It’s hard to believe that it’s Tanabata once again, the year has flown by. Also known as the Star Festival, Tanabata occurs on the evening of July 7th to celebrate the one night that the stars Vega and Altair can be together. In China this festival is called Qixi Festival or The Festival to Plead for Skills which is held on the seventh day of the seventh month. Traditionally this was determined using a Lunar calendar, but more recently it has been celebrated using the Solar calendar. My Tanabata spell in 2016 was the first spell that I posted online, so it’s a bit of an anniversary for me as well.
Tanabata Spell for Witches
In celebration of that anniversary, the Tanabata Wish Spell that I wrote last year has been completely updated. It has been rewritten in a style that makes it easy to put in your Book of Shadows or Grimoire.
Stories of Tanabata
Additionally, one of my coven traditions is to tell different versions of the same seasonal story for each sabbat. In that same spirit there are many versions of the folktale “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl” available; the moving story is the inspiration for Tanabata festivals in multiple cultures.
Note: Some of the websites linked below don’t look very nice, but the stories are lovely nonetheless. Click the underlined titles to open the links in a new window.
#1 The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl
I posted this version on my site last year because it was on a website that was very hard to navigate. I still don’t know who to credit for the translation, so if you know please leave a comment. This version is medium-long and, I feel, the best of the three Chinese versions listed here. This is because the Weaver Girl isn’t abducted, and even though the Cowherd thinks he’s forcing her to marry him, she recognizes him from the Celestial world, which is the only reason she agrees. Also, the ox doesn’t die like it does in some of the other versions (I’m very partial to the Celestial Ox). I recommend this version of this story unless you’re reading it to small children, in which case I recommend version #4.
#2 The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl on TheEpochTimes.com
This one gives translation credits to Billy Shyu and Tan Hohua, which makes it the only translation of the three I found that credits anyone. It’s a long version as well, which I like, but wouldn’t recommend it for families with small children because of that alone (also, the ox dies, which is sad). In this version the Weaver Girl is a faerie, but the Cowherd kind of kidnaps her, so it’s not empowering at all. However, it is very similar to the story of Hades and Persephone in some ways. Trigger warning: if you follow the link the suggested story list has a meat market picture in the queue which I find revolting.
#3 Legend of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl on CultureoftheChinese.com
Note: This website looks super fake and is full of ads, which is a shame because this version of the story is a nice, mid-length one. In this version the Weaver Girl is still a faerie, but the Cowherd steals her clothes while she’s bathing and refuses to give them back until she marries him (similar to the first story, she seems to recognize him). The ox dies in this one too, but this version mentions skinning him, which is kind of gross. I can imagine children screaming and running away from storytime, so here a head’s up for that.
#4 The Legend of Tanabata on JapanLover.me
The shortest of all the versions, this one is inspired by the Japanese story and not the Chinese story like the others above. The downside is that it’s unclear who wrote this version. The upside is that Orihime (the Weaver Girl) isn’t abducted or coerced, she meets Hikoboshi (the Cowherd) and immediately they want to be together. That’s a much sweeter version, in my opinion. Also, the ox and the kids are absent from the story completely, so it’s a simpler tale. Kids tend to get really upset by stories where the parents and children are separated, so if there are small children involved, I recommend this story.
Have a beautiful Tanabata and blessed be!
Stock image via Pexels
Tanabata 2017 Google Doodle