Tag Archive: kami


Goddess Naru-Kami

“Zeus Bolt” by hellsign

“Naru-Kami’s themes are offerings, excellence and the arts. Her symbols are needles, thunder & lightning and trees. In Japan this Goddess embodies the odd combination of weather magic and artistic inspiration. Perhaps this is how we come by the phrase ‘struck by lightning’ to describe a flash of creativity. In local tradition, any place hit by lightning is thereafter sacred to Naru-Kami. She is also the patroness of trees.

Participants in the Hari-kuyo [which actually takes place in February…], known as the Mass for Broken Needles, honor the ancient art of sewing by bringing broken or bent needles into temples and later consigning them to the sea with thankfulness.

We can translate this observance into a blessing for any creative tool, be it a paintbrush, clay, a musical instrument or even a computer! Take the item and wrap it in green paper (which comes from this Goddess’s sacred trees). Leave it on your altar or in your workroom for the day so Naru Kami can fill it with her inspiring energy.

For those who sew, crochet or knit, definitely take out your needles today and leave them in a special spot with an offering for the Goddess, cakes or tofu being customary. At the end of the day, take these up and use them in your craft to honour Naru Kami and commemorate this holiday with your skills.”

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

Patricia Monaghan says that “the Japanese thunder Goddess was the protector of trees and the ruler of artisans.  Wherever She threw a bolt, that place was afterward considered sacred” (p. 227).  All the other sources I could find pretty much stated the same information.

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Naru-Kami”.

 

Suggested Links:

Disano, Adriana. Helium.com, “An overview of Japanese goddesses“.

Goddess Izunome-no-Kami

“Toyotamahime” by Sara Ogi

“Izunome-no-kami’s themes are mediation, health and cleansing. Her symbol are fire or water. A Goddess of purification, Izunome-no-kami helps us prepare for the sacred festivals of late fall and early winter with Her cleansing power. While She was born in water, this Goddess’s energy exists in any rites for purification, including those centered on fire.

Kurama Himatsuri is a festival in Japan designed to welcome and help people commune with the native deities who come to earth this day. People carry light sources like candles and torches, which offer Izunome-no-kami’s purifying energies to the meeting. In this part of the world it is considered unseemly to go before the Goddes spiritually or physically dirty.

In keeping with this theme, take a ritual bath today before your daily prayers or meditations. Add cleansing herbs like pine needles, bay leaves, fennel, lemon rind, or mint. Alternatively, drop in a few herbal tea bags (like peppermint or chamomile) to keep the dried items from clogging the drain. Before getting in, stir the water counter clockwise, saying:
‘Goddess of cleansing power
purify me this sacred hour
Remove all guilt, all blame or shame
I ask this by invoking your name:
Izunome-no-kami.’

Keep whispering the Goddess’s name at regular intervals until you get out of the tub. Then enter your prayers and meditations with a purified mind, heart and spirit.”

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

Art by Seishiro Jay Tomioka

“The ‘Angel of Purification’ is Izunome-no-kami, a deity formed to purify Izanagi of filth [see my entry on Izanami-no-kami]…Izunome is related to the wedded gods Haya-akitsu-hiko (male) and Haya-akitsu-hime (female) who together ‘wash away all impurity like a mighty river flowing and swallow up all sin like a great ocean.’  Morihei [ a famous martial artist and founder of the Japanese martial art of aikido] felt Izunome – who is generally considered female – to be present within his own body, and Aikidō to be the manifestation of that deity’s power of purification and restoration.  Morihei hoped that Aikidō students would eventually realize that each and every one of them also had Izunome within” (Ueshiba & Stevens, p. 46).

Sources:

Ueshiba, Morihei & John Stevens. The Essence of Aikido: Spiritual Teachings of Morihei Ueshiba, Songs of the Path“.

 

Suggested Links:

Eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp, “Haraedo“.

Kokugakuin.ac.jp, “Kamiumi“.

Onmarkproductions.com, “Shinto & Shintoism Guidebook“.

www2.plala.or.jp, “The Teachings of Onisaburo’s Deguchi“.

Goddess Izanami-No-Kami

“Izanami” by Jay Tomioka

“Izanami-no-kami’s themes are art, creativity and excellence. Her symbol is poetry.  In Japan, this creative Goddess is considered to have made all things, and She inspires similar inventiveness within us. Traditionally, She is honored through artistic displays, including dance, song, music, and poetry reading.

Every September, poets from across Japan come to the Imperial Palace to compose verses. Upon receiving a cup of sake floated down the river, each poet must create an impromptu verse. The winner becomes the nation’s poet laureate.  In keeping with this idea, concentrate on trying your own hand at a little sacred poetry today, perhaps even a haiku. Traditional haiku contains seven syllables in the first line, five syllables in the second line and seven or five in the last; each line evokes an image or feeling in the reader’s mind. Here’s one example:

Izanami-no-kami
paints the universe
radiant – eternity

If poetry isn’t your forte, engage in another art form through which Izanami-no-kami’s imaginative spirit can shine. Ask for Her assistance and inspiration before you begin, and see what wonders Her nudge can arouse in you. Or, visit an art gallery, making notes of the things that really strike a harmonious chord in your spirit.”

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

So, I’m not exactly sure where Patricia Telesco’s description of Izanami comes from, because the descriptions I found paint Her as a creatrix and Queen of the Underworld, sharing some common elements with Persephone‘s story.

Patricia Monaghan writes: “Before this world, there was only a chaos of oil and slime, which slowly congealed to produce unnamed and innumerable divinities.  [The first gods according to Wikipedia were Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi who] finally, said the Japanese, [summoned] two distinct [divine beings]: Izanami, the inviting woman, and Her consort, Izanagi, the inviting man.  Standing on the rainbow, they stirred chaos with a spear [named Ame-no-nuboko] until a bit of matter formed.  Placing this island on the oily sea, they descended to create and populate the earth.

But they did not, at first, know how.  It was only after watching two water birds mating that they understood the necessary procreative act.  So they too mated, and Izanami gave birth to the islands of Japan, to its waterfalls and mountains, and then to the animals and plants that live there.

Last to be conceived was fire, which virually exploed from Izanami’s body, leaving Her retching and bleeding.  From all Her excretions – from Her blood, Her vomit, Her urine – new creatures sprang up and established themselves on the new land.  But Izanami Herself died.

She traveled to the underworld – Yomi (‘gloomy land’).  Izanagi, however, desperate without Her, traveled to Yomi to ask Her to return.  She, however, had already established Herself in the world of death and refused [a few sources state that She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the living].  But She suggested that he speak to the lord of death, asking for Her release.  Izanami warned him, though, not tot enter the palace.

“Izanami” by Matthew Meyer

Heedlessly curious, Izanagi approached the dark building; then he took a broken comb and broke off its last tooth.  Lighting it, he looked inside, where the body of Izanami was decomposing.  Her spirit attacked him, humiliated at having been seen that way; She drove him from the underworld and, as they parted, claimed his actions constituted a final divorce.  Some say that Izanami rules still as queen of death from Her home in gloomy Yomi” (Monaghan, p. 168 – 169).

The actions that Monaghan writes of were Izanagi pushing a boulder in the mouth of the Yomotsuhirasaka (cavern that was the entrance of Yomi) thus creating a boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead.  This infuriated Izanami-no-Mikoto and She screamed from behind this impenetrable barricade that if he left Her She would destroy 1,000 residents of the living every day to which he replied he would give life to 1,500.

To purify himself after coming into contact with the dead, Izanagi bathed in the sea and as he bathed, a number of deities came into being to include the sun Goddess Amaterasu, born of a tear from his left eye.

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Izanami-no-Mikoto“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Britannica.com, “Izanagi and Izanami“.

Goddesses.info, “IZANAMI“.

Meyer, Matthew. Matthewmeyer.net, “Oh My Kami: Izanagi and Izanami” and “Oh My Kami: Izanagi and Izanami(part 2)“.

Mythencyclopedia.com, “Izanagi and Izanami“.

University of Georgia: Department of Geology, “The Origin of Japan and her People“.

 

Goddess Ame no Uzume

“Ame no Uzume ‘s themes are honor, longevity, wisdom, psychic abilities, prosperity, protection and kinship. Her symbols are antique items, aged wines or cheese (anything that grows better over time) and sacred dances.  A Japanese ancestral Goddess, Ame no Uzume’s magic is that of generating a long, happy life for Her followers. Shinto festivals in Her honor include special dances that invoke the Goddess’s favor for longevity, honor, prosperity, protection and a close-knit family. In some areas, people also turn to Her for foresight, considering Ame no Uzume the patroness of psychic mediums.

Join with people in Japan and celebrate the wisdom that longevity brings for the aged. If there is an elder in your family or magic community who has influenced your life positively, pray to Ame no Uzume for that person’s ongoing health and protection. Go see that individual and say thank you. The gesture greatly pleases this Goddess, who will shower blessings on you, too!

To gain Ame no Uzume’s insight in your psychic efforts, find an antique item that you can wear during readings, like a skeleton key (to ‘fit’ any psychic doorway). Empower this token, saying:

‘Ame no Uzume, open my eyes, help me to see!
Let nothing be hidden that need to be known, whene’re I speak this magical poem.’

Touch the key and recite your power phrase, the incantation, before reading.”

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

“Ame-no-Uzume-no-mikoto is the Goddess of dawn, mirth and revelry in the Shinto religion of Japan, and the wife of fellow-god Sarutahiko Ōkami“. [1]

“Uzume” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that Uzame was “ancient Japan’s shaman Goddess…who lured the sun Goddess Amaterasu from the cave where She’d hidden.  She did so by a merry mockery of shamanic ritual.  Tying Her sleeves above Her elbows with moss cords and fastening bells around Her wrists, She danced on an overturned tub before the heavenly Sky-Rock-Cave.  Tapping out a rhythm with Her feet, She exposed Her breasts and then Her genitals in the direction of the sun.  So comic did She make this striptease that the myriad gods and Goddesses began to clap and laugh – an uproar that finally brought the curious sun back to warm the earth.

Shaman women who followed Uzume were called miko in ancient Japan.  First queens like Himiko, later they were princesses and even later, common-born women.  Some Japanese women today, especially those called noro and yuta in Okinawa and the surrounding islands, still practice shamanic divination” (p. 305).

“Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is still worshiped today as a Shinto kami, spirits indigenous to Japan.  She is also known as Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, The Great Persuader, and The Heavenly Alarming Female.  She is depicted in kyōgen farce as Okame, a woman who revels in her sensuality.” [2]

“The dances of Uzume (Ama-no-uzume) are found in folk rites, such as the one to wake the dead, the Kagura (dance-mime), and another one which symbolizes the planting of seeds.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Uzume“.

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

Wikipedia, “Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Ama-no-Uzume“.

Ampontan. Ampontan.wordpress.com, “Yuta: The Japanese Shamans“.

Ashkenazi, Michael. Handbook of Japanese Mythology.

Corrao, Tom. Chicagookinawakenjinkai.blogspot.com, “Okinawan Uta – The Shaman Women of Okinawa“.

Goddessgift.com, “Amaterasu Goddess of the Sun/Uzume Goddess of Mirth and Dance“.

Lysianassa. Bukisa.com, “The Goddess Ame No Uzume in Mythology and History“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Uzume – Laughter“.

Schoenberger, Karl. Latimes.com, “Shamans Look to Spirits for Guidance: In Okinawa, Supernatural Is Taken Very Seriously“.

Wikipedia, “Ryukyuan Religion“.

Willis, Roy G. World Mythology, “The Divine Crisis“.

Goddess Inari

“Inari, Goddes of Prosperity” by ArdiRa

“Inari’s themes are death, kinship, ghosts, fertility and love. Her symbols are foxes, rice and the color red.  Among the Japanese, Inari is invoked to bring a long life, blood-red being Her sacred hue. In death, She guides and protects faithful spirits. Portrayed as a vixen, Inari also has strong correlations with love, an emotion that survives even the grave. Rice is a common offering for Inari, as it is a crop to which She brings fertility.

The Obon is a festival for the dead in Japan, where people hold family reunions and religious rituals to honor their departed ancestors and dance to comfort the spirits. Thse observances are fairly easy to duplicate. Gather with friends or family and include rice cakes and fruit as part of your menu planning. Leave out an extra plater of food both for the spirits of the departed and to please Inari.

To increase Inari’s love in any relationship or to draw a lover to you, make this charm: Find a red-colored stone (agate is a good choice), or any red-colored piece of clothing. Put this under the light of a full moon to charge it with emotional fulfillment. Then bless the item saying,

‘Inari be, ever with me.
By this stone [cloth] of red, let love be fed.
When at [on] my side, let love there abide.’

Put the stone in your pocket (so it’s at your side) and carry it when meeting with that special someone.”

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

“Fox Maiden” by Susan Seddon Boulet

“The Japanese rice Goddess liked to wrap herself in a fox’s body.  Sometimes, too, She took the shape of a human woman in order to sleep with men, who had excellent crops as a result.  One of these men, it was said, realized he was sleeping with the Goddess when he saw a long, furry red tail sticking out from beneath the blankets.  He said nothing of it, and She rewarded his discretion by causing all his rice to grow upside down, thus bearing a full harvest that was exempt from the rice tax.

The legendary woman Tamamono-Maye, possibly an incarnation of Inari, lived at court and could change at will into a flying fox.  An enemy, however, ended her power of transformation (and her life, some say) by confronting her with a mirror, which was powerful medicine against her magic” (Monaghan, p. 162).

“Inari” by Matthew Meyer

As stated in a previous entry (see June 9th Wakasaname-no-Kami), Inari is a very complex deity.  “Inari has been depicted both as male and as female. The most popular representations of Inari, according to scholar Karen Ann Smyers, are a young female food Goddess, an old man carrying rice, and an androgynous bodhisattva…Inari is sometimes identified with other mythological figures. Some scholars suggest that Inari is the figure known in classical Japanese mythology as Ukanomitama or the Kojiki‘s Ōgetsu-Hime; others suggest Inari is the same figure as Toyouke. Some take Inari to be identical to any grain kami.

Inari’s female aspect is often identified or conflated with Dakiniten, a Buddhist deity who is a Japanese transformation of the Indian dakini or with Benzaiten of the Seven Lucky Gods.

  

Inari is often venerated as a collective of three deities (Inari sanza); since the Kamakura period, this number has sometimes increased to five kami (Inari goza). However, the identification of these kami has varied over time. According to records of Fushimi Inari, the oldest and perhaps most prominent Inari shrine, these kami have included IzanagiIzanamiNinigi, and Wakumusubi, in addition to the food deities previously mentioned. The five kami today identified with Inari at Fushimi Inari are Ukanomitama, Sarutahiko, Omiyanome, Tanaka, and Shi. However, at Takekoma Inari, the second-oldest Inari shrine in Japan, the three enshrined deities are Ukanomitama, Ukemochi, and Wakumusubi.  According to the Nijūni shaki, the three kami are Ōmiyame no mikoto (water,) Ukanomitama no mikoto (grain,) and Sarutahiko no mikami (land.)” [1]

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Inari Ōkami“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Kitsune, Akasha. Goddessschool.com, “Inari and Her Kitsune“.

Lysianassa. Bukisa.com, “The History and Significance of the goddess Inari“.

Moon, Eidolon. Fox-moon.com, “Watashi no O-Inari-sama“.

OnMark Productions, “INARI / Oinari / Oinari-sama Shinto God/Goddess of Rice & Food“.

Yoose, Becky. University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, “INARI = Shinto Rice Kami“.

“Thoughts of A Dead Husband” by Rickbw1

“Nakisawame-no-Mikoto’s themes are peace, honor, history, death and forgiveness. Her symbols are trees.  The Goddess of mourning in Japan, Nakisawame-no-Mikoto weeps with the memories of the many innocent people who have died in wars throughout the ages. She comes into our hearts today in the hope that we will learn form our collective past.

According to tradition, Nakisawame-no-Mikoto lives in the base of trees, her roots holding firm to the earth and its history. This also speaks strongly of our family trees and the importance of kinship.

On August 6, 1945, the atom bomb landed in Hiroshima, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and many years of radiation sickness. In the spirit of Nakisawame-no-Mikoto, today acts as a memorial to the people who died and a celebration of the peace that has been maintained. Traditionally, tiny paper lanterns are floated on flowing waters as wishes for the dead.

So, light a candle today for someone you know who died needlessly, or fighting a just cause. The flame of the candle reperesnts the Goddess and the memory of that person whose efforts light the way for a better future.

To encourage peace between yourself and someone else, plant a token that represents your desire beneath a tree so that this Goddess can begin helping you achieve harmony.”

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

“Keiko” by Iridescence-art

“Naki-sawa-me-no-kami is the Japanese Goddess of mourning. She was born from the tears of Izanagi, weeping over the loss of his wife, Izanami. Naki-sawa-me lives in the base of the trees on the foothills of the mountain Amanokaguyama. Her name, which means ‘weeping marsh woman Goddess,’ is also seen as Naki-sawa-me-no-mikoto, Naki-saha-me-no-kami, and Naki-saha-no-me-no-mikoto.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Naki-sawa-me-no-kami“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks.com, “Japanese Creational Myths“.

Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Kami in Classic Texts“.

Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Nakisawame“.

“Water” by Jia Lu

“Tamayorihime’s themes are cleansing, health, children and water. Her symbol is water (especially moving water or saltwater).  An ancient Japanese sea Goddess, Tamayorihime rules not only moving water sources but also all matters of health. She also watches over birth waters to ensure a speedy, safe delivery for pregnant women.

The Tenjin festival began in 949 C.E. as a way to get rid of summer maladies. If you’ve had a cold, the flu or some other ailment, try an adaption of Japanese custom. Take a piece of paper that you’ve left on your altar for a while and rub it on the area of your body that’s afflicted. Drop the paper into moving water (like the toilet) to carry away sickness in Tamayorihime’s power. Alternatively, burn the paper to purge the problem. Mingle the ashes with a few drops of saltwater and carry them in a sealed container as a Tamayorihime amulet for health.

For personal cleansing and healing, soak in an Epsom-salt bath today. As you lie in the tub, stir the water clockwise with your hand to draw Tamayorihime’s health to you, or counterclockwise so She can banish a malady. If time doesn’t allow for this, add a very small pinch of salt to your beverages and stir them similarly throughout the day, while mentally or verbally reciting this invocation:

‘Health be quick, health be kind, within this cup the magic bind!’

Drink the beverage to internalize Tamayorihime’s energy.”

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

Tamayorihime, painted wood sculpture, dated to 1251, at Yoshino Mikumari Jinja.

According to the Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayorihime (or –bime) is a common noun meaning a divine bride, in other words, a woman who cohabits with a kami and gives birth to his child.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan says that “like her sister Japanese heroines Ikutamayorihime and Seyadatarahime, she was a young woman who became a mother ancestor to an important family after mating with an otherworldly creature.  This being used to come under cover of darkness, which apparently did not disturb the girl until she became pregnant.  Then, to discover his identity, she sewed a long hemp thread to his hem, and, next morning, followed it to a dark cave.  At its mouth she called out for her lover to show his face.  ‘You would burst with fright,’ a deep voice answered from the earth’s center.  Unafraid, she continued to make her demand until he appeared, a scaly monster with a needle stuck in its throat.  Tamayorihime fainted, but lived to bear the hero Daida, greatest warrior of Kyushu.  The heroine’s name, meaning a woman (hime) possessed (yor) by a god (tama), may have been a title borne by the Japanese shamans called miko.  Similar stories are told of Psyche and Semele” (p. 291).

In the book Spirit Tree: Origins of Cosmology in Shintô Ritual at Hakozaki by E. Leslie Williams, I was able to find reference to Tamayorihime as an “earth-bound Female spirit cognitively linked with the ocean depths…a daughter of the sea deity, Watatsumi, in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki myth cycles.” [2]  “She appears in the KOJIKI as the mother of Emperor Jinmu (Jimmu).  In this case She appears accompanied by two other deities and the three together are known as the Mikomori Sannyoshin. ” [3]

 

 

Sources:

Mizue, Mori. Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayorihime“.

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

Onmarkproductions.com, “Mikumari Myōjin Shrines“.

Williams, E. Leslie. Spirit Tree: Origins of Cosmology in Shintô Ritual at Hakozaki.

 

Suggested Links:

Faure, Bernard. The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender.

Greve, Gabi. Wkdfestivalsaijiki.blogspot.com, “Samekawa Ablutions“.

Mizue, Mori. Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayoribime“.

Ouwehand, C. Namazu-e and Their Themes: An Interpretative Approach to Some Aspects of Japanese Folk Religion.

Wikipedia, “Shinto shrine“.

Wikipedia, “Tamayori-bime“.

 

 

"elemental de aire" by ADES21

“Shina Tsu Hime’s themes are wishes, freedom, playfulness, air element and movement.  Her symbols are the wind and sailing ships.  This Japanese wind Goddess disperses the morning fog. She also keeps away evil, distracting winds, winds that threaten to uproot or blur our spiritual focus. Because of this, Shina Tsu Hime has become the patroness of sailors and farmers, the latter of whom pray to Her for fertile winds bearing seed and rain.

Join our Eastern cousins in Japanese kite-flying festivities known as Tako-Age.  Shine Tsu Hime will be glad to meet with you in a nearby a park and give life to your kite. As it flies, release a wish on the winds. Or cut the kite free and liberate a weight from your shoulders.

While you’re out, gather up nine leaves that Shine Tsu Hime banters about (one for each remaining month). Turn clockwise in a circle, releasing all but one leaf back into Shina Tsu Hime’s care while saying:

 ‘Come May, bring movement in my goals
Come June, playful love makes me whole
Come July, my wishes I will see
Come August, hope grows in me
Come September, all distractions you abate
Come October, my spirit, you liberate
Come November, my health is assured
Come December, in my heart you endure.’

Keep the last leaf with you, releasing it only when you need one of this Goddess’s attributes to manifest quickly.”

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

While researching Shine Tsu Hime, I didn’t find anything under this name.  I did find Shine-To-Be, “Japanese Goddess, wife of Shine-Tsu-Hiko” [1], but not much else.  “Shine-Tsu-Hiko is the god of the wind. Shine-Tsu-Hiko fills up the empty space between earth and heaven, and with his wife Shina-To-Be, he holds up the earth.” [2]  According to Wikipedia, Shina-To-Be is a Japanese Goddess of the winds.  The name Shina-To-Be panned out a little more information for me as I researched this Shinto Goddess.

Upon further research, I came across the following information on the entry for “Shinatsuhiko” in the online Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Other names: Shinatobe no mikoto (Nihongi)

According to an “alternate writing” transmitted by Nihongi, Shinatsuhiko was a kami produced at the time Izanagi and Izanami gave birth to the land (kuniumi). As he produced the land of Japan, Izanagi used his breath to dispel the mist covering the country, thereby giving birth to Shinatsuhiko.

The name is interpreted variously as meaning ‘man of long breath’ and ‘man of the place where wind arises,’ and both Kojiki and Nihongi view him as a kami of wind.

[Ok, no mention of any Goddess or anything that Patricia Telesco mentions above.  In fact, it just sounds like she took his attributes and gave them to Shina Tsu Hime, or Shina-To-Be.  But wait – here’s where it gets interesting…]

"Aeris: Air" by AkinaSaita

According to Nihongi, Shinatsuhiko was an alternate name for Shinatobe, a female kami, when tobe is considered a variant of the feminine tomeEngishiki‘sNorito for the Festival of the Tatsuta Wind Kami” likewise suggests that the two names originally referred to a single pair of male-female kami.” [3]

To me, this implies that both were considered equal at one time.  According to Jeremy Roberts, author of Japanese Mythology A – Z, “For much of Japan’s recorded history, women were largely confined to subserviant social roles.  However, exceptions to this general rule are noted in both myth and legend.  For example, in the Shinto creation myth, the most important deity in heaven is Amaterasu, the sun Goddess.  Many historians and anthropologists believe that these references indicate that early Japanese culture had matriarchal clan structures and that women played an important role in leading society.” [4]   So, the conclusion I draw is that at one time, She was considered an equal and was later “downgraded” and all attributes given to Shinatsuhiko while She played the subservient supportive wife and he took all the credit.  I ask myself, “Why?”  but deep down I already know the answer.

If Shinatobe and Shinatsuhiko both originally refer to a single pair of male-female kami held in equal status and importance, what lesson is to be learned here?  The air is what they equally preside over and the air is what we breath – all of us sharing the same air; all of us, breathing in the Universe.

Balance.  Equality.  Connection.  We’ve been ripped away and kept from our Mother for far too long.  With the new astrological era, the Age of Aquarius (that some would argue is already upon us while others say is yet to come), a new spiritual awakening has begun.  An evolution of consciousness and healing is on the horizon.  We are shifting back and restoring our Mother to Her rightful place and recognizing Her role in creation as the Creatrix.  We are feeling Her energy stir, rising and growing stronger.  As we wake up and realize that we are Divine, that male and female are equal – none lesser or subservient to the other; we experience a sense of love, connectedness, wholeness and balance.

In the above graphic, the two hands interlocking represent what is called the Vesica Piscis.  To me, this symbol represents balance, wholeness, birth and harmony.  It is essentially the intersection of two, overlapping spheres.  The sphere is a symbol of a being with no beginning and no end, continually existing, perfectly formed and profoundly symmetrical.  The addition of a second sphere represents the expansion of unity into the duality of male and female, God and Goddess. By overlapping, the two spheres, the God and Goddess are united, creating a Yoni.  From their Divine Union and through the Yoni, life emerges.  Both are equal in size – one is not bigger or smaller than the other; the Vesica Piscis is balanced. [5]

Wow, where did I just go off to?  Here we started out discussing and researching the Shinto Goddess Shina Tsu Hime and ended up examining Sacred Geometry.  To get back on point with Shina Tsu Hime, to me, She one half of a Divine Couple.  She plays an equal part in that which She is said to preside over.  Her role is no less important than that of Her husband’s.  Together, they form a complete and complementary union.  If we were to acknowledge and recognize this within ourselves, I truly believe that we’d be in a better place.

 

 

Sources:

Chinaroad Löwchen, “Japanese Goddess Names.”

Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Shinatsuhiko“.

Everything2.com, “The Shinto Kami of Japan“.

Ward, Dan Sewell. Library of Halexandria, “Vesica Pisces“.

Wikipedia, “Shina-To-Be“.

Suggested Links:

Paralumun New Age Village, “Japanese Mythology“.

Roberts, Jeremy. Japanese Mythology A-Z, “Wind Gods“.

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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