Monthly Archives: April 2016

Celebrating the Masculine at Kodomo No Hi


Koi-nobori carp streamers hung to celebrate Children’s Day in Japan. By tiseb/Wikimedia Commons

While I find early spring a feminine time of year, for me, May is very much a masculine month – a time for celebrating the Great God in all His incarnations. Certainly Beltane is quite a “manly” Sabbat, withoak its maypoles and Green Man and Horned God imagery. But in Japan on May 5th, there’s another festival that’s all about celebrating boys and men that shares some similarities with Beltane, and that is Kodomo no Hi. [Read more]

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Filed under Rituals & Festivals, Shinto / Japanese Religion, Uncategorized

Pagan, Shinto & Spiritual Book Reviews April 2016


It must be near Beltane – this month’s reviews include not one but two books about the Green Man! There’s also a look at the widely-anticipated Godless Paganism and my own thoughts on Lev Grossman’s The Magicians…[Read more]

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Meeting the Green Man: A Guided Meditation

A meditation for deepening your connection with the Green Man and the environment… perfect for Earth Day, St George’s Day and Beltane. [Read more]

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Filed under Nature & Environment, Rituals & Festivals

Help for Kumamoto


Aso Shrine, one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, located in Kumamoto. The tower gate in this picture has now been destroyed by the earthquake. By Reggaeman, CC / Wikimedia Commons

Kumamoto, a prefecture in Japan’s southwest island of Kyushu, was struck by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake on April 14th. This was followed by a second earthquake on April 16th of magnitude 7.3. Concern is also growing regarding the possibility of landslides as heavy rain has been forecast, as well as increased activity at Mt Aso, Japan’s largest volcano, which is located in Kumamoto.

At time of writing information about the scale of the destruction is still unfolding, but we do know that dozens have died, hundreds are injured and hundreds more have had to evacuate. We also know that there are still victims trapped under rubble. It’s the biggest disaster to hit Japan since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the international Shinto community has a strong connection with Japan, and we are all feeling shocked and saddened by this disaster. I am feeling particularly upset because I know Kumamoto well. I lived there as an exchange student for one year, having incredible experiences and making life-long friends in the process. And like many people all over the world, I want to help.

If you would like to donate towards rescue and relief efforts in Kumamoto, these are some of the organisations that are currently assisting, or ready to assist, in the area:

Finally, I would like to offer a prayer for the people of Kumamoto. Please do feel free to offer your own prayers, energy and thoughts, according to your own personal practice and traditions.

Great Kami-sama, I offer this prayer for all people affected by the earthquakes in Kumamoto.

I pray for those who have lost their lives, and the loved ones they leave behind – may they find strength at this most difficult time.

I pray for all those who are injured – please protect them and help them recover.

I pray for everyone who is suffering from the loss of their homes and basic amenities, and from the trauma and fear resulting from this disaster – please keep them safe and let help reach them swiftly, so they may continue with their lives.

With the greatest reverence, I humbly speak these words. Kashikomi kashikomi mo mōsu.

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Filed under Shinto / Japanese Religion

The Continuing Mystery of the Shell Grotto


By Gernot Keller / Wikimedia Commons

Britain is full of strange archaeological sites steeped in unsolved mysteries – Stonehenge is perhaps our most famous. But one of my favourite curiosities, and one of the most mysterious of all, is located right on my doorstep in Kent: the Shell Grotto of Margate. Click here to read more!

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Filed under Places