A short while ago, I arrived back from the Hatsumoude (first Shrine visit of the year) at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America. Last night, at the midnight ceremony, and today in the first two ceremonies of the day (there are a total of thirteen over these two days), they had more people than they ever have before. It’s always the busiest set of festivals in the year for a Shinto Shrine, and it looks like this year will be a record-breaker…
It is not only the Year of the Horse this year, and the beginning of both a ten-year cycle, the nine star ki cycle, and an eighty-one year cycle, but the element this year is wood–thus, it’s the year of the “Wooden Horse.” Of course, anyone who has any Hellenic practice hears “wooden horse” and thinks “Oh shit!” (at least for whoever Troy happens to be in a given situation!); but, it is meant to be a very energetic and powerful, cycle-altering year according to what Shinto esoteric teachings have to say on the matter.
The horse figures and ema above, as well as this calendar shown here, are all in my home now; I have the horses on my Inari shrine, the misfortune-dispelling horse arrow for the year nearby, and the ema hanging on top of all the other year-based ones I have. I also made a prayer at the Shrine on a horse ema, which will hopefully speed that prayer to its destination with Sarutahiko-no-Okami, Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, Amaterasu-Omikami, and Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto.
And, if I understand correctly, tonight on the Wyrd Ways Radio show, which will feature a ritual for all of the gods offended by the atheist student group in Wisconsin, a poem I wrote for Izanagi-no-Okami–who is the father of most of the kami in Shinto, and is honored in every purification prayer in Shinto (i.e. in every Shinto ceremony there is!) for having innovated misogi and purification techniques generally–will be read in that ritual by Sannion and Galina. (For those who may be listening: bow at about a 45 degree angle during the reading of it, and then to add your prayers to the mix afterwards, do the following: bow twice, clap twice, and then bow once more.) So, that’s exciting!
I hope everyone’s 2014 is off to a good start–and that you’ve said prayers to at least three or more deities today (if you’re a polytheist!).