Category Archives: Shinto

Commonplace book #27

The ancient Japanese considered anything which manifested awesome potency to be a kami. No distinction was made between kami that were “good” or “bad”, noble or mean, strong or weak. The early Japanese thought of myriad kami that were dispersed among natural objects and human beings. But, it is significant that the kami of manifest being were more fundamental than kami of concealed being, and that auspicious kami were more fundamental than the inauspicious. – Muraoka Tsunetsugu, as quoted in H. Byron Earhart, Shinto and New Japanese Religions

Tamao, again

Back in the spring I mentioned this excellent online Shinto-based fantasy novel I’ve been reading. Well, it keeps getting better, and the author is considering offering the option of an on-demand hard copy edition if demand is high enough. I want to see this happen, so I’m encouraging any of you who think you might enjoy such a story to go check it out (you can also read some brief reviews, including mine, at

Borrowing flame

And borrowing phrases! The title of this post is borrowed from Mam Adar over at Urban Druid. She has a very nice post on the appeal of Shinto (and Tibetan Buddhism) to a Western seeker, and a lot of what she says in the Shinto section applies to me as well, pretty much directly… but the thing she said that really made me sit up and take notice is here:

I’m looking Eastward to see what light the Buddhist traditions shed on the West, and that light is considerable.  It’s not that I don’t think the West has worthwhile traditions of its own, but the fire has been damped down on our altars.  A little borrowed flame from the East could help re-kindle it.

This is exactly what I hope for in my study of Shinto.

Shinto and Hellenism – part 2

This post is going to be much less meaty than last week’s, but it’s still on topic for the series, so I’m going to claim victory and move forward.

In Part 1, I mentioned that both Greek temples and Shinto shrines have a place outside for worshippers to purify themselves with water before prayer. In this post I want to touch briefly on a couple of other similarities between the physical aspects of worship in Shinto and Hellenismos. Continue reading