[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 4) Parallels between Magos and Matrikas
The numeric fluidity of a particular pantheon of Goddesses from three to nine is no isolated phenomenon in Western Muse tradition only. Laura K. Chamberlain’s research on the Hindu Goddess Matrika, one of the major manifestations of Durga, bears a close resemblance to the counterpart in Magoism. In the
story of Mago Halmi, Mago had eight daughters and dispatched seven daughters to seven regions/islands who respectively became the shaman progenitor of the region. She lived with the youngest daughter, whose region was the center of Magoism. The Mago pantheon is also addressed as Gurang (Nine Goddesses) in the case of Gaeyang Halmi (Sea Goddess/Grandmother). Among others, a parallel between Chamberlian’s delineation of the worship of the Asta Matrikas (Eight Mother Goddesses) and folk rituals concerning Mago is striking with regards to the aniconic rituals offered at “crossroads, rivers, the sea, and mountains” to Matrika. In the case of Magoism, the veneration of rocks and mountains that may be seen as “animistic beliefs” is widespread throughout the Korean peninsula.
The linguistic resemblance is also present between Matrikas and Magos. According to Chamberlian, Mai (mother) and Ajima (grandmother) are the “two of the oldest names for the goddess in Nepal.”  They appear analogous with the Korean words Eomma 엄마 (Omai 오마이, Omasi 오마시, and etc. for mother) and Ajime (아지매, a female relative or aunt), a dialect from which the modern term Ajuma (아줌마, neighbor woman often pejoratively referring to a housewife) is derived.
Chamberlain also notes the varied number of Matrikas and writes:
The inconsistency in the number of Matrikas found in the valley [Indus] today (seven, eight, or nine) possibly reflects the localization of goddesses [ ] Although the Matrikas are mostly grouped as seven goddesses over the rest of the Indian Subcontinent, an eighth Matrikas has sometimes been added in Nepal to represent the eight cardinal direction. In Bhaktapur, a city in the Kathmandu Valley, a ninth Matrika is added to the set to represent the center.
On the one hand, it is true that the indeterminate number of Matrikas, as Chamberlain points out, explains localization of Hindu Goddesses in the Indian Subcontinent. On the other hand, it is equally possible to posit that there was a Goddess myth once shared by the members of mother community in a remote past. A daughter community, which resided in the mother community, came to migrate farther away from the mother community. She herself became a mother and was known as the mother community by her own daughter communities. From the perspective of the original mother community, the memory of the original myth by granddaughter communities would be fragmented and flavored with their own cultural, historical, and linguistic backgrounds. After many generations passed, granddaughter communities would lose the memory of the original myth and that they would not recognize kindred communities all over the world. However, the first mother was wise. She chose one daughter to carry on the legacy of the original myth. This is exactly what Mago stories tells us. When all is said and done, the numeric similarity of three, seven, eight, or nine and the inconsistency of the number are only some of the fragmented testimonies by granddaughter communities. Under such circumstances, Mago’s lineage, especially the first three generations, works as a blueprint of the family tree lost among granddaughter communities.
(Read Part 3, to be continued in Part 5, Dr. Glenys Livingstone’s response to this essay.)
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 See Tales [9-1] and [5-3] in the Appendix, Hwang (2005), 391-8.
 I was able to join a field research trip organized by the research team of Kunguk University’s Korean Literature Graduate Studies to collect the folk stories of Gaeyang Halmi, the Sea Goddess, in Buan-gun (Buan County), North Jeolla Province, South Korea July 10-12, 2012. Only after the trip, I realized Gaeyang Halmi with her eight daughters was also called Gurang (Nine Goddesses)
 Chamberlain, 26.
 Ibid., 26.
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