Peach Trees In Daoist and Shinto Tradition

In the Yi Jing Apocrypha of Genghis Khan we read:

“Izanagi no Mikoto, wishing to see his younger sister, went to the Netherworld.  At this time, Izanami no Mikoto being still as she was when alive came forth to meet him.  She spoke to Izanagi no Mikoto and said, ‘My husband, I beseech thee not to look upon me.’  When she was done speaking, she became invisible.  It was then dark, so Izanagi no Mikoto lit a single light, and looked upon her.  Izanami no Mikoto was swollen and festering, and eight kinds of Thunder-Gods rested upon her.  Izanagi no Mikoto was shocked and fled.  The Thunder Gods chased him.

Now by the roadside there grew a large peach tree, at the foot of which Izanagi no Mikoto hid himself.  He took the fruit of the peach tree and hurled it at the Thunder-Gods and the Thunder Gods ran away.  This was the origin of the practices of keeping evil spirits away by means of the peach tree and its fruit.”

Not only does the peach tree play an important role in the Shinto creation myth of Izanagi and Izanami no Mikoto, but it is also found in Chinese Feng Shui tradition.  Feng Shui translates as Water and Wind or the science of manipulating the flow of energy in an environment for beneficial purpose.  When a Daoist priest performs an exorcism or banishing of negative spirits and energy from a home, they use a seven star sword made from the wood of a peach tree.

Here is the description of the origins of the peach tree sword in Daoist tradition from a Feng Shui product site:

The use of peach wood to make Seven Star Swords for exorcism came from a legend about a gigantic holy tree on the Tu Shou Mountain. It had a trunk measuring over 3000 miles and had captured the essence of 5 types of different holy trees. In ancient China, the northeast direction was known to be the devil’s gate position. Therefore, two deities namely Shen Du and U Lei took charge of the area to prevent any evil spirits from entering the human realm. They were protected under a branch of the gigantic peach tree. Whenever they see any ghost entering the human realm they will tie the ghosts with hemp strings and throw them into a forest to be eaten by tigers. Since then, all ancient chinese houses would have two panels carved from peach wood to be hung on doors to drive away evil spirits. Later it evolved into a tradition where the Seven Star Sword was made by peach wood and hung in any place to drive evil spirits away.

This shows a connection between Shinto and Daoist tradition through the use of peach trees for purification, cleansing and exorcism.  Izanagi no Mikoto as well as the two Daoist deities that rest under protection of the peach tree, both use the sacred tree to combat negativity.  But why are peaches used to cleanse spiritual negativity?  Peaches are symbols of Immortality.  In the Art of Ninzuwu, we hold that Immortality is a mental condition of emotional purity.  Where there is a pure mind free of negative emotion, evil spirits cannot reside in the same place.  In Chinese tradition the Peaches of Immortality are gifted to those worthy of a healthy life and longevity.

In the Wikipedia Article on the Peaches of Immortality we read:

In Chinese mythology, Peaches of Immortality[1] (Chinese: 仙桃; pinyin: xiāntáo; Cantonese Yale: sīn tòuh or Chinese: 蟠桃; pinyin: pántáo; Cantonese Yale: pùhn tòuh) are consumed by the immortals due to their mystic virtue of conferring longevity on all who eat them. Peaches symbolizing immortality (or the wish for a long and healthy life) are a common symbol in Chinese art, appearing in depictions or descriptions in a number of fables, paintings, and other forms of art, often in association with thematically similar iconography, such as certain deities or immortals or other symbols of longevity, such as deer or cranes.

Also there are Peach Banquet festivals commemorating use of this fruit among immortals:

The Jade Emperor and his wife Xi Wangmu (Queen Mother of the West) ensured the deities’ everlasting existence by feasting them with the peaches of immortality. The immortals residing in the palace of Xi Wangmu were said to celebrate an extravagant banquet called the “Feast of Peaches” (Chinese: 蟠桃會; pinyin: Pántáo Huì; Cantonese Yale: pùhn tòuh wúih, or Chinese: 蟠桃勝會; pinyin: Pántáo Shènghuì; Cantonese Yale: pùhn tòuh sing wúih), celebrated on earth in honor (birthday) of Xi Wangmu on the 3rd day of the 3rd moon month. The immortals waited six thousand years before gathering for this magnificent feast; the peach tree put forth leaves once every thousand years and it required another three thousand years for the fruit to ripen. Statues depicting Xi Wangmu’s attendants often held three peaches. And the Eight Immortals crossing the seas to attend the banquet is a popular subject in paintings.

Both the Stories of the Emperor Wu and Research into Nature wrote about an imaginary meeting between the Emperor Wu of Han and the Queen Mother of the West offering the Peach to him.[2]

Since peaches in myth are associated with increasing the longevity of ones life, this means that the fruit itself must have medicinal benefits.  Indeed peaches are highly medicinal and are used as kidney cleansers in traditional Chinese medicine.  This is important in connecting why peaches are seen as a symbol of immortality.  The kidney in Chinese medicine is the location of the Gate of Vitality (Ming Men).

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Kidney (Chinese: 腎: shèn) refers to either of the two viscera located on the small of the back, one either side of the spine. As distinct from the Western medical definition of kidneys, the TCM concept is more a way of describing a set of interrelated parts than an anatomical organ. In TCM the kidneys are associated with “the gate of Vitality” or “Ming Men”. A famous Chinese doctor named Zhang Jie Bin (approximately 1563-1640) wrote “there are two kidneys, (kidney yin and yang), with the Gate of Vitality between them. The kidney is the organ of water and fire, the abode of yin and yang, the sea of essence, and it determines life and death.”

The mind, body and soul of man is connected. If peaches are a symbol of spiritual purity and immortality, then they must have physical benefits as well. Here is a list of 16 health benefits of peaches:

16 Ways Peaches Fortify Your Health

1. Peaches are the perfect snack food for losing weight. A peach makes you feel full and keeps you from overeating. The bonus: one peach only contains about 35-50 calories and no fat!

2. Fight obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Peaches are rich in phytochemicals called phenols that act as antioxidants.

3. Keep the skin healthy. Vitamin A and C make peaches a great natural moisturizer; they’re often used in cosmetics. These vitamins can help regenerate skin tissue.

4. Reduce hair loss with its positive effect on the scalp.

5. A healthy stress-reliever that helps reduce anxiety. Peaches are often referred to as the ‘Fruit of Calmness’ in Hungary.

6.  Helps prevent cancer with selenium — a mineral with antioxidant properties that may help protect cells from damage.

7. Peaches can help remove worms from the intestines.

8. Have a diuretic effect which helps cleanse your kidneys and bladder.

9. Peaches can calm an upset stomach.

10.  Compounds in stone fruits could help with “metabolic syndrome,” according to Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, AgriLife Research food scientist involved in a study at the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.  Cisneros-Zevallos says, “Our work indicates that phenolic compounds present in these fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties in different cell lines and may also reduce the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol which is associated with cardiovascular disease.”

11. Those suffering from gout and rheumatism are recommended by dieticians to eat peaches because peaches tend to have a diuretic and a light laxative effect.

12. Peaches are thought to be an aphrodisiac.

13.  Peach flowers have sedative properties .  A remedy for restlessness includes boiling peach flowers in water along with some honey.

14.  Inhibit tumour growth activity. Peaches have excellent antimicrobial and antioxidant activity according to research.

15.  Chronic bronchitis, coughs and gastritis are relieved with the medicinal tea of the leaves and bark of peach trees.

16. Peach tea is used as a kidney cleanser in China.

Read more:


Connecting with the spirits of trees is a practice held with the utmost importance in the Art of Ninzuwu.  Trees are the natural altars of the Dao and are constantly filtrating impurities out of the air releasing it as fresh oxygen for all.  Peach trees according to Feng Shui hold the sacred properties of five types of holy trees. The purifying nature of the tree itself, is indeed carried on in its fruit and can be eaten to purify the internal organs of the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, the internal organs of the body also have spiritual counterparts in the subtle body.  What is cleansing to the body is also cleansing for the spirit. Peaches have a long history of being used to remove both physical and spiritual impurities. This is why the fruit and wood of the peach tree are used as symbols of purity and immortality in both Chinese and Japanese traditions alike.


Categories: Ainu mythology, alterantive health, Izanagi, Izanagi-no-Mikoto, Izanami, Izanami-no-Mikoto, Shinto, Taoism, Yi Jing Apocrypha of Genghis Khan

2 replies

  1. This is very good article. Probably the best of your work so far. I will reread this again as their are many jewels to digest here. The Ivory Tablets of the Crow, states:

    “The fiery ones, after seeing the motion of the Earth and the recurrent destruction of man’s civilizations, made an elixir to preserve their offspring and the faithful priests and priestesses who honored the sacred rites. The elixir is green in color and somehow connected to the fruit of a woman during certain times of the Moon.”

    “The idea that the peach was a kami appears to be connected with the Chinese conception of a peach world-tree, a form of the Mother Goddess, the fruit of which contains her ” life substance ” or shen as do the jewels like the pearl and jade objects; the peach is a goddess symbol as the phallus is a symbol of a god.” — Donald Alexander Mackenzie. Myths of China and Japan.

    Very good article indeed!

    • Thank you for the feedback Warlock Asylum!

      At first I was focused solely on the symbolism, but as you write more information just naturally comes to you. Like you said, writing in itself becomes a form of meditation. I realized for all the spiritual symbolism of the peach, there had to be a substantial physical correspondence to their nature as objects of purity. This prompted me to look into their medicinal uses.

      Indeed, you’ve added a great point about peaches being manifestations of the Mother Goddess life energy. Fruit are in fact the ovaries of the plant and connected to the womb, the moon, ect. It is good to see other authors making the connection between Japanese and Chinese traditions as well.

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