Origin of Celestial King
“Cheonjiwangbonpuri”is a creation myth from Jeju Island, performed as part of the shamanic ritual segment Chogamje (Song of First Invitation), the most basic procedure in all rituals on the island, from simple hand-rubbing rituals (binyeom) to grand rituals (keungut).
The version of the song as recited by shaman Bak Bong-chun is as follows:
Sumyeongmangja was an ill-behaved and mali- cious man, and treated Cheonjiwang (Celestial King) in a rude manner. Greatly inf uriated, the deity led ten thousand troups with a scheme, but failed (Cheonjiwang placed his hood on Sumyeongmangja’s head but the man refused to be threatened, ordering his servant to strike his head with an ax). On his way back to the heavens, Cheonjiwang lodged at the home of Baek juhalmang (Granny Baek ju), where he wed Bakiwang and told her to take over the human world, and that if she gave birth to sons, they should be named Daebyeolwang and Sobyeolwang (Big Star King and Small Star King). He also left for them two gourd seeds, which the two brothers planted, then climbed up to the heavens where they met Cheonjiwang and proved that they were his sons. At the orders of the king, the two twin brothers competed to decide who should rule the human world. The first contest called for blossoming flowers inside a silver bowl, but Sobyeolwang played a trick, for which Daebyeolwang sought reproach and Sobyeolwang apologized. Sobyeolwang then proposed a riddle contest, which he won and was named the ruler of the human world. He then sought punishment for Sumyeongjangja by turning him into a mosquito, fly and bedbug. As ruler, Sobyeolwang brought discipline to human habits, offered blessings and sought distinction between good and evil.
This myth is also referred to as“Chogamje”, after the ritual segment, or in some cases, the two titles narrate separate stories, with “Cheonjiwang- bonpuri”opening with the scene of Cheonjiwang punishing Sumyeongjangja, thenmarrying a woman of the human world, who gives birth to Daebyeolwang and Sobyeolwang who take over the underworld and the human world, respectively.