Category Archives: Ancient civilization

On the Nature of Reality Series

NGC6960 Veil Nebula by Rob Gendler. Click to enlarge.

Message from Okunomichi

Thank you for visiting Okunomichi. I chose my pen-name after the title of haiku master Matsuo Basho’s masterpiece, Oku no Hosomichi, the Narrow Road to the Interior. Okunomichi (Oku no Michi) means the Path to Inner Wisdom. After some decades of studying various Eastern and Western mystery schools, I have finally come to see how they are connected. The answer is obvious, through The Ageless Wisdom found around the world since ageless times. But just how, was beyond me. 

However, at this time, the world is opening to an outpouring of cosmic energies. Earth and its inhabitants of the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms are awakening and evolving to higher frequencies and higher dimensions. We are being infused by energies from outer space as well as within, and assisted and guided by more highly evolved beings than we, so that we can join them as fully realized beings.

As a physicist and mathematician, it has taken a lot to come to this stage of understanding of metaphysics and spiritual matters. I thank all my teachers and supporters, whether scientists or spiritual, whether in body or not, for getting me here. I was always driven by an intention to understand the true nature of reality. I sought it in the physical realm, and I learned a lot about how to conduct research and how the three-dimensional world operates. But not enough. We must open our minds — and our hearts — and go beyond. Just as the name Okunomichi suggests!

Please read and contemplate what I have prepared for you, beginning with the first essay of the series, and continuing in chronological order since they are presented following previous themes. I will endeavor to keep adding new ideas to share, and I would love to hear from you. Please free to Leave a Reply to contact me (click the link at the top of this article). Or write to Okunomichi575 (at) gmail.com.

Thank you for joining me and the rest of us.   —- Okunomichi

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Gaia’s Dance: All That Is

Gaia’s Dance by Elisabet Sahtouris

This is the fifth in the series of posts on the true nature of reality. Here we view Reality from a Gaian perspective.

Gaia’s Dance

Gaia’s Dance is a perceptive book about the living nature of our mother planet, Gaia. Scientist Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris can see the evolution of Earth as a dance of powerful energies. Not only does she look into ancient Greek and Vedic myths and past five-billion-year Earth history, but interprets the latest scientific findings and looks ahead into the future as well. She shows us how we’ve crippled Gaia and what we can do to make her healthy again, along with transforming our own human foibles and destiny. The book is entitled, Gaia’s Dance: The Story of Earth and Us, 2018 . This book is written in a comfortable style for non-specialists to understand the complex science. Other titles of Sahtouris include:  Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution, A Walk Through Time: From Stardust to Us; and Biology Revisioned with Willis Harman.

The Dance of the Universe

“Every piece of matter, everything we know, is a beautiful ballet made of countless invisible dancers’ movements together. It is a dance too small to see, and yet so large it is the whole universe!

“This reminded some physicists that ancient people in India had called the universe the dance of Shiva and his wife, Shakti…and the dance of living nature, of the whole universe, is All That Is.

“Physicists everywhere now understand the universe this way, showing us that matter is a moving dance of energy forming endless patterns. What ‘matters’ is the design of the dance. People everywhere are getting this, too, that we are all One, all individually and together a single energy dance, all of us affecting each other’s lives, all of us co-creating our dance now and always.

“Perhaps the biggest question in science now is about the nature of this basic energy of All That Is. Just like the hunt for the tiniest indivisible ‘original’ particle from which all matter is composed, scientists now hunt for the original energy from which all the matter in the universe is made. Some physicists believe it is what we call consciousness as was, and still is, believed in the Vedic science of India; others disagree.”

Sea of Energy Model

Scientists have begun to abandon the popular Big Bang theory. Now scientists believe that the universe that we know began as ripples of energy like waves on a sea of energy, or like the breath of a living organism. In the 20th century, Einstein’s theory of relativity showed that matter is equivalent to energy. And quantum mechanics theory posits that everything is connected, which agrees with the ancient teachings of sages that All is One. What is it that makes All One?

Keyboard Model

Elisabet Sahtouris suggests we imagine the stuff of the universe as like a musical keyboard. It does make some sense, since musical notes are vibrations of different frequencies. The lowest keys/notes are the particles of Matter, the middle keys are the electromagnetic energies of light, and the highest keys are the high frequencies of Spirit. In this model, each of us is a being of Matter-Energy-Spirit. Einstein showed that matter and energy are the same thing. But what is this “same thing”? We are now beginning to accept the ages-old teaching of the Vedas that this basic stuff is consciousness, consciousness which is Spirit. Consciousness has all these vibrations of energy of the keyboard, from Spirit to Energy to Matter.

Consciousness: All That Is

The universe is All That Is. We are All That Is. 

What is “All That Is”? Well, isn’t it what consciousness is — pure energy? Physicists call All That Is the quantum field, a field of pure energy.

We will go into further consideration of the quantum field and we will be sharing further thoughts on consciousness in following posts.

The Evolving Dance

In the final chapter of Sahtouris’ Gaia’s Dance, she shares her wisdom with the reader.

“We humans, as we have seen, are still quite new compared with so many other species, yet we are already forming a still newer and larger global body of humanity. We are taking evolution to a new stage — one in which we are aware of what we are doing, one in which we organize ourselves by ideas instead of by instincts — one in which we can know ourselves as spirit having a human experience, as some people say, and knowing, or waking up to, our Oneness, our presence in All That Is.”

“If people all over the world come to love their own lives as part of Gaia’s Dance, Gaia’s big brain experiment may prove to be well worth the risk. We will all know that we are still young, as a human species, and can make the future as bright as we would like it to be. With our love and cooperation, Gaia’s Dance will go on in creative balance and harmony — both for itself and as part of the greater harmonies of the whole universe.”

In the Beginning …

The ancient Greeks said that the universe originated with the dance of the goddess Gaia. Dancing brought order out of chaos. Let’s take a further look at chaos.

Next: In the Beginning was Chaos

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True Nature of Reality

Milky Way over Rocky Mountains photo by Jeremy Thomas (click to enlarge)

Preface

It has been a while since Okunomichi last posted. We have been caught up in an outpouring of awakening energies that we had to pause and assimilate before we could communicate with you. We are expanding our field of attention to toward cosmic consciousness and exploring the true nature of reality. We are integrating wisdom of the past with the existential crisis of today as we look toward the future. The keywords of our categories and tags are more inclusive of the spiritual integrated with today’s emerging physical science — which is moving toward the spiritual. Soon, we may return to no separation between physical and spiritual science. Nor is there really any separation between our physical and spiritual natures.

True Nature of Reality

What is the true nature of reality? I have always wanted to know. That’s why I academically studied physics and astrophysics, and researched and published peer-reviewed papers. I could not get a handle on infinity nor on eternity. The answer to the true nature of reality does not lie in the physical world.

Consciousness

I discovered consciousness. Of course, we all know what we mean by ordinary consciousness as cognition and awareness. True consciousness is more than that. It is being aware of being aware. It is becoming aware that we are more than separate physical beings. We are also spiritual beings. We are the consciousness that connects us to the three-dimensional and higher dimensional worlds.

The Law of Unity

The world’s Ageless Wisdom traditions have always taught that We are All One in the Universe, with the Universe. There is a vibrating energy similar to the light we can see but of frequencies that we don’t sense with our physical senses. This light of consciousness is called Love, Unconditional Love, that unites All in the Universe.

The Ageless Wisdom

The Ageless Wisdom is also the Perennial Philosophy, the esoteric teachings that have been taught in mystery schools over the ages and all over the Earth. Teachers include Helena P. Bavatsky after her trip through the HImalayas, and Alice A. Bailey with ascended master Dwaj Kuhl in the 20th century, and many more in the 21st century. The Ageless Wisdom is truly ageless and perennial, for it is the secret teaching of the true nature of reality. Ageless Wisdom teaches that we are spiritual beings in physical bodies. We come from a non-physical dimension, and we are all connected through consciousness. Consciousness is the foundation of all in the universe.

The Ageless Wisdom has been a highly esoteric teaching, that is, it is not for the general public. However, It is now becoming more exoteric, out in the open as masses of people are becoming more spiritually aware. This is part of the movement of energy in our solar system and spiritual evolution in general.

Yellow Sky by Nicholas Roerich, 1874-1947

Wosite Wisdom

In the last dozen years, my focus has been in studying the ancient wisdom of the Jōmon period in Japan, called Wosite (Wo-si-te or Wo-shi-te). The indigenous people of the Japanese archipelago developed a unique high civilization in the span of 15,000 years after the end of the last Ice Age. The spoken and written Wosite language is based on fundamental creative energies. However, Wosite knowledge and wisdom went underground due to political changes beginning two thousand years ago. Wosite has been revived in the last six decades. I am the first American student of Japanese Wosite teachers. It is my sacred responsibility to share Wosite with the English-speaking world.

For Wosite is Ageless Wisdom.

Wosite Cosmology chart by Sakata Shoko

Gaia and a New Humanity

For a long period of time, we humans have dug ourselves deeply into exploring and exploiting the physical world. We have created a situation which is becoming more and more untenable, unsustainable, and unstable. It threatens the very existence of our Mother Planet and humanity. Gaia is the Greek goddess of Earth, viewed as the mother of all creation. The name Gaia was revived by James Lovelock (26 July 1919 – 26 July 2022) in his Gaia theory.

Prophets of old and new times have predicted an evolved humanity with higher consciousness. Gaia herself is evolving into a higher dimensional spiritual being. If we don’t evolve with her, we will be left behind.

Enlightened Beings in Japan

How did the world’s great civilizations pop out of the mundane? Enlightened beings, ascended masters, have incarnated on Earth to teach the Wisdom and to develop human society.

An enlightened being such as Sanat Kumara must have engendered the advanced civilization of Wosite. One such person mentioned in Wosite texts is a human Kami (a person with super-high consciousness) who organized the spoken and written Wosite language and taught skills and technologies to the indigenous people. He taught the cosmology of how life is created from energy. He attributed such deep knowledge to even earlier ancestors.

Sanat Kumara from Arcturus

Another ascended master to have been in ancient Japan of 10 million years ago is Sanat Kumara. Sanat Kumara is spoken of in ancient Vedic teachings and in more modern times by Blavatsky and Bailey and others. He has transmitted telepathic messages that he is originally from the system of the star Arcturus, and visited Mt. Kurama in northern Kyoto 10 million years ago. “Kura” in Arcturian means “portal” or “stargate.” Arcturus is a very bright star in the constellation Boötes. Sanat Kumara refers to himself as extra-galactic, for it is possible that Arcturus is astronomically from another galaxy. 

Mt. Kurama

I have visited sacred Mt. Kurama several times and I’ve noticed a shrine to Sanat Kumara. I long wondered what it was doing at Kurama Dera, a supposedly Japanese Buddhist temple. There are three statues in the hondo main temple. One of them is an unusual being who is said to have come from Venus six million years ago. Maōson may be a later interpretation of Sanat Kumara. When I asked the Abbess of Kurama Temple about Maōson, she explained that he is an energy being and further, that all in the Universe is energy. 

Maōson statue aka Sanat Kumara in Kurama Temple

Global Movement

There is an awakening movement around the world. More and more people are meditating, spreading Unconditional Love, and evolving human consciousness. Humanity is becoming increasingly Gaian, people who are One with our Earth Mother. Soon we will be full citizens of our Milky Way Galaxy and participate in the evolution of the galaxies in this Universe. 

True Nature of Reality

This is the true Nature of Reality: infinite and eternal. This is the Ageless Wisdom for us as we evolve our consciousness toward enlightenment.

Next: Starseed Messages

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Katakamuna, Ryutai, and Wosite Scripts

Introduction

Wosite is not the only script of ancient indigenous Japan. There were many others. Of all these scripts, Wosite is one of the oldest and the most “scientific.” By that, we mean that Wosite is systematic and logical, and its basis is a deep understanding of the principles of the universe and the physical laws by which it operates. This depth of concept that is encoded in the Wosite script is evidence of abstract thinking of early people. This may come as a surprise to many moderns who have assumed that we have only recently come to this level of thought and consciousness.

Popular Kamiyomoji Culture in Japan

There is currently a rather widespread interest in Japan of looking toward the past, to the Jōmon period, from the end of the last Ice Age to the turn of the Common Era.

This is true of anime and manga which depict mythological characters in fantasy. Where are the artists getting their inspiration from? There is also a “healing” and a “powerspot” boom for those seeking an improvement in their lives. Some of the “healing” is said to come from writing Kamiyomoji “divine characters” much as Buddhists meditate by copying sutras over and over. Kamiyomoji are scripts of indigenous Japan, long before Chinese writing was introduced. We have observed that some of those interests are connected with what we know about the Wosite civilization and culture. We students of Wosite can gain fuller understanding by taking a look at these peripheral subjects.

Katakamuna, Ryutai, and Wosite Scripts

Katakamuna verse

Some of the readers of our Okunomichi and WorshiteWorld blogs came to our sites to read about Katakamuna, so we know that people are searching on that keyword. Katakamuna is one of the ancient scripts and we have written on that subject, although there is a very limited amount of primary source material. Ryutai is another script which we will present in this article.

Ages of these scripts are hard to pinpoint. Followers of Ryutai claim that it is one of the oldest scripts at 5,600 years of age, which we will shortly explain. Katakamuna is difficult to date, but it is also very old. Wosite researchers such as Beace state that Wosite existed 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, 4,000 to 6,000 BCE. This would make Wosite older than Ryutai. And the Futomani of Ryutai was formed following the Hutomani of Wosite as many of the Ryutai blogs indicate.

Ryutai Script

Ryutai script is called in modern Japanese ryutaimoji. Written in kanji (modern Chinese letters) as 龍体文字, Ryutaimoji may be translated as “dragon characters.” The word 龍 ryu meaning dragon has replaced the native Japanese word for dragon, たつ tatsu. Followers believe that each character has a Kototama meaning with its own power for healing, and they become practitioners by repeatedly writing out Ryutai characters. 

Ryutai Futomani

Do you recognize the familiar layout of the mandalas shown at the top? We know the one on the left as the Motoake chart of the cosmic origin of the universe as described in the Wosite document, the Hutomani which was compiled by Amateru Amakami. The version of the Motoake chart with inscribed Ryutai characters is called Futomani. The Ryutai Futomani chart is formed from the Wosite Motoake by replacing the 48 Wosite characters by their corresponding Ryutai letters. 

The central circle may seem unfamiliar, but it is simply a 90-degree rotation of the Amoto circle of Amemiwoya. The three Ryutai letters are the three Wosite characters for A-U-Wa. “A-U-Wa” in Wosite means the Birth (U) of Cosmos (A) and Earth (Wa), namely the origin of the universe. 

Kami of the “Age of Gods”

It is the dating of the mythological “Age of Gods” of the governmentally-sanctioned Kojiki, produced in 712 CE, that gives rise to Ryutai dating. In other words, the names of the Kami indicate offer a clue as to the events of their period. For example, if we know when a certain Kami lived, then associated events can be approximately dated and a sort of history established. This seems to be the case with the Ryutai.

Glossary for this Western-conventional translation (not our translation).  English-language translations of the old documents of the historical period of Japan, such as the Kojiki, were produced by Westerners from a Christian culture. They used words such as “god” and “heaven” which were foreign concepts to native Japanese. Nevertheless, we are stuck with these non-politically-correct terms. 

“神, Kami” is translated as “god.” (However, in indigenous Japan, a Kami is a Kami, not a god.)

“天, Ama, Ame” is translated as “Heaven.” (In indigenous worldview, Ama is Space or Cosmos, as different from Earth.)

Note that Wosite researcher Beace has defined Kami as she understood the ancient people meant. Please see our interpretations of her posts. Since Beace was the teacher of Okunomichi, the writer of these WoshiteWorld blogs, the posts on this site provide our understanding of Kami and Ama. They can be found by use of the Search box.

“別天津神, Kotoamatsukami” refers to the first group of “gods” to appear after creation, as described in the Kojiki.

The Kotoamatsukami appeared in this order:

 Amenominakanushi

 Takamimusubi

 Kamimusubi

 Umashiashikabihikoji

 Amenotokotachi

Dating Ryutai

The two steps in the reasoning of the Ryutai age come from (1) Ryutai appeared in the time of Umashiashikabihikoji, and (2) Umashiashikabihikoji lived around 5,600 years ago. Therefore, it is said that Ryutai script is 5,600 years old.

Applications to Modern Generation

As previously mentioned, Ryutai is being touted as a healing practice. Wosite, on the other hand, is not only a healing practice, it offers the modern generation a sustainable worldview. Wosite offers us the wisdom of our ancient ancestors who knew well the principles of the Universe. Wosite wisdom is a set of guidelines for people to live in harmony with each other, with Nature, and with Universe. We can follow these guiding principles to make a world of higher consciousness, well-being, and happiness for our children and the future.

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Hokura Shrine 保久良神社(ホクラジンジャ)and Katakamuna

Image

Katakamuna in Rokkosan

In about the year 1950, the Katakamuna scroll was seen in the mountains of Rokkō (六甲山 Rokkōsan) of Hyogo prefecture by Narasaki Kogetsu. During his engineering work on Kincho-san mountain in the Rokkosan range, Narasaki met a hunter named Hiratōji whose father he said was the “Guji of Katakamuna Shrine”. Hiratoji showed him the makimono scroll, the shintai (sacred object) of the shrine. The Katakamuna Shrine has never been found. However, there is a Hokura Shrine that some associate with Katakamuna.

What we call Katakamuna is connected with the Ashiya tribe, an ancient culture that was known to Taoists in Manchuria, according to Narasaki.

Look at the above map of the Rokko mountains with Ashiya to the southeast and Nishinomiya to the northeast. At Nishinomiya is the Hirota Jinja of Kanasaki Kami who raised Wakahime and is one of the enshrined kami, along with Amaterasu. Wakahime and Mukatsuhime, principal consort of the male Amateru/Amaterasu lived in the Rokko area during Wosite times. The Rokko mountains were originally named Mukoyama after Mukatsuhime. For more about Wakahime and Mukatsuhime, please see WoshiteWorld.

See our other posts on Rokkosan and on Katakamuna by using the Search box.

Reporting on MysterySpot blog

http://mysteryspot.org/report/hokura/hokura.htm

The MysterySpot blog reports on their visit to Hokura Shrine. After showing photos of the many megaliths on the shrine grounds, they propose that the megaliths are arranged in a spiral connected in some way to Katakamuna. This is our interpretation of the final sections of the above blog.

In 1949 or 1950, at Kinchozan, where the Hokura Shrine is located, 楢崎皐月 Narasaki Satsuki (aka Narasaki Kōgetsu) is shown a document called Katakamuna by an old man named Hiratōji at Katakamuna Shrine. The Katakamuna literature is written in iconographic characters consisting of geometric circles and straight lines arranged in spirals. 

Earlier, when Narasaki was stationed in Manchuria (in 1941 or so), he had heard from the priest Lu You San, about the 八鏡化美津文字(ハッキョウカミツモジ) (Hakkyo Kamitsu-moji) of the アシア(Ashia) tribe. So, later when he saw the Katakamuna documents, he thought it might be the characters of Katakamuna and succeeded in translating the documents.

By deciphering, Narasaki found that this Katakamuna document is a science book that describes the view of the universe by ancient people who built a high degree of civilization expressed in the form of poetry. Based on this, Narasaki is developing a unique discipline called 相似象学sōji zō-gaku “similarity pattern science”

It has astonishing contents such as atomic transmutation, principle of positive and negative superposition, uncertainty principle, limit saturation law, landscape engineering, medical method, farming method.

Excerpt from “Nihon no butsurigaku yokō”  Japanese Physics Proceedings by Narasaki Kōgetsu on MysterySpot blog:

Ama is a latent state in which the amount of space-time is degenerate, and it is the original state of Ma before the manifestation and activation of matter and life quality, to be correct, the latent state behind the objective. And it is infinite outside the universe. According to the intuition of the ancients, the universe that we have in concept is a finite universe (Takatama), and there are several universes (Takatama) in the unlimited Ama. In addition, infinite Ama is also an integrated latent state of differential infinite quantity Ame, and there are various latent pattern energy protectors (Nushi) who occupy the unlimited limit of Ama. This is called Ame-no-Minakanushi, and it is said that Ame-no-Minakanushi exists in the unlimited differential quantity.

For those who are interested in another ancient writing system, please visit WoshiteWorld.

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Paleolithic and Jomon Obsidian Production

Obsidian exhibit at Togariishi Museum of Jomon Archaeology.

Upper Paleolithic Blade Technology

This is a continuation of our previous post on Jomon obsidian. The first blade technology emerged in the Upper Paleolithic, around 36,000 years ago. The Upper Paleolithic was from around 38,000 to 16,000 years ago; the Jomon period was from around 16,000 to 2,800 years ago.

“The Japanese Paleolithic is unique in that it incorporates one of the earliest known sets of ground stone and polished stone tools in the world, although older ground stone tools have been discovered in Australia. The tools, which have been dated to around 30,000 BC, are a technology associated in the rest of the world with the beginning of the Neolithic around 10,000 BC. It is not known why such tools were created so early in Japan.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Paleolithic

“Prehistoric Human Activities Around Obsidian Sources in Central Japan”

This journal publication by Kazutaka Shimada contains a great deal of information about prehistoric obsidian sources in Central Japan. His Figure 2 is a detailed map of obsidian mining sites in the Central Highlands. Many Jomon sites have been found near obsidian mines in the mountains of the Central Highlands at altitudes between 1,200 to 2,000 m. We may think that the Jomon were hunter-gatherers, but they lived a semi-sedentary existence with lithic technology higher than we may have imagined.

Obsidian is distributed along volcanic zones, and sources of obsidian in the Japanese archipelago are therefore limited. Around 200 obsidian sources have been identified in Japan, the three main regions being northeastern Hokkaido island, central Japan of Honshu island, and northern Kyushu island.

During the Upper Paleolithic, the technique for the production of obsidian blades were done in lithic workshops. Early on, obsidian was gathered from the surface, and by the Jomon period, the people mined underground deposits by digging pits. The Central Highlands served as a “hub” of the Jomon residential areas, and its obsidian was widely distributed.

“The Jomon exchange networks reflect both the establishment of the local group(s) who exclusively managed the source areas and controlled obsidian circulation, and the emergence of highly sophisticated social relations among the regional Jomon societies of central Japan.”

This thoroughly documented paper offers a window into the lifestyle of the Jomon. We recommend you study it if you have any interest in the obsidian industry of Jomon Japan.

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Happy New Year!

Winter solstice sunrise at the Higashinoyama Megaliths in Central Japan, December 2019. Photo by Chika.

Winter Solstice at the Kanayama Megaliths

The Kanayama Megaliths from the Jomon period have been following the path of the sun in the sky for thousands of years. Thirty observations are made per year to determine the super-accurate solar calendar, an astronomical calendar. One of the most important observations is shown above. The photo was taken by Chika-san at Higashinoyama on December 22, 2019 when the sun rose above the neighboring mountains, and appeared directly ahead of the 9-meter long megalith.

Civil and Astronomical New Years

In many countries, the new year begins on the first day of January. Why? It is a civil calendar created for Western society beginning with the Roman calendar for the running of society. Astronomical calendars are based on major astronomical events such as solstices and equinoxes or risings of important stars and asterisms.

Astronomical New Year

In ancient societies in Europe and in Asia, indigenous people eagerly awaited the the return of the sun to their hemisphere after winter. They used an astronomical calendar. They carefully determined winter solstice day, the shortest day of the year and the day when the sun is lowest in the sky. They celebrated, for the sun is returning!

There are revival ceremonies in Japan to welcome back the sun. One of them is the Asadori Winter Solstice ritual that has continued for thousands of years in Central Japan.

Bonfire before and after being lit on winter solstice morning at Asadori shrine. Photo by Chika.

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Obsidian in the Central Highlands

Obsidian pendant from Togariishi Museum in Nagano.

Jomon Obsidian

When we were in Nagano last year, we visited the Togariishi Jomon Archaeological Museum in the city of Chino. There I bought a black obsidian pendant. Ever since then, I have been curious to learn more about obsidian. Why was the museum selling obsidian pendants? What has obsidian to do with the Jomon of prehistoric Japan? We answer these questions in a two-part post.

What is Obsidian?

Obsidian is a volcanic glass, predominantly glossy black, that forms as igneous rock through the rapid cooling of magma. It has been used for cutting tools with sharp edges such as arrowheads and knives, and also as jewelry. Because it is shiny, it is like a mirror and is thought to expose hidden truths. Allowing negativities to be cleansed, obsidian is known for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

Obsidian in Japan

Obsidian has a long history in Japan and is found in many places throughout the archipelago. It is called kokuyo-seki (黒曜石; koku is black and seki is stone). Obsidian has been mined from many sites in the Central Highlands since Jomon times. What are the Central Highlands? They cover the prefectures of Nagano, Yamanashi, and Gifu.

“It is believed that there are more than 100 obsidian mining sites in the Japanese islands, extending from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. Among these, much of the obsidian from sites in Nagano Prefecture is of high quality, features sharp fracture intersections, and is easy to work and shape. For this reason, Nagano obsidian was the preferred material for making arrowheads, knives, and other stone tools and was widely used by the people of that period….Over a period of several tens of thousands of years from the Paleolithic to the Yayoi period, Nagano obsidian—obsidian only produced in Nagano Prefecture—was distributed in large quantities across a wide area.” https://jomon.co/en/story/

“30,000 years ago, obsidian was transported as raw stone, but 20,000 years ago, stone tools were made at the place of origin and transported to various places. In archeological sites such as Takayama and Mangakukura in Nagawa-cho, Nagano Prefecture, materials and fragments that are traces of stoneware processing have been found. ” https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASL9H46V9L9HUOOB003.html

Obsidian in Shinshu

Shinano Province or Shinshū (信州) is the traditional name for Nagano Prefecture. Located in central Honshu—the primary island of Japan—Shinshu flourished in ancient times as a cultural crossroads between Eastern and Western Japan. With the easy access from Tokyo and the fame the 1998 Winter Olympics brought to Nagano, Shinshu is today a popular tourist draw for people from both within and outside Japan. Bordered on the west by the Japanese Alps, a range of 3,000-meter class mountains, Shinshu provides excellent opportunities for such activities as skiing at Hakuba and hiking in Kamikochi (the Upper Highlands) as well as beautiful mountain views and other natural scenery.  https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/shinshu/

“A historic ruins from the mid-Jomon period, located on the plateau on the west foot of Mt. Yatsugatake at an elevation of 1,070 meters. An archeological survey was carried out in 1930 by a local researcher, Fusakazu Miyasaka, which resulted in the excavation of numerous pit dwellings and hearth remnants, along with earthenware and stoneware revealing mid-Jomon culture and settlements that flourished in the Chubu Highlands. It was designated as a National Historic Site in 1942, and as the first Special Historic Site from the Jomon period in 1952. Moreover, north of the Togariishi Ruins and across a shallow valley with flowing natural spring water, the Yosukeone Historic Ruins were also added to the designation in 1993.” https://www.city.chino.lg.jp/site/togariishi/

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Suwa Taisha Harumiya and Akimiya

Harumiya kagura-den in front of heihaiden

Harumiya and Akimiya, Lower Suwa Shrines

The Lower Shrines are on the north side of Lake Suwa. They are the Harumiya and the Akimiya, whose enshrined kami is said to be Yasakatome, spouse of Takeminakata.

Harumiya, Spring Shrine

Harumiya means Spring Shrine. It is in a shady location, and it has a sugi tree as goshintai. It has a haiden prayer hall but no honden containing a sacred object. The lack of a honden and having a sacred sugi tree indicate that this is an exceedingly old shrine, pre-Shinto, related to nature reverence. Having learned that this is where Yasakatome resides in the spring, we could feel her serene presence. It is said that she moves to Akimiya in the autumn. In the previous post we had learned that Takeminakata comes to visit her in wintertime.

Heihaiden prayer hall

A guide to Harumiya precinct can be found here.

Akimiya, Autumn Shrine

Temizuya with hot spring water

Akimiya means Autumn Shrine. It has the ichii tree as goshintai; there is no honden containing any sacred object. Akimiya has an exceptionally hot water temizuya for hand washing. Beware!

Heihaiden of Akimiya

When we approached the heihaiden prayer hall, the priest was performing a ritual (photo left below). After that, just before 5 o’clock, the priest conducted an additional ritual. There was chanting and the heavy beat of the taiko drum. We realized that this was a closing ceremony when we turned around to visit the shrine office to buy an amulet and found the windows being closed. We felt it was a privilege to be at the shrine at that dusky time of day. Somehow the kami seemed to be nearer…

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Togariishi Jomon Museum

Togariishi Jomon Museum

The Togariishi Museum of Jōmon Archaeology is a municipal museum located in the city of Chino, Nagano prefecture, in the foothills of Yatsugatake mountains (2,899 m) on the east on the border with Yamanashi prefecture. The Yatsugatake Mountains 八ヶ岳連峰 are a volcanic mountain range. Thousands of Jomon people lived in these highland areas around 5,000 years ago. In this area of rich deposits, they mined obsidian for making sharp tools, and they traded and prospered. 

This museum specializes in artifacts of the Jōmon period found at nearby sites. Amongst its holdings are the famed Jomon Venus (middle Jomon ca. 3,000–2,000 BCE) and the Masked Goddess (late Jomon 2,000 BCE) doki (clay) figures. There is a multitude of vases and other artifacts, as well as a mineral collection. It is adjacent to the Togariishi (togari-ishi, pointed rock) archaeological site where you can see reconstructed Jomon houses. While it seems out of place in the woods, it is an impressive modern museum. It is not far from Suwa Taisha’s Maemiya.

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