Village Guardian Deity(Golmaegi)
Golmaegi is a personified god based on the founder of a village, deified after death and worshipped by his descendents or the local community as an originator god or guardian god.
The term golmaegi is believed to have come from the words goeul (village) and magi (guardian), to signify the deity’s role as a protector of the village and its residents against all calamities and impurities attempting to enter the community. Alternate versions of the term include Golmaegihalbae (Village Guardian Grandfather) and Golmaegihalmae (Village Guardian Grandmother), and more female deities are observed than males. Golmaegi worship is practiced in Gangwon and South and North Gyeongsang provinces and in Busan and Ulsan areas.
Golmaegi is enshrined in a range of venues that vary by village, including old village guardian trees that stand at the village entrance or on the hill behind the village, in stone stacks, stone statues, and the village shrine, in which case the sacred entity takes the form of a spirit tablet, a shamanic painting, a rock or an offering of folded mulberry paper. Generally the deity is enshrined as either a male or female god, but in some villages the deity is worshipped as a married couple or in groups of three or four gods, each with a different family name. Golmaegi rituals, like village rites, are staged in the Confucian tradition, either as an individual rite or as part of mountain god rituals (sansinje), taking place before or after the main rite.