Sacred Mother of Mt. Seondo
This myth tells the story of Seondosanseongmo, the goddess of Mt. Seondo in Gyeongju, North Gyeong- sang Province and the mother of Bak Hyeokgeose, the founder and progenitor of the kingdom of Silla.
During the reign of King Jinpyeong of Silla, the Sacred Mother of Mt. Seondo appeared in a dream of the Buddhist f emale monk Jihye, and ordered that the main hall at the temple Anheungsa should be repaired using gold buried under her shrine, and Jihye did as instructed. The goddess was a daughter of China’s royal family, and had come to Haedong (East of Balhae: ancient Chinese name for the Korean peninsula) after learning the sorcery of Taoist mountain hermits at a young age. When a black kite sent by her emperor father settled at Mt. Seondo, the Sacred Mother settled here as well and became a divine earthly hermit (jiseon). The Sacred Mother lived on Mt. Seondo for a long time, during which many supernatural phenomena were observed, and the mountain was designated by the state as one of the Three Shrines. The Sacred Mother was also given the title Daewang for finding King Gyeongmyeong’s hawk, which had run away during a hunt. When she first arrived at the kingdom of Jinhan, she gave birth to two divine rulers, Hyeokgeose and Aryeo- ng. She also made her husband’s court attire with silk woven by celestial fairies (seonnyeo), which provided proof to the people of the kingdom of her supernatural powers.
This myth of the Sacred Mother of Mt. Seondo is a variant of the myth of Bak Hyeokgeose, the progenitor of Silla, and shows a connection between the state progenitor myth and the mountain goddess faith, a characteristic of mythology from the southern regions of the Korean peninsula. The central motifs of this myth are conception in the absence of a husband, and immigration of mother and son, the first of which is connected to Korea’s Daemosin (Great Mother Goddess) mythology.