As the old saying goes, "A god dwells in every tree and grass," the original Japanese deities are thought to be spirits that possess things. As the word implies, they dwell in trees and grass, in stones and mountains. The sacred body of the Oomiwa Jinja Shrine in Nara is a mountain called Miwayama, and the sacred body of Haruna Shrine in Gunma is a huge rock called Misugata-iwa.
It is interesting to note that it is not only natural objects that are thought to be inhabited by deities. The typical example of this is the "Kuruma-harai," or car purification, which is performed at all Shinto shrines. At Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura, a car purification ceremony is also held, and after the purification, a Shinto priest was walking up the stairs with a sacred staff in his hand. The reason why not only drivers who wish for traffic safety but also the cars they drive are exorcised at the same time must be because somewhere in their hearts, they believe that God dwells even in industrially produced cars.
In this context, I still sometimes think about the meaning of a scene I saw in Mexico many years ago. A car was parked in a church lot, and an alba-clad priest standing beside it was mumbling something while sprinkling holy water on the car. I was curious about what he was doing, but not being able to speak Spanish, I could not confirm the authenticity of what he was saying. I tried to talk to the priest, but I could not communicate with him, and all I got was a three-finger peace sign.
|Mar 2022 KANAGAWA PEOPLE|
|KAMAKURA PRIEST SHRINE STAIRWAY|
March 15, 2022
SONY ALPHA 7R II
ZEISS LOXIA 2/35