Lady Horsehead

Lady Horsehead



Before she was Lady Horsehead, this goddess was a young girl whose wealthy father was kidnapped by pirates. In response, she mourned intensely and stopped eating. Her mother feared that she would lose her daughter, too and so she offered the girl’s hand in marriage to anyone who could bring her father back.

A horse in their stables, secretly in love with the girl, ran off, rescued the father and carried him home. When the horse demanded his bride, the outraged father killed the stallion, flayed him and hung the skin up. The horse skin “saw” the girl passing by, jumped off the wall onto her and proceeded to carry her off. The Jade Emperor heard her cries and rescued her, bringing her to his celestial palace where she is now his second wife and forever known as Lady Horsehead.

The strange myth of Lady Horsehead is reminiscent of the tale of Susano’o’s attack on his sister Amaterasu’s weaving maidens. Beneath the superficial narrative lie all kinds of spiritual implications. The flayed horse’s skin may refer to shamanic rites.

Lady Horsehead is the goddess of silkworms and silk production. Until 20th century Communist sanctions on traditional Chinese folk religion, she was actively venerated by women in silk-producing regions of China. Her blessings may be requested by anyone who works with silk in any aspect.




Amaterasu; Demeter; Jade Emperor; Susano’o


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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