Power Places and the Kanayama Megaliths

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Megaliths as Power Places

Earth and Celestial Energies.  Humans have long held a deep relationship with Earth and its energies. Even as hunter-gatherers, early man knew places of power as sacred places. They gathered at these sites to honor and venerate life-giving energies of Earth and Sky.

People became aware of fluctuations of these terrestrial energies, and they realized that these earth cycles were related to celestial cycles, the movements of Sun, Moon, and stars in our sky. They knew how to live in harmony with these energies.

Megaliths.  Soon, humans learned that these energies could benefit the health and welfare of people and society, that these energies were associated with naturally occuring megaliths. They learned, as they settled down and began cultivating crops, how to improve their lives. At first, they utilized megaliths to mark significant places. Then they assembled them into megalithic structures, often moving huge boulders from far away, to these special sites — how we do not know. Thus, energies were enhanced. Energies could be redirected to areas where needed, for example, to their crop fields. Megalithic structures could be erected to tamp excessive earth energies such as those due to earthquakes.

As modern research technologies have advanced, and our minds have been opened to new ways of viewing early societies, we have come to better understand early man. These megalithic places served multiple purposes, the least and the last of which was to serve as cemeteries. Through more accurate dating of materials, we know that the structures were built in the 4,000 BCE time-frame, that they were later and only occasionally re-purposed as burial sites.

Purposes of megaliths.  As mentioned, megalithic sites served to mark sacred places; they were developed to manage earth and celestial energies to benefit society. And, finally, megalithic structures were designed and built and operated to serve as observatories. They could then provide accurate data for calendars and for predicting future celestial phenomena, to know when there would be significant changes in energy.

Each of these megalithic observatories investigated the celestial body pertinent to that particular site. Although these observatories were a late development, there are not so many that are known to us today. 

In summary, let’s list the purposes of megaliths and megalithic structures, in roughly chronological order.

+ Identify locations of sacred sites,

+ Hold sacred ceremonies to venerate life-giving force of Universe,

+ Control and manage energies for beneficial purposes,

+ Learn periodic fluctuations of celestial energies affecting earth energies,

+ Observe celestial phenomena in specially-built observatories to determine more exactly the timing of special energies,

+ Determine an accurate calendar of the year/years.

Kanayama Megalithic Observatory

Deep in a mountain forest on the main island of the Japanese archipelago lies a megalithic solar observatory. This site has recently come to the attention of those outside of Japan as the source of a super-accurate solar calendar. This calendar of the tropical year is based on sunlight observation and is 15 times more accurate than our modern calendar. The megaliths were shaped and assembled more than 5,000 years ago. We know, because later humans deposited ashes that have so been dated.

Japanese news media have termed this solar observatory a “power spot”. People have been coming from near and far to experience this remarkable achievement from long ago. They are amazed at the ancient people’s knowledge of astronomy, of their skill in shaping 100-ton and 200-ton blocks of stone, of moving them with precision into desired — and well-planned — configurations. These configurations enable a human observer to accurately track sunbeams and their patterns over the course of the year. at special times, special phenomena are observed. These times of observation determine the solar calendar.

This sun-tracking station is situated amidst tall trees in the mountains near a rushing river. To track the sun would have been simpler if the site were on a flat plain as in most other calendrical observatories. However, the site was cleverly chosen so that it could operate in winter as well as in summer, throughout the entire tropical year.

What’s also remarkable is that two non-specialist researchers have, in less than 20 years, decoded the purpose of this megalithic site. Actually, it is a system of three sites which cooperate to produce all the needed observations, and more. These modern researchers in fact have accomplished their own feat of reverse engineering. They have deduced, from what they themselves have observed, what the original purpose of each megalithic solar event was, and the functions of each megalithic structure.

And to top it off, they are able to explain to the large tour groups how it all works, in language that is simple and direct, uncluttered by scientific jargon. They have already published a fully-illustrated guidebook to the site and have a more technical bi-lingual book in preparation.

The Kanayama Megaliths are a living example of an ancient scientific system. To young children and adults alike it teaches basic astronomy ‘in the field’ so that everyone can experience being a sun tracker in megalithic times.

Concluding Remarks

Megaliths are found all over the globe. They are well-known in Europe, less evident in the Far East. This post was inspired by the article of Martin Gray  about megaliths of Europe. We then related it to our own research at Kanayama Megaliths.  Photo of a tour group at Kanayama Megaliths by Okunomichi.

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Two Waves of Human Migration

Human migrations map Nat GeoRecently, it has been proposed that humans that evolved in Africa migrated out in two waves instead of one. The above map from the April 2018 issue of the National Geographic magazine illustrates this with the colors of the routes. The red path is the newly proposed migration path of roughly 200,000 years ago. The blue-green path is the earlier theory for 60,000 years ago. There is no question that there was a major emigration 60,000 years ago when climate change produced a severe drought. However, recent findings require consideration of a much earlier emigration.

You can read more about it in papers such as this one by Christopher Bae. Here is a direct quote from Bae’s paper:

When my research team and I dated the flowstones – rock that forms from precipitation inside a cave – directly above and below the location of the two human teeth using an absolute dating method called uranium-series, we found that the human teeth dated to between 70,000 and 126,000 years ago; a situation clearly impossible if modern humans moved out of Africa only 60,000 years ago.

You may also be interested in the research in Asian paleoanthropology here.

 

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Jomon Cultivated Plants

 

 

Jomon Plants

As students of the Jomon period, we are curious as to the state of agriculture, the vegetables cultivated and consumed, and especially the start of rice cultivation.

Names of Plants

First we provide this list of Jomon plants and their common names in English. This information is from Table 5.1, page 110, in Mark Hudson’s book, Ruins of Identity.

awa,  foxtail millet

higanbana, cluster amaryllis

hie, barnyard millet

ine, rice

inubie, barnyard grass

katakuri, adder’s tongue lily

kibi, broomcorn millet

komugi, wheat

kuzu, arrowroot

morokoshi, sorghum

oomugi, barley

sato-imo, taro

soba, buckwheat

yama-imo, yam

Yes, there indeed was rice grown in Jomon times. In Hudson’s Table 5.2, he cites ample evidence found in published literature. The two oldest entries are pollen in Fukuoka, reported by Nakamura to be “before 3400 BP.” Two other published finds are ~ 1000 BCE, also on the island of Kyushu. There is also listed rice grain remains at the Kazahari site in Aomori (in the northeast Tohoku region) directly dated to 925 and 787 Cal BC.

Hudson concludes, “The next few years, therefore, may see significant changes in our understanding of the introduction of rice into the islands. On present [1999] evidence, however, a date of about 1000 BC is probably a reasonable estimate for the first arrival of rice in Japan.”

Cultivated Plants

Researchers have suggested that the rapid spread of wet rice agriculture was due in part to the local culture having prior experience with the technology of agriculture. They have also pointed that the sedentary nature of Jomon sites and the large populations require a knowledge and practice of agricultural techniques. The practice of wet rice farming is established during the Final Jomon period. This means that wet rice agriculture was practiced prior to the advent of the Yayoi period. From cultivated plant remains, the first plants being cultivated were cucurbits (gourds), red beans, and peas, followed by barley and dryland rice. This information comes from Yoshinobu Kotani, National Museum of Ethnology, “Evidence of Plant Cultivation in Jomon Japan: Some Implications,” Senri Ethnological Studies 9, 1981.

 

Photo credit: Satoyama Library

 

Happy New Year 2018! Happy Perihelion!

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Earth and sun via ISS Expedition 13/ NASA

Greetings of the New Year to All!

We on Earth have only a few weeks ago observed our December Solstice, when days are shortest in the Northern Hemisphere and longest in the Southern. It was the time of the New Year for indigenous people around the world. Now, we are celebrating the conventional New Year for our times at the beginning of the Western calendar in January.

Did you know that, on January 2 and 3, Earth will be closest to the Sun in our orbit around the Sun? This is always true around this time in our history. EarthSky writes:

On January 3, 2018, Earth at its closest point swings to within 91,401,983 miles (147,097,233 km) of the sun. That’s in contrast to six months from now, when the Earth reaches aphelion – its most distant point – on July 6, 2018. Then we’ll be 94,507,803 miles (152,095,566 km) from the sun.

In other words, Earth is about 3 million miles (5 million km) closer to the sun in early January than it is in early July. That’s always the case. Earth is closest to the sun every year in early January, when it’s winter for the Northern Hemisphere.

Do you wonder if the solstice and the perihelion, the closest approach of Earth to Sun, are related? This is not always true, because the dates change in the course of centuries. In fact, in the year 1246, both occurred on the same day. We are living in very interesting times…

Here’s the explanation from EarthSky.

Earth comes closest to the sun on January 3, 2018 at around 5:35 UTC; translate to your time zone. This event is called Earth’s perihelion. Meanwhile, the December solstice took place on December 21, 2017. At perihelion in January, Earth swings to within about 91 million miles (147 million km) of the sun. That’s in contrast to six months from now, when we’ll be about 94 million miles (152 million km) from the sun. At the December solstice, Earth’s Southern Hemisphere is tilted most toward the sun; it’s the height of summer in that hemisphere. Are the December solstice and January perihelion related? No. It’s just a coincidence that they come so close together.

The date of Earth’s perihelion drifts as the centuries pass. These two astronomical events are separated by about two weeks for us. But they were closer a few centuries ago – and in fact happened at the same time in 1246 AD.

As the centuries continue to pass, these events will drift even farther apart. On the average, one revolution of the Earth relative to perihelion is about 25 minutes longer than one revolution relative to the December solstice. Perihelion advances one full calendar date every 60 or so years.

December Solstice Greetings

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Megalith for viewing winter solstice sunrise (photo by S. Tokuda)

 

One Earth, One Sun, One People

In ancient cultures, winter solstice day was the beginning of the new year. On this shortest day of the year, people knew that the next day would start to be slightly longer, and spring would be coming. Winter solstice is a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.

December 21 and 22 mark the days of the solstice which we call the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Iwakage has posted an article entitled, Winter Solstice 2017. It gives some of the dates and times in various time zones around the world. At the instant of time that is astronomical solstice, it is already early Friday morning of the 22nd in Japan, where Iwakage is located. One of the “earliest” times is in Hawaii when the solstice occurs at 6:28 a.m. on the 21st.

To our readers around the world, thank you for visiting us:

U.S., Japan, France, Italy, U.K., Australia, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Morocco, Russia, Netherlands, Spain, India, Philippines, Hungary, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Belgium, Mexico, Switzerland, Estonia, Chile, Thailand, New Zealand, Serbia, Bulgaria, Portugal, Austria, S. Korea, Ukraine, Argentina, Finland, Romania, Poland, Taiwan, Switzerland, Slovenia, S. Africa, Israel, Greece, E.U., Norway, Cape Verde, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Peru, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Turkey, China, Iceland, Belarus, Croatia, Pakistan, Latvia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Venezuela, Panama, and eighty other countries.

Seeing the names of these 150 countries truly impresses upon us that we are all One People living on this Earth under our Sun. Solstices, equinoxes, and all the days of the year come to all of us. Although the times on our clocks may differ, these astronomical times are the exact same moment for all of us.

Okunomichi wishes every one of you a Happy New Year!

 

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Yamanomoya – Mountains and Shrines of Mystery

As part of the research program on Ancient Japan, Okunomichi has paid a lot of attention to the jinja shrines and their kami that played a role in Hinomoto which led to modern Japan. Many shrines have been mentioned in ancient texts and by other researchers. For that reason, Okunomichi has been actually going to the mountains and visiting these historical jinja.

Now, Okunomichi is moving its posts on jinja and pyramid mountains to https://yamanomiya.wordpress.com/. So we would like to introduce you to Yamanomiya.

Jinja

The shrines described by Yamanomiya are connected historically to ancient documents in the Woshite literature (namely, the Hotsuma Tsutae). And to the kami that are prominent in that literature: Toyoke/Toyouke O-kami, Isanami-O-kami, Isanagi O-kami, Amateru-kami, Seoritsuhime, Shirayamahime, and others.

At Yamanomiya, there are a series of posts on the Moto-Ise shrines. These are the shrines where the kami of the current Ise Jingu Naiku and Geku — Amateru and Toyouke, respectively — were honored that were located, in Tamba no Kuni (in current Kyoto-fu), previous to Ise in the Kii peninsula. Legend says that it was Yamatohime who traveled from place to place until finally settling the enshrinements of Amateru Amakami and his grandfather Toyoke-Okami in Ise. This was long before the Ise shrines were adopted by the Imperial Family, even before there was even such a family.

Pyramid mountains

Yamanomiya also reports on the many pyramid mountains in Japan. In particular, you will find lists of pyramid mountains claimed by researchers Sakai, Kosaka, and Suzuki, Pyramid mountains were built thousands of years ago out of natural hills by human hands. They were made for ritual and societal purposes. They were usually flattened on top so that sacred ceremonies could be held, and today there are still shrines there.

Pyramids stabilized the land during earthquakes. They sent energy down to the land below to improve the productivity of farming. Pyramids and shrines were situated in very special geometrical and astronomical layouts. Frequently the lines connecting them pointed to the summer or winter solstice sunrises and sunsets.

And of course, the mountains of interest are considered especially sacred to kami, whether they are man-made or natural.

Let’s explore mountains and shrines with Yamanomiya!