Sunday, August 1, 2010

Shinto Revival

Shinto Revival Cover During the Edo Period (1600~1868) there was a revival of nationalistic sentiments. One result was a resurgent interest in the ancient Shinto beliefs, and the discarding of foreign Influences. During the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor was restored to the head of the government and Shinto was established as the state religion. The emperor was considered the divine descendant of the sun goddess. This direct lineage from the gods was reflected in a feeling of Japanese superiority, which in turn fed the miltary expansion of the Japanese Empire. State Shinto was considered the official belief of the entire Japanese race and was embodied in the huge number of shrines, large and small, throughout the country. The great shrines are Meiji Jingu and Yasukuni Jinja in Tokyo, Ise Jingu in Ise and Izumo Taisha in Matsue. Sectarian Shinto was divided up into many sects, which can be grouped into five main categories, based on: traditional Shinto, Confucianism, faith healing, mountain worship, and purification rites.

The sanshu no jingi, or Imperial Regalia (right) are holy relics which appear in Japan's Ancient Myths. They are the symbols of the legitimacy and authority of the emperor.

In order of importance, they consist of the sacred mirror (yata no kagami, stored at Ise Shrine), the sacred sword (kusanagi no tsurugi, stored at Atsuta Jingu shrine in Nagoya) and the curved jewels (yasakani no magatama, kept at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo). The original sacred sword was lost at the famous Battle of Dannoura in 1185.

According to the myth, the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami was driven to hide herself in a cave by the boisterous behaviour of her younger brother, Susanoo no Mikoto, god of the oceans. The sacred mirror was used to lure her from her hiding place. When she emerged, the deities of heaven presented her with the sacred jewels. The sword was removed from the tail of a serpent by Susanoo and presented to his sister as a sign of his submission.

Books in PDF format to read:

Jarl Fossum - Seth In The Magical Texts
Aleister Crowley - Hymn To Pan
Anonymous - Divination Spreads
Yogi Ramacharaka - Science Of Breath
Kenneth Grant - Magical Revival