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The Origin & Legends Of Nine Tailed Fox Spirit & Celestial Foxes

This article is to educate the public about the truth and origin and legends of Nine-Tailed Fox and Fox Immortals to provide as much details as possible the  ancient records of the truth of the origin of Nine-Tailed Fox, which are from ancient China.

The Nine-Tailed Fox is a Cultural Motif, originated in ancient China, which then introduced to Japan and Korea.  Due to watching and reading too much of Naruto (Japanese Manga series), many Western Kids and Oversea Chinese Kids, thought that the "Nine Tailed Fox" Legend originated in Japan. When these western kids & oversea Chinese kids ask around for more information of the origin, folks either don't know the truth, or deliberately lie to them that the legend of the magical beast, originated in Japan, Korea or India, and never mentioned China, or said China had copied them.

Why credits were not given to China, the original culture of worshiping Nine-Tailed Fox, is because there might be people, even oversea Chinese, who has prejudice against China and Chinese Culture, therefore, truth need to be twisted and link the stories outside China and  without mentioning China.

Not much Ancient Chinese Classics / Novels / Texts were translated into English, because the Chinese has no interest to do so, and the Western Folks have no interest to read them either, therefore some people who are searching for the truth about Nine Tailed Fox (九尾狐) , have very limited information and end up thinking that there is not much write up about  Nine Tailed Fox (九尾狐)  coming from ancient China.

Historical Records Of  Nine Tailed Fox (九尾狐) From China

Nine Tailed Fox (九尾狐) is Chinese mythological creature, originally is a symbol of auspiciousness. After time (beginning of the Northern Song Dynasty), people gave a twist to the plot to new works of literature, and demonized  the beast.

The good fox spirits are revered as Hu Xian (狐仙 - Fox immortal). 
The evil fox spirits are often called Hu Li Jing (狐狸精).

The story about Nine-tailed fox 1st appeared in the 'Classic of Mountains and Seas' - (山海经 - Shan Hai Jing), compiled from the Warring States period to the Western Han period (circa 4th to circa 1st century BC).

The work states: "The Land of Green-Hills lies north. The foxes there have four legs and nine tails. According to another version, it is located north of Sunrise Valley." It also states: "Three hundred li farther east is Green-Hills Mountain, where much jade can be found on its south slope and green cinnabar on its north. There is a beast here whose form resembles a fox with nine tails. It makes a sound like a baby and is a man-eater. Whoever eats it will be protected against insect-poison (gu)."


Nine-tailed fox as an auspicious sign

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).


Fox Spirits In Chinese Legends, Chinese Classics & Ancient Chinese Novels

1) Nine-Tailed Fox as an Evil Magical Beast. In the ancient Chinese novels such as 'Wu Wang Fa Zhou Ping Hua' (武王伐纣平话) , the 'Feng Shen Yan Yi' (封神演义), and the 'Dong Zhou Lie Guo Zhi' (东周列国志), stories were told that the nine tailed fox was an evil spirit demon. Daji (妲己), a beautiful daughter of a general, she was married forcibly to the cruel tyrant Zhou Xin (紂辛 Zhòu Xīn). A nine-tailed fox spirit who served Nüwa, whom Zhou Xin had offended, entered into and possessed her body, expelling the true Daji's soul. The spirit, as Daji, and her new husband schemed cruelly and invented many devices of torture. Because of such cruelties, many people, including Zhou Xin's own former generals, revolted and fought against Zhou Xin's dynasty, Shang. Finally, King Wen of Zhou, one of the vassals of Shang, founded a new dynasty named after his country. The fox spirit in Daji's body was later driven out by Jiang Ziya (姜子牙), the first Prime Minister of the Zhou Dynasty and her spirit condemned by Nüwa herself due to the fox's cruelty and disobeying its original order of bewitch King Zhou but do not harm others towards the end of Feng Shen Bang.

2) A fantasy novel written in the Ming Dynasty, The Three Sui Quash the Demons' Revolt (三遂平妖傳), a fox spirit teaches a young girl magic, enabling her to conjure armies with her spells.

3) In 'Ren Shi Zhuan' (任氏传), in which Miss Ren, a transformed fox spirit, lives together with the scholar Zheng Liu (鄭六). Miss Ren is not only beautiful, but also intelligent and is able to withstand the destroying forces in her fox spirit. This story has influenced the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) novel collection Liao Zhai Zhi Yi (聊齋志異).

4) Some of the stories in Liao Zhai Zhi Yi (聊斋志异) are love stories between a fox spirit appearing as a beautiful girl and a young human male.

5) In Xuanzhongji (玄中記) - "Stories from the mid of mystery", an early collection of stories compiled during the Jin period 晉 (265-420), it goes "When a fox is fifty years old, it can transform itself into a woman; when a hundred years old, it becomes a beautiful female, or a spirit medium, or an adult male who has sexual intercourse with women. Such beings are able to know things at more than a thousand miles' distance; they can poison men by sorcery, or possess and bewilder them, so that they lose their memory and knowledge; and when a fox is thousand years old, it ascends to heaven and becomes a celestial fox."

[晉]郭璞《玄中記》 - "狐五十岁,能变化为妇人,百岁为美女,为神巫,能知千里外事。善蛊魅,使人迷惑失智。千岁即与天通,为天狐。"

6) In "Explaining The San Hai Jing" Text, there is a 'Praise Of Nine-Tailed Fox' by Guo Pu (郭璞) : An extraordinary beast on the Green Hill, the fox of nine tails. It manifests itself when the Tao (The Way) prevails, And appears with a book in it's mouth. It sends an auspicious omen to the Zhou Dynasty to promulgate a mystical talisman.

 注解《山海經》 - 〈九尾狐赞〉「青丘奇兽,九尾之狐。有道祥见,出则衔书。作瑞于周,以摽灵符。」

7) In 'You Yang Za Zu' (酉阳杂俎) - "A table full of miscellaneous writings from south of Mt. You", a collection of phantastic stories compiled during the Tang period (唐) (618-907), written:

7a) "In olden days, wild foxes were called purple foxes, night arrive and their tails turn bright like fire. When a fox has the ability to become demon, it's head will put on a skull and pray to the north dipper, if the skull doesn't drop, it will eventually turn into human."


7b) Among the arts of the Way, there is a specific doctrine of the celestial fox. The celestial fox has nine tails and golden in color. It serves in the Palace of the Sun and Moon and has its own talismans and a sacrificial ritual. It can transcend yin and yang."


8) In the 10th century collection of stories - 'The Extensive Records of the Taiping Era' - 'Tai Ping Guang Ji' (太平广记), there are 12 accounts of fox spirits dating from the Han till to the early Song dynasty.

8a) The scholar Zhang Zhuo (張鷟) (658 - 730) of the Tang dynasty also noted that ‘many commoners were worshiping the fox deities. They offer sacrifices to them in their bedchambers.’ There is a saying  - "Without setting up a Fox Spirit Temple / Shrine, it will not consider a village community' - meaning every village has a fox spirit temple / shrine.


9) From the 'Tai Ping Guang Ji' (太平广记):

"At fifty years of age, foxes are able to transform themselves into women. At one hundred years into beauties and magic sorcerers, or they become men and women and screw around. They also have the power to know about faraway events, have the knowledge of sorcery, as well as seduce / attract people, and loses one's intellect. At a thousand years of age they can communicate with Heaven, becoming celestial fox spirits."

狐五十岁,能变化为妇人。百岁为美女,为神巫,或为丈夫与女人交接,能知千里外事,善盅魅,使人迷惑失智。千岁即与天通,为天狐。(出《玄中记》 狐狸活五十岁就能变成妇人,一百岁就能变化成美女,变化成神巫,或者变化成成年男子与女人发生性行为,能知道千里之外的事,善于盅惑迷人,使人丧失理智。狐狸活到一千岁就能和天沟通,叫做“天狐”。

10) In 'The Comprehensive Discussions in the white tiger hall' - (白虎通):"What is the nine-tailed fox? When a fox dies, it turns it's head towards the hill,where it was born; it does not forget its place of origin. It means that in comfort, a man must never lost sign of impending calamities. Why must this fox appeared with nine tails? When the nine concubines of the King each receive their proper place, his sons and grandsons will enjoy abundance peace. Why is the emphasis laid upon at the tail? It is to indicate that his prosperity shall be numerous.

<< 白虎通德论 / 卷五/ 封禅>>:"狐九尾何?狐死首丘,不忘本也,明安不忘危也。必九尾者也?九妃得其所,子孫繁息也。於尾者何?明後當盛也。"

11) In 'Book Of Rites' - (礼记), there is a record: The fox serves as a model of humaneness,for when it dies in the wild, it faces the direction of it's cave. It teaches human beings never forget it's origin and homeland.

《礼记·檀弓七则之狐死正丘首》 - 大公封于营丘,比及五世,皆反葬于周。君子曰:“乐,乐其所自生。礼,礼不忘其本。”古之人有言曰:“狐死正丘首。仁也。” 说明:古代传说狐狸如果死在外面,一定把头朝着它的洞穴。“狐死首丘”比喻不忘本或怀念故乡,也比喻对故国、故乡的思念。亦省作“狐首”。

12) Han Dynasty Pictorial stone carvings of 'Queen Mother Goddess of the West' - Xi Wang Mu (西王母), are presented with an entourage consisting of  a nine-tailed fox, a hare, a toad, a three legged bird.

(Left) Han dynasty tile showing Xiwangmu in the collection of the Sichuan  Provincial    Museum. (Right) Detail of the nine-tailed fox.

Nine Tailed Fox In Japan and Korea

The motif of nine-tailed foxes from Chinese culture were eventually transmitted and introduced to Korean and Japanese culture.

A nine-tailed Fox spirit in Japanese is known as kyūbi no kitsune (九尾の狐). Inari Ōkami (稲荷大神, also Oinari) is the Japanese kami of foxes, of fertility, rice, tea and Sake, of agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, and one of the principal kami of Shinto.

A nine-tailed Fox spirit in korea is kown as kumiho (구미호).

Nine Tailed Fox appeared in Thailand 

The Nine-Tailed Fox is a Cultural Motif, originated in ancient China, which then introduced to Japan and Korea. Thailand has no culture in worshiping the Fox -Spirits but lately, there are Thai Amulets with the images of Nine-Tailed Fox.

There might be Thai Monks, or Thai Masters (Ajhans) and many Thai Amulets Sellers, either know the truth but deliberately lie to You. Or, truly has no historical knowledge,and they tell You that the worshiping of "Nine Tailed Fox" is originated in South-East Asia, or India.

Why "Nine Tailed Fox" only appeared in Thai Amulets & Statues recently, might due to money making opportunity. Because, Hongkongers and Taiwan folks are already praying to Chinese Version of Fox Immortal - Hu Xian (狐仙), the Thai Masters can also can make money from these Chinese worshipers by creating Thai Version Spiritual Items of Nine Tailed Fox and sell to them.

Why credits were not given to China, the original culture of worshiping Nine-Tailed Fox, is because there might be people, even oversea Chinese, who has prejudice against China and Chinese Culture, therefore, truth need to be twisted and link the stories as close to the heart of the buyers (Oversea Chinese) as possible (and link it to Thai Culture / Thai "Buddhist" Culture), in order to make as much money out of the Oversea Chinese.

The Fox Spirit Amulets are done mainly for the Oversea Chinese Market like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and etc.

One of the 1st Creator of Nine Tailed Fox's Images of Thai Amulets, Ajhan Meng, said during his daily mediation, a female fox immortal appeared in front of him, and also during sleep, he dreamed of the fox immortal asking him since he had learned the magical skill of invoking her (Fox Immortal) and why didn't he create amulets and fox statues to be worshiped by the public, so she can bless the believers. That's the reason why Ar-Jhan Meng had started making & consecrate Nine Tailed Fox Amulets & Statues.

Soon more and more other Thai Masters began to create and bless their own Nine Tailed Foxes Spiritual Items, to sell to the Oversea Chinese, and even to the China Chinese. The reason why China Chinese buy Thai Version of Nine Tailed Fox, instead of praying to their own Chinese / Taoist Version of Nine Tailed Fox, is because "The grass is greener on the other side".

There is nothing wrong to own Thai Version Amulet / Statue of Nine Tailed Fox,  but folks should be informed and be educated on the truth of the origin of what they are keeping or doing.

Magic Sorcery is universal. Thai Magic can be used to invoke Chinese Deities and like wise, Chinese / Taoist Sorcery can use to consecrate  and re-empower Thai Amulets / Statues.

When Thai Magic combines with Taoist Sorcery, it is known as Siam-Mao Sect Magic (暹茅派).

In order to create and activate the Thai Amulets / Statues Of Nine Tailed Fox , the Thai Spiritual Master may chant Loving Kindess Metta and Maha Saneh Metta (Charming abilities) and uses Metta and Senah Ingredients in the Amulets. Ingredients like Graveyard Soils, and Nam Man Prai (Female Corpse Oil) are known to have added to the Nine Tailed Fox Amulets to improve its' efficacy.


Folks, even Oversea Chinese, who are prejudiced against China and Chinese Culture, but are also fans of "Nine Tailed Fox" and amulets and statues of it, might suddenly lose interest  in it, after realizing that the origin of history and legend is from China. These folks don't want to own anything related to China, which will make them look low-class and Ching-Chong.

However, those western folks and the Chinese, who are die-hard Pro-Chinese-Culture and Pro-Taoist-Magic will be even more keen to seek out Original Fox Spirit Talismans base on Taoist Sorcery Magic.

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