Astrology, Magic & Pilgrimage
I spent 9 days in Japan, in early December 2016. This was my 5th trip to Japan! As usual the trip combined astrology lectures, astrological magic workshops and pilgrimage, primarily this year to Shinto shrines. Above you can see the Nio-Mon or Nio Gate (also known as the Mountain Gate) at Kuramayama, Mount Kurama, a shrine complex north of Kyoto. The Nio are fierce wrathful spirits that guard Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.
Once again, the entire trip depended on my good friend, student and guide, Munehisa Yoshigaki, who is a top Japanese professional astrologer. Munehisa-san took care of all my hotel and travel reservations as well as set up all the lectures and workshops. Above is Munehisa-san at the famous steps of Kifune Jinja, a Shinto shrine next to Mount Kurama, north of Kyoto.
Tenkawa Dai-Benzaiten Shrine is high in the mountains in Nara Prefecture, East of Osaka and South of Kyoto. Above the is the bridge approaching the shrine. Benzaiten is Japanese Buddhist goddess, Sarasvati in Sanskrit, known as a goddess of art, music, literature and eloquence. Tenkawa Dai-Benzaiten Shrine also has a reputation as a New Age energy nexus and the head priest is very open to different esoteric schools.
One of the highlights of the trip was a special ritual by a Yamabushi master. We traveled to Utsunomiya in Tochigi Prefecture, about 1.5 hours north of Tokyo via the Shinkasen (bullet train). Yamabushi literally means "mountain priest", a practitioner of Shugendo, an ancient Japanese spiritual tradition that blends Buddhism and Shinto and focues on mountain austerities. The ceremony was very interesting, a goma fire ritual, which involves burning a large pile of sticks. Usually the sticks contain petitions to the gods, Buddhas or kami (spirits). Burning a large fire indoors is fairly spectacular and produces a great deal of smoke! The Yamabushi did a whole variety of mantra chanting and mudras (sacret hand gestures). We looked at the temple/shrine and altars afterwards and were amazed by all the combinations of Shinto and Buddhist practice. A real inspiration to my syncretic practice!
Above you can see the Yamabushi priest bidding us farewell from his temple.
Here is a group photo of the participants in the Osaka Venus Talisman Workshop. I talked about astrological talismans, the participants colored in their paper Venus talismans. I then sealed the talismans with a Venus image and sigils, then consecrated the talismans. I then did a quick one house or one area natal reading for each of the participants. Lots of fun!
One of my favorite things about Japan is the food, always INCREDIBLE! And of course the service is invariable great as well, it spoils me for the US. Japanese people love to go out to eat and shabu shabu is one of their favorites. At a shabu shabu restaurant they have gas fired pots of boiling water on the table. You add all sorts of vegetables and then swish super thin sliced meat in the boiling water to cook it. Supposedly the swooshing is the origin of the name "shabu shabu" I'm very blessed to spend 100% of my time in Japan with Japanese people and I just keep learning more and more.
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Specializing in Horary Astrology, Electional Astrology Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans.
Copyright 2015, Christopher Warnock, All Rights Reserved.