The Goddess of the West
Xiwanmu is the first of the celestials that the reader meets. As befits a goddess, she is regal and majestic. Her golden hair floats in the wind, as do the garments that mask and show her beauty.
The goddess’s prototype is Xi Wangmu, the goddess of the Taoist pantheon known by many names. Initially, Xi Wangmu was considered the formidable mistress of the Land of the Dead, which in the Takuan’s world corresponds to the Under Realm. But over time, Xi Wangmu turned into a heavenly beauty that is already known to us.
The goddess hides her feelings for Yanwang Umma-ö, and he develops a cunning plan to conquer her. This plan leads to terrible consequences, which could well have been avoided if the goddess had been a little more forthcoming.
The Most Beautiful and Eternally Wise Goddess of the West lives in the Heavens, but sometimes descends to the Middle Realm, where her temple and peach garden are located on the top of Mount Gunlun.
Special trees grow in the garden, the fruits of which—xiantao peaches—grant immortality. One who has tasted peaches isn’t only endowed with eternal life but also becomes one of the celestials. With the help of the gods, they can go to the Heavens and settle there in the Heavenly Palace. Just so, the stone marten Ta-Guan became a celestial: she made her way into the sacred garden and ate a peach of immortality. Xiwanmu gave the celestial marten a name and instructions and then, without knowing it, delivered Ta-Guan directly to the Heavens.
The Goddess of the West is courted by noble celestials: the Jade Emperor and his brother, Yanwang Umma-ö. Yanwang is in love with the goddess, but he can’t admit it to her. The goddess herself doubts whom to give her heart to.
In the second part of ‘Adventures of Takuan from Koto,’ Xiwanmu descends from the Heavens and sets off on a journey through the Middle Realm to rescue Yanwang from the trouble he got into during the Great Storm. Xiwanmu enlists the support of mortals who are waiting for dangerous and exciting adventures.
If you want to know how Xiwanmu met the marten Ta-Guan, you must listen to the first part of ‘Adventures of Takuan from Koto.’ But if you want to know that the Eternally Wise Goddess of the West entrusted her messengers, then listen to the second part of the story. Listening to the third part, you will learn about whether the messengers of the beautiful Xiwanmu managed to fulfill the will of the goddess.
At that moment, Xiwanmu, Goddess of the West, the Divine Mother, herself appeared before the stone marten and uttered the following words, which boomed and echoed throughout the garden in a beautiful, ominous song: “Who dares to enter my divine garden without invitation?”
The stone marten stood up, steadying herself before the divine image of the goddess. “It’s me,” she answered bravely.
The Goddess of the West looked down at the stone marten. “What is your name?” she asked. “What do your parents call you?”
The servants picked up the full basket of Xiantao peaches and carried it to the temple. There, they bowed to the Goddess of the West and placed the basket directly on the back of her heavenly dragon. Xiwanmu stepped into the palanquin, which was attached to the back of the dragon, and waved her fan. The dragon flapped its great wings and lifted off, soaring up to the Heavens.