ALSO KNOWN AS:
Chung-li Ch’uan, Chief of the Eight Immortals, allegedly lived during the Chou Dynasty (1122–249 BCE). A great alchemist, he obtained the secrets of the Elixir of Life and the Powder of Transformation, better known in the West as the Philosopher’s Stone.
Once upon a time, he was a Taoist master who encountered a young woman dressed in widow’s weeds sitting beside a grave and fanning the ground over it. When asked to explain her actions, she said she had promised her latehusband not to re-marry until the dirt over his grave was dry. She had found a man she wished to marry and was trying to hurry the process.
Chung-li Ch’uan offered to help. He invoked spirits, then, borrowing her fan, he struck the ground with it. It dried completely. The widow was so ecstatic that she ran off, thanking him, leaving the fan in his hands. He went home and described his experience to his own beautiful, much younger wife, who expressed strong disapproval of the widow’s desires, protesting (perhaps too much) that she herself would never behave in such fashion. Chung-li Ch’uan was inspired to prove a point.
Using spells, he made his body seem dead while his soul assumed the form of an extremely handsome young man in which guise he aggressively courted his own wife. She held out for a few days but then agreed to marry him. Chung-li Ch’uan in disguise advised her that her late husband’s brains were required as an ingredient for a potion. Intending to fulfill her new lover’s request, she opened the coffin, only to witness the corpse come alive and the new lover vanish. Devastated and humiliated, she hung herself. Chung-li Ch’uan set his house on fire including all his possessions, keeping only the fan and a copy of the I-Ching. Chung-li Ch’uan is invoked when his magical or alchemical knowledge is needed; however, it is his powers of resurrection and his ability to bestow longevity that are generally most sought.
Chung-li Ch’uan is usually depicted as a fat man with a big naked belly. He always grasps his primary attribute, the magical fan with which he resurrects the dead.
Fan, peach of immortality
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.