Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shimenawa & Rock


Rock and stone plays a major part in ancient Japanese mythology, so it's not surprising to find them marked as sacred with a shimenawa.


Iwakura, "stone seat" are rock outcroppings found often on mountaintops and are places where the kami descend to earth. They will often be fenced off behind shimenawa rather than having the shimenawa on them.


As with most other places in the world, rocks with unusual shapes and such will often have stories and legends associated with them. The one above is at a female fertility shrine on Mount Daisen, and its easy to see what it reopresents.


This rock has Sainokami carved in it. sainokami are male/female kami found in pairs at village boundaries, crossroads, etc. originally represented by a male and female rock, later they began to be carved as figures.

An evening on Tsunoshima 664

And, of course, there are lots of memorial stones that will have shimenawa on them.

I'm looking forward to reading a book I just got on the new discipline of Geomythology, the study of the geological foundation to human myths.


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