Ho Hsien-Ko

Ho Hsien-Ko

Ho, the Fairy Lady


Ho Sin-Ko; Hosinko

Ho Hsien-Ko, one of the Eight Immortals, was a seventh-century CE shopkeeper’s daughter from Hunan. She was born with six golden hairs marking her as a unique and blessed child. When she was a little girl, she met what is described as “an eccentric” who gave her a magical peach. She ate it and was never hungry again, nor did she require food. Furthermore, she developed clairvoyant powers and was able to reveal people’s fortunes. A shrine was built for her, and Ho Hsien-Ko was worshipped as a living goddess.

When she was about fourteen years old, a Fairy appeared in her dream and showed her how to eat Cloud Mother Powder, made of moonbeams and powdered mother-of-pearl, a diet alleged to produce immortality. The dream was so vivid that Ho Hsien-Ko followed the Fairy’s directions. She discovered that she could fly. She wandered the hills alone, flying up into the mountains to gather fruits, mushrooms, and other treats for her parents. Once she got lost in the woods where she was threatened by a Demon, but Lu Tung-pin arrived with his magical sword to rescue her. Her parents loathed her wandering ways and strange behavior. A marriage was arranged for her, but on her wedding night, only a poem and her shoes could be found. Ho Hsien-Ko had disappeared.

Eventually a Taoist monk came to her parent’s house requesting her shoes, and her parents learned that she was in residence in a monastery. She had stopped eating entirely and spoke so profoundly no one could understand her. News of this strange young adept traveled to the royal court. Ho Hsien-Ko was summoned to the court of Empress Wu (625–705 CE). She began the journey with the palace guards sent to escort her (to ensure her arrival), but Ho Hsien-Ko disappeared en route, vanishing from the middle of the road, right before their eyes.

She reemerged as one of the Eight Immortals and has periodically been encountered in different times and places, sometimes in company with the goddess Ma Gu.

• Ho Hsien-Ko is invoked to assist with domestic issues.

• She is the matron of those who sometimes long to disappear.


Lotus, fly whisk, basket filled with herbs and wild fruits, large bamboo ladle containing peaches and mushrooms of immortality


Bao Gu; Eight Immortals; Lu Tungpin; Ma Gu


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.

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