There are 5 Animal Immortals, worshiped by the North-Eastern Chinese Folks. They are:
- Hu Immortals (Fox) - 胡仙(狐狸)
- Yellow Immortals (Weasel) - 黄仙(黄鼠狼)
- White Immortals (Hedgehog) - 白仙(刺猬)
- Willow Immortals (Snake) - 柳仙(蛇)
- Grey / Ash Immortals (Rat) - 灰仙(老鼠)
The North-Eastern Chinese believe if these animals are offended and being harmed or killed, they will use their magical power to seek revenge to cause calamity, disaster, and personal misfortune as punishment. If these animal spirits were respected and worshiped by the human folks, they will bring blissful living, protection and good-luck to the human folks.
Normally, North-Eastern Chinese will worship 5 Animal Immortals by setting an altar at home, or next to the ancestors' tablets in the house, or at the corner of the courtyard.
Out of the 5 animal immortals, the 3 most respected ones are:
- Fox Immortals, revered as "3rd Uncle Hu"( 胡三太爺)
- Weasel Immortals, revered as "2nd Uncle Yellow"(黄二大爺)
- Hedgehog Immortals, revered as "Granny White" (白老太太)
Hu Immortals (Fox) - 胡仙 (狐狸)
There is a popular belief among the Chinese that Foxes have spiritual power to bewitch and cause trouble, and may also become celestial beings or immortals.
Fox spirits are proficient in sorcery magic, able to repay goodness, or seek revenge. They are able to have love affairs with human folks, and poke fun at humans.
Fox Immortals are able to treat and cure sickness on human folks. During Spirit Medium consultation among the North-Eastern Chinese, spirit mediums invite fox spirits to possess their bodies to provide consultation to the public.
Since 5000 years ago, Chinese viewed foxes as auspicious animals and worshiped them. There was an ancient legend stated that from the beginning of Xia Dynasty (21st - 16th century BC), Yu the Great （大禹） encountered a white nine-tailed fox, which he interpreted as an auspicious sign that he would marry Nü-Jiao (女娇).
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Yellow Immortals (Weasels) - 黄仙(黄鼠狼)
Weasels are being worshiped due to their beautiful postures and crafty disposition, which give people a sense of mystery. Another important reason why the Chinese Folks worshiped them is because they are known to have the magical power to manipulate the human's psychic, which shows similarity to a kind of mental illness, known as "Hysteria".
Folks believe that once Weasel Spirit possess the body of a person, the person will become "Hysteric". This symptom often appears among the females and people suffering from mental depression. While being spiritually attacked by Weasel Spirit, the person will weep and cry and speaks about mysterious matters or issues of resentment. Some cases have shown the victims were singing in poetic verses.
Victims will not recognize their own family members and friends as well. Victims are seen to have small bubble-like tiny balls bouncing under the skins. If the tiny balls are being pricked by needle, the weasel spirit will be destroyed and the patient will be recovered.
There is a peculiar phenomenon, if there is a presence of a doctor, wizard / sorcerer or a person who has beaten a weasel, who cough outside the door, the victim will recover immediately, and behave like a normal human being. Even though, victim may not suffer a sequela, but it is difficult for a complete recovery, and often suffer a relapsed.
White Immortals (Hedgehogs) - 白仙(刺猬)
Folks regards Hedgehogs immortals as animal spirits that bring wealth-luck, and provide protection from illness. People believe that "Granny White" (白老太太) is the divine spirit of a Hedgehog. Granny White has the ability to cure sickness and proficient in magical sorcery skills.
Willow Immortals (Snakes) - 柳仙(蛇)
Ancient Chinese have been worshiping snakes since remote antiquity. Fu-Xi (伏羲) and Nu-Wa (女媧) are 2 good examples of human heads with snake bodies. Snakes are often known as the reincarnation of dragons. Snakes have peculiar body structures, able to hibernate, hide, shed skins, transform. Their movements are deceitful and agile. Their spiritual power are more powerful than the fox spirits, and able to transform to humans. They have the magical ability to capture images thousand miles away in their mind. There is an ancient Chinese novel , Lady White Snake (白蛇傳) which is about a kind-hearted snake spirit. There is a cultural dance in Tian-Jin, which often portrays 2 snake immortals holding swords. They are the White Snake Immortal and Green Snake Immortal.
Grey / Ash Immortals (Rat) - 灰仙(老鼠)
Rats / Mouses are being worshiped, due to their high intelligence. They are able to move freely at night, and in darkness. People find them elusive and crafty. Some folks even regard them as God of Storehouse. During barn-filling festival, village folks will worship the Rat Immortals.
Rats have the precognition of the future, able to practice divination, and bring wealth to the human folks, therefore also worshiped as wealth god, wishing to transport wealth to the house during darkness.
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