From the Oak: Let’s hear it for the God!

Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities. Currently focusing on divinities placed in an atheist "graveyard".

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Gong-gong, God of Floods

Gong-gong is the Chinese god of floods and is the next divinity I am remembering from the atheist “graveyard”.  July is the start of the flood season for most rivers in China.  It is a huge challenge to those who work the land.  The rivers are a double-edge sword; without water nothing will grow but with too much water, lives and crops can be lost.  So it is very much a love/hate relationship with these fast moving rivers.  The Chinese have several eccentric river gods and Gong-gong is one of them.



Gong-gong is variously described as having red hair, a human face and the body of a snake, other times he is described as a black water dragon or monster (with up to nine heads) or riding such a creature.  He is occasionally described as helpful and earnest but more often described as ambitious, cruel, irritable and yet not very smart.  Early legends speak of Gong-gong as a helper to the people.  He aided in combating floods by teaching them to control floods through blocking rather than dredging.  He was also considered an expert in agriculture and taught methods of building embankments for water storage which improved farming productivity.

The most prevalent myth of Gong-gong tells of how he caused the world to be slanted.  In this tale, Gong-gong went to war against the emperor of heaven.  The reasons vary for this rebellion.  Some say he was bored with the menial tasks he was given. Others say that the emperor was cruel to mortals and fellow Gods alike.  However, they all agree that Gong-gong wanted the throne.  This resulted in a long and heated war.  At the end, Gong-gong was forced to the northwest end of the world, next to Buzhou Mountain.  This mountain was said to be one the pillars that supported the sky.  There was nothing Gong-gong could do but accept his failure to take the throne.  Angry at his loss, Gong-gong beat his head against Buzhou Mountain, damaging the pillar so that it could not support the sky any longer.  This resulted in the celestial bodies tilting towards the northwest while the land tilted to the southeast.  Everything started to move towards the sea, causing flooding and much suffering.  The goddess Nuwa took pity on the mortals by replacing the pillar with the legs cut off a giant tortoise and repaired the sky as best as she could with river stones and her magic.  While this stopped the tilting, it didn’t return things to the way they were.  This is the reason given to why the rivers in China flow towards the southeast while the sun, stars and moon move towards the northwest.

May Gong-gong be remembered and aid all those troubled with flooding.

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I'm an eclectic polytheist whose main divinities are Heru-ur, Bast, Sobek, Yinepu Isis, Zeus-Serapis, and Yemaya. I'm a mother, wife and Librarian living in the Rocky Mountains stumbling on my path and wondering what the heck I'm doing. Blessed be.


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