Sunday, October 1, 2006

Shinto Overview

Shinto Overview Cover Shinto (literally, the way of the gods) is the native Japanese religion. It originated in Prehistoric times and has long played an important role in Japanese society. The major shrines around the country have often been power bases, closely tied with Imperial and shogunal powers. Unlike the world's major religions, Shinto has no fixed dogma, moral precepts, or sacred scriptures. Perhaps for this reason, most Japanese quite easily incorporate Shinto into their way of life alongside Buddhism and even elements of Christianity without feeling a strong attachment to or having a passionate belief in any of them. Shinto is practiced at shrines (jinja), which are most easily distinguished from Buddhist temples by the torii gates that mark the entrance (photo).

Shinto followers worship a huge array of kami (gods or spirits) which personify all aspects of nature, such as the sky, the earth, heavenly bodies, and natural phenomena. Sacred objects, such as rocks or trees, can be recognized by the shimenawa ropes and white paper strips attached to them. Many of the matsuri (festivals) held all over Japan originated from Shinto rites, including prayers of Thanksgiving, offerings of food and valuables, and purification rituals.

Books in PDF format to read:

Aleister Crowley - Rosa Inferni
Marcus Bottomley - Nine Proven Magical Rites
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - You Forever