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Yeomra: God of the Underworld

Updated: May 1, 2023

Yeomra (proper romanization is Yeomna) is the 5th king of the underworld. The ruling court are called the Ten Kings, Shiwang. But Yeomra is the one who rules over the entire underworld, and works the closest out of them all with Okwangsangje (who rules over all living things).


Yeomra (and Shiwang) were absorbed from Buddhism. Our beliefs regarding the dead and afterlife before the absorption of Buddhism was like purgatory, where the dead live as if in this world, by continuing to work until a certain time where they were able to be reborn. This is why we burn ancestral money and ancestral clothes to send to them.


Some people who could afford it were buried with elaborate wooden carved figures called ggokdu, which were meant to act as their help in the afterlife - a guide who serves to direct them to safety in the afterlife, a guardian who serves to protect them and destroy any evil that tries to harm them, an entertainer to relieve their sorrow, and then a servant, meant to take care of their needs and health.



Shiwang, Efficacious Underworld cover.


Yeomra is a compassionate God of the Dead, but he is also still a God of Justice. While he may sympathize for people, he still brings judgment in accordance to their crimes. Laypeople cannot keep shrines for the Shiwang and would need to visit a monk's shrine or mudang's shrine that houses the Shiwang to physically pray to them.



Epithets:

  • He Who Judges

  • He Who Brings Judgment

  • He Who Reads the Scroll

  • He Who Judges the Scroll

  • He Who Reads Your Heart

  • He Who Judges Your Heart

  • He Who Ushers Justice to the Dead

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