Category Archives: Kami

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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Tanabata Matsuri — A Star Festival of Ancient Hinomoto

In this post, we discuss the popular Tanabata Festival in terms of its origin.  This star festival of the Weaver was traditionally held on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month. It is held in July or August in modern times.

While many think erroneously that the Tanabata Festival is of Continental origin, this post by Julian Way shows that it was known in the ancient land of Hinomoto Japan long before Continental contact:

     “Tanahata is a festival already ancient in Hotsuma times.”

Tanahata is a loom for ori weaving.  Tanahata matsuri is indigenous to the early people of Japan and is described in the Wosite documents Mikasafumi and Hotsuma Tsutae. This passage is from the Mikasafumi document.

From Namekoto no Aya in Mikasafumi,  as presented in Julian-Way:

afumi matsu     /     fume ni yawashite

kaze to nasu     /     yumi hari ni umu

iu to asa     /     woto tanahata no

hoshi matsuri     /     mochi ha miwoya to

iki tama ni     /     yena no hasuke no

me-wo a-e ha     /     a-ogi odori te

i o ukuru

Mikasafumi Namekoto no aya

Afumi  is the 7th month of the luni-solar calendar of the old days. Fume ni yawashite, the heat of summer is softening.

Yumi-hari is the first quarter of the moon, the seventh day, so the night sky is dark and stars can be seen. At the end of the seven days, a ceremony is held. Cotton and asa (hemp) are spun in the ceremony called woto tanahata no hoshi matsuri.  [Hoshi matsuri, star festival, where hoshi means star and matsuri is translated festival, although it meant an observance in the olden days.]  This is the star festival of Tanahata.

From time immemorial, weaving was sacred work that has been entrusted to women. The ceremony of tanahata, too, was considered sacred.

The special Wosite letter  wo  seen in the third line of the verse has a vertical line indicating the unseen connection to the stars. Stars are honored as ancestors. The other  wo  in  me-wo  refers to male and  me  to female.

Amemiwoya and Universe

The origin of Universe can be understood through Amemiwoya as the Great Origin. Amemiwoya is the Cosmic Parent. Amemiwoya is like the pole star, and Kunitokotachi and the eight Kunisatsuchi sons are like the stars rotating around the pole star.

つまり機織りはアメノノリ(アメの法則)を目に見える形にするという、尊いお仕事なのですね。

In short, weaving is precious work that makes Ame-no-nori the Law of the Cosmos visible in form. So, both the order of the world and governing were taught by likening to hataori weaving with a loom.

Tanahata is a festival already ancient in Hotsuma times.

Odori, dance

なんと、(祖先を)仰ぎ、 踊って アメ のエネルギーを受ける・・・元気になる。

Our ancestors looked up, danced, and received the energy of Universe and  –good health.

縄文のころからの私達の伝統であったのです。

It was our tradition from Jomon times.

Long ago, when thinking of the beginning of the world and the beginning of people while looking up at the beautiful stars in the night sky, our hearts communed with our precious ancestors and started this ceremony dedicated to stars.

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Image above: Woodblock print, Tanabata Matsuri in Edo by Hiroshige

Photo: Sky and Telescope

milky-way-great-rift_480x2741

Note added:  2022.06.16.  This post was prepared in 2017.06.08 and not published. Since Tanabata season is about to begin, we are publishing this post for all to learn about the origin of Tanabata and the Obon Odori in Jomon/Wosite times. For more about Wosite, please see our other site, WoshiteWorld.

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MIND OF SHINTO

The World of Shinto, 1985

Rarely do we see deep thoughts of Shinto in open literature. This unassuming book is valuable not only for Shinto studies, but also for consciousness studies in various spiritual traditions. This post is but one of a number of Okunomichi’s series on consciousness and Mind. By Mind, we refer to the great Mind of Universe as well as the higher consciousness of the human Mind.

The World of Shinto, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, 1985, 268pp, 4892374113.

The contents of this book were first made into modern Japanese in 1977 by Professor Kamata Jun’ichi of the Okura Institute for Spiritual Cultures. Then it was rendered into English by Norman Havens of Kokugakuin University. The book is published by the Buddhist Promoting Organization.

The book contains a number of essays by members of notable Shinto families. We present excerpts from five essays written during the 12th, 14th, and 16th centuries.

p29

Nakatomi no Harae Kunge (An Explication of the Nakatomi Liturgy of Purification)

Written near the very end of the Heian (794 – 1185) or early in the Kamakura period (1185-1333).

“The individual mind, my mind, should be viewed as something which communes with heaven and earth, nature, the cosmos. When considered in this way, we know that the gods ruling the cosmos exist within my very mind. When I come to this realization, I can comprehend the mind of the deities within my own mind. And that becomes the purification of no-mind, no-thought. When I confront the deity with this no-mind, no-thought, god and man are united, namely, I become one with god, and it is clear that all my thoughts, all my desires, are in communion with god. Namely, this is a means, a discipline for knowing my own mind, and by that, I am changed into my true self. The union of god and man means the road whereby I return to myself.”

Notes: Nakatomi no harae refers to the ritual invocations of the oharae great purification ritual which was recited on the last day of the sixth and twelfth months by the Nakatomi clan. The Nakatomi no Harae Kunge text is the oldest-known commentary on this ritual. The commentary found in the text is based upon the esoteric teachings (taimitsu) of the Tendai Buddhist sect.

p36

Toyoashihara Jinpuu Waki (A Simple Record of the Divine Wind in Japan, by Jihen*, 1340)

“The correct way of Shinto practice is not to be misled by senseless words and theories, but merely to seek the sole true source of the mind [kokoro]. To know its origin and ultimate, and to become one with it, one must merely endeavor earnestly. Not to be led astray on false paths, but to awaken to the root of the Way, and to teach that Way even to fools, and to those who have forgotton virtue and become lost — such is the true method of Shinto practice. To act in such a way is to be in accord with the command of heaven, the fundamental Way of the universe; it can be said to be in communion with the fundamental spiritual essence of the universe.”

*Jihen was the son of the Shinto diviner Urabe Kaneaki. He was a Buddhist and became interested in Shinto, developing a unique viewpoint and theory regarding Shinto. Jihen was a strong influence on Shinto thought in the Nambokuchō and Muromachi eras, formulating the “Root, Branch and Flower” doctrine (konpon shōka, wherein Shinto represented the root, Confucianism the branches, and Buddhism the flower of the order of all things).

p38

Shinto Yuraiki (Records of the Origins of Shinto, by Yoshida Kanetomo** 1435-1511)

“That which governs heaven and earth is called deity [kami]. That which governs the individual things in the world is called spirit [rei], while that which governs the individual human being is called mind [kokoro]. At the same time, the human mind is the very place where the kami—who govern the entire universe—dwell, a sacred place within which thus resides the root origin of the cosmos and all things. “

**Yoshida Kanetomo was the founder of Yoshida Shinto (Yuiitsu, “One and Only Shinto”). He was from the family of Shinto diviners called Urabe. They served as priests for the Yoshida, Hirano, and Ume no Miya shrines.  

p38

Yuiitsu Shinto Myoubou Youshuu (Essentials of the Distinguished System of “The One and Only Shinto,” by Yoshida Kanetomo, 1435-1511

“The center of heaven and earth is kami. Kami is also the center of all things. Even devils and beasts—compassionless things—have kami at their center. The core of grass and trees, this is kami. If so, then how can it be that the human center, mind [kokoro] can be anything but kami? Certainly, the human mind, too, is kami. The spirits possessed by all things within this world—there is none that is not kami. There is nothing within which the kami does not dwell. “

p39

Shinto Taii (An Outline of Shinto, by Yoshida Kanetomo, 1435-1511)

Kami is that which was there before the appearance of heaven and earth, and which gave form to them; that which surpasses the yin and the yang, yet has the quality of them. This kami is thus an absolute existence, governing the entire universe of heaven and earth, yet at the same time, it dwells within all things, where it is called spirit [rei]; omnipresent within human beings, it is called mind [kokoro]. “

  ” In other words, human mind communes with the kami which is ruler of heaven and earth; mind and kami are one and the same. Kami is the root origin of heaven and earth, the spiritual nature of all things, and the source of human destiny. Itself without form, it is kami which nurtures things with form. Residing within man’s “five organs,” the deepest part of the human, kami becomes the five kami. “

   “For this reason, the character 神 is read not only as “kami,” but also as “tamashii” [spirit or soul]. We see color with our eyes, yet the color is not in our eyes. That which is the root source of our seeing color is kami. We hear sounds with our ears, yet it is not the ear which produces the sound. That which is the hearing is kami. Our noses’ smelling, our mouths’ tasting, the feeling of hot and cold by our skin—all these are the same. And from this, we know that mind is the dwelling place of the kami, one and the same with the origin of heaven and earth. “

Note: We suggest you re-read these essays, substituting for kami, the words Mind or consciousness. The Japanese word, kokoro, means heart-mind, heart, or mind. 

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Kusihiko’s Yorogi in Awaumi: Hiyoshi Jinja

Hiyoshi Jinja

Our series on Yorogi shrines continues. Hiyoshi is another name for Hie, as in the nearby Hie Taisha and Mt Hie-zan. When searching for Yorogi forest, we found two Hiyoshi Jinja. Let’s call them Hiyoshi Jinja A and B.

Hiyoshi Jinja A

This Hiyoshi Jinja enshrines Ninigi no Mikoto. There are several sha on the shrine precinct. There is a sacred spot marked as the original site for Ise Jingu, and there is a small mound of sand.

Original site of Ise Jingu

Hiyoshi Jinja B (Nishi-Yurugi Hiyoshi Jinja)

This Hiyoshi Jinja is affiliated with Yorogi Jinja, as this signboard explains. This Hiyoshi Jinja has a main shrine with the three kami: Ayakashikone no Kami, Ichikishimahime no Mikoto, and Tachibanahime no Mikoto. This shrine is known as 西万木日吉神社(にしゆるぎひよしじんじゃ)Nishi-Yurugi Hiyoshi Jinja.

Three other shrines located on these premises are: Akiba Jinja, Tenmon Jinja, and Inari Jinja. Off-premise affiliated shrines are: Ota Jinja, Yorogi Jinja, and Hachiman Jinja. We would next visit Ota and Yorogi Jinja.

Photos by Okunomichi 2019

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Kusihiko’s Yorogi in Awaumi: Imamiya

Kusihiko and Yorogi

Kusihiko was an important advisor to Amateru Amakami. As the eldest son of Ohnamuchi, he helped with the unification of Ohnamuchi’s land of Izumo. His service earned him various titles, among them Kotoshironushi and later he became known as Ebisu, the laughing kami. Kusihiko was granted land in the Takashima area of Awaumi (Omi) which is present-day Shiga-ken. Upon this land, he planted thousands of medicinal plants and trees. He called it Yorogi (Yoroki), where yoro means ten thousand and ki means trees.

Yorogi is also pronounced Yurugi, and there is a place called Nishi-Yurugi in Takashima County. Some people remember when Higashi and Nishi-Yurugi were a vast forest. Higashi-Yurugi is now Aoyagi, and Nishi-Yurugi is Adogawa. We went to Adogawa in search of Kusihiko’s Yorogi forest.

And it was some search! We first inquired at the tourist information office at the Adogawa michinoeki. We were given a map of the local area and vague information about nearby shrines. We began walking in the general direction but we were not sure where we were going. We almost stumbled onto a shrine called the Imamiya. This was not the Yorogi Jinja we sought. We would have to rely on a knowledgeable taxi driver. Fortunately the driver who turned up knew all about shrines.

We found five shrine sites in the immediate area, and one of them is still called Yorogi Jinja. We report our findings in three reports:

  1. Imamiya
  2. Hiyoshi Jinja (2)
  3. Yorogi Jinja and Ota Jinja

Imamiya Jinja

The enshrined kami of Imamiya Jinja is Ōyamakui no Mikoto. Genbu says: 大山咋神は大年神の御子神, Ōyamakui Kami is Ōtoshi Kami’s son。Ōyamakui is the kami of Mount Hie in Shiga prefecture. This deity is commonly known as Hie-no-kami. Imamiya is associated with the Hiyoshi Jinja group.

We next visited two Hiyoshi Jinja sites.

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Iizuna Jinja

First torii of Iizuna Jinja Oku no miya on Mt Iizuna

Mt Iizuna 飯縄山

Mt Iizuna straddles Nagano’s northern city of Nagano. 1,917m tall, it is one of Nagano’s Hokushingogaku Northern Five Peaks. Mount Iizuna​ is a mountain located ten kilometers north-northwest of the heart of Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture. Together with Mount Reisenji, Mount Menō, and others, it forms the Iizuna range. This mountain is a sacred site for mountain-based religious sects such as Shugendo.

About the name of Mt Iizuna 飯縄山. When Iizuna is written as 飯砂, the first character is cooked rice, and the second is sand. It refers to a complex of microorganisms such as fungi and algae found locally in Shinshu, “Tengu-no-mugi meshi” (Tengu boiled rice). In other words, people going into these mountains may have found some edible fungi.

GPS coordinates: Latitude: 36° 43′ 59.99″ N, Longitude: 138° 07′ 60.00″ E

Iizuna Jinja

Iizuna Shrine History. This shrine dates to 270 CE, 15th year of Ōjin emperor. It enshrined Tenjin ōdomichi mikoto on the summit of the mountain, and it was originally called īnawa Daimyōjin. 

Satomiya 里宮 of Iizuna Jinja. The Satomiya of Iizuna Shrine is 10km south of Okumiya. The village shrine of Iizuna Jinja is reported on by Genbu who says, although the shrine’s kami is Ukemoti, it is really Inari Kami. Genbu further describes Ukemoti as a kami of food in general, and is the Inari kami in the many Inari shrines around the country. The Inari shrines are readily identified by the pair of guardian foxes which protect the rice crop.

奧宮 Okumiya of Iizuna Jinja. The inner shrine of Iizuna Jinja is located at the top of Mt Iizuna. From here you can see Mt. Fuji and Mt. Asanami 浅聞山 in the southeastern part, Togakushi mountain peaks, Otozuma-yama 乙妻 and Nishidake in the northwest, other mountains of Shinshu in the north, mountains in the Hida Japan Alps in the southwest, literally 360 degrees. 

Seeking Iizuna Jinja. We were recommended to visit Iizuna Jinja since we would be at Mt Togakushi and Mt Iizuna would be nearby. We were already embarked on our journey when the cryptic message came in: Iizuna shrine may be the origin of the Inari shrine system. We had no time to do preliminary research, so after visiting Togakushi Jinja, we started to look for Iizuna Jinja.

Our navigation system took us to a paved parking lot in the forest on the slopes of Mt Iizuna. Right in front of us stood a torii and beyond it was a narrow trail over exposed tree roots. A foray up the trail led to a second torii but the rest of the way was obscured. This was the trail to the okumiya which we never reached, and we almost got lost on the way back.

We tried two other Iizuna sites but they were in non-descript locations (that offered no clue as to a nearby shrine) and yielded nothing. Later, our friend confessed to being taken to sha at these three locations  by a local resident. Unfortunately, we did not have a knowledgable guide. However, we did have an adventure on the mountainside of Mt Iizuna before departing Nagano!

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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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Suwa Taisha Honmiya and Maemiya

Suwa Region

The Suwa region surrounding Lake Suwa lies at the foot of the Yatsugatake mountains in Nagano. It is steeped in mystery and legend from prehistoric times. The presence of kami and nature spirits can still be felt today. Suwa is dominated by the presence of Suwa Taisha, the grand shrine of Suwa, noted for its exciting Onbashira festival. The four shrine locations of Suwa Taisha each have four of these giant pillars.

Wosite and Lake Suwa

We wanted to visit Suwa because it connects with our Wosite research of Jomon Japan through the son and grandsons of Sosanowo (Susanoo), brother of Amateru. After Sosanowo, his son Onamuchi governed the land of Izumo. Although his people lived well, Onamuchi ignored the unification sought by Amateru in the central land. Onamuchi, popularly called Omononushi and Okuninushi, had two sons of note in this story. Kusuhiko received the title Kotoshironushi and he became the second Omononushi.

When Kusuhiko advised his father Onamuchi to give up Izumo to unify with Amateru, Onamuchi didn’t comply right away. Kusuhiko’s brother Takeminakata resisted on their father’s behalf, and was chased by the central force led by Takemikazuchi from Izumo to the umi (lake) of Shinano. There, Takeminakata surrendered, saying Suwa! Alas! Thus this umi is known as Suwako, Lake Suwa; it is the largest lake in Nagano prefecture.

Suwa Taisha 諏訪大社

Suwa Taisha is ichinomiya first shrine of Shinano. Gosaishin enshrined kami are: Takeminakata, his wife Yasakatome, and Yaekotoshironushi (Kusuhiko, Takeminakata’s brother).

Wikipedia has something curious to say about Suwa Taisha: “Although these [Takeminaka and Yasakatome] are the official identities of the shrine’s gods, most of its rituals are actually not so much concerned with their identities but with their character as Mishaguji , local agricultural and fertility deities. The name ‘Takeminakata’ in fact does not appear in historical records of the Upper Shrine’s religious rites; rather, the focus of worship in these rituals are often identified as the Mishaguji.”

And about Mishaguji:  “Believed to be spirits that inhabit natural objects like trees or rocks that could also be called upon to possess  humans or objects during religious rituals, Mishaguji are also thought to be god(s) of boundaries and protector(s) of communities. Worship of the Mishaguji occupied a central place in the religious beliefs of the Suwa region in Nagano prior to the arrival of the Yamato state iin the area. “

There are four Suwa sha shrines, two north of the lake, two south. These are ancient shrines; i.e., they were sacred places to the ancient people long before Shinto shrines were built. Honmiya has Mt Moriya itself as its goshintai sacred object. The Maemiya or earlier shrine has a honden containing a sacred object within. These two sha on the south side of Suwako are called the Upper Shrines. The kami is Takeminakata.

The other two sha are called the Lower Shrine; they are on the north side of Lake Suwa. Their enshrined kami is Yasakatome, spouse of Takeminakata. The Harumiya Spring Shrine has a sugi tree as goshintai,  and Akimiya Autumn Shrine has the ichii tree; they indicate prehistoric nature reverence.

Suwa Taisha Honmiya

The Honmiya is the main shrine with large grounds and is immensely popular. It is comprised of a number of halls.

Suwa Taisha Maemiya 前宮

Maemiya means former shrine, and it must be the first of the Suwa shrines. It is much more modest and charming. On a hillside, the Maemiya felt cool and refreshing.

There is a lovely brook at the base of this shrine where people can fill up their plastic bottles with cold, pure mountain water.

Our report on Suwa Taisha continues in the next post on Harumiya and Akimiya.

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Ōharano Jinja  大原野神社

DSC06110 OharanoJinja.JPG

Ōharano Jinja  大原野神社

Ōharano Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Nishikyō-ku, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Ōharano is dedicated to Amenokoyane, who composed the Mikasahumi document in Wosite.

Amenokoyane

Amenokoyane was a great-great-grandson of Toyoke Kami. He was named the first Kagami Tomi by Amateru Amakami. His responsibility was to discern light (ka) from dark (ga) and to keep society on the Amenaru Path. Amenokoyane received the honor name, Kasuga Kami. He was buried at the ancient Hiraoka Jinja in Osaka. Later in 768, he was enshrined at the Kasuga Taisha in Heijō-kyo (Nara) by his descendants, the Fujiwara. The capital was at Heijō-kyo from 710–40 and from 745–84. 

DSC06112 Oharano

DSC06113 Oharano altar

Emperor Kanmu transfered the capital from Heijō-kyo to Nagaoka-kyo (784-794). Nagaoka-kyo was located in the current Mukō  City and Nishikyō-ku which is part of Kyoto City. Kanmu enshrined Kasuga Myojin here at Ōharano Jinja. The main shrine building was constructed in the year 850 in the style of the Kasuga Taisha. There are four handsome honden behind the haiden prayer hall. We can only see the tips of two sets of chigi. The four enshrined kami are (1) Takemikazuchi, (2) Futsunushi, (3) Amenokoyane (Kasuga Kami) and (4) his wife, Hime Kasuga.

DSC06106Bridge

Koisawa-ike

The Koisawa-ike Pond was built as a facsimile of the Kasuga Taisha’s Sarusawa-ike. It is a famous spot for viewing colored leaves. Overlooking the pond is Wakamiya auxiliary shrine which honors Ameno-oshi-kumone-no-mikoto, son of Amenokoyane. 

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Ōharano Jinja is a lovely spot for autumn colors and for feeling a connection with the spirit of the wise Amenokoyane.

Map

https://www.behance.net/gallery/69551523/KYOTO-OHARANO-JINJA-MAP

 

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Seoritsuhime and Sakunado Jinja

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Sakunado Jinja, 2018.10

Lake Biwa

Sakunado Jinja 佐久奈度神社 is an integral part of the Lake Biwa river system of Shiga Prefecture. Biwako, as the lake is called, is the largest lake in all Japan. The lake was called Awaumi in olden times, and gradually the pronunciation changed so that the area around the lake is called Ōmi. The area has been occupied since at least the Initial Jōmon period (~9300 years ago). Biwako has only one major outlet, the Setagawa  瀬田川, which becomes the Uji 宇治川 downstream, then the Yodo 淀川, before it flows into the Seto Inland Sea at Osaka.

Sakunado Jinja  佐久奈度神社

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Sakunado Jinja overlooks the Setagawa. It is the shrine that ‘oversees’ the river system. The enshrined kami are the four haraedo purification kami, the first and foremost of them being Seoritsuhime 瀬織津姫. Note that the first syllable, the first character, in the name of Seoritsuhime and of Setagawa is Se, which means swift current. 

Setagawa River

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The view of the Setagawa from Sakunado Jinja looks peaceful. However, just upstream to the right (the east) of this spot is the treacherous bend with its strong undertow. Many young people have lost their lives playing here.

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Sakunado Jinja is at the bottom of this map, where the Setagawa turns west. Note that the Setagawa drains southward out of Lake Biwa near Ishiyama. Downstream from the Sakunado, the river’s name changes to Ujigawa, Uji River, as it flows into Kyoto. The Uji merges with two other rivers, the Katsura–gawa and the Kizugawa in Kyoto Prefecture. The Katsura has its headwaters in the mountains of Kyoto Prefecture, while the Kizu comes from Mie Prefecture. Starting from the confluence of these three rivers, the main river becomes the Yodo River. It flows south, through the city of Osaka, into Osaka Bay. The length of the river is 75 km (47 mi). 

Oharai Norito

This is the shrine of the Nakatomi Ōharai no Norito purification invocation to Seoritsuhime Kami.

Jinja Home Page 

Sakunado Jinja  佐久奈度神社   http://sakunado.jp/

 

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