Shinto: Some Basics

Shinto: Some Basics March 8, 2016
Torii gate, symbolising the boundary between the mundane world and domain of kami. By author.

I’ve been practising a combination of Western Neopaganism and Shinto for some years now, so I thought I would try and give an introduction to some of the most important points about Shinto, as I see them….

Izanami and Izanagi, the kami who created the islands of Japan. Public domain.

1. Shinto is Japan’s indigenous religion

First and foremost, Shinto is practised mostly in Japan and rarely elsewhere. Its origins can be traced back to prehistoric Japan, but it has also absorbed many characteristics from belief systems from other cultures including those of China and Korea. Essentially a collection of folk traditions and beliefs, Shinto wasn’t codified until the compilation of the Kojiki, an 8th century work chronicling Japan’s mythic origins. Shinto’s folk origins mean that it has no founder and no set doctrines – much like Paganism, in fact.

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