|Natural History of the Yunü
Author: Lynn K. Hollander PM
An extract from the Celestial Encyclopedia.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy - Words: 472 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 07-17-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2933877
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As far as even the most learned humans and gods know, yunü are not born, nor created, but awaken, generally in a wilderness on one of the Five Sacred Peaks. They have occasionally been discovered on other mountains or in other sacred areas, such as the Peach Orchard of Xiwangmu or the Western Paradise or in one of the dongtian, the Caves of Heaven. They awaken fully grown and clad only in their long hair, but wherever they are discovered, they will know the language of the country and possess a round mirror.
Shortly after they awaken they will be met by another yunü, one who has been incarnate long enough to have grown in power and knowledge. This yunü protects and guides the younger yunü for some years or until the younger feels drawn to a god or saint to serve, or to a mortal to instruct or protect. How the advanced yunü knows of the presence and location of the new yunü is a mystery even to them. The call to service is equally mysterious and equally strong.
Serving a god usually means becoming one of an entourage. If the god makes a progress, the entourage will accompany her (or him, or them; how some divinities should be addressed is uncertain), carrying a symbolic sword or a sunshade or an incense burner or other sort of divine impedimenta. This may be emotionally or religiously satisfying to the yunü; however, a progress does not happen every day, and the times between progresses may not be as interesting. The duration of a yunü's service in an entourage is generally short, less than two human centuries. Grandmother Dragon and the Queen Mother of the West employ their yunü more diversely, as gardeners, guards or messengers, or as companions or instructors for family members. These opportunities for greater experience may be why the Eldest and Xiwangmu each have large and fairly stable household contingents of yunü. Yunü are immortal, but not invulnerable; they may be killed. They may also choose to discard their physical bodies and return to pure spirit.
A yunü's service to a mortal may involve indulging in philosophical arguments, assistance in tantric exercises, or the averting demons or assassins. The yunü guides the mortal to enlightenment or immortality or to the fulfillment of some higher purpose on Earth.
Some researchers among humans have theorized that the yunü are a blank slate, a tabula rasa, when they awake. Certainly they are susceptible to what we might term imprinting or enslavement by beings of power if they come upon the new yunü during their first days awake. Advanced yunü may rescue the imprinted yunü, performing what humans call interventions. As with humans, sometimes interventions are successful, sometimes not. Enslaved yunü usually do not remain incarnate long.