Heng-o is the Chinese goddess of the moon. She is married to Hou Yi, the archer, and lives in a palace on the moon with her pet hare, Yu Tu.
The legend of Hang-o and Hou Yi is one of the most famous mythical romances of ancient China and is celebrated during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Read more about Heng-o and check out the love spell at the end.
Who is Heng - o (Ch'ang-o)?
Her many names can be a bit confusing as you may see her as Heng -o, Ch’ang-o, Chang’e, or Heng -e. Heng-e is the older name that was changed during the rule of Emporer Liu Heng because of its similarities.
She is referred to as the "Moon Fairy" and lives in the "Moon Basilica of Widespread Cold."
The Chinese believed there were 12 moons and Heng-o is the Mother of the moons. She watches over relationships and is the goddess of devotion and manifestation. A lessor lunar goddess, Changxi, is her daughter.
In Ancient Chinese philosophy, the moon is a visual token of Yin, a cold white phosphorescent body associated with snow, ice, white silk, silver, and white jade.
Stealing the Elixer of Immortality
She is known for stealing the elixir of immortality from her husband, Hou Yi. He chased her in anger and she ran to the moon to escape.
There are two prominent versions of this myth.
Both versions begin in the same way. Long ago the earth had ten suns and was very hot. The crops were drying up and people were hungry. Hou Yi took his bow and arrow and shot down nine of the ten suns. The earth cooled and farmers were happy.
Hou Yi was rewarded for his good deed by the goddess Xiwangmu, who presides over life and death, gave him the elixir of immortality.
In the first version, there is only enough elixir for one person. Hou Xi hides it from his wife because he doesn’t want to be immortal without her. Chang’e is forced to drink the elixir when her husband’s apprentice tries to steal it for himself.
In another version, Chang’e is simply a greedy woman who steals the elixir out of selfishness. In all versions, however, Chang’e drinks the potion, becomes immortal, and flees to the moon.
In some versions, a white rabbit travels with her to the moon to help her to continue making the elixir of immortality.
Learn more about Moon Goddesses in our blog 15 Goddesses of the Moon.
A divination text was discovered in a Chinese bog in 1993 that dates back 2000 years to the Zhou Dynasty. It predates the I ching or the Chinese Book of Changes.
In this text, Guicang identifies sixty-four hexagrams and tells stories relating to each of them. In older versions of the story, Chang'e stole the elixir from Houyi, drank it, and flew to the Moon so that her husband could not go after her.
In this version the states that “In the past Chang’e took the Western Queen Mother’s medicine of immortality and ate it, and subsequently fled to the moon, becoming the essence of the moon.”
Heng-o’s husband was distraught and lonely after she went to live on the moon. Hou Yi started leaving her favorite desserts and fruits out at night in the moonlight.
This tradition continues today in many Asian cultures. People leave annual offerings to Heng-o during the Mid-Autumn Feast. This festival occurs in late September or early October during the full moon.
Love Spell In A Bottle
Consider honoring her while doing a love spell. This spell is for someone looking for love. We use bottles to contain spells because they last longer with lingering energies.
Small mason jar with a lid or baby food jar with lid
red colored pencil or pen and paper 1/2 sheet torn lengthwise
one tbsp dried rose petals
one tbsp dried lavender
one tbsp dried basil
Three crystals - good ones to use are rose quartz, clear quartz, emerald, garnet, lapis lazuli and/or blue agate.
Way to light and extinguish the candle
Cleanse your altar space
Write a description of your ideal partner on your paper. Roll the paper into a scroll shape
Place the paper in the jar. Spend three minutes concentrating on your ideal partner. What is their personality, interests, character traits…
Add the herbs in three small piles in the jar. Place a crystal on each pile. (it doesn’t have to be exact)
Light your candle.
Concentrate on the flame and meditate on your intentions. Turn the candle horizontal and drip wax on each crystal. Say “with this wax, I seal my intention to find true love”.
Return the candle to its holder and extinguish the flame.
Place the lid on the jar.
Place the jar on an altar, bedside table, or dresser where you will see it daily.