(Essay 2) Magos, Muses, and Matrikas: The Magoist Cosmogony and Gynocentric Unity by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Ph.D.

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Square_Mirror_with_the_Eight_Trigrams_and_Flowers_LACMA_M.2000.15.185.jpg
Square Mirror of the Eight Trigrams and Flowers, Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), Korea. Source info here.

[Author’s note: This paper is published in the journal, the Gukhak yeonguronchong 국학연구론총 (Issue 14, December 2014). Here it will appear in five sequels including the response by Dr. Glenys Livingstone. Numbers of end notes differ from the original paper.]

(Part 2) The Magoist Cosmogony and the Mago Lineage

According to the Budoji, ultimate creativity is attributed to Cosmic Music (read sonic movement or frequency), Pal-ryeo (八呂, Eight Pitches) or Yul-ryeo (律呂, Rhythm and Pitch).[1] Primordial matter came to existence through the self-equilibrating movement of Cosmic Music. In the beginning of comic time, there was only a warm cosmic ray from which Cosmic Music rose. Stars were born from Cosmic Music during the previous cosmic period. The interim cosmic period is marked by the emergence of earthly entities. Mago, the Primordial Goddess, Mago Stronghold (麻姑城, Mago-seong, earth itself),[2] and two other landmasses (moons) were born from the dance of Pal-ryeo.[3] Mago was born with and to the Earth (Mago Stronghold). She, representing the Earth to the celestial community, supervises earthly systems in accordance with Cosmic Music. In that sense, Mago is the Earth Mother. However, Her divine realm is not limited to the Earth in a dualistic sense. In perceiving Mago’s divine nature, dualistic thinking Heaven vs. Earth is irrelevant. Referred to as Heavenly Deity, She also represents the Cosmos to humans. In short, Mago is the Source of earthlings through whom earthlings are connected to the universe.[4]

Historically, Mago is revered as the progenitor, cosmogonist, and ultimate sovereign.[5] She is the originator of Life on Earth and causes all beings to be born, flourish, and disappear. Without Her, nothing would have been existent on Earth in the first place. Prior to the diversification of sexes, She procreated two daughters through parthenogenesis. She is the original female and thus called Halmi (Goddess or Grandmother) among Koreans. Together with Her two daughters, Mago comprises the Primordial Triad. Her two daughters also respectively gave birth to four daughters without a male counterpart. Mago knew how to tell the cyclic nature of Cosmic Music and prepared earthly environments for creativity to take forms and run its course. She is the Mover. At the opening of Yul-ryeo (Cosmic Music), She moved primordial landmass to the region of primordial water. That caused the counter-balancing movement of water and land to begin. Mago’s involvement in the natural world harbingered another cosmic period, the last of the three-fold cosmic periods, which continues to this day. Natural elements and earth energies intermingled and were placed to balance against each other. Optimal conditions were created for the auto-genesis of potential things. All living beings including animals and plants were brought forth into existence.

Mago Lineage in Mago Stronghold

In the Magoist cosmogony, the very event of an entity’s auto-genesis is viewed as a sign of sonic equilibrium on macro and micro levels, a perfect harmony. To be and to become take place through the divine act of Mago in tune with the cyclic movement of Cosmic Music. Insofar as humans, whether as individuals or a community, are extant, Mago is present in humans. She is “immortal” or “eternal” for humans in that humans as Mago’s direct descendants carry Her DNA. Nonetheless, She is present beyond humans. Biologically speaking, She is in the very genome of all things on Earth. She lives in and with Her garden, Earth (Mago Stronghold).

The Mago lineage shows that all peoples of the world are kindred, deriving from Mago, the Primordial Mother. It merits a complete picture of the family tree of human ancestors traced by ancient East Asian descendants. Everyone or a people is consanguineous to one another, sharing the common ancestry of the Mago Triad, Mago and Her two daughters. The third generation includes the four racial clan mothers, the yellow, the blue, the white, and the black. From them, human ancestors were born. The first three generations of Mago descent is known as the pantheon of nine Goddesses (九郞, Gurang) in Korean folk traditions.

The male, evolved from the primordial female, arrives in the fourth generation of Mago’s lineage.[6] I maintain that the original female sex remains intact—as “primordial virgin,” for the lack of a better word—up to Mago’s third generation descendants, eight Goddesses (See the Table below). To be noted is that racial diversification preceded sex diversification in this scheme. That implies that there was a significantly long period of the Multi-Raced Clan Community of the original female/Goddesses prior to the arrival of the male. Mago’s household members known as immortals or transcendents (仙, seon or xian) were able to turn in with Cosmic Music, which resulted in the stabilization of earthly environments. It made Mago Stronghold the paradisiacal community of four primordial racial clans. The task of Mago Stronghold (read earthly) residents was to equilibrate the earthly sonic representation in tune with Cosmic Music.

[1] Whether Pal-ryeo and Yul-ryeo refers to the same entity or not remains a debate. It is possible to denote that Yul-ryeo is a more general term for Cosmic Music, whereas Pal-ryeo is a specific term that indicates the movement of Cosmic Music with regards to Earth.

[2] The transliteration of Mago Stronghold for Mago-seong owes to Rosemary Mattingley, editor-in-chief of Return to Mago web-magazine (http://magoism.net/). The term, “Mago-seong (Mago Stronghold),” is no mere fanciful imagination but eponymous of East Asian place-names and landmasses. Seong (Stronghold or Stonewalls) refers to a provenance or region of city-states in pre- and proto-historic times of Korea. Ki-baik Lee, Korean historian, develops the notions of “Walled-Town States and Confederated Kingdoms,” which accords with the assessment of Magoist states that I propose. Refer to Ki-baik Lee, A New History of Korea, translated by E. Wagner and E. Shultz (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 9-13.

[3] The two other landmasses (moons) are Sildal-seong (Sildal Stronghold) and Heodal-seong (Heodal Stronghold). In this case, “seong” means a landmass or moon. According to Thomas Yoon, commentator of the Budoji, both Sildal-seong and Heodal-seong refer to the two moons of the Earth in the beginning. See Thomas Yoon, 160.

[4] For detailed discussions of the Magoist cosmogony, see Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, “The Female Principle in the Magoist Cosmogony.” Ochre Journal of Women’s Spirituality, (Spring 2007) [http://www.ochrejournal.org/2007/scholarship/hwang1.html].

[5] The misconception of “Mago” as a name of the particular goddess hinders one’s perception of Mago’s supreme identity. The word “Mago” means the Great Goddess, a common noun rather than a proper noun. For ancients, however, “Mago” meant not only the Great Goddess but also Magoist shamans and priestesses. For that reason, it should be listed as “Magos” like Muses or Matrikas. That reflects an ancient way of thinking that one sees no distinctive demarcation between Mago and Her representatives.

[6] During the early years of my reading of the Budoji, I had thought that the male arrives in the third generation of Mago’s lineage. However, after taking into a careful consideration of folkloric and artistic expressions that depict Mago as Mother of eight daughters, thus the pantheon of Gurang (Nine Goddesses), I have reached another assessment that Mago’s third generation descendants are all of the original female, Goddesses (Magos).

(To be continued in Part 3. Read Part 1.)

Meet Mago Contributor, Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Ph.D.


7 thoughts on “(Essay 2) Magos, Muses, and Matrikas: The Magoist Cosmogony and Gynocentric Unity by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Ph.D.”

  1. “Mago’s household members …were able to turn in with Cosmic Music, which resulted in the stabilization of earthly environments. It made Mago Stronghold the paradisiacal community of four primordial racial clans. The task of Mago Stronghold (read earthly) residents was to equilibrate the earthly sonic representation in tune with Cosmic Music.”

    Mago’s earthly residents today are not doing a good job of equilibrating things in tune with Cosmic Music. Are there any special techniques involved in becoming “in tune”? Maybe you’ll get to this in the next part, but in case not, I thought I’d ask.

  2. Dear saharasia,

    Your assessment of Mago’s descendants today is correct. In fact, it was your question that was asked by ancient sages and rulers. Ancient musical theories of China are pretty well studied. You might like to check out this article:


    In this paper, I will move to the tradition of Muses and Matrikas in the sequels. I tackle the topic of “how to restore the original nature in humans” in my forthcoming book that I am writing. Returning to Mago’s Origin (the Origin of the Great Goddess) is to recover the broken musical harmony on all levels. The Magoist cosmogony informs the two catastrophic human (meaning Mago’s descendants) mistakes up to the 5th century CE. Due to these irreversible events, history ran the course of degeneration. Mago’s descendants have lost the ability to maintain the musical balance within earthly environments, which puts in dissonance with Cosmic Music. The Magoist cosmgony is ultimately soteriological, telling us what went wrong and how to cope with those irreversible catastrophes. It is complex and I can’t lay it out without telling the mytho-history of Magoism.

      1. Yes, but the idea of coping with it is not so ineffective or secondary. It is just like our life. Imagine that if one makes a mistake but accepts it and copes with it for the best, then the mistake can be a tool to make everything right. There is still a chance to make it right, always insofar as humans continue to exist. The answer is to return to the origin of the Great Goddess. I shall delineate in details, I hope, in my writing.

  3. Helen, I look forward to a book someday… this is priceless information! Thank you for allowing WHP to be apart of sharing this information. Jayne.

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