Song of Household Guardian Deity(成造巫歌)

Song of Household Guardian Deity

Headword

성조무가 ( 成造巫歌 , Seongjomuga )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer HongTaehan(洪泰漢)

The shamanic myth“ Seongjomuga ”narrates the origins of Seongju (Household Guardian Deity), the highest among the household gods in Korean folk belief, and is recited as part of seongjugut, the ritual for worshipping the household guardian deity.

The plot of“ Seongjumuga ”follows the course of the deification of Seongju, also involving various events related to house building, which help explain the origins of this deity.

The narrative also centers on the union between man and woman, with Seongju taking as his wife various different respective female deities in different versions of the tale, including Jisin (Earth God), Samsin (Goddess of Childbearing), and Jeseok (Goddess of Childbirth). It is a rare case in Korean mythology in that an entire tale is dedicated to telling the origins of household gods. The relation between Seongju, Jisin, Samsin, and Jeseok, as depicted in “ Seongjumuga, ”reflects the hierarchy of Korea’s various household deities. In the version of the myth transmitted in southern Gyeonggi Province, the protagonist Hwanguyang, after chastising his imposter Sojinnang, turns the couple into Jangseung (Village Guardian Post) and Seonang (Village Guardian Deity), which indicates that the two are deities of lowly status in Korean shamanism.

Seongjupuri, ”a version of this myth transmitted in Dongnae of South Gyeongsang Province, does not share much in common with the south Gyeonggi version besides the general structure of narrating the origins of Seongju. In“ Seongjupuri, ” King Gukban and Lady Okjin of Seocheonguk (Heavenly Kingdom of the West) pray for a son and after having a precognitive dream of conception, in their later years give birth to Seongjo. At age fifteen, Seongjo makes a request to Okhwangsangje (Great Emperor of Jade), for pine seeds, which he plants on a deserted mountain at Jihagung (Palace Underground). When he turns eighteen, he weds Lady Gyehwa, but he treats her poorly and neglects state affairs, for which he is sent on exile to Hwangto Island, where he faces severe hardships. Seongjo ties a letter written in blood to a blue bird to send to Lady Gyehwa, who, upon receiving the letter, shows it to her mother-in-law Lady Okjin, and finally Seongjo is brought back from exile. Upon his return, Seongjo is happily reunited with Lady Gyehwa and the couple goes on to have five sons and five daughters. At age seventy, Seongjo surveys the pine trees that he had planted, and gets the tools to build a palace and houses for his subjects. Upon completion, Seongjo takes the position of the resident household guardian deity Seongju and his wife Lady Gyehwa the possessing spirit Seongju, their sons and daughters Otojisin (Five Land Gods) and Obangjisin (Gods of the Five Directions), respectively.

“Seongjudeurineunmalmun (Narrative for Seongju), ”transmitted in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, has a looser plot, but also tells the origins of Seongju. In this version, Seongju is born in Jeseokgung (Palace of the Goddess of Childbirth) with the name of Yugwangdeok, but commits a crime in the heavenly kingdom and is sent on exile down to the human world. Seongju set out to build a house, choosing an auspicious site with the help of a geomancer, and getting it ready for construction by hiring many workers. He made various different tools and headed out to cut lumber, but something repeatedly came up and interrupted his work, and in the end his ax was stuck to a tree, unmoving. When he referred to a fortuneteller, a mountain god ritual (sansinje) was recommended, and upon the staging of the ritual, his ax fell off the tree and he was finally able to get lumber and return home. At this time Seongju began searching for a wife, and he met three fairies descending from the heavens on exile to the land below. He married them and was enthroned as the Household Guardian Deity. His three wives were deified as Samsin, Jeseok, and Jowang (Kitchen Deity), and helped humans lead good lives. This Andong version is distinctive in narrating the origins of household deities other than Seongju.

Song of Household Guardian Deity

Song of Household Guardian Deity
Headword

성조무가 ( 成造巫歌 , Seongjomuga )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer HongTaehan(洪泰漢)

The shamanic myth“ Seongjomuga ”narrates the origins of Seongju (Household Guardian Deity), the highest among the household gods in Korean folk belief, and is recited as part of seongjugut, the ritual for worshipping the household guardian deity.

The plot of“ Seongjumuga ”follows the course of the deification of Seongju, also involving various events related to house building, which help explain the origins of this deity.

The narrative also centers on the union between man and woman, with Seongju taking as his wife various different respective female deities in different versions of the tale, including Jisin (Earth God), Samsin (Goddess of Childbearing), and Jeseok (Goddess of Childbirth). It is a rare case in Korean mythology in that an entire tale is dedicated to telling the origins of household gods. The relation between Seongju, Jisin, Samsin, and Jeseok, as depicted in “ Seongjumuga, ”reflects the hierarchy of Korea’s various household deities. In the version of the myth transmitted in southern Gyeonggi Province, the protagonist Hwanguyang, after chastising his imposter Sojinnang, turns the couple into Jangseung (Village Guardian Post) and Seonang (Village Guardian Deity), which indicates that the two are deities of lowly status in Korean shamanism.

“Seongjupuri, ”a version of this myth transmitted in Dongnae of South Gyeongsang Province, does not share much in common with the south Gyeonggi version besides the general structure of narrating the origins of Seongju. In“ Seongjupuri, ” King Gukban and Lady Okjin of Seocheonguk (Heavenly Kingdom of the West) pray for a son and after having a precognitive dream of conception, in their later years give birth to Seongjo. At age fifteen, Seongjo makes a request to Okhwangsangje (Great Emperor of Jade), for pine seeds, which he plants on a deserted mountain at Jihagung (Palace Underground). When he turns eighteen, he weds Lady Gyehwa, but he treats her poorly and neglects state affairs, for which he is sent on exile to Hwangto Island, where he faces severe hardships. Seongjo ties a letter written in blood to a blue bird to send to Lady Gyehwa, who, upon receiving the letter, shows it to her mother-in-law Lady Okjin, and finally Seongjo is brought back from exile. Upon his return, Seongjo is happily reunited with Lady Gyehwa and the couple goes on to have five sons and five daughters. At age seventy, Seongjo surveys the pine trees that he had planted, and gets the tools to build a palace and houses for his subjects. Upon completion, Seongjo takes the position of the resident household guardian deity Seongju and his wife Lady Gyehwa the possessing spirit Seongju, their sons and daughters Otojisin (Five Land Gods) and Obangjisin (Gods of the Five Directions), respectively.

“Seongjudeurineunmalmun (Narrative for Seongju), ”transmitted in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, has a looser plot, but also tells the origins of Seongju. In this version, Seongju is born in Jeseokgung (Palace of the Goddess of Childbirth) with the name of Yugwangdeok, but commits a crime in the heavenly kingdom and is sent on exile down to the human world. Seongju set out to build a house, choosing an auspicious site with the help of a geomancer, and getting it ready for construction by hiring many workers. He made various different tools and headed out to cut lumber, but something repeatedly came up and interrupted his work, and in the end his ax was stuck to a tree, unmoving. When he referred to a fortuneteller, a mountain god ritual (sansinje) was recommended, and upon the staging of the ritual, his ax fell off the tree and he was finally able to get lumber and return home. At this time Seongju began searching for a wife, and he met three fairies descending from the heavens on exile to the land below. He married them and was enthroned as the Household Guardian Deity. His three wives were deified as Samsin, Jeseok, and Jowang (Kitchen Deity), and helped humans lead good lives. This Andong version is distinctive in narrating the origins of household deities other than Seongju.