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Pól Mac an Gabhain
15 May 2013, 03:01
Greeting everyone.Through my travels in Shinto I found that finding information on the subject can't be exceedingly difficult and therefore to make things easier for those interested, I wish to offer the Encyclopedia of Shinto (an extremely comprehensive site) and my own knowledge. I truly recommend the above website, it holds much knowledge.

Please ask me anything and I will answer to the best of my ability.

PsykhikosAnarchosNautikos
15 May 2013, 19:28
What do you know about the Hand Seals, Chants and Visualizations, and do you have any hands on experience with these combined methods?

WinterTraditions
15 May 2013, 20:02
How do you worship our deities? Do you have a personal altar at home, or do you go to a Shinto Shrine?

Pól Mac an Gabhain
16 May 2013, 04:19
What do you know about the Hand Seals, Chants and Visualizations, and do you have any hands on experience with these combined methods?

We call it the Kuijin and is done when doing a chant for protective energy known as Kuji-Ho. The prayer is done either in a shrine or in front of ones Kamidana (Kami shelf).

The Kami mentioned in this protective chant is Sarutohiko-sama who is the head of the Kami of Earth.

Personally I do not visualise, I simply do the chant and the Kuijin and enjoy the protection it provides for a day.

Pól Mac an Gabhain
16 May 2013, 04:31
How do you worship our deities? Do you have a personal altar at home, or do you go to a Shinto Shrine?

There are no Shinto Shrines in Ireland so I have none to go to. That said I have a Kamidana which is most likely the personal altar you are referring to. I believe most people on this site make there own or some such. In Shinto we have dedicated Kamidana which are handmade and blessed by a Priest (or the odd priestess). They have all you need to do daily misogi (ritual purification) as well as your other daily prayers be the short or long.

Now the prayers you use are up to you, I recommend Ann Llewellyn Evans' Shinto Norito : A Book of Prayers for a complete collection of prayers you can use.

Note : I would ask everyone to realise that Shinto also recognises foreign deities and has syncrestic which are dual deities of two faiths. Most notable among these are Hachiman who is the Kami of War and Archery who is both Buddhist and Shinto. As such the worship of other Deities are fine.

PsykhikosAnarchosNautikos
19 May 2013, 03:44
Thank you. I'm going to look into Sarutohiko-sama.

Shinto is from the Yamabushi folk religion/practice, correct? Do you know any lore of the Tengu and their relation to the Samurai from the Shinto perspective?

Pól Mac an Gabhain
19 May 2013, 05:15
Thank you. I'm going to look into Sarutohiko-sama.

Shinto is from the Yamabushi folk religion/practice, correct? Do you know any lore of the Tengu and their relation to the Samurai from the Shinto perspective?

No it is not from Yamabushi, they follow Shugendo which is mostly descended from one or two Buddhist traditions though it does have one or two native elements mixed in I believe.

Shinto doesn't have a central point of origin. There is no bringer of faith, no holy book, no doctrine or dogma. It is a collection of traditions which originated in Japan. Instead of everyone being made follow the dominant faith of the courts, everyone simply worshiped their own deities. Perhaps the one of their clans, or the Kami of the land they walk on. Others by the seas worshiped Ryujin for protection while fishing. Those who own paddy fields worshiped Inari for prosperity. The Yamato clan, which founded the lineage of Japanese Emperors worshiped Amatersu O Kami (she is the deity of the sun). No one was forced to worship anyone.

After a while Buddhism came and it was named Budo in Japan, but this led to a conundrum. They had no name for the myriad traditions and faiths across their lands. They called these faiths Shinto to make a distinction and that is how it came to be.

I have little knowledge of Tengu, as far as i know they are protectors of forests or rivers and can be quite dangerous. That is all i know about that subject however, apologies.

Corvus
19 May 2013, 06:01
1 Are Kami more accurately called spirits or deities?
2 Define "Kami" please
3 Are Kami immortal? and if they're not when die then what happens?
4 What is the role of women in shinto?
5 How are non-japanese people treated in Shinto?
6 How do Kami work in their representations of things? example: There's a Kami for the entire earth right? But there's also Kami for different islands so where does one stop and another start?
7 Are there any religious texts in Shinto?
8 In school we were taught Shinto was similar to animism, would you agree with this?
9 How does ancestor worship play into Shinto?
10 What is the afterlife in Shinto?
11 What are some affluent Kami?
12 Why have you chosen Shintoism?

Pól Mac an Gabhain
19 May 2013, 07:17
1 Are Kami more accurately called spirits or deities?
2 Define "Kami" please
3 Are Kami immortal? and if they're not when die then what happens?
4 What is the role of women in shinto?
5 How are non-japanese people treated in Shinto?
6 How do Kami work in their representations of things? example: There's a Kami for the entire earth right? But there's also Kami for different islands so where does one stop and another start?
7 Are there any religious texts in Shinto?
8 In school we were taught Shinto was similar to animism, would you agree with this?
9 How does ancestor worship play into Shinto?
10 What is the afterlife in Shinto?
11 What are some affluent Kami?
12 Why have you chosen Shintoism?

1. Neither, it is a stand alone concept in its own right though there are moments where they are similar to both. For example, Amatersu no Okami could be considered a sun goddess yet other Kami are so weak they could considered below a human. The easiest way to look at it is that it is.....both.

2. Define Kami? .......oh boy. The word Kami dates back so far that no one knows the original meaning of the word, only what it refers too. Kami however are virtuous beings so that's one way to look at it. They also represent the spiritual side of many things in the world, and they also regulate the world in regards to that. Define Kami....very difficult.

3. Kami are immortal though can be killed (this where defining Kami gets difficult in regards to the virtue thing). For example Tsukiyomi (He is the Kami of the moon) murders the Kami of Food after being offended by the way the food is served and was banished as a result.

4. Often young girls are Miko or Shrine Maidens who assist the priest. There are priestesses also but they are far rarer. For many centuries the Grand Shrine of Ise was only headed by a High Priestess from the Imperial family though the tradition of the position being female only died out.

5. How are they treated? Shinto is presented as a faith for that the whole world can embrace by any priests currently abroad, many tourists visit Shrines and are treated with the same respect as anyone as long as they respect the traditions of that shrine. Is that what you meant?

6. Yes there is a Kami for the whole Earth, but that does not mean he runs the whole thing without help, far from it. Every patch of land, every road and every town has a Kami who watch over that area. Small villages usually have their own protector Kami, for example, and the Kami of that entire area including other villages and towns will look after everyone in that area and so on. The Kami of the Earth are many. Look at it like an organised hierarchy and it makes more sense.

7. Religious texts? None like the bible with its infallibility. That said there is the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki which both cover the age of the Kami quite well as the most ancient sources of information on them, they also cover later Emperors and their achievements so they are more like history books than anything else. You're in for a long read and a ton of side notes however.

8. Would I agree with this, I don't know a lot about Animism. While animals do appear a great deal in Shinto (Inari Okami's messengers are spirit foxes known as Kitsune who appear in many stories for example) they are not exactly what is revered or worshiped, but respected for their roles in aiding the Kami. There are some who are in any way worshiped though the only one off the top of my head are Inugami (Dog gods), but usually that's more off a mutual partnership of offerings and the Inugami guarding your house in response (and destroying your enemies, they are usually considered outright evil by most people because of this, they are often invoked for criminal activities along the lines of kidnapping and murder. (DO NOT INVOKE THEM).

9. One worships their ancestors as ancestor Kami at their Kamidana. There is a prayer specifically for this. It is considered highly important to pay homage to ones ancestors.

10. What is the afterlife? Good question, we're still debating that matter. It is never explicitly stated we go to heaven or Yomi or that we are re-incarnated (though most believe that one) .We could also just look afetr our descendant as ancestor Kami (my personal belief). No one knows.

11. Amatersu no Okami, Sarutohiko no Okami, Tenjinn - sama, Ame no Uzumi Okami, Inari Okami, Hachiman Okami, Ryujin Okami, Izanagi and Izanami Okami, Susanoo Okami

There is also Suijin (The gods of water, rivers and the like), Fuijin and Raijin are wind and thunder respectively and are often seen as Oni rather than Kami.

12. It called out to me form a young age I believe, I just didn't know it yet. I remember when I was around the age of six and I was visiting relatives in county Roscommon (I'm from Ireland). There is much anything out there, it's so empty tha you can see the lights of distant towns causing light pollution at night because there isn't enough light in between you and them. When I was in the yard I found a rock. It looked plain and grey, but I was curious and picked it up, one the other side was a crystal looking rock and it was beautiful. That is where I believe my journey began. I see my coming to this faith as inevitable.

chris1987
19 May 2013, 10:03
I am very interested in Shinto. So my question is, how does one begin to follow Shintoism? and since their is no place near by for me to acquire a Kamidana and other objects (I have looked around my area high and low) and I don't have the ability to make a Kamidana , do you know of any websites that maybe useful?

Pól Mac an Gabhain
19 May 2013, 10:16
I am very interested in Shinto. So my question is, how does one begin to follow Shintoism? and since their is no place near by for me to acquire a Kamidana and other objects (I have looked around my area high and low) and I don't have the ability to make a Kamidana , do you know of any websites that maybe useful?

Research is the starting point, get books, lots of books. Shinto, the Kami way by Sokyo Ono is a good starting place. As for Kamidana, believe it or not Amazon is your best bet along with Ebay (I actually think ebay is better).

There are Japan shops on Ebay with the things you need, just shop around. Bare in mind a tree is just as good as a Shrine.

monsno_leedra
19 May 2013, 10:58
I wonder does your altar / shrine incorporate Tori Gates? That was one indicator of even the smallest shrines I saw while stationed in Japan for 6.5 years. You might find them suddenly on the side of a road or on some beach or forested area. Do you also consider Shinto to be more animistic in nature than many traditional eastern practices?

Pól Mac an Gabhain
19 May 2013, 11:08
I wonder does your altar / shrine incorporate Tori Gates? That was one indicator of even the smallest shrines I saw while stationed in Japan for 6.5 years. You might find them suddenly on the side of a road or on some beach or forested area. Do you also consider Shinto to be more animistic in nature than many traditional eastern practices?

Kamidana do not have Tori, they do however have a scared mirror. Tori are only used by Shrines.

More animistic........perhaps if one considers certain parts. I believe I mentioned Inugami earlier in the thread somewhere.....

monsno_leedra
19 May 2013, 13:27
Kamidana do not have Tori, they do however have a scared mirror. Tori are only used by Shrines.

More animistic........perhaps if one considers certain parts. I believe I mentioned Inugami earlier in the thread somewhere.....

That makes sense about the shrines and Tori Gates. I do find it interesting though that you reference gods / goddesses as none of the Japanese I spoke to at any of the shrines or individuals said they had gods / goddesses. One of the reasons so many Japanese follow Shinto until later in life when they convert to Buddhist for afterlife issues and such.

Pól Mac an Gabhain
19 May 2013, 13:33
That makes sense about the shrines and Tori Gates. I do find it interesting though that you reference gods / goddesses as none of the Japanese I spoke to at any of the shrines or individuals said they had gods / goddesses. One of the reasons so many Japanese follow Shinto until later in life when they convert to Buddhist for afterlife issues and such.

Gods and goddesses are the best translation I can give. There is no equivalent to Kami in English, to be honest I just find it convenient, people don't look at me strangely etc.

I can see why they would convert later. It is well known that Shinto practitioners often prayed in Buddhist Temples as well as Shrines and Shinto-Buddhism was widespread for a very long time. The Buddhist view of the afterlife almost seems to go hand in hand with it for these reasons.

It's not my view but that's just me.

Corvus
19 May 2013, 16:50
Thankyou for answering my questions! I know a little about shinto but it's nice to be able to ask people questions. I hope these aren't becoming annoying though..
1 I asked about how nonjapanese people are treated because I've heard some things about them being discriminated against for being "outsiders".
2 I asked about the death of Kami (since I know they can die from a few legends) but I was wondering about what happened to their physical counterparts. As in Amaterasu Okami hides in her cave and the sun is gone from the sky. If a kami is killed does the thing they represent cease to exist?
Which comes first the kami or the object? Ex. Theres a kami for the wheel or some other object which is somewhat modern, did the kami decide that it liked the object and become its spirit or are kami born when the objects are made or is there a predetermined amount of Kami just waiting for things to be invented?
3 Are Kami physically present in the objects/things they represent/gaurd/ect? as in does the toilet kami live in the bathroom?
4 Is Izanami no Mikoto still a kami even though she died? Is she worshiped in dual aspects before and after she died or singularly ?
5 what are Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi? I see them being mentioned as the "first gods". By extension how does the shinto creation myth go? the websites I've looked at dont have anything before Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto.
6 I thought Inugami were spirits of murdered dogs used by witches (or whatever the equivalent is)? I actually saw a ritual make inugami and it's godawful...
7 What is and what is not a Kami? (I realize this is probably an impossible question) are Kami purely spiritual or metaphysical or something else? in which case can humans be or become kami?
8 are Kami personal gods? as in do they pay attention to each worshipper individually?
9 Is knowing japanese very important?
10 What are shikigami? do they have anything to do with Shinto?
11 Does Shinto have any stance on homosexuality and are there an associated kami to it?

PsykhikosAnarchosNautikos
19 May 2013, 17:52
Does Shinto utilize kiko (energy technique) such as breath, posture and movement besides the kuji-in to develop a strong outer aura and internal strength?
Do Shinto perform Mikkyo?

Pól Mac an Gabhain
20 May 2013, 05:18
Thankyou for answering my questions! I know a little about shinto but it's nice to be able to ask people questions. I hope these aren't becoming annoying though..
1 I asked about how nonjapanese people are treated because I've heard some things about them being discriminated against for being "outsiders".
2 I asked about the death of Kami (since I know they can die from a few legends) but I was wondering about what happened to their physical counterparts. As in Amaterasu Okami hides in her cave and the sun is gone from the sky. If a kami is killed does the thing they represent cease to exist?
Which comes first the kami or the object? Ex. Theres a kami for the wheel or some other object which is somewhat modern, did the kami decide that it liked the object and become its spirit or are kami born when the objects are made or is there a predetermined amount of Kami just waiting for things to be invented?
3 Are Kami physically present in the objects/things they represent/gaurd/ect? as in does the toilet kami live in the bathroom?
4 Is Izanami no Mikoto still a kami even though she died? Is she worshiped in dual aspects before and after she died or singularly ?
5 what are Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi? I see them being mentioned as the "first gods". By extension how does the shinto creation myth go? the websites I've looked at dont have anything before Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto.
6 I thought Inugami were spirits of murdered dogs used by witches (or whatever the equivalent is)? I actually saw a ritual make inugami and it's godawful...
7 What is and what is not a Kami? (I realize this is probably an impossible question) are Kami purely spiritual or metaphysical or something else? in which case can humans be or become kami?
8 are Kami personal gods? as in do they pay attention to each worshipper individually?
9 Is knowing japanese very important?
10 What are shikigami? do they have anything to do with Shinto?
11 Does Shinto have any stance on homosexuality and are there an associated kami to it?

1. The 'Outsider' mentality is not a result of Shinto which is faith of tolerating and embracing all things, but rather Japans current social norm. I believe there have been attempts to curb discrimination, but as any Burakimin would tell you, there hasn't been much done.

2. What happens to the Kami they die? Izanami no Mikoto died in child birth and ended up in Yomi which is the land of the dead where she became a rotting corpse, but still able to move and talk. We don't know what happened to the Kami of food after death so that doesn't help. I doubt the object itself would be destroyed purely because Kami are meant to regulate the world and are considered infinite. No doubt one would take up the slack for that reason.

An object gets a soul after 100 years, at which time it will have a Kami. That said if you follow the Ainu tradition of thought, everything has Kami by default. I usually go with the Ainu view on the matter. How the Kami comes to be there? Not sure, could be because energy accumulates for a hundred years or because the object simply exists.

3. Does a toilet Kami live the bathroom? This is an interesting question because there types of Kami bound to locations. A Kami of a stretch of land would stay in that land for example. However, that only seems to be the way with the earthly Kami, the heavenly equivalent like Amatersu no Okami lives in heaven in their palace, not the sun. Good question indeed.

4. Yes she still is worshiped as a Kami, as she has shrines dedicated to her, and it appears to be singular worship. I've never actually been in contact with someone who does worship her so I'm not sure about that part. Apologies.

5. Amenominakanushi is the solitary Kami, being to first to come into existence in the heavenly plain. Kunitokotachi was born form the chaos of creation itself. The did indeed come first. Here is an extract from the Encyclopedia of Shinto who's scholars know far more than I on the subject.

Zōka sanshin

Three kami of creation." According to Kojiki's account of the formation of the world, the three kami which procreated first in the Plain of High Heaven (Takamanohara), namely, Amenominakanushi, Takamimusuhi, and Kamimusuhi. Each of these three came into being as a "solitary kami" (hitorigami), and later hid itself. The term zōka sanshin originates in the preface to Kojiki, where it states, "When heaven and earth first separated, the three kami that resulted were the beginning of all procreation." In the Edo period, scholars of National Learning (Kokugaku) valued Kojiki more highly than Nihongi, and around the end of the period, knowledge of the biblical story of creation led to theological trends that emphasized the "three kami of creation" due to their status as the very first to come into being. While Nihongi states that the first three kami to appear were Kunitokotachi no mikoto, Kunisazuchi no mikoto, and Toyokumunu no mikoto, it does not specifically label them the three kami of creation.

-Inoue Nobutaka

6. Not witches, just criminals. They are used almost entirely for criminal activities and yes the litral transaltion 'Dog God', they are far more than spirits which is why they are so dangerous. I believe wikipedia has an article on them.

...........and where did you see this being done?

7. Impossible uestion I'm afraid, that said all living beings have a Kami within them. We are Kami right now, we simply do not worship ourselves because physical bodies can accumalate taint from any evil actions we take. This is why we practice misogi, ritual purification.

8. Are they? Not sure, it really depends on your own belief. While yes you can pray for protection it doesn't mean they will answer, it really depends on the Kami. Ryujin for example is responsible for the worlds oceans and I doubt he is going to stop regulating so a fisherman can a safer waters to fish in. That said there are Kami that don't regulate such things, instead being Kami of joy, love and sensuality so they would most likely answer your prayers.

9. It is insanely helpful to know Japanese which is why I will be taking a beginners course soon. However I got this far without it, not a lot has been translated to English, but the things you need are.

10. Shikigami of familiar spirits and are invoked by Omyouji who are followers of the Omyodo cult. Here is another extract.

Kami invoked as familiar spirits within the cult of Onmyōdō. Also read as shikijin, or shiki no kami. The shikigami are believed to have originated in the twelve monthly tutelary deities (Chōmei, Kakai, Jūkai, Densō, Shōkichi, Shōsen, Taiichi, Tenkō, Daishō, Kōsō, Daikichi, and Shinkō) found on the circular cosmographic divination board (shikiban; Ch. shipan) used in the methods of divination called rikujin shikisen (Ch. liuren shizhan), and in the "36 beasts" (sanjūrokkin), animals believed to have jurisdiction over the twelve hours of the day).

In later esoteric Buddhism, they were given the same attributes as the "protectors of the dharma" (gohō;), and they came to be viewed as lower-order deities subject to commands from Onmyō adepts. The shikigami frequently appear in collections of legends like Konjaku monogatari and Ujishūi monogatari, where they are described as appearing variously as children (or young men), small animals, and demons, while in many other cases they do not reveal their form at all. Konjaku monogatari relates that all Onmyōji adepts possess shikigami, invoke them when performing magic and divinations, and otherwise make them respond to their everyday commands. In fact, however, it is believed that the shikigami cult arose from an (http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=300) association of the magical paper tokens (katashiro) used during ritual purifications (harae) and Onmyōdō rituals, with the deities of the shikisen divination ritual.

----

Omyouji were very powerful beings, the most powerful being Abe no Seimei who wrote the Senji Ryakketsu, the formost book on Omyodo. Shikigami acted as aides, protectors and spies as their master commanded.

11. I have no idea what the Shinto stance of homosexuality is nor do i know of any Kami associated with it. I will have to contact the priest of Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America (The nearest English speaking Shrine I can get in contact with) with that question.





- - - Updated - - -


Does Shinto utilize kiko (energy technique) such as breath, posture and movement besides the kuji-in to develop a strong outer aura and internal strength?
Do Shinto perform Mikkyo?

Is Kiko used? I've never heard of it until now, that said we do meditation so it wouldn't surprise me, I might give it a shot myself.

Mikkyo is a Buddhist concept. Shinto probably absorbed it at some stage, you can if you want and I imagine it will have the desired effect. That said it is not Shinto

Corvus
20 May 2013, 11:22
6. Not witches, just criminals. They are used almost entirely for criminal activities and yes the litral transaltion 'Dog God', they are far more than spirits which is why they are so dangerous. I believe wikipedia has an article on them.

...........and where did you see this being done?


First off I would like to thankyou for answering my many questions so well and I appreciate it very much. I practice necromancy and in my research inugami came up and bear similarities to servitors in necromancy, though few are as violent as Inugami appear to be. I worded my sentence wrong there. I have not actually seen the ritual itself but I know of the process which would occur. The process involves the ritual starvation and mutilation of a dog to create a spirit that could not rest quickly or easily and then ensnare it. There are similar rituals with different animals in a variety of cultures. It's absolutely horrible and most modern necromancers would denounce it as an evil practice. It's also appropriate to mention that not all servitors are produced from murder. I asked about witches using inugami for this reason. There seemed to be enough parallels to ask.

Pól Mac an Gabhain
20 May 2013, 12:01
First off I would like to thankyou for answering my many questions so well and I appreciate it very much. I practice necromancy and in my research inugami came up and bear similarities to servitors in necromancy, though few are as violent as Inugami appear to be. I worded my sentence wrong there. I have not actually seen the ritual itself but I know of the process which would occur. The process involves the ritual starvation and mutilation of a dog to create a spirit that could not rest quickly or easily and then ensnare it. There are similar rituals with different animals in a variety of cultures. It's absolutely horrible and most modern necromancers would denounce it as an evil practice. It's also appropriate to mention that not all servitors are produced from murder. I asked about witches using inugami for this reason. There seemed to be enough parallels to ask.

Indeed, I find it a revolting ritual. Burying a dog up to it's neck and leaving it there until it almost starves to death is a sickening practice and then it only gets worse.....

It's no problem answering questions about my faith, it is something I enjoy doing. Please ask away if you have more. :)