Tag Archive: uzume


Goddess Okame

“Okame’s themes are luck and kindness. Her symbols are masks and good-luck charms. In Japanese art, Okame is portrayed as simple and somewhat homely, yet Her domain is the beautiful energy of good fortune and kind acts. In this form, Okame gently reminds us that true beauty really does come from within. Local lore claims that any area that bears a mask of Okame’s likeness is blessed with Her lucky nature.

Late in November, just preceding the new year in Japan, this is a day for rituals to improve one’s wealth and luck.  Following the Japanese tradition, begin by finding any lawn rake (or broom), and attach as many personal good-luck charms to it as you can find. Take this token clockwise around your home, raking or brooming inward, to gather up Okame’s fortunate energies. As you go through your house, add verbal incantations like the following:

‘[In the kitchen] Okame, in my kitchen shine
so that good luck will be mine!
[Dining Room] Okame, at this table where we eat
let good fortune take a seat!
[Living room] In this room where people lounge
let your fortuity come around!
[Bathroom] Clean negativity and problems away
let good luck start today!’

To encourage Okame’s serendipity even further, you can burn orange, rose, heather, violet, or allspice incense or potpourri as you go.”

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

In one of his blog entries, Kurt Bell explains: “Okame, also known as Uzume or Otafuku is the name for the female half of a traditional Japanese Kyogen theatre pair. She is considered to be the Goddess of mirth and is frequently seen in Japanese art. Her full cheeks and merry eyes are an unforgettable sight and a delight to behold. Some Japanese scholars theorize that long ago, when the first Okame images were created, they may have represented an idealized form of feminine beauty. Styles and tastes are subject to change, and the ancient Japanese might be surprised to learn that the name Okame is today sometimes used as a less-than-appreciated joking taunt by Japanese husbands and boyfriends who haven’t yet learned better. In contrast, a famous and contemporary Japanese Kyogen actor once commented that the countenance of Okame is what every man hopes his bride will look like on his wedding night.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Bell, Kurt. Softypapa.wordpress.com, “Japan Farm Scarecrow – Okame Goddess of Mirth“.

 

Suggested Links:

Greenshinto.com, “Otafuku and Uzume

Wikipedia, “Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto“.

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 Amaterasu

“Amaterasu” by Hrana Janto

“Amaterasu’s themes are the sun, tradition, unity, blessings, community, and kinship.  Her symbols are a mirror, gold or yellow items.  Amaterasu is unique among Goddesses, being one of the few women to personify the sun. In Japan She rules over cultural unity, kinship and the blessings that someone with the name ‘Illuminating Heaving’ might be expected to bestow. It is Amaterasu’s sun that nudges the greenery to reach toward Her light, just as Her gentle energy prods us toward re-establishing harmony in all our relationships.

 The first week of May in Japan is called Golden Week, and it’s a time when Amaterasu’s solar beauty really shines. The Hakata festival is a national holiday that includes celebrations for children and a special parade depicting Japan’s legendary deities. Take a moment to join the festivities long-distance. Remember Amaterasu by wearing gold-colored items today and opening as many curtains as possible to let in Her glorious light.

Once the curtains are opened, take a hand mirror and reflect the light into every corner of your home. This draws Amaterasu’s unifying energy into your living space and guards against discord among all who dwell therein. Also, to ensure that no malevolence enters from outside the home, put a mirror facing outwards in an eastern window (where Amaterasu rises). This is a Buddhist custom for turning away negativity and evil influences.”

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

“Amaterasu (pronounced AH-mah-tay-RAH-soo) is the Japanese sun Goddess and supreme deity of the Shinto faith. Through Her descendent Ninigi, who married Konohana, or Sengen, She is the ancestress of the Imperial family. Her name means ‘Great Shining Goddess of Heaven’, and She is the daughter of Izanami and Izanagi, the divine couple who created the lands. Her double shrine at Ise is rebuilt every twenty years, using one of the two identical buildings as a model. Thus the form of Her temple has remained consistent for two thousand years.

“Amaterasu” by mirana

Like other solar deities such as Apollo, Amaterasu is an archer, Her quiver holding one thousand arrows. She is also a weaver who makes the garments of the gods.

Amaterasu’s impetuous, loud, and altogether boorish younger brother Susano-o made it a habit to undo all Her good deeds, and in frustration and fear, She shut Herself inside a cave and refused to come out. The other Gods could not bear to be without Her light, and finally enticed Her out by holding a raucous party outside the cave entrance, the highlight of which was the Goddess Uzume performing a divine striptease. Her curiosity piqued by the gods’ roaring laughter, Amaterasu looked out and saw Her own reflection in an octagonal mirror placed there [made by the Goddess Ishikore-dome]. Fascinated by Her own nearly forgotten beauty, She came out of the cave a little, which was shut fast behind Her.

Art by Dawn Mostow

Amaterasu is associated with royal power, and returning life and joy after dark times, as the sun becomes stronger and warmer after winter.

Alternate names: Ama-terasu-o-mi-kami” [1]

According to Patricia Monaghan, “Of all the religions currently practiced by significant numbers of people, the only one whose chief divinity is female is Japanese Shinto, based on the worship of the sun Goddess Amaterasu (‘great shining heaven’).

“Amaterasu” by Cyril Helnwein

In Her simple shrines-notable for their architectural purity and unpretentiousness and for the central mirror that represents the Goddess-Amaterasu is honored as the ruler of all deities, as the guardian of Japan’s people, and as the symbol of Japanese cultural unity. Her emblem, the rising sun, still flies on Japan’s flag. Even the inroads of patriarchal Buddhism have not destroyed the worship of the bejeweled ancestor of all humanity.

There is one central myth of Amaterasu. She quarreled with the storm god Susano-o and brought winter to the world. Two reasons are given for her annoyance with him: one, because of his murder of Amaterasu’s sister, the food-giving Goddess Uke-Mochi; the other, because of his deliberately provocative acts against Amaterasu Herself [and savaged the earth].

The latter version has it that Amaterasu did not trust Her brother Susano-o because of his excesses and his constant shouting. One day he came to heaven to see Her, claiming that he meant no harm. She was wary, but he promised that he would undergo a ritual test to prove his goodwill. He said he would give birth, and that if his intentions were peaceful, the children would all be boys.

“Amaterasu” by Sandra M. Stanton

Amaterasu grabbed Susano-o’s sword and broke it with Her teeth, spitting out three pieces which, striking the ground, became Goddesses. Susano-o asked Amaterasu for some of Her jewels: She gave him five; he cracked them open and made them into gods. But then Susano-o grew wild with excitement at his creative feat and tore through the world destroying everything in his path: he even piled feces under Amaterasu’s throne. As though that were not enough, he stole into Her quarters and threw a flayed horse’s corpse through the roof of Her weaving room, so startling one of Amaterasu’s companions [Wakahirume] that She pricked Herself and died.

This was too much for the sun Goddess. She left this mad world and shut Herself up in a comfortable cave. Without the sun, the entire world was blanketed with unending blackness. The eight million gods and goddesses, desperate for their queen’s light, gathered to call out pleas that She return. But in Her cave the Goddess stayed.

The shaman Uzume, Goddess of merriment, finally took matters into Her hands. She turned over a washtub, climbed on top, and began dancing and singing and screaming bawdy remarks.

Soon the dance became a striptease. When She had shed all Her clothes, Uzume began dancing so wildly and obscenely that the eight million gods and goddesses started to shout with delight.

Inside Her cave, Amaterasu heard the noise. As it grew to a commotion, She called to ask what was going on. Someone paused to answer that they had found a better Goddess than the sun.

Provoked-and curious-Amaterasu opened the door of Her cave just a crack.

The gods and goddesses had, with great foresight, installed a mirror directly outside of the cave. Amaterasu, who had never seen Her own beauty before, was dazzled.

“Amaterasu” by *tattereddreams

While She stood there dazed, the other divinities grabbed the door and pulled it open. Thus the sun returned to warm the winter-weary earth. Mounted again on her heavenly throne, Amaterasu punished Susano-o by having his fingernails and toenails pulled out and by throwing him out of her heaven.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines, “Amaterasu”.

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

Suggested Links:

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “Amaterasu: The Universal Sun Goddess“.

Etan. Order of the White Moon, “Amaterasu“. (This link includes a guided meditation and rituals to Amaterasu)

Goddessgift.com, “Amaterasu and Uzume, Goddesses of Japan“.

Kazuo, MATSUMURA.  “Alone Among Women: A Comparitive Mythic Analysis of the Development of Amaterasu Theology“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Amaterasu: laughter over lamentation“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Amaterasu“.

Stanton, Sandra M. The Goddess in World Mythology, “Amaterasu Omikami“.

Wikipedia, “Amaterasu“.

Goddess Ishikore-Dome

"Where Have You Put the Sun?" by neyukiorg

“Ishikore-dome’s themes are the arts and excellence.  Her symbols are stone and mirrors.  This Shinto Goddess is the protectress of all stonecutters and smiths, having fashioned the mold from which an eight-petaled mirror was made for Amaterasu (the sun Goddess). The beauty of Ishikore-dome’s creation was such that Amaterasu came out of hiding, bringing spring’s wonderful sunshine with Her! Similary, Ishikore-dome tempts us to come out of our home-cave today, explore and express our talents, and enjoy the warmer weather.

The sign of Aries is said to produce a feisty, courageous spirit, which is exactly what it takes sometimes to stop being the proverbial wallflower and try new things. If there’s an art form you’ve always wanted to try, or one that you love but hesitate to try because of perceived shortcomings, let Ishikore-dome’s encouraging energy nudge you into action today. Remember, Buddhists believes that developing artistic proficiency comes down to three things: practice, practice and practice!

To conduct yourself with greater courage and a unique artistic flair, make a simple Ishikore-dome charm from a small mirror. Face-down on the mirror, glue a symbol of the area in you life in which you need more creativity, mastery or mettle and carry it with you. This symbolically reflects your desire to the Goddess.”

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

"Amaterasu" by tattereddreams

“Ishikori-dome is the Shinto Goddess of stone-cutting. Although some sources refer to Her as a God, most say that She was a Goddess. When Amaterasu, the Goddess of the sun, locked Herself away in a cave in grief over Her sister Wakahirume‘s death, the gods commissioned Ishikori-dome to create a mirror in an attempt to lure Amaterasu out of the cave. She formed a stone mold which was then filled with copper to create the mirror known as Yata-no-kagami (eight-hand mirror), and the mirror was hung outside Amaterasu’s cave. When She was lured out of the cave by the laughing of the other gods at the antics of Ame-no-Uzume, Goddess of dance, Amaterasu saw Herself in the mirror and was so distracted that the gods had time to seal the cave so that She could not return to Her self-imposed exile. The mirror itself is said to now reside in the Ise Jingu shrine, and most Shinto shrines display a mirror as a symbol of Amaterasu. Ishikori-dome’s name, which means “stone-forming old woman,” is also seen as Ishikori-dome-no-Mikoto, Ishikori-dome-no-kami, and Ishikore-dome.” [1]

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Ishikori-dome“.

Suggested Links: 

Darshan. Oriental Wicca, “The Way of the Kami“.

Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Ishikoridome

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