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Book Review: A Galaxy of Immortal Women:The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization by Brian Griffith

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A Galaxy of Immortal Women:The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization by Brian Griffith is an informative book on the plethora of immortal women who made contributions to virtually every area of Chinese life over the centuries. Griffith documents goddess figures from pre-historic times, famous heroines of resistance movements, enlightened immortals, spiritual heroines and superwomen of the people.

Griffiths starts with famous women deities. For example, the greatest deity in China is Kuan Yin, who is the goddess of universal compassion. Chen Jinggu led a band of sworn sisters who were known as the fighting shamanesses. Lo Shen is a mythical spirit of nature. Feng Bo Bo represents the primordial forces of winds and storms. Shin Mu is the holy mother of perfect intelligence.

Confucious spoke of a Golden Age where the land would be green with hillside forests, languid ponds and sparkling fresh beaches. The author explains the Confucian legends; whereby, the primordial father-figures exuded virtues like compassion and generosity. The Confucianists presented idealized pictures of their ancestors. Examples of famous Buddhist and Daoist Masters include Mazu, Chen Jinggu, Yeshe Tsogyal, Xie Xiran and Zu Shu.

Ma Tsu is a famous goddess who saved men at sea. She saved people in her

dreams and was a boat woman on the coast of Fujian. Later, great temples were erected to Ma Tsu or Mazu. Today, she is worshipped by over 100 million people on the southern coasts of China and Taiwan.

In popular folklore, the Double Seven Festival is a feast day for Chinese women, according to Griffith. The celebration commemorates the divine daughter of the stove god who came to the earth out of love for Krishna. Other spiritual leaders discussed by Griffith include Sun Buer, Cao Wenyi, Mulan, Miaoshan, Dagmema, Machiq Lapdron and Chokyidronme.

The author documents numerous goddess figures found in pre-historic villages like mythical creator goddesses. These goddesses included Jun Di, Yao Chi Jinmu, The Jade Maiden of Profound Wonder and others. Classic resistance figures are referred to in the book. These figures include Ti Ying, Qi Gu, Yu Jiang (the hairy lady of the forest) and Yaoji. Famous immortals include Guanyin, Zheng Wei and He Xiangu.

A Galaxy of Immortal Women:The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization is a considerable volume on the history of famous Chinese women over the centuries from pre-historic times to more current history. The research effort undertaken in this history was considerable. The author provides an extensive glossary of goddesses and divine personas; such as, Ba who is the goddess of drought.

Griffith utilizes well known sources like The Cambridge Companion To Modern Chinese Culture, The Restoration of the Han Dynasty, One Hundred Celebrated Chinese Women, Confucianism and Christianity and many more.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.

    This sounds like a very interesting book. And maybe Part 2 can be about China’s MORTAL women 🙂