Tag Archive: japan


Goddess Wakahiru

“Amaterasu” by Jade M. Sheldon

“Wakahiru’s themes are needlecraft, arts and creativity.  Her symbols are needles, thread, yarn, embroidered or woven items.  Wakahiru, the Japanese Goddess of weaving, takes a much-deserved break from Her toils today to enjoy the beauty of handcrafted items, and She suggests you do likewise. Legend has it that She is also the dawn Goddess – a suitable job for the younger sister of Amaterasu (the sun Goddess), who favored Wakahiru because of Her excellent weaving skills.  When Wakahiru died, Amaterasu refused to shine until lured out of Her hiding place by the gods rolling a large bronze mirror in front of the entrance to the cave while Uzume began to dance on a large overturned tub.

Find a pocket sewing kit and use it as a Wakahiru charm for creativity. Energize the charm by leaving it in the light of dawn, saying:

‘With inventiveness fill
by your power and my will.’

Carry the token often, touching it when you need extra ingenuity to handle a situation effectively.

The Japanese hold the art of needlecraft in such high regards that all the needles broken in the precious year receive honor in the Hari-kuyo ceremony (Mass of Broken Needles) at Buddhist temples today, along with an array of sewing gear. To venerate the needles’ sacrifice in the name of beauty, no needlework is done on this day. In keeping with this spirit, take out any artistic tools you have, clean them up and bless them in any way suited to your path. By doing so, you encourage Wakarhiru’s genius to shine through them each time you work.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Wakahirume (pronounced wa-ka-HEER-oo-may) is the Japanese Goddess of the rising sun and of weaving. Wakahirume is sometimes identified as the child or younger sister of Amaterasu, or as Amaterasu Herself. The name Wakahirume (“young-day-female”) suggests a contrast to Ōhirume (“great-day-female”), another name for Amaterasu.[1]  As identified as the younger sister of Amaterasu, She is the daughter of Izanami and Izanagi. Wakahirume was a fantastic weaver and She was often to be found in Amaterasu’s weaving halls, creating garments for all the gods. When their brother Susanoo flew into a rage against Amaterasu, he threw a skinned pony into the hall. Wakahirume was so startled that she fell onto her shuttle and died. It was Her grief over Wakahirume’s death that drove Amaterasu to hide herself away in a cave. In the third century CE, Empress Jingu established the Ikuta Shrine in honor of Wakahirume, one of the oldest shrines in Japan. Wakahirume’s name is also seen as Wakahiru-Me and Wakahirume-no-Mikoto.” [2]

Goddess Shirata

” Black as Ebony, White as Snow” by MorningMiracle

“Shirata’s themes are luck, protection, cycles and happiness.  Her symbols are a snowflake, beans and the color white.  This Japanese Goddess embodies the first snow, where she glistens and shines with incomparable beauty until she freely and joyfully gives herself to spring’s warmth and melts away. By so doing, Shirata reminds us that while the year has only just begun, the wheel of time is ever moving and that we should make the most of every moment.

For happiness, cut a snowflake pattern out of a quartered piece of white paper and carry it with you in your wallet as a charm. Make sure to visualize the snowflake being filled with brilliant white light, like that which is seen when the sun shines off new-fallen snow.

Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival) takes place the day before the beginning of spring in Japan. This day is a time to chase away any malevolent influences that might hinder Shirata’s joyful nature within us. People scatter beans and make loud noises to banish evil and carve lanterns with wishes to light the way for a better tomorrow. For our purposes, scatter seeds on the ground or plant beans instead so something as beautiful as Shirata can replace any negativity in your life with abundant growth.

To internalize Shirata’s happiness, prepare any white beans and eat them as a part of a meal today. If you hold any rituals, use beans to mark the magic circle, scattering them counter-clockwise to banish any unwanted influences.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Other than what Patricia Telesco says about this Goddess, I could find no other information.

Goddess Sengen-sama

“Sakuya-hime” by Getabo Hagiwara

“Sengen-sama – Her themes are growth and maturity. Her symbols are flower buds.  Sengen-sama, a Japanese growth Goddess, lives high on Fujiyama, giving Her unique perspectives about each person’s path in life. When you need to see yourself more clearly or inspire development in your spirit, call on Her for aid. According to Japanese tradition, this Goddess makes the flowers blossom today, just as She can make our lives blossom into maturity. She also governs cherry blossoms, which represent the beauty and fragility of life.

Put a nosegay of new blossoms on your altar or in a special place to remember Sengen-sama today. Use one as a boutonniere to liven up your clothing and inspire progress in any situation that seems to be stagnating. After the day is done, dry the petals of the blossom and burn them on a day when you want a little extra motivation.

In Japan, this day is a time to honor those who have come of age (on turning twenty) in the last year. These people dress in new clothing to mark the transition and go to community centres to celebrate. In keeping with this theme, consider having a rite of passage for any children in your life who have shown unique maturity (no matter their age). Bring them into the magic circle, present them with ritual tools, let them choose a magical name, and then give them permission to participate as a full adult in all your rituals to come.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Sengen is the Shinto Goddess of Fujiyama, the highest mountain in Japan, considered the most holy. Once a very active volcano, Fujiyama covered Tokyo (some 70 miles away) with 6 inches of ash in the eruption of 1707. Its isolation and the perfection of the shape of its cone has made it a celebrated subject of poetry and art. Fujiyama (whose name means “Never Dying Mountain”) probably derives its name from the old Ainu fire Goddess Fuchi.  As Goddess of Mount Fuji, Sengen-sama has a shrine at the top of the mountain, where Her worshippers and pilgrims ascend to the summit during the summer in great numbers to greet the rising sun (which even at that time of year is usually snow-covered).  It is for this reason that She is sometimes called Asama (dawn of good luck) and that Mount Fuji has solar associations.

Sengen is depicted as a girl all in white to whom camellias are sacred.  She is said to live within a luminous cloud in the crater of Fujiyama, and She presides over a healing stream on the south side of the mountain.  As Goddess of cherry blossoms, She is also knows as Konohana (child flower) or Konohana-Sakuya-Hime (the princess who makes the tree-blossom bloom)

Sengen was wedded to Ninigi, God of rice and the grandson of Amaterasu, the Sun-goddess. Sengen-sama became pregnant so soon after their wedding that Ninigi doubted that She had been faithful to him. Sengen-sama built a hut with no doors, and said that when She delivered Her child, She would set fire to the house. If the baby was not Ninigi’s, then She and the child would die in the flames. As it turned out, the babies (She had twins) were Ninigi’s children, and they and Sengen-sama survived the fire.  She had a total of three fiery sons by Ninigi –Po-deri-no-mikoto (“Fire-shine”), Po-suseri-no-mikoto (“Fire-full”), and Po-wori-no-mikoto (“Fire-fade”).  Po-wori-no-mikoto was in his turn the grandfather of the first Emperor of Japan, whose descendants preside over Japan to this day. [1] [2]

Goddess Benten

“Benten’s themes are luck, wealth and beauty. Her symbols are boats, dragons, guitars, snakes and saltwater.

As the Japanese Goddess steering the New Year’s Treasure Ship, Benten is a perfect figure to call on for financial improvements this year. She is the only Goddess of luck in Japan – the sole female among the Seven Gods of Fortune, and is referred to as queen of the seas and patroness of gamblers. Japanese woman invoke her to bring beauty and fortune into their lives; for she resides over love, eloquence, wisdom and the fine arts.  She is the patroness of geisha and those who take joy in the arts. Benten is depicted as riding a gold dragon, playing a biwa (guitar), and sending out white snakes with her missives. Her robe bears a jewel that grants wishes.

To welcome Benten’s prosperity into your home, sprinkle a little saltwater on the threshold today. Or, to generate beauty within and without, soak in a bath of Epsom salts while listening to guitar music.

The Shigoto Hajime festival honors the beginning of the work week in Japan, where it is believed that good omens for work begin today. If you want to get a peek at how your employment will fare this year, try divination by dice (a traditional gambler’s tool). Hold one die in your hand, ask for Benten to provide a sign, then roll it. The results can be interpreted as follows:

(1) a negative omen;
(2) feeling torn between two good options;
(3) a good omen;
(4) financial security;
(5) not much material change, but improvements in interoffice relationships;
(6) an excellent omen; roll again If you get two more sixes, Benten’s treasures will be yours!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “among the seven Japanese divinities of good luck, only one was a goddess: Benten, who brought inspiration and talent, wealth, and romance to those who honored her.  Benten was also queen of the sea, a dragon woman who swam in state through her domain with a retinue of white snakes.  In her dragon body she protected her devotees from earthquakes by mating with the monstrous snakes who thrashed under the Japanese islands.  But she could also wear the form of a lovely human woman, and in this form she was usually portrayed, mounted on a dragon who was both her steed and her paramour” (p. 69).

saraswati benzaiten_saraswati

Benten, also called Benzaiten “is the Japanese name for the Hindu goddess Saraswati. Worship of Benzaiten arrived in Japan during the 6th through 8th centuries, mainly via the Chinese translations of the Sutra of Golden Light, which has a section devoted to her. She is also mentioned in the Lotus Sutra and often depicted holding a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute, in contrast to Saraswati who holds a stringed instrument known as a veena. Benzaiten is a highly syncretic entity with both a Buddhist and a Shinto side.

Benzaiten as a female kami is known as Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto.  Also, she is believed by Tendai Buddhism to be the essence of kami Ugajin, whose effigy she sometimes carries on her head together with a torii. As a consequence, she is sometimes also known as Uga Benzaiten or Uga Benten. Shrine pavilions called either Benten-dō or Benten-sha, or even entire Shinto shrines can be dedicated to her, as in the case of Kamakura’s Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine or Nagoya’s Kawahara Shrine.” [1]

il_fullxfull.361170508_aluv

“Japanese Goddess of Sea” by KatyDidsCards

In Japanese mythology “…Benten was said to have descended to earth where she met and married a dragon in order to stop him eating young children. Because of this, she is sometimes depicted as riding a dragon in art.

Another legend tells of how the goddess helped the young poet Baishu. He had found a poem written by a maiden and had fallen in love with her, despite never having seen what she looked like. Praying to the goddess for help, Benten arranged for the young poet and the girl to meet outside the shrine. Later, it turned out that the young girl Baishu had fallen in love with was actually the soul of the women he later met and married.

chineese-goddess

8-Armed Benzaiten (Jp. = Happi Benzaiten 八臂弁財天)
At Hoan-den (Enoshima Island in Japan)
Kanagawa Pretectural Asset, Kamakura Period

In art, Benten is sometimes shown with snakes. Some statues of her reveal eight arms, six of these which are raised and the hands holding different objects. These include a bow and arrow and two hands are folded in prayer” [2] as well as a sword, a jewel, a wheel, and a key.

From The White GoddessArea of Influence:

Water, Words, Speech, Eloquence, Music, Knowledge, Fortune, Beauty

il_570xN.365169550_j2cu

“Benzaiten (Benten) Shinto Goddess of Music & Luck” by LaPetiteMascarade

Pantheon: Japanese

Abode: Caverns

Animals: Dragons, Sea Serpents

Colours: Bue, Silver, White, Yellow

Crystal: Conch, Mother of pearl, Iron, Gold

Direction: East, West

Element: Air, Water

Musical Instrument: Lute

Offerings: Honey, Yellow flowers, Wild berries

Planet: Venus

Plant/Tree: Lotus, Waterlillies, Yellow flowers

Symbols: Sword, Bow and arrow, Wheel, Key, Axe, Spear, Pestle

Tarot Card: Cups

Time: Summer Solstice

 

 

 

Also known as: Benjaiten, Bensai-Ten, Benzai-Ten, Benzai-Tennyo, Benzaiten, Ichiki-Shima-Hime, Sarasvati, Zeniari, [3]; and according to Thalia Took, “Benzaiten is also linked to Kwannon or Kwan Yin, the sometimes female, sometimes male Bodhisattva of compassion in Buddhism.” [4]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, “Benten“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Benten”.

Slayford-Wei, Lian. Humanities360.com, “The History and Significance of the Goddedss Benten“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Benzaiten“.

The White Goddess, “Benten – Goddess of everything that flows“.

Wikipedia, “Benzaiten“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

A-to-Z Photo Dictionary: Japanese Buddhist Statuary, “BENZAITEN, BENTEN“.

The Broom Closet, “Benten: Japanese Goddess of Eloquence“.

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, “Benten“.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Benten“.

Lindemans, Micha. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Benten“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Benzaiten“.

 

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