THIEN LOI – Vietnamese thunder god. The chief deity Ngoc Hoang appointed him as the Divine Judge and put him in charge of punishing criminals, blasphemers, and the seriously immoral. He was also in charge of striking down all those predestined to be struck by lightning, be they human or animal. In addition he often destroyed the spirits of slain monsters who continued their wrongdoing on the astral plane, like the spirits of the monsters slain by the god Thach Sanh, who continued plaguing that deity after he slew them.
The sound of thunder is caused by the gong-like drums that Thien Loi wears as ornaments on his body. His weapons are two axes, a bronze one to kill humans and a stone one to kill animals and demons. It was believed that three months and ten days after lightning struck the ground mini versions of Thien Loi’s axes would grow from the soil at the site of the lightning strike.
Sorcerors would dig up those mini- axes and sell them to people to wear as talismans against lightning strikes or would use the axes themselves to fight off demons and illnesses. Thien Loi is depicted with the head and feet of a rooster, a deformity he carries as a punishment from Ngoc Hoang for displeasing him in some way. (accounts vary)
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2010.