1. Chinese
  2. Gods
  3. Doumu

Doumu

In Chinese mythology, Doumu (斗母) is the mother of the Big Dipper and the female counterpart to the Chinese concept of male heavenly energy, Tian (天).

As the female equivalent to Tian (天), the male half of the Chinese concept of heavenly energy, Doumu (斗母) is the mother of the Big Dipper. In some Taoist texts, she is thought to be the goddess, Xiwangmu (西王母).

Etymology

This goddess has a few titles, but the most commonly used one is Dǒumǔ (斗母), which means “Mother of the Big Dipper.” Since the Big Dipper constellation was looked upon as a chariot in ancient times, she’s also called Dǒumǔ Yuánjūn (斗母元君), or “Mother of the Chariot,” or Dòulǎo Yuánjūn (斗姥元君), meaning “Ancestress of the Chariot.” She’s sometimes simply referred to as Tiānhòu (天后), meaning “Queen of Heaven,” or affectionately as Tiānmǔ (天母), which means “Heavenly Mother.”

Attributes

Doumu is characterized by her kind face and sixteen arms. Usually, two hands are clasped in front of her in prayer while the other 14 hold various objects of religious significance.

Family

Doumu was born when the universe was created by Pangu (盤古). She is the mother of the Jiǔhuángshén (九皇神), or the “Nine God-Kings” heaven. They were believed to be represented in the night sky by the seven stars (and two not visible to the naked human eye) that surround the Big Dipper.

Mythology

There aren’t many myths surrounding Doumu, however she was significant because of her role as a cosmic female deity. She was the embodiment of mercy and love. According to legend, she may have even played as hand in Huangdi’s mother’s (Fubao) virginal pregnancy.

Pop Culture

There is a district in Taipei, Taiwan that bears the goddess’s honorific name, Tianmu.

References

Bibliography

  1. “Doumu, Goddess of the North Star.” Royal Collection Trust. https://www.rct.uk/collection/1096/doumu-goddess-of-the-north-star.

  2. Harper, Dan. “Doumu – The Dipper Mother.” Nature’s Sacred Journey. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/naturessacredjourney/2015/10/doumu-the-dipper-mother/

  3. Wikipedia Contributors. “Doumu.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doumu.

Citation

About the Author

Mae Hamilton is a freelance journalist with a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Texas at Austin.