Shinto Blessings

Shinto Blessings June 1, 2015

Yesterday Rhyd Wildermuth, PSVL, and I went to the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of North America in Granite Falls, WA. This is one of the only official Shinto Shrines in North America. Please take a moment to look through the Shrine’s website to learn more about it’s history and to look at the pictures.

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I know a little bit about Shinto and feel quite an affinity with the Shinto animist world view and many of its practices. However, I had never been to a Shinto Shrine and what I experienced was overwhelming and profoundly beautiful. If you can manage a trip to the Shrine, go.

The three of us went on official Many Gods West business. We each of us received Oharae, a purification blessing, as well as asked for blessings and success for Many Gods West. The ceremony was unlike anything I’d experienced, and yet full of elements I recognized: chanting, drumming, prayer, order, cleansing via a variety of mediums, certain colors and patterns. And lots of patient sitting. I actively enjoy moments when I can just sit in silence. Unfortunately my brain seemed to need to vomit up every thought it has ever had, yet that could not distract me from the powerfully serene and firm demeanor of the priest and the sense that the dust was being shaken off my spirit.

IMG_20150531_122214996_HDRAfter the ceremony we walked around the grounds and…. my heart was broken. The grounds are spectacularly beautiful. It isn’t a dramatic beauty. It is the beauty that comes from every plant, drop of water, and pebble being welcomed and loved. The property radiates happiness and peace, as if the spirits and plants come to rest in harmony just as the humans do. I felt as if this is what Pagan and Polytheist radicals are working toward. Not a world devoid of humans and our labors, for there was a car, buildings, electricity, etc. on this land. But we aim for a world where humans work in concert with other-than-human beings, both material and noncorporeal entities. It was a land that exemplified power-with, not power-over.

I want this world.

I want a world where the rivers sing. Perhaps not with sounds that our ears hear, but with the music that my spirit and physiology responds to – thrilling with each unheard chorus. I want a world where deep and profound peace prevails in both humans and the land.

This experience, and the purification ceremony particularly, stirred up some powerful psychic matter and caused some mighty intense dreams last night. Today and tomorrow I will continue the purification work, for my own health and for the success and benefit of Many Gods West and its attendees.

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  • An Elder Apprentice

    Thank you so much for this post. I need shrines- I believe we all do – places where as you said “The property radiates happiness and peace, as if the spirits and plants come to rest in harmony just as the humans do.” Places where all are welcome where we have worked with the spirit of place to at least provide respite for us all, one that increases all our power and all our peace. Yes this is “power with”.
    Many blessings as you prepare for Many Gods West

  • I am a member of the shrine. Did you join? If you do, you will be supporting the shrine. Also sensei will pray for you every first of month and on your birthday. If we happen to be on the grounds at the same time I’ll tell you about how he helped our coven through our covenmate’s cancer.

    Sensei as you know is very welcoming to Pagans. There are events throughout the year that map out against the seasonal celebrations. Ted and I always go to Setsubun Taisai (Brigid), the summer solstice event, and midnight on New Year’s Eve. Hope to see you there!

    • I did see your name on the renewal list! I didn’t join. I might in the future, though. We shall see. My birthday is on Friday, so I’ve missed this year’s birthday prayer, darn it.

      Hopefully we will cross paths there some time.

  • Kenneth Apple

    I organized a visit with my UU congregation. I loved sitting in the silences with the screens open and the sound of the river coming through. An amazing place.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Thank you for sharing this! With both you and Rhyd going, my major thought has been, “I wonder what they’ll write about this?” 😉 But yes, it was a great visit, and that oharae energy is very distinctive, and came through strongly for me throughout.

  • My wife and I are going in August. I have strong positive feelings about Shinto. They’re already doing what I want to do, and they have about 100 generations in their lineages.

    Its awesome.