Grandmother Mago

Headword

마고할미 ( Magohalmi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer CheonHyesook(千惠淑)
Date of update 2016-11-28

The myth of Magohalmi tells the story of a giant goddess who created all of nature and its geographical formations of this universe.

Giant goddess Magohalmi carried mud in her skirt and created mountains and islands. Her urine and excrement formed hills and rivers. Big rocks in various villages were placed there by Magohalmi’s hands or whips. Magohalmi’s body was so immense that 90, 000 pil of hemp was not enough to clothe her. She was so tall she walked across the seas off the island Wando, and drank water f rom the Yongdeumbeong Pond on the remote islets of Chu jado, standing with her feet on the rocks on Wando’s shore and her hands on Osipigogase (Fifty- Two Pass). She was so strong that when she urinated with her legs straddled on Mt. Nogo and Mt. Bulguk in Yangju, the spray of urine cracked a huge rock on Munhakjae Pass.

This narrative is an orally transmitted myth of the giant goddess creator. Magohalmi is believed to have played a part in the creation of mountains, islands, rivers, rock, bridges and f ortresses, but has been excluded f rom written record or formal worship through state rituals. In the course of transmission, the narrative lost its significance as a creation myth, misinterpreted as a legend about geographical formation and names, or as one about a negative deity that must be eradicated, which resulted in its exclusion from mythological research, but recently its importance as an archetype of goddess myth has been illuminated. Magohalmi’s creation of the universe is distinguishable from the creation carried out in Korean mythology by male deities like Mireuk or Cheon jiwang (Heavenly King), who execute the initial stage of creating heaven and earth, and the sun and the moon, while Magohalmi is in charge of the process that follows, of forming mountains and rivers and other features of nature, or of forming specific geographical features of an actual place. This separation of responsibilities in the creation of the universe between male and female deities is a distinctive characteristic of Korean creation myths, which is related to the shift in the status of Korean goddesses towards marginal deities, and in the course of oral transmission, the myth was reduced as legend, some versions close to a caricature-like folk tale.

Grandmother Mago

Grandmother Mago
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer CheonHyesook(千惠淑)
Date of update 2016-11-28

The myth of Magohalmi tells the story of a giant goddess who created all of nature and its geographical formations of this universe. Giant goddess Magohalmi carried mud in her skirt and created mountains and islands. Her urine and excrement formed hills and rivers. Big rocks in various villages were placed there by Magohalmi’s hands or whips. Magohalmi’s body was so immense that 90, 000 pil of hemp was not enough to clothe her. She was so tall she walked across the seas off the island Wando, and drank water f rom the Yongdeumbeong Pond on the remote islets of Chu jado, standing with her feet on the rocks on Wando’s shore and her hands on Osipigogase (Fifty- Two Pass). She was so strong that when she urinated with her legs straddled on Mt. Nogo and Mt. Bulguk in Yangju, the spray of urine cracked a huge rock on Munhakjae Pass. This narrative is an orally transmitted myth of the giant goddess creator. Magohalmi is believed to have played a part in the creation of mountains, islands, rivers, rock, bridges and f ortresses, but has been excluded f rom written record or formal worship through state rituals. In the course of transmission, the narrative lost its significance as a creation myth, misinterpreted as a legend about geographical formation and names, or as one about a negative deity that must be eradicated, which resulted in its exclusion from mythological research, but recently its importance as an archetype of goddess myth has been illuminated. Magohalmi’s creation of the universe is distinguishable from the creation carried out in Korean mythology by male deities like Mireuk or Cheon jiwang (Heavenly King), who execute the initial stage of creating heaven and earth, and the sun and the moon, while Magohalmi is in charge of the process that follows, of forming mountains and rivers and other features of nature, or of forming specific geographical features of an actual place. This separation of responsibilities in the creation of the universe between male and female deities is a distinctive characteristic of Korean creation myths, which is related to the shift in the status of Korean goddesses towards marginal deities, and in the course of oral transmission, the myth was reduced as legend, some versions close to a caricature-like folk tale.