Gods and Gratitude

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Offerings to the kami at Torigoe Shrine in Tokyo. By 江戸村のとくぞう / CC Wikimedia Commons

Two virtues that are important in Japanese culture are gratitude and generosity. The two are very closely intertwined. The Japanese have a strong sense of obligation and debt towards those who have shown them kindness, going out of their way to make sure no favour goes unrepaid – and the repayment will often be in the form of a physical, and sometimes expensive, gift. [Read more]

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Filed under Rituals & Festivals, Shinto / Japanese Religion

An Interfaith Walk for Peace

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I think it was with some trepidation that myself and fellow members of Medway Inter Faith Action (MIFA), a local interfaith group associated the The Inter Faith Network for the UK, set out for our Walk for Peace on July 2nd. Although this walk, a procession to promote peace between people of all faiths and no faiths in Medway, had been carefully planned for many months, we still had many concerns. Would anyone turn up? What if it rained? What if some kind of accident happened on the way? And what if we got attacked by racists? [Read more]

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Wish Upon A Star At Tanabata

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Throughout July, people in Japan will be gazing skyward as part of the celebrations for Tanabata, a summer celebration often called the “Star Festival” in English. [Read more…]

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Pagan, Shinto & Spiritual Book Reviews June 2016

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Death, dark goddesses and urban folk religion are some of the common themes among the books reviewed this month…[Read more]

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Shinto’s Summer Solstice

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By Tawashi2006 via Wikimedia Commons

The Summer Solstice is not celebrated much in Shinto, at least when compared with Neopaganism. This is a little surprising for two reasons. [Read more…]

 

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Pagan, Shinto & Spiritual Book Reviews May 2016

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This month we take a look at one of Ronald Hutton’s most recent books; an older book on Shinto shrines; one of Paulo Coelho’s more witchy works; and a brand-new release by one of Patheos Pagan’s own writers! [Read more]

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Is Shinto Truly a Religion for All?

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In Japan’s Mie prefecture, there exists an enigmatic shrine. It is visited by 8.5 million pilgrims and sightseers every year, but its central building is hidden from the public. It was established over 2,000 years ago, yet its main structures are never any older than 20 years. It is perhaps the most sacred Shinto site of all, yet is currently surrounded by controversy. Welcome to Ise Jingu, also known as Ise Grand Shrine, where the G7 summit is currently taking place. [Read more]

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Shinto in Emoji

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Believe it or not, millions of people all over the world are now being exposed to Shinto on a daily basis. How? Through emoji! [Read more]

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“Punk Religion”

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Tim Schapker, CC / Wikimedia Commons

Last month I attended a lecture and book reading by Nina Lyon, author of the new book Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man (reviewed here). During the lecture, she described talking about her eclectic, liberal form of nature-based spirituality to a friend, who said, “Oh, it’s like a sort of punk religion!” [Read more]

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Filed under Art & Expression, Nature & Environment, Rituals & Festivals

The Wind and The Sun (By Isaac, age 4)

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Myths, legends and folktales are shapeshifters. They are fluid, mutable; they change with every retelling. That’s the key to their continued existence: Adaptation according to the times and to the environment in which they are told – and the individual thoughts and feelings of the storyteller.

We tend to think of this process as a slow transition, but as my sister and I discovered recently, new meanings and new wisdom can be found in a single re-telling. To demonstrate this, I’d like to present this adaptation of the beloved Aesop’s fable, “The North Wind and The Sun,” by my four year old nephew Isaac…. [Read more]

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