Mother Yaochi is also known as Wangmu Niang Niang. According to popular belief, she is the wife of the Jade Emperor. In the anthology of Taoist deities, the deity is known as the chief of all lady celestials, thus named Xi Wang Mu, nicknamed Jiu Ling Tai Miao Gui Shan Jin Mu as well as Tai Shu Jiu Guang Gui Tai Jin Mu Yuan Jun. Legend has it that Wang Mu Niang Niang resided in Yaochi. Thus, she is also known as Yaochi Shen Mu or Mother Yaochi. Besides, she is also nicknamed Xi Hua Jin Mu, Jin Mu Niang Niang, Wu Ji Mother Yaochi, etc. and briefly called Jin Mu or Mu Niang.
Taoism honored Golden Mother Yaochi as Xi Ji Quan Zhen Wan Zu Mu Yuan Jun, the full title as Shang Shen Bai Yu Gui Tai Jiu Ling Tai Zhen Wu Ji Shen Mu Yaochi Da Shen Xi Wang Jin Mu Wu Shang Qing Ling Yuan Jun Tong Yu Chun Xian Da Tian Zun. Golden Mother Yaochi came second only to the Three Pure Ones, the supreme goddess leading three worlds. Before a xian ren rose to Heaven, he has to worship Mu Gong first and then Jin Mu. Then he would be able to rise to the Heaven and worship the Three Pure Ones and honor Yuan Shi Tian Zhen.
Golden Mother Yaochi is the oldest goddess in China as well as the most important goddess in popular belief. Initially, her image was to totem goddess of a primitive tribe outside Chinese culture circle. Going through evolutions, she became a leading goddess. In Classic of Mountains: West of Classic of Mountains and Seas composed during Warring States Period to Early Han dynasty, Xi Wang Mu was a half human half monster evil goddess: ‘Yushan, home to Xi Wang Mu. Like her look, with a leopard’s tail, tiger’s teeth, messy hair, and a Shen on her head, Xi Wang Mu was good at roaring, a fierce goddess commanding diseases and punishments in the world.’ In Guizang, in early Warring States Period and Huainanzi in early Han dynasty, Xi Wang Mu was converted into a goddess of fortune controlling medicine of immortality. In Jizong and Tale of King Mu before Qin dynasty, Xi Wang Mu appeared as a queen. During Southern and Northern dynasties, Xi Wang Mu was honored as the leader of goddesses.
In Inner Biography of Emperor Wu of the Han, Xi Wang Mu was described as a leading goddess of Taoism excelling in making medicine of longevity. As a disciple of Yuan Shi Tian Wang, Xi Wang Mu had been taught personally by Yuan Shi Tian Wang. Accordingly, her appearance was described as ‘a real beauty at the age of about 30.’ It also depicts that Xi Wang Mu preached Emperor Wu, and gave him divine books, divine runes, and magic peaches. Accordingly, in Eastern Jin and Southern and Northern dynasties, Taoists of Shangqing School included Xi Wang Mu in their genealogy of gods. Since then, the image of Xi Wang Mu has been identical with that in later generations. The magic peaches of Xi Wang Mu are often described in novels and dramas. The story in Journey to the West about how Wang Mu Niang Niang held a party of magic peaches at Yaochi with other Buddhas and gods, but was ruined by Monkey King is widely known.