Chang Kuo Lao

Chang Kuo Lao, one of the Eight Immortals, was a seventh- or eighth-century CE Taoist hermit. He developed a brilliant reputation as an alchemist, and so the emperor sought to have him in his service. He ordered Chang Kuo Lao to appear at the royal court. Chang Kuo did not wish to give up his wanderings. (Alternatively he objected to serving a corrupt government.) He ignored the first summons but after the second, he vanished, reemerging as one of the Eight Immortals.

He is a brilliant occultist with vast magical knowledge. He may be consulted for healing, advice, and instruction.


Chokaro (Japanese); Zhang Guolao




Chang Kuo Lao is traditionally the patron of blind fortune-tellers.


Chang Kuo is portrayed riding backward on his white mule.


The yuku, or fish drum, a musical instrument formed from a bamboo tube, one end of which is covered by snake skin


A magical white mule, which carries Chang Kuo Lao amazing distances but when not needed can be folded up like paper and carried in his wallet; whenever Chang Kuo Lao next needs his mule, he squirts water on the wallet and the mule reappears.


  • Eight Immortals


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.


Chang Kuo-lao (eighth century c.e.?) In Chinese Taoist mythology, one of the PaHsien, the Eight Immortals. He was a noted magician who could become invisible. He rode a magic mule that, when not in use, was folded up and put in his wallet. When the mule was needed, water was poured into Chang Kuolao’s wallet, and the mule reappeared. He is portrayed often with a bamboo tube drum, carried in either arm; its sounds announced his arrival in a community. In Japanese legend Chang Kuo-lao is called Chokaro.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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