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Let the rain fall on you and wash it all away.

Aryong Jong is a Korean Goddess of water and rain, named after a sacred spring or well. She is very much associated with the area around Gyeongju (in modern South Korea), the capital city of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea in ancient times.

There are several versions of Aryong Jong's birth. In one, She was born of a dragon or kyeryong that came out of a sacred well near Saryang, a village not far from what would become Gyeongju. In Korea, dragons are primarily associated with water, and considered benevolent creatures that bring clouds and rain; the kyeryong (also transliterated gye-lyong) is a type of dragon with bird elements—the word literally means 'chicken-dragon' or 'rooster-dragon'; the European equivalent is perhaps a cockatrice. Aryong Jong was either born from the dragon or hatched out of an egg the dragon laid (not an uncommon theme in Korean mythology); another version says that after the dragon died, Aryong Jong emerged from the dragon's body or rib.

In another story, Aryong Jong was the daughter of the Lady Saso, a woman of the Chinese royal family Who later became the xian (Taoist Immortal; the word is Chinese) or Goddess/spirit of Seondo Mountain, a low mountain near Gyeongju.

Though Aryong Jong was a beautiful baby, She was born with a chicken's beak, a mark of Her kyeryong mother; however, when She was bathed in the sacred spring this fell off leaving Her fully human.

Aryong Jong married Hyeokgeose (who incidentally was also born from an egg) when they were both thirteen years old. Hyeokgeose then founded the Kingdom of Silla (in 57 BCE according to tradition), and the two of them ruled long and well, making improvements to agricultural techniques so the people prospered. They were so beloved the people called them 'The Two Holy Ones'. They had many children together, and founded the Bak (or Park) clan, still one of the most common family names in Korea. After ruling for sixty-one years they both died and were buried separately, their tombs becoming pilgrimage sites.

As a water and rain Goddess Aryong Jong is honored for Her ability to bring rain during drought; as the founding mother of a very large clan She is also considered a fertility Goddess Who is petitioned by women looking to marry or conceive children.

In later (legendary) times, a prince named Jumong (once again born from an egg, and the son of the willow Goddess Yuhwa and the Sun-God Habaek) called upon Aryong Jong to destroy his rival's city; this She did by calling down enough rain to cause a flood that washed the city away. Jumong then caused his own city to be magically raised on the site, founding the kingdom of Goguryeo or Goryeo, which is the basis of the English name 'Korea'.

She is sometimes mentioned along with Yongdeong Halmoni, the Korean Goddess of the winds.

She is also called Alyeong or Aryeong.

This design is available on prints through Society 6.


Ch'ang O