Campaign of the Month: February 2017
The Shen goddess of the moon and mysteries
The beautiful, tragic Chang’e is the goddess of the moon, a lady of silence and mystery who lives in solitude with her companion, the lunar rabbit. Quick-witted and intelligent as well as famous for her beauty, she interacts seldom with the other gods, even with the rest of the Bureaucracy; she remains in her palace on the moon, influencing the tides and the moods of mankind from afar and avoiding the company of other gods, especially those associated with the sun, wherever possible.
Chang’e and Houyi
After Chang’e and Houyi had been banished from heaven, she mourned for her immortality and was often miserable, believing she would soon grow old and ugly and lose her husband’s regard. Seeing how unhappy she was, Houyi resolved to go on a quest to regain their immortality; he traveled for many perilous months and fought many terrible monsters before finally arriving at the palace of Xiwangmu, who gave him a pill, cautioning that only half of it was required to make a single person immortal. Thus armed with a pill that could restore both of them to heaven, Houyi returned home.
He carefully put the pill away in a case before leaving to respond to an urgent summons from the emperor, warning Chang’e not to open it. Her curiosity and excitement to be cured of her mortality were such, however, that she did so anyway and put the pill in her mouth, intending to bite off half of it. Houyi, however, returned at that moment and she was so frightened of his anger if he caught her that she accidentally swallowed the pill whole. Immediately, buoyed by the overdose, she began to float into the air; she cried for help, but floated away too quickly for Houyi to catch hold of her, no matter how high he leaped. He steeled himself and aimed his bow at her, intending to shoot her down to keep her from floating away, but he could not bear to hurt her and in the end was unable to do so. Chang’e floated higher and higher until she landed on the moon, where she remained henceforth with only the Jade Rabbit for company, mourning her own foolishness and the loss of her husband.