk belief in the Queen Mother of the West, and led to the formation of other beliefs in some sects.

Belief in the Golden Mother has its own tradition in Taiwan. Its theogony is similar to that of Taoism. Belief in the Queen Mother of the West has split into two major traditions since the Qing Dynasty; one is the Taoist tradition, the other is the folk tradition. The Taoist tradition retains her former position in Taoist theogony while the folk tradition is less systematic and it is not limited by Taoist theogony. The existence of Charity Halls 11 all over Taiwan is a sign of the spread of Golden Mother beliefs in Taiwan.

According to history from the records of the Biography of Emperor Mu 12, people believe that the Heavenly Pool (Lake Tianchi) in Xinjiang is the Jasper Lake. Also,  there are many famous place of pilgrimages  to worship the Queen Mother of the West, such as: Lake Tianchi, Thian San, and Kun-Lun San

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