The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea

He Xian Gu | Ho Hsien-ku

Among the Eight Immortals, "Only one is a woman, holding a lotus flower, of unparalleled beauty, known as the Immortal Maiden." Her magical weapon is a lotus flower.

Record of He Xiangu

The Immortal Maiden was from Zengcheng, named He Tai's daughter. She was born during the Kaiyao period of the Tang Dynasty. A purple cloud surrounded her house, and there was a white mark on her forehead.

At the age of four, she could lift heavy objects. She was filial to her parents and had a gentle nature. She lived at Chun Hill, which produced mica.

She once dreamed of an old man who taught her the secret of making elixirs. She gradually felt lighter and healthier. She wrote a poem: "The mica at the Phoenix Platform looks like heavenly flowers, refined into white lotus buds. I laugh at those who travel to Gou Lou in vain, where else would one find red cinnabar?" Later, a phoenix actually came to rest on the place, and it was renamed Phoenix Platform. Across from Jiangbei, she could see Luofu Mountain.

Once, she mentioned she was going to visit Luofu, but her parents were confused and secretly arranged a marriage for her. On the night of the wedding, she suddenly disappeared. They found a poem hidden between the screens and inkstone, saying: "Magu blames me for longing for earthly distractions, separating from the immortals is a long journey. I'm heading to Cangzhou to play under the moonlight, riding backward on the yellow crane, listening to the phoenix flute." The next morning, they found a shoe by the well, nothing else. Later, a Taoist priest from Luofu came to Zengcheng and mentioned seeing her at Magu Rock. He said to the priest, "Go to Zengcheng and collect the shoe left by the well for me."

How Lu Dongbin Led He Xiangu to Immortality

He Xiangu, whose given name was Qiong, was a young woman from Zengcheng, Guangdong, residing near the Mica Creek during the Tang Dynasty. At age thirteen, she went into the mountains to pick tea with her female companions. After losing them and walking alone, she got lost. Under the Eastern Peak, she encountered a man with a long beard, deep blue eyes, wearing a tall cap and a six-tiered robe; this was none other than Lü Dongbin. The Immortal Maiden immediately prostrated and bowed to him. Lü Dongbin gave her a peach and said, "If you eat this, one day you will ascend to heaven; if not, you will remain in the mortal realm." The Immortal Maiden ate only half of the peach, and Lü Dongbin pointed out the way back. When she returned, she felt it had only been a day, not realizing it had actually been over a month. From then on, she never felt hunger or exhaustion. She could foresee human events and eventually achieved spiritual liberation.

Temple of He Xiangu

I once heard about Xie Ziran, now there's a temple for the Immortal Maiden He. It's been a long time since Han Yu wrote, but these marvelous tales remain. When she was born, the purple clouds illuminated the sky. She refined mica into elixirs, red jade into flying smoke. Her elegant beauty never aged, her fluttering gown shone with colors. The flowers of the spirit world held dewdrops, the jade waters reflected the moonlit lotus. It seemed as if she sat deep in the inner chamber, her breath soft and light. To her left was Lady Wei, to her right was Xia Chanjuan. She never entered the path of Tiantai, but remains as ageless as the dragons and immortals.