a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Notes on Kami Worship

To: alt.magick,alt.lucky.w,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Notes on Kami Worship
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 01:44:18 GMT

Buttsex Optimus wrote:
> I ran across this post in the luckymojo archives:
> ...and have some uppity additions to make, for those who are
> interested in these things.
> > ... Shinto, she said, is the official state religion of Japan  
> > and holds as a tenet that the Emperor is descended from the  
> > Sun Goddess. Kami worship, on the other hand, does not hold  
> > this as a tenet.
> This is a bit more of a schism than a case of two entirely 
> different religions. IIRC around the time that Japan shifted 
> from being tribal to imperial - the Yamato period [around the 
> third century AD], then culminating in the establishment of 
> the Imperial capital in Nara (during the Nara period, 600 
> and environs AD) - the imperial family took steps to consolidate 
> its power on all fronts. One of these fronts was the theological; 
> it was during this period that the  imperial family declared 
> that all kami are inferior to the sun kami, or the Sun Goddess 
> Amaterasu Omikami, and that the emperor is a descendent of the 
> Sun Goddess.
> (The fun part is that around the Meiji period there was an
> overwhelming drive to establish the geneology as lineal through 
> the male line. Recently the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan 
> had their first and to date only child: a girl. And the mother 
> is 37 or so, and there is a question about whether she can have 
> another child, and so Japan might have a ruling Empress some day 
> despite the efforts of the past!)
> > ... She was a Kami worshipper, 
> > she said, and expressed some distate for Shinto. Strangely, 
> > she, like many Japanese people, also "prayed and bought
> > incense" in Buddhist temples (not Zen Buddhist temples, just 
> > regular Buddhist temples) on the major Buddhist  festival days.
> This is also an unusual part of Japanese culture, which has from
> ancient times despised death in all its forms - a principle of
> vitalism. Even the records of kings reflect this; when a king 
> becomes a kami, there is no reference ever made to his dying. The
> life-annihilating aspects of Buddism have always butted heads with 
> the Japanese religious undercurrent of vitalism. Homes with Shinto 
> and Buddhist shrines have *separate* shrines for this very reason.
> There is some noteable anthropologist or historian who described
> Buddhism as the religion of the *mind* of the Japanese, but
> kami-worship was the religion of its heart. (To be taken with as 
> much salt as any quote for which I can't dig up the source.)
> > Basically, as
> > she explained it, the priests function as blessers and mediators
> > between the Kami and the people for those festivals held in 
> > temples, but there are also folk-festivals in which the populace 
> > deals directly with the Kami by making offerings at home.
> Historically the priests were chieftans of the tribes, and when the
> imperial family was consolidating power - well, you know how that
> went. So the kami-priests are one of the last great representatives 
> of Japan's tribal past.
> Kami worship shares a few qualities with classical Greek paganism -
> there seems to be a kami for everything - but it's unique in that 
> many of these kami are manifestations of *awe* at particular natural 
> events or objects: great trees, mighty kings and warriors, things 
> like this, as well as the more obvious sun, ocean, moon, and so 
> forth. Appealing to these kami is an indigenous folk-magick in 
> Japan.
> ("Indigenous" is important - incredible amounts of Japanese custom 
> and religion and politics and metaphysics and so forth were imported
> wholesale from China and Korea (and from China through Korea.))

Thanks for a great post! You filled in a lot of blanks for me.

cat yronwode 

The Esoteric Archive ---------

From: tight@helpmejebus.WHOREScom (Buttsex Optimus)
Newsgroups: alt.magick,alt.lucky.w,alt.magick.tyagi
Subject: Re: Notes on Kami Worship
Message-ID: <>
References: <> <>
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.21/32.243
Lines: 34
X-Trace: /bJ8XXrFQLo17Rg3MNodG2KN7PnkTLHqDtsCW9OS3G7sfoOW/VpYJ4NR2dZP1212gWvSDWSetIRb!4vVh0gTUnndXRCKkn6RQ217xh9/FdFgeIZMzzLAw0uFnqB1EBQe/weNObH0jD1UIF1KDjPiABQ==
X-Abuse-Info: Please be sure to forward a copy of ALL headers
X-Abuse-Info: Otherwise we will be unable to process your complaint properly
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 01:57:29 GMT
Distribution: world
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 01:57:29 GMT
Xref: alt.magick:281236 alt.lucky.w:10602 alt.magick.tyagi:30624

On Sat, 22 Dec 2001 01:44:18 GMT, catherine yronwode

>Buttsex Optimus wrote:
>> This is a bit more of a schism than a case of two entirely 
>> different religions. IIRC around the time that Japan shifted 
>> from being tribal to imperial - the Yamato period [around the 
>> third century AD], then culminating in the establishment of 
>> the Imperial capital in Nara (during the Nara period, 600 
>> and environs AD) -


Asuka period was around late 500s to 710 or so, and 710-79x was Nara.
Much of the concentration of power was during Asuka, but actual
Imperatoring, to neologize, was the Nara thing.

>Thanks for a great post! You filled in a lot of blanks for me.

Not at all. As long as I've got your attention, I've been
spellchecking and reformatting the copy of _Chuangtse, Mystic and
Humorist_ I found at your site (the Lin Yutang translation, which is
happily my favorite [there's a translation by Clae Waldham which just
isn't as graceful, IMO.]) I intend to post it to alt.binaries.e-book
when I'm done; I don't suppose you would want a copy as well? I'll be
compiling plaintext and HTML versions and I'd be happy to email the
files to you or let you know when I've posted to ABEB. 
Why don't you hold off on calling me a fuckhead for three
fucking minutes?        * *

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races