My New Inari Altar


Followers of my blog may know that I have recently moved house, and as such the old Inari altar that I maintained outside is no more. I’m still in the process of making lots of decisions about my home altars – both my Pagan and Shinto ones – but in the meantime, I have set up this temporary shrine to Inari Okami in our smaller spare room.

The biggest difference for me is that this new altar is indoors. I placed the one at my old house outdoors specifically in honour of the local foxes who often came into our garden. Our new house doesn’t seem to have a community of foxes nearby (I think I’ve seen just one in the neighbourhood so far, and not in our garden), and more to the point, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere “safe” in our new garden for the shrine to go where it would be protected from the elements and the many cats that jump over the walls into the garden.

So I’ve put the temporary altar in the spare room, which I plan on turning into a “Japanese” style room, with a partially tatami floor and other Japanese elements. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to put it above eye-level (kamidana should always be placed above eye-level), so when I make prayers to Inari-sama, I prostrate myself on the floor.

There are of course advantages to having an indoor altar – I don’t have to worry about cold or rain, it’s easier (and cleaner) to give offerings, and indeed most Japanese people keep their kamidana indoors. But I do miss the feeling of praying to Inari-sama outside; the wind against my skin, the sound of birdsong, the scent of plantlife. I felt I could connect more deeply to Inari-sama when I prayed to her outside. However, the practicalities of an indoor altar are overwhelming for now.

I do eventually want to get a proper kamidana set, complete with an o-fuda (the centre of my altar currently has the o-mamori that my colleague brought back from Fushimi Inari Taisha, which is the best substitute I have), and put it up on a shelf above eye-level. But I feel bad about spending money on a kamidana which only I will use (my husband isn’t a Shintoist), when we still need to buy lots of things for the house for both myself and my husband to use. If I happen to come into a bit of extra money, perhaps that’s how I should use it!



Filed under Shinto / Japanese Religion

10 responses to “My New Inari Altar

  1. dayhawk68

    Sugoi 😀 Very lovely space. I have only seen an Inari once (still confused if they are one entity or a collective or both) and it was through a Gumiho’s introduction. Very lovely space. The statues are great. The Inari I saw was a white fox as a woman. I’m not sure if that’s who you know, but I thought I’d share since this is the first post I have ever seen on the Inari.

  2. dayhawk68

    …on WordPress that is. フォックス誇り!

  3. EmilyAnn Frances

    Here’s an idea: start a sacred penny jar. Copper is a conductive metal so bless those copper coins and put them in a jar near your altar. As soon as you come home throw all the change in it. Make it a goal to put maybe 1 pound sterling every three days. That’s painless. Forego one small item and put the money into your coin jar. keep it charged and soon you’ll have more than you expected.

    I’m not covered by health insurance. Even with Obama’s legislation it’s still too expensive for me so I go to a city clinic. They would not approve me for removal of a cyst which is crazy, since it was bothering me. I couldn’t believe the clinic thought it was cosmetic (it was on my scalp) and would not approve. I prayed to my own patroness (The Black Madonna of Poland) and got the image of a coin jar. In one year I had more than enough money for two surgeries to remove two cysts! (another one had started growing). I found a doctor who did the procedure in office for a cost of $500 for both. I paid all cash and he couldn’t believe it. I urge you to try.

    • Oh, I have one! That little black box you can see in the photo with the bell on top is a money box – whenever I find coins, or it’s an auspicious day, I place an offering in the box. The US health system sounds really rough – the UK system’s by no means perfect (I detest it for so many reasons), but at least no-one is deprived of treatment because they can’t afford it. It’s 100% state funded.

  4. EmilyAnn Frances

    I meant to say in addition to the coins, put a paper note in like a one pound sterling note.

  5. foxofinari

    This looks amazing!

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