Thursday, January 8, 2009

Modern Shinto

Modern Shinto Cover After World War II, the Allied Occupation separated Shinto and the state and this break was written into the new constitution. So visits by leading politicians to Yasukuni Jinja, which enshrines the Japanese war-dead, are always protested as being provocative by Japan's Asian wartime foes. The emperor issued a statement renouncing all claims to Divinity and the use of Shinto symbols for nationalistic purposes was forbidden. Even today, protests against these and other changes are a favorite rallying call of right-wing extremists.

In addition to the hundreds of festivals, many Shinto Ceremonies play an important part in modern daily life. Many marriages are carried out in shrines, building plots are purified and sometimes even new cars are blessed for safety. In a rite called oharai, the white-clad priest waves a stick with white strips of paper attached to carry out the blessing. Most family homes have a kamidana (god shelf) as well as a Buddist butsudan (Buddha altar). The main teaching centers for Shinto priests are Kokugakuin University in Tokyo and Kogakukan University in Ise.

(One of the most authoritative works on the subject is Shinto: The Way of Japan (1965) by the American educator and clergyman Floyd H. Ross)

Books in PDF format to read:

Franceska De Grandis - Goddess Initiation
Phil Hine - On Cursing
Aleister Crowley - One Star In Sight