Today, I was up early and attended the Koshinsatsu Takiageshiki Shikishidai at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America–or, what I like to call “Shinto Inferno”!
[Note: the above photo is not of this year's ceremony, it is from another year. We did not have snow this year--thankfully!--nor were there tents set up for the spectators around the fire.]
This ceremony is toward the end of the new year cycle, which began with the Oharahi Shiki Taisai in mid-December, continues with the Hatsumoude, and will complete itself early next month with Setsubun. The thanking, purification, and burning of all of last year’s amulets, arrows, ofuda, shimenawa, and various other items occurred today, and it was a more difficult process than it often has been in previous years; but, the result was that inside the fire, there was a green flame that various people, including the Guji of the Shrine, took to be very significant and auspicious as the end of the cycle from last year. Let us hope that is the case…
In other news: since returning, I’ve found out that my trip to PantheaCon has been imperiled by forces utterly beyond my control, but I will not know with any certainty whether this is the case or not until sometime tomorrow, when the relevant authorities can be contacted and things can become sorted out. I’m prepared for all contingencies, and will do all possible to make sure that I am able to attend if it is within my power to do so; however, I’m also resigning myself to the possibility that the contingencies involved may require that I cannot attend at all. This would be most upsetting, to put it mildly, but I literally have no way of knowing whether things will go well or poorly with what I will be able to find out tomorrow, nor if there is anything I can do about any of it. I will not say much more on the topic at present, other than this brief note to simply let people know that this might be a matter that will be spoken of in the immediate future (i.e. later tomorrow) once I know what the situation is. In the meantime, though, I can inform everyone that it has nothing to do with myself nor anyone I know having health problems or the like; it’s an entirely administrative thing (which doesn’t involve myself nor anyone at or associated with PantheaCon itself) that I was not even aware of until less than an hour ago, and which I won’t know more on until tomorrow. Pray to Hermes, Hanuman, Lugus, and all of the auspicious travel deities you may know of on my behalf between now and then, though, if you wish to aid in my efforts to be present.