Once again we will delve into why the practice of the Art of Ninzuwu originates from the Jomon Period. The indigenous peoples of Japan were a hunter-gatherer society during the Jomon Period. Many of the kami that they were dealing with were different from the kami of the latter forms of ‘Shinto’ that would arise as civilization in Japan began to develop after the Jomon Period. These older kami became demonized and often removed from the pantheon of worship; turned into yokai by younger imperially influenced cults that were gaining prominence. In this aspect of the yokai, they are the untamed forces of nature that civilization may sometimes come into conflict with and eventually fall to because of the inherent deviance of civilization from the natural order.
The form of Shinto that is associated with the Jomon Period is called Koshinto (Old Shinto) associated with the tradition of the Ainu peoples and the Ryukyuan Islands. This form of Shinto emphasizes the natural world and the spirits that live there.
Koshintō (古神道 Ko-Shintō?) refers to the original animism of Jōmon period Japan which is a basis of modern Shinto practices. The search for traces of Koshintō began with Restoration Shinto in the Edo period. Some movements which claim to have discovered this primeval way of thought are Oomoto, Izumo-taishakyo, and Shinrikyō.
The Japanese word ko (古?) means “ancient or old”; shin (神?) from Chinese Shen, means “spiritual force or spirit” often loosely translated as “deity” or “god”; and tō (道?) from Chinese Tao, means “The Way”. Thus Koshintō literally means the “Ancient Way of the Gods”. The term Shinto itself originated in the 6th century CE (to distinguish it from continental ideas such as Buddhism and Taoism then being introduced), so paradoxically, the reconstructed Koshintō predates any use of the word Shinto.
The older kami like Ame-no-Ukihashi-hime-no-Mikoto became seen as yokai such as the Yuki Onna and Yama Uba, women who are chthonic forces of nature, that are iconic threats of natural disaster such as freezing to death. In the stories of Yuki Onna she is often attacking people who have disrespect the environment in some say, such as cutting down trees in a sacred grove. This reflects a time when the original sacred sites of humanity were all natural formations that could not be recreated by human hands. Eventually when civilization developed humans began to build their own temples that emulated natural formations such as mountains, the human anatomy or the paths of the stars. The focus on the natural world that is a part of all shamanic cultures took a back seat to tax collecting man-made temples of state religions, when man began to perceive a form of dominance of the natural world with the rise of civilization.
The Wikipedia article titled Ryukyuan Religion states:
Community worship most often involves that of marine and mountain deities, who determine the success of agricultural, shipping/trade, and fishing pursuits. Community worship also includes chthonic spirits inhabiting rocks, trees, caves, and springs, who are respected with deference in their province (such as by not moving the rock, harming the tree, or entering the grove/cave) and receive offerings. Especially old or powerful ancestors act as local deities and inhabit an utaki, or “sacred place”; this is usually a grove, a spring, or a cave located near the village, entrance to which is sometimes restricted and sanctity of which is always respected. The most sacred spot in an utaki is the ibi and the area around it (the ibi nu mae). Only the noro may enter the ibi to make offerings and prayers on the ibi nu mae.
This is why the Art of Ninzuwu has distinguished itself from the mainstream sects of Shinto being practiced today. The patron kami of the Art of Ninzuwu lineage is Ame-no-Ukihashi-hime-no-Mikoto, Yuki Onna herself. Her reign over not only winter, but all four seasons shows how civilization itself is at the whim of this primordial kami, an uncontrollable force of nature. This should explain why the Tengu and Tiangou, are seen as harbingers of change and the Ninzuwu are the Magicians of the Yi Jing (Book of Changes). They are representatives of a flexible non-sedentary culture that is able to adapt to whatever changes may occur in nature. The shamanic practices of nomadic society are the origins of the latter religious practices of sedentary civilization, however human civilization eventually comes out of touch with the forces of the nature that the hunter-gatherer shaman is attuned to. This is what leads to the fall of civilization. Changes in a climate can give rise and fall to civilizations, just as the seasons bring changes every year. It is of no surprise that other people recognize the same thing about the yokai and their connection to the primal forces that come into conflict with humanity.
Since the Yuki-onna stories depict the strange woman of the snow being similar to her snowy surroundings, and because in some stories she can kill with a breath, she may be regarded as a personification of a great fear: the fear of freezing to death, and the attendant fears of being away from human company and subject to a natural fury. Like many other Japanese woman spirits and goddesses, the Yuki-onna can be violent but also faithful. She is wild, a force of nature rather than civilization, to which civilization must bow.
This is why the nomadic Mongols came into conflict with the sedentary civilizations of their time. They argued that civilization was not wholly bad but needed to conform to the primal aspects of nature that certain aspects of society often seemed to rebel against. This is talked about on a website that discusses the Yassa of Genghis Khan as well.
The Old Mongols rightfully held that certain elements of civilization are detrimental to human life. They held the unrestrained lifestyle of the nomads up as a better alternative to the life in cities, which they saw dulled and diminished the Life-Force of humans in many ways. We cannot all be nomads, but that is not the point. The point is that we all can say “no” to these elements of civilization that threaten to remove us from participation in the intense pulsations of life, and instead choose to put ourselves in a condition where we are able to enjoy Nature, to be partakers in our own intense Life-Force as well as that of our environs. We have the opportunity and the choice to develop a spirituality that includes our vigorous, feral Life-Force in all its aspects.
In remembering the shamanic tradition of the hunter-gatherer period, we are reminded about why we have stated the Japanese have preserved the original spiritual practices of all of humanity. It is the universal culture of the nomads, that allows the Art of Ninzuwu to extend through landmasses with ancient presence in both Mesopotamia’s Ubaid period and the earlier Jomon Period of Japan. The argument that all world culture originated from one particular civilization is ignoring that civilization is when humanity deviated from how they have lived over 90 percent of the time we’ve been on the planet, which is the lifestyle of a traditional hunter-gathering society. We are warned in the Ivory Tablets of the Crow not to become attached to any particular civilization for the reason that is exist in a state of impermanence which distracts from the cultivation of true immortality which is not found in the phenomenal realms of existence.
“Know that every civilization comes into this world in the manner of the Unborn. Each city exist in a place not known to time and then descends upon the realm of man as a kingdom, through some act of war, or a great migration. Do not worship these things like men do, for it is a forbidden art which keeps the soul bound to useless things.
It was so that upon the journey of dreams one may approach old civilizations, some in the earth and others that have vanished. Know that their gods and spirits may try to temp thee in dreams, but thou must remain pure. And this world is full of Wanderers, those without spirit, for they know not true joy.”
In Ame-no-Ukihashi: The Ancient Martial Art of Ninzuwu, Ame-no-Ukihashi-hime-no-Mikoto cast a dream vision on a man named Jofuku about the problems of human civilization and speaks to him afterwards of its issues.
“And Jofuku listened intently to the words of Ame-no-Ukihashi-hime-no-Mikoto. After saying these things Ame-no-Ukihashi-hima-no-Mikoto cast another dream upon the mind of Jofuku. The magician then saw himself in a world of great machinery. It as nothing he had ever seen before, in regards to a world of man. The people of this world lived in tall structures and worked, not with nature, but held faith in the machines they designed. Instead of living in nature, man would visit nature in its imprisoned state.
Jofuku was astonished to see people eating food out of packages, which were designed by the machines. Men were able to kill men with their iron tools and would entertain themselves by watching the death of other human beings. Day and night people of this civilization worked to become like the slave owners who held them captive. The people even formed religions around the slave owner’s mind and began saying: “Life needs the sacrifice of death in order to forgive. This world is all about money. Why should we care for our family and our neighbors?” After seeing these things, Jofuku let out a great cry, saying: “What is this?”
A mouth appeared in the clouds and the voice of Ame-no-Ukihashi-hime-no-Mikoto spoke to Jofuku, saying: “This is the world in time, a world of the five senses. They call it logic. It poses as something new, an advanced stage of consciousness to the people living in this time. Logic is nothing more than a religion. It teaching its followers that only what can be confirmed by the five senses is real. This is the religion of logic.”
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