House Guardian God(城主)
Seongju, or House Guardian God, is the highest deity in the house, overseeing every element related to the household, from construction to the protection of the family.
Variations of this name include Seongjo and Seongjusin. In mythology, Seongju is a building god, and is born when a new house is built, when a family moves to a new house, or when a new family is formed. Seongju oversees every element related to the household, from furniture and appliances to peace and good fortune in the family. It is Seongju that brings cattle, grains, rice paddies and silk clothing to the home, and ensures the longevity of parents and proliferation of offspring that are pious and loyal, promising success in government service and in farming.
The date for receiving the new Seongju is selected according to the fortunes of the man of the house. The reception and enshrinement of the deity involves the pole seong jutdae, comprising a staff with a paper cutout of a human figure, using white ritual paper (baekji). Bamboo is used for the staff for its evergreen quality, and in regions where bamboo does not grow, oak wood is used, since oak trees bear abundant nuts that are not eaten by harmful beasts. The pole is completed by attaching a paper bag containing rice. Seongjutdae is then erected next to a living tree on a bowl filled with white rice to receive the house guardian god. In the past, families headed out to a pine tree on the hill behind the house, but nowadays the deity is received from a fruit tree on the grounds of the house, or from a column near the gate of the house or the shed. Sometimes the reception is executed by throwing a burning prayer sheet (soji) into the air, but however the process is performed, it never takes place in another family’s house. When the reception is complete, an individual is assigned to confirm the god’s intent by holding the pole to find the spot in the house where the pole will attach itself to be enshrined. Rituals for worshipping Seongju are held regularly on seasonal holidays including the first lunar month and the tenth lunar month, called sangdalgosa or antaek, or on special family occasions including the initial reception or weddings.