The Everlasting

Queen of the West-

Those who know, not only that the Everlasting lives in them, but that what they, and all things, really are is the Everlasting, dwell in the groves of the wish-fulfilling trees, drink the brew of immortality, and listen everywhere to the unheard music of eternal concord. These are the immortals. The Taoist landscape paintings of China and Japan depict supremely the heavenliness of this terrestrial state. The four benevolent animals, the phoenix, the unicorn, the tortoise, and the dragon, dwell amongst the willow gardens, the bamboos, and the plums, and amidst the mists of sacred mountains, close to the honoured spheres. Sages, with craggy bodies but spirits eternally young, meditate amongst these peaks, or ride curious, symbolic animals across immortal tides, or converse delightfully over teacups to the flute of Lan Ts’ai-ho.


The mistress of the earthly paradise of the Chinese immortals is the fairy goddess His Wang Mu, “The Golden Mother of the Tortoise.” She dwells in a palace on the K’un-lun Mountain, which is surrounded by fragrant flowers, battlements of jewels, and a garden wall of gold. She is formed of the pure quintessence of the western air. Her guests at her periodical “Feast of the Peaches” (celebrated when the peaches ripen, once in every six thousand years) are served by the Golden Mother’s gracious daughters, in bowers and pavilions by the Lake of Gems. Waters play there from a remarkable fountain. Phoenix marrow, dragon liver, and other meats are tasted; the peaches and the wine bestow immortality. Music from invisible instruments is heard, songs that are not from mortal lips; and the dances of the visible damsels are the manifestations of the joy of eternity in time.


– Joseph Campbell. 1949. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. P 167-8






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