I have a very ancient multi-millennial ancestral grandpa. His name is Khương Thạch Niên (姜石年). Most folks know him as the farmer god. Yes. THAT farmer god known as Thần Nông (aka Shennong), the same one who gave us tea (among other things).
Now, I don’t like people who falsely claim famous relatives just to bolster up their sense of importance, and I would never do such a thing (truly).
Heck, if I really wanted a bit of claim to fame for rubbing shoulders with famous folks, I would claim Old Dude as one of my ancestors. Unfortunately, his lineage does not clearly trace to me so he will just have to be a very cool Old Dude I hang out with sometimes when he has a few minutes to spare.
Grandpa however, is another story.
Not only is he far far older than Old Dude, he’s also one of the ancient gods of a trio known as the Three Sovereigns. This Three Sovereigns is made up of the goddess with the human head and snake body Nữ Oa (女媧), the reptilian male with human head Phục Hy (伏羲), and dear old ancestral Gramps, who had the head of a buffalo and the face of a dragon.
Hmm. Sounds as if he might look like the Loki guy, without the dragon face. Now, you may think having an ancestral grandpa with a dragon face may sound horrifying, but I’m super cool with that.
This is not a huge deal to me because those ancient gods were ALL reptilians anyway. All the royals claimed Dragon birthrights throughout the ages and all used dragons as their symbol.
In truth, we all have dragon blood within us. I detailed this in a couple of my previous posts Dragons (Part 1): The Bloodline and Dragons (Part 2): The Genetics. Any of us can claim ancestry to any of the dragons because it’s in our DNA.
Don’t forget to check your ethnic region to claim the correct god. If you’re Nordic, take a look at the Norse gods. If you’re South American or Mexican, look up the Mezzo gods. Every region has an origin story, and they all seem to match up pretty well.
From ancient Viet mythology, we read about Nữ Oa and Phục Hy who were half-sibblings. They got married on top of the Kunlun Mountains in present-day Tibet and their progeny are most likely the Tibetans and folks living in and around that area.
We Viets only have our Thần Nông Grandpa. Who he married is unclear to me. I’ll dig and root around to see if I can get some info on his wife (wives?) but truth is, as king of a region, he most likely had a huge harem and all his children came from one or more of his concubine wives.
It all sounds super far-fetched, these ancient gods, but back in those ancient days, anyone who carried a flashlight would be considered the god of light, and anyone who had a 9mm Glock would be known forever as the god of death and thunder. Me, I’d be known as the goddess of snacks. Cakes, cookies, chocolates, pudding. Yummy!
Anyhoo–a quick check puts Grandpa on the same level playing field as Enlil, the Sumerian god who was also considered an agricultural god. He also had a brother (Enki) and a half-sister (Ninhursag) with Enlil married and fathered a son with (Ninurta). In fact, both men married Ninhursag at one point or another. She gave Enlil a son and Enki a daughter (Ninsar), thereby sealing Enlil’s bloodline as the ruling one due to her own royal blood lineage. Sound familiar?
Anyway, back to my Gramps. We know he is one of three great gods who ruled the area back in those dark old days. We also know his great-great-great grandson was King Đế Minh who married a goddess who ascended from the heavens and gave birth to a son named Hùng Lộc Tục.
Prince Lộc Tục eventually became king and was given the appellate Kinh Dương Vương, with the title of King of the Kingdom of Xích Quỷ. Kinh Dương Vương had only one child, a male by the name of Lạc Long Quân, aka Hùng Sùng Lãm, aka our one-and-only Dragon Lord of Lạc.
When his father died, Lạc Long Quân took over the Kingdom of Xích Quỷ and became the next Hùng Vương (Hùng King). He subsequently married Princess Âu Cơ. I detailed some of this information and his marriage to the Princess in one of my previous posts, Âu Cơ (嫗姬) Royal Mother.
According to legends, both oral and written, between the two of them, Lạc Long Quân and Âu Cơ had 100 sons, which they split evenly between the two of them when they divorced and went their separate ways. These 100 sons are what’s known as the Bách Việt, (100 Tribes of Viets). I talked about it in detail in one of my previous posts Ancient Việt 07: Bách Việt Dynasty.
In reality, they weren’t actually 100 individuals but rather a group of Viet progenitors. (1)
According to one historian, the words Bách Việt don’t mean 100 tribes of Viet but rather, a phonetically transcribed word from the Austroasiatic root words that sound similar to the forms of
*prɔːk“ self-name of the Wa people” and the
rɔːk“ Khmu people. (2)
This would make sense since our genetic stock is of Austroasiatic (and in a more general sense, Austronesian language group).
In essence, what sounded like the word Bách 百 to the Han who were writing the history books actually means ‘ethnic group’. As for the word Việt 戉, I had detailed in Ancient Viet 07, means a ‘giant ax‘, the symbol of power of Viet kings back then.
We Viets also had a nation as late as 5,300 years ago, with a system of ruling under one of the Hùng King. This means that the Bach Viet are not “tribes” at all. We were a legitimate country.
To put it plainly, Bách Việt means that we are the ‘ax-wielding people’ living in and around the Xích Quỷ area under the rule of King Hùng Vương.
But then the question remains. Where, exactly is this Kingdom of Xích Quỷ? We will have to go back and dig into some ancient documents (including the I Ching to get this answer.
The Five Elements Ngũ Hành (五行)
Ngũ Hành (五行) Five Elements should have its own set of postings since it’s that involved and important, but for now, I will quickly mention it so we can get through this part of the discussion on how it relates to my Ancestral Grandpa;.
See this flag? It’s from a country that is no longer in existence, called Beiyang.
It’s an old flag that was only in existence for a few short years because the government that is now Taiwan, annihilated the heads of states of that short-lived country.
It’s so obscure that few people even know about it any more, but the flag is very familiar to anyone who has a rudimentary knowledge of the I Ching and the five Elemental Colors, what we call the Ngũ Hành.
In a quite serendipitous happenstance, I had detailed this very same idea in one of my previous posts, Bottoms Up! It’s 2023 to explain why North is always shown at the bottom. It was not to explain this post, but as I have found throughout the years I’ve been studying the I Ching–everything is linked in some relative manner to another. In this case, it dove-tailed in perfect accord, and quite timely too!
- You see that black stripe at the bottom? That’s Winter and Earth, represented by the color black (as in Black Tortoise). That’s also North, and North’s position is always at the bottom of the hexagram, or in this case, the flag
- Then there is White for Metal, and White Tiger. It also represents Autumn, and the West.
- Blue is for East and for Wood and Spring. The blue in the I Ching is a royal blue but sometimes it can be azure and at other times, it’s green, depending on the whims of people who is writing the text. Blue is represented by the Azure Dragon. This is an important color for us Viets because Âu Cơ Royal Mother was born in the eastern area and when she married the king of Xích Quỷ, their lands merged and the color of their flag changed to represent the combination of red and blue.
- Yellow is Earth, represented by the yellow Dragon and holds the Center. He does not have a season assigned to him (too bad so sad).
- Red at the top (always at the top, even in the baguas of old) is Fire in South. Red is also Summer and the color of the Vermilion Bird. A quick note on the Vermilion Bird: It is not a phoenx. It is more like a pheasant that has a five-colored plumage and is perpetually covered in flames. We Viets call it a Chu Tước.
Whoever came up with that flag knows intimately, the details of the I Ching, which had always been something of a reservoir of knowledge kept for the royalty only. I am unclear as to what happened to Beiyang, but what this flag is trying to say is that all the regions had been (or supposedly had been) united under this one flag.
The Kingdom of Xích Quỷ
If you look at the map where the original region of Xích Quỷ once was, you can see that it occupies a large swath of the central region of China today.
Over a long time, the Bách Việt slowly migrated south and south-west, setting up human settlements and spreading our way of life, namely rice farming, animal husbandry, metallurgy, weaving, architecture, etc. We also spread our language and music and culture into that area.
Once the Han from the north began their systematic plunder, the fall of the Bách Việt empire began (as all empires eventually do). The flag of Beiyang is a bold statement that proudly proclaims that all of the Bách Việt territory had folded under the Beiyang flag; hence all five colors were now present on the single flag.
Of course, we all know that this is not completely true. The kingdom of Xích Quỷ (赤鬼), or Red South, is the last remaining region that has not been absorbed by the Han Chinese and folded into the Han territory.
Xích Quỷ, present-day Vietnam, is still separated to this day from the black, white, blue, and yellow of ancient Bách Việt who have been assimilated and dissolved. Along with the scattered remnants of the Kinh who live outside of Asia, present-day Vietnam is the single remaining region where the last Bách Việt people still live. Our territory has shifted southward, yes, but we are still here.