Most people probably have heard about gods who are in charge of people’s desires like wealth, peace, love and beauty or god who are in charge of the nature like seas, the sun, the moon. Today we will talk about the Goddess of Toilet in Chinese mythology.
Don’t be that surprised. We have talked about Kitchen God (Ep 26) Door Gods (Ep 11) and Lord of the Soil and Ground (Ep 68). They are all belong to the Six Households Deities in Chinese mythology. Since there are two Door Gods, the other two are Toilet Goddess which we are going to talk about today and Well God that we will talk about in the future. Influenced by Chinese culture, there are those household deities in Japanese mythology as well although the figures of the deities and stories are different.
The name of the Toilet Goddess is ZiGu 紫姑. The worshiping of Toilet Goddess can be traced back to the Six Dynasties 六朝, between the year 220 to 589. It was really popular during the Tang dynasty 唐朝 and Song dynasty 宋朝.
In the book GuJinTuShuJiCheng 古今图书 集成from the Qing dynasty, it says ZiGu is from the place called LaiYang 莱阳. Her original name was He Mei 何媚. She was a concubine of a man called Li Jing 李景. Li Jing’s wife was jealous of He Mei and murdered her in the toilet. The Heaven Gods pitied her death and assigned her as the Toilet Goddess after death. People call her San Gu 三姑.
In the book MengXiBiTan 梦溪笔谈from the Song dynasty, it says it was an old tradition that people worship the God of Toilet on the night of 15th of the first month in the lunar calendar when she was murdered. People call her ZiGu 紫姑.
In the book DiJingJingWuLue 帝京景物略 from the Ming dynasty 明朝, it says, on the night of 15th of the first month in the lunar calendar, women make dolls with grass and paint the face and make dresses using handkerchiefs for the doll and call her GuNiang 姑娘. Two girls would hold the doll and worship her with horse crap and sing songs. There are different ceremonies in different places and a lot of them involve decorating a broom with jewelry and flowers like dressing up the Toilet Goddess. Because brooms were usually placed in the toilet.
It is always only the women worshiping Toilet Goddess. Because the purpose is to wish the girls in the family meet a great husband and not get murdered like ZiGu. In the book YiYuan 异苑 from the Southern dynasty, it says ZiGu can predict the future so weirdly Toilet Goddess is also related to fortunetelling.