Thursday, June 04, 2009

Is There A God Of Tea?

No, I'm not about to enter into a religious debate; unless you want me to. Nope, I was just interested if there was a master, or sage, or GOD of tea. Guess what? Tea has more than one deity.

First, you have to start with Lu Yu. He's not really a god, but more of a sage of tea. Lu Yu (733 - 804), often called The Saint of Tea, wrote the first known book entirely on tea, it's benefits on culture and the individual called The Classic of Tea.

But there's more. I found a very interesting article by Rena Sherwood about the many saints and spirits of tea. After reading her article, it appears as if there are more goddesses of tea than god. Here are a few more...

Kuan Yin (Quan Yin): This is the beloved Goddess of Mercy who still has a strong following today. She is thought to have been based on a real woman. She is legendary for rescuing lost travelers in distress. There is another legend that says she only consented to become a Goddess if She was still allowed to go back to Earth to help people. Black tea and oolong tea is associated with Her, as it is both nourishing and comforting.

Huchi-Fuchi (Unchi-Ahchi): ("Grandmother Hearth") Japanese Goddess of the stove and thus the Goddess that heats the tea. The intricate Japanese Tea Ceremony is in part to honor Her. Another one of Her jobs is to intercede with the Gods on behalf of mortals. The hearth is considered the heart of a home, the vital element that keeps life flowing. Hearth goddesses are found all over the world, and they all wouldn't mind being asked for tea every now and then. Other hearth Goddesses include the German Heartha (where we get the word "hearth" from), Hestia (Greek Goddess very high in the pantheon) and Vesta (of Virgin fame - basically the Roman name for Hestia)

Maybe you have your own deity of tea? Or, perhaps you know of even more saints and spirits of our favorite beverage. Please post a comment and share your thoughts...

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