Mircea Eliade - The flying Emperor and other cases of 'magical flight'
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy
The first man whom [Chinese] tradition credited with attaining the power to ‘fly’ was the Emperor Shun – 2258 to 2208 according to Chinese chronology. The Emperor Yao’s daughters, Nu Ying and O Huang revealed to Shun the art of flying like a bird...............................
The Taoists and alchemists had the power to rise into the air. Liu An, also known as Huai-nan (second century BC) ascended to heaven in broad daylight, and Li Shao-Kun (140-87 BC) boasted that he could rise beyond the ninth heaven.
‘We rise to heaven and brush away the comets’ said a shamaness in her song.
A long poem by Ch’u Yuan mentions numerous ascents to the ‘gates of heaven’, fantastic horseback journeys, ascent by the rainbow – all of them familiar motifs in shamanic folklore. Chinese tales frequently refer to magicians’ exploits that are almost exactly like the legends that grew up around the fakirs; they fly to the moon, pass through walls, make a plant sprout and grow in an instant and so on.
Source B Laufer – The Prehistory of Aviation, and E Chavannes Les Memoires historiques de Se-ma-Ts’ien