The name of the Jade Emperor was Yu Huang. He was also called the Heavenly Emperor or Supreme Ruler. He was surrounded by hundreds of employees who were immortal with great influence on everything on earth – from weather conditions to helping people.

Interestingly, few people knew how Yu Huang rose to the rank of Heavenly Emperor. Thousands of years ago in China, two powerful ruling families fought – Zhu and Shan. Zhou Xing, who was the king of Shan, and his wicked concubine had the reputation of being very evil. They treated their subjects cruelly. After their defeat by Wu, who was Zhu’s king, the Chinese people welcomed the victory. He was helped by Jiang Jia, who after the victory of Wu assigned him to reward all those who fought bravely in the two armies, and for the bravest – immortality and ascension to heaven. Jiang Jia made the most fearless warlords into gods. After all this, Wu suggested that Jiang Jia be the next Jade Emperor because of his nobility and qualities. Jiang did not know whether to accept, he was modestly silent.

A general named Zhang, who had not received immortality, stepped forward and fell to his knees, thanking him for making him the next Jade Emperor. Wu and Jiang were so surprised by what was happening and said nothing. Thus, according to legend, Zhang became Yu Juan, the Jade Emperor – with cunning and the right opportunity. And Jiang Jia had to settle for the post that Yu Huang gave him, the first minister.

The Jade Emperor

The Jade Emperor, after his coronation, proved to be a just ruler. Despite its dubious rise. One of his most important tasks included the “gods of the hearth” – they had the task of monitoring, recording and reporting to the Jade Emperor on the affairs of the people. So he kept a record and knew about their actions. The reports were in the last lunar month of each year, when they were recorded together with the remarks of the ruler himself. At the time of a person’s death, the records judged whether to be reborn as a human or an animal.

Because the Jade Emperor did not deal directly with mortals, people did not offer prayers and offerings to him, but to his servants and courtiers. In this way they secured a good word from the ruler.

Xiwangmu’s Gifts

The Jade Emperor and his entourage

The Kunlun Mountains were inhabited by immortals, the Jade Emperor and his wife Xiwangmu. She was the most important person after the emperor because she could make people immortal with her peaches of immortality or the elixir of eternal life. She was also called Jin Mu (the “Golden Mother”) or the Queen Mother of the West.

The immortal Di Jun was angry with the archer because the archer had to scare his sons, the Ten Suns. However, he killed nine of them, forcing him to remain on earth and live as a mortal. And he visited Xiwangmu and asked her to make him immortal again. The goddess gave him an elixir in a bottle, but he should not drink the whole contents, otherwise he would ascend to heaven and live only with the immortals.

Archer Yi was startled and did not take the bottle immediately. His wife, Chan U, who also wanted immortality but did not want to ascend only to the gods, consulted an astrologer for advice. He predicted that he could live on the moon, far from humans, but also far from the gods.

So Chan Yu swallowed the entire contents of the bottle and ascended to the moon. The elixir, which was destined for Yi by Xiwangmu, doomed Chan Yu to a lonely life because there was only one rabbit and one old man on the moon besides her. She had a hard lesson to learn that Xiwangmu’s gifts could be good, but they were powerful and sometimes dangerous.