finally…letting myself freak out about how much i like shinto.kotodama — words having supernatural power and able to influence matter.  (yeah yes yeah.  earthsea and, and true names and, words, man.)

kami can mean spirit, essence, non-anthropomorphic nature spirits, a sense of sacred power; norinaga writes “any thing or phenomenon that produces the emotions of fear and awe, with no distinction between good and evil”  (heck yeah smash the binary, Feelings, Concepts, aaaaaa) ((and by jove i will reprocess writing about gods into being about kami, in this context at least, damn you western god-centrism))

{i can totally work with invoking concepts into symbolic objects for the duration of a ceremony, or for the intention-setting of a space — even a permanent space.  and that object can be a rock!!!  also sacred spaces….are nice. space is so important.}

really ocd friendly (? enabling? heh) rituals like hyakudomairi, in which you visit a shrine a hundred times for a special prayer/wish, but going back to the entrance stone counts as leaving for another visit. mmm pacing in holy spaces.

imi (to-be-avoided things, which pollute a ceremony or otherwise bring bad luck) – uh yeah. yeah. i feel that.

ground-breaking ceremonies, yep.

mori and kodama and the importance of trees (and also mountains)

i also really like…omamori, cultural amulets for sale? it doesn’t feel commodified it feels. good.

and similarly getting o-mikuji, fortunes, from shrines, from going to a sacred space and offering something and receiving a token of your future?  that’s super nice, like, public tarot.

(also not having to like, meditate-pray in order to show respect / worship, but instead ritualized motion — bows and claps in a certain pattern?  mm.)

also just generally god damn it’s easier to not be put off by stuff when it’s in a non-indo-european language, especially one i’ve studied and can make connections in.

i mean, of course i’m not big on “way” and “how people should live” but at least it’s not the way, and it’s stuff like sincerity.  (purity is…hm. challenging. but also mmmm ocd feels. and it’s about, peace of mind and sense of good fortune, rather than being Bad? helllll yes)

also lmao misogyny in your creation story? no big, i do not care about that piece at all, it is already abandoned  (and negativity/fear in your afterlife story? no big, i do not care about that piece at all)

and sure yes questionable historical practices (adding people to shinto lists without consent but it’s fine because it just means the kami welcome you; uh, absorbing and colonizing the ainu and ryukyuan peoples; establishing a state shinto that is ethics-not-religion-therefore-obligatory; persecuting buddhists in an effort to purify shinto) but WELL, dammit fallibility of everything

also ritual dances yes??? yes.  (give me ritual rhythms.  ….i would really like to do taiko drumming someday)

blbbbbbb shinto feels so nice.

(it’s hard!! to be like! this is an ethnic folk religion and i am an utter outsider and! what is appropriate! of course i’m not experiencing the bad parts! and so much feels hard to take away as a concept/inspiration without like, transposing it from its cultural context and doing exactly that thing that’s harmful and bad. lies down…)


4 thoughts on “shinto

  1. queenieofaces says:

    I can give you more nuanced stuff to read, although…there isn’t really that much on Shinto in English, especially stuff that ISN’T about State Shinto. I can also word dump at you over chat or something if you ever want that (it means you won’t have to deal with slogging through academic studies but it does mean that you have to put up with my vaguely incoherent chat style).

    With regards to negativity/fear in afterlife, I actually went to a conference a couple of years back where they stuck like 60 priests in a room and were like, “Let’s talk about…what happens after death.” 6 hours later, the concluding remarks were like, “Okay, so what we’ve discovered today is that we don’t know what happens after death! Is there reincarnation? Do we become ghosts? Do we just die? Who knows!” So talking about “the Shinto view of the afterlife” doesn’t really make sense, because there isn’t a unified view. I mean, Hirata Atsutane spent a good portion of his career trying to prove that Yomi just…doesn’t exist, because he thought it was Too Depressing. (Instead people go to the yuumeikai which is like…the Unseen World, where they just wander around and can see everything that’s happening in the real world but can’t interact with it in any way or be seen? I can see why he thought this was less depressing than Yomi, but also that’s not the most cheerful vision of the afterlife.)

    The misogyny in the creation story is also somewhat mysterious, since versions of the story without those elements exist. So there’s a chance it was a later addition, which means that there are some people who are very determined to Blame Buddhism for the misogyny, or Blame the Chinese.

    Anyway there’s a lot more I could say here but I should stop leaving walls of text on your blog and go read about Blood Pool Hell. @_@ 誰か助けてくれ。

    Liked by 1 person

    • oooo these are some REALLY cool facts. also we should probably totally chat. you do gchat if i remember correctly? i barely know how it works but that’s fine. xD or skypechat is good, or tumblr messenger.

      i’ll send you an email with contact deets 😀


      • queenieofaces says:

        *THUMBS UP* I have so many cool facts, I promise. FOR EXAMPLE: in the Edo period a family become convinced that the miko they had hired to cure their daughter’s fox possession had actually infected her to begin with, so they got their friends and family together and stormed her house and one of their relatives started throwing sardines around derisively.

        (I do gchat but I can also do tumblr messenger. I’m barely ever on Skype so it’s usually not a good way to reach me.)


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