Aqua Pixie Kakasha and Chinese GoddessesSeptember 30th, 2020
The story of Aqua Pixie Kakasha was inspired by China’s enchanting mythology, in which female divinities make themselves known in the form of dragon ladies, snake princesses, goddesses and water spirits. So, it will come as no surprise that Aqua Pixie Kakasha features a cast of brave, determined women, from the loyal, perceptive little girl Tilly to the resolute aqua pixie Kakasha. Not to mention Kakasha’s whole host of sisters! In order to celebrate the colourful mythological background of Tang Tang’s award-winning children’s story as well as the important theme of sisterhood, this post focuses on three of China’s most prominent goddesses.
Let’s start with the Queen Mother of the West. As her name suggests, this powerful goddess was the queen of the immortal gods and spirits, as well as the goddess of immortality. She was able to reward her loyal followers with eternal life (she is often depicted with a phoenix, the symbol of eternal life) but was ruthless to those who angered her, reminiscent of the ancient Greek queen of the gods Hera. She is also known under the name Xi-Wang-Mu and had the power to end droughts, making her the ideal goddess for the aqua pixies to appeal to when their lake dries up. She lived in a castle of gold in the Kunlun Mountains, surrounded by a deep moat to protect her Imperial Peach Orchard. This caution was well-warranted as the peaches were capable of bestowing immortality. When the peaches ripen, the immortals hold a sacred feast during which they eat the fruit and renew their immortality. It makes you wonder whether the aqua pixies managed to get their hands on these peaches to gain their longevity!
Now we move on to the dragon goddess Nuwa. Nuwa, along with her brother Fuxi, was born at the beginning of creation. In the nascent world she built a palace for herself, where she lived with Fuxi. The siblings are usually depicted as half-dragon and half-human; generally, as human to the waist with a dragon’s legs and tail. The dragon imagery creates a strong association with water, as eastern dragons control large bodies of water, unlike their fire-breathing western counterparts. Nuwa became lonely so she created humans from the mud of the Yellow River, becoming the mother of humanity.
Finally, let’s look at one of the many versions of the myth of Chang’e, goddess of the moon. On a side note, did you notice that the moon is usually the domain of a goddess? From the Greek Artemis to the Aztec Coyolxāuhqui and the Chinese goddess Chang’e, the moon tends to be associated with femininity (Japanese is one of the few mythologies which features a goddess of the sun, Amaterasu, and a god of the moon, Tsukuyomi). Chang’e was the consort of the archer Hou Yi, who was rewarded with the elixir of life after shooting down nine of the ten suns burning up the earth. However, Chang’e stole the elixir from her husband and fled to the moon. Hou Yi pursued her and she transformed herself into a toad to escape his anger. Maybe this is where Kakasha got the idea to turn herself into a fish? Kakasha is certainly adept at transformation, changing from the withered Granny Blue, to a colourful fish, to the beautiful, immortal aqua pixie. In the same way that Tilly intercedes for Kakasha, a hare steps in to save Chang’e from Hou Yi’s retribution. The hare stands in Hou Yi’s way and refuses to let him pass until he agrees not to hurt Chang’e. Unfortunately for Chang’e, she had remained as a toad for too long and was stuck in that form.
Each goddess is associated with water (Chang’e’s being the most tenuous link due to the moon’s control over the tides), reflecting the idea that changeability and transformation are inherent aspects of female divinity; the fluidity of their forms tying them to the water element. The aqua pixies mirror this link by being bound to Lake Pululu as they lose their ageless beauty outside the water. Perhaps one of the goddesses will be merciful and restore their lake?
Aqua Pixie KakashaWhen Tilly befriends an ugly and feared old woman in her village, she is surprised to discover that she is really an aqua pixie! Faithfully waiting for rain to come and restore her lake, Aqua Pixie Kakasha has been in hiding for many years. Can Tilly help her find her way back home or will Kakasha give up on Lake Pululu and become a real human?
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