Myth of Seven Stars(七星解)

Myth of Seven Stars

Headword

칠성풀이 ( 七星解 , Chilseongpuri )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer ParkKyungsin(朴敬伸)

“Chilseongpuri”is a shamanic myth transmitted in the Jeolla and Chungcheong provinces, which narrates the origins of Chilseong (Seven Stars), a folk deity that oversees the lifespan and safety of individuals. In shamanic rituals, the myth is recited as a means to pray for health and longevity of one’s children, peace in the family and prosperity.

The following is a summary of the plot based on a version from North Jeolla Province, where the myth is transmitted mostly widely:

Sir Chilseong from Cheonhagung (Palace Under Heaven) and Lady Maehwa (Plum Blossoms) from Jihagung (Palace Underground) wed but are childless for a long time, and decide to offer conception prayers, which prove effective and Lady Meahwa gives birth to seven sons. Sir Chilseong, delighted at the news of his wife’s delivery, rushes to her, but upon learning that seven sons have been born at once, he feels disgusted and afraid, and ascends to Palace Under Heaven. In the celestial kingdom, Sir Chilseong marries Lady Oknyeo (Jade Woman) and settles down. Lady Maehwa, finding herself suddenly abandoned, attempts to abandon her sons by setting them adrift in the water, but an enlightened monk appears and advises her to raise them well, for their existence has been acknowledged by the heavens. The sons grow up healthy and start attending the village schoolhouse, where they excel in their studies, but the other children at school, envious of the seven brothers ’talent, tease them for being fatherless. The brothers come home and ask their mother to find their father. When she tells them that their father is Sir Chilseong of the Palace Under Heaven, he brothers ascend to the palace in search of their father, and after passing a series of tests, prove to Sir Chilseong that they are his sons. When Sir Chilseong, distracted by his reunion with his sons, neglects the household, Lady Oknyeo schemes to kill them. She feigns a grave illness and asks Sir Chilseong to seek out a fortuneteller to cure her disease, then disguises herself as the fortuneteller and tells Sir Chilseong that his wife’s illnesses will be cured only by feeding her the livers of his seven sons. Sir Chilseong, at a loss, returns home and weeps in despair, and the seven sons ask him to explain the situation. Upon hearing about the fortuneteller’s instructions, the seven sons persuade their father to kill them and take their livers to save their stepmother, and the two of them can have more children. Sir Chilseong takes his sons into the mountains, carrying a sword to kill them, when a doe appears and tells him to take the livers of her seven fawns, which will reveal to him what Lady Oknyeo has schemed. Sir Chilseong takes the livers of the seven fawns to his wife, who only pretends to eat them and instead hides them. Sir Chilseong and his seven sons kill Lady Oknyeo and descend to the human world, but Lady Maehwa is already dead, having jumped into a pond in despair after losing her husband and sons. The seven brothers acquire a resurrection flower and save their mother to reunite with their father, after which they become Chilseong (Seven Stars).

In the context of the history of Korean narratives, this myth is a typical stepmother tale (gyemodam), examples of which include not only folk tales like “Tale of Janaghwa and Hongryeon” and “Kongjwi and Patjwi, ”but ancient shamanic epics like this myth or “Munjeonbonpuri (Origin of the Gate God).” The revenge on the wicked Lady Oknyeo and the resurrection of the good Lady Maehwa represent the theme of “punishing evil and rewarding virtue (gwonseonjingak), ” commonly found in the Korean folk narrative tradition.

Myth of Seven Stars

Myth of Seven Stars
Headword

칠성풀이 ( 七星解 , Chilseongpuri )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer ParkKyungsin(朴敬伸)

“Chilseongpuri”is a shamanic myth transmitted in the Jeolla and Chungcheong provinces, which narrates the origins of Chilseong (Seven Stars), a folk deity that oversees the lifespan and safety of individuals. In shamanic rituals, the myth is recited as a means to pray for health and longevity of one’s children, peace in the family and prosperity.

The following is a summary of the plot based on a version from North Jeolla Province, where the myth is transmitted mostly widely:

Sir Chilseong from Cheonhagung (Palace Under Heaven) and Lady Maehwa (Plum Blossoms) from Jihagung (Palace Underground) wed but are childless for a long time, and decide to offer conception prayers, which prove effective and Lady Meahwa gives birth to seven sons. Sir Chilseong, delighted at the news of his wife’s delivery, rushes to her, but upon learning that seven sons have been born at once, he feels disgusted and afraid, and ascends to Palace Under Heaven. In the celestial kingdom, Sir Chilseong marries Lady Oknyeo (Jade Woman) and settles down. Lady Maehwa, finding herself suddenly abandoned, attempts to abandon her sons by setting them adrift in the water, but an enlightened monk appears and advises her to raise them well, for their existence has been acknowledged by the heavens. The sons grow up healthy and start attending the village schoolhouse, where they excel in their studies, but the other children at school, envious of the seven brothers ’talent, tease them for being fatherless. The brothers come home and ask their mother to find their father. When she tells them that their father is Sir Chilseong of the Palace Under Heaven, he brothers ascend to the palace in search of their father, and after passing a series of tests, prove to Sir Chilseong that they are his sons. When Sir Chilseong, distracted by his reunion with his sons, neglects the household, Lady Oknyeo schemes to kill them. She feigns a grave illness and asks Sir Chilseong to seek out a fortuneteller to cure her disease, then disguises herself as the fortuneteller and tells Sir Chilseong that his wife’s illnesses will be cured only by feeding her the livers of his seven sons. Sir Chilseong, at a loss, returns home and weeps in despair, and the seven sons ask him to explain the situation. Upon hearing about the fortuneteller’s instructions, the seven sons persuade their father to kill them and take their livers to save their stepmother, and the two of them can have more children. Sir Chilseong takes his sons into the mountains, carrying a sword to kill them, when a doe appears and tells him to take the livers of her seven fawns, which will reveal to him what Lady Oknyeo has schemed. Sir Chilseong takes the livers of the seven fawns to his wife, who only pretends to eat them and instead hides them. Sir Chilseong and his seven sons kill Lady Oknyeo and descend to the human world, but Lady Maehwa is already dead, having jumped into a pond in despair after losing her husband and sons. The seven brothers acquire a resurrection flower and save their mother to reunite with their father, after which they become Chilseong (Seven Stars).

In the context of the history of Korean narratives, this myth is a typical stepmother tale (gyemodam), examples of which include not only folk tales like “Tale of Janaghwa and Hongryeon” and “Kongjwi and Patjwi, ”but ancient shamanic epics like this myth or “Munjeonbonpuri (Origin of the Gate God).” The revenge on the wicked Lady Oknyeo and the resurrection of the good Lady Maehwa represent the theme of “punishing evil and rewarding virtue (gwonseonjingak), ” commonly found in the Korean folk narrative tradition.