Yorishiro - A place inhabited by the Kami (spirit) or a place where Kami have been invited to come.
Six years ago I traveled to Japan to visit a relative. One of the things I remember about this very different place was something I valued in my CCWWW practice: honoring my connection with earth, ancestors and the spirits of the place. Touring the major cities, I discovered forested parks and quiet green spaces in-between traffic and noise. These places were alive and I could immediately feel the WOW energy. Throughout these parks people had decorated trees with flags or ceramic bowl with a single flower.
One of my favorite movies is My Neighbor Totoro (Miyazaki, 1988). The animated film takes place in post war Japan. It follows a story of a professor and his two daughters and their move to the country. The house is closer to the hospital where the mother is being treated for an illness (i.e., most likely cancer due to the atomic bomb). The move away from the city the girls discover the spirits of the place – one spirit Totoro who is the keeper of the forest.Besides the adventures the girls have with the magical spirits, one piece of the film touches me. The father and daughters are hiking into the forest and come to a large tree. It is an ancient tree. It is a tree that would take two or three people together to get their arms around. The father stands reverently and bows; and the two girls mirror the gesture.
I have found myself often reverently bowing to places and trees even before my travels to Japan. When I hike, I often leave an offering to the place. This past summer hiking at Emerald Lake I was so moved by the place I left my ring. I tossed it into the lake with an offering of thanks. I think of my Ash tree and how I would tie brightly colored ribbons in her arms. When I go to my family farm - I hug the ancient Oak. Their spirit reminds me that I'm connected.
~#~It is interesting that between some cultures there are similarities. My neighbor has just set out her two potted pine trees by her door. They are decorated with white tiny lights. In Japan at this time two Kadomatsu’s (i.e., pine gate) are created and set out on either side of the front door. The decoration is to welcome Kami into the homes. The decoration is also to welcome the God of the New Year. The elements of the Kadomatsu are chosen to symbolize what the person would like in the coming year: longevity, prosperity, steadfastness and respectively.
Create Kadomatsu for the front porch – more to come.
Two pots - look in the garage