Bamboos and Willows are Plants Spirits can Easily Come Close to

麻賀田神社

A reader of this blog pointed out that he was able to use a menu stand used in a restaurant to erect a tanzaku(短冊), a strip of Japanese paper. I thought it’s an unexpected idea. I think any stand will do that is made from natural material like wood and can fix a tanzaku. But when you use a menu stand, the stability of the tanzaku and its angle have to be taken care of.

  • point out A Aを指摘する
  • erect 直立させる
  • unexpected 予想外の
  • material 素材
  • stability 安定感

My tanzaku stand is made from bamboo. Two half-cut bamboo tubes with slit are arranged so as to fix the tanzaku from both sides. It’s a simple stand . I bought it at a department store, I think. Wooden fibers are good for spirits to come close to and stay there. If there were a tanzaku made from hemp fibers, it would be the best.

  • bamboo 竹
  • slit 切れ目
  • fiber 繊維
  • hemp 麻

Other plants which are easy for spirits to come close to are bamboo and willow trees. For example, fortunetellers of divination use thin bamboo sticks to tell somebody’s fortune. This is because the bamboo sticks act as an antenna making it easy for the fortunetellers to sympathize with their guardian spirit. Also, in Japanese ghost stories, a ghost often appears under the willow tree. I feel willow trees also easily sympathize with something spiritual.

  • willow 柳
  • fortuneteller 占い師
  • divination 易
  • fortune 運勢
  • guardian spirit 守護霊
  • sympathize 感応する

Speaking of willow trees, I remember a TV program I saw a long time ago featuring eccentric persons of the world. There was a shaman in a certain village of Southeast Asia. He can cure diseases when the spirit of Cho Hakkai(猪八戒) possesses him. Normally he is a quiet person. But once he is lost in meditation in front of an altar, he begins to dance suddenly. Then he grabs willow twigs and check his patient’s body from head to toe using the twigs like a telescope. There is no hole in the twigs, of course. And the moment he finds a diseased part, he starts, shivers, turns around and shouts with joy (lol). The diseased part is a little bit heaped under the skin and when he pushes it, needles and nails come out of it. He does this weird thing, shouting in a shrill voice. He looks funny and lovable in a way. I remember the scene sometimes, and every time I mimic him before my families, they laugh.

  • feature 特集する
  • eccentric person 奇人
  • Southeast Asia 東南アジア
  • disease 病気
  • meditation 瞑想
  • altar 祭壇
  • twig 枝
  • telescope 望遠鏡
  • the moment S+V SがVするやいなや
  • start ビクッとする
  • shiver 震える
  • heaped 盛り上がって
  • needle 針
  • nail 釘
  • shrill voice 甲高い声
  • mimic まねをする

When a patient’s disease is cured, he/she gives some food for the shaman in return. The true identity who brought about this surprising phenomenon of materialization was a spiritual being of the World of the Dead whose figure was like a big wild boar. It seems that the spirit came from a deep forest and possessed him and that the spirit used to be a natural spirit and just wanted offerings. This spirit didn’t seem to be a vicious one who eats human souls. But the problem is most of the patients were repeaters. The spiritual being of the World of the Dead made them come back to the shaman over and over for the purpose of getting offerings. This is one of the bad characteristics of spiritual beings who bring about bizarre spiritual phenomena.

  • in return お返しに
  • true identity 正体
  • bring about A Aを引き起こす
  • phenomenon 現象
  • materialization 物質化
  • figure 形状
  • wild boar 猪
  • offering 供物
  • vicious 悪意のある
  • characteristic 特徴

Well, I don’t remember the last time I went to a hospital to see a doctor. I think it was a long time ago, when I caught a cold. Normally people don’t want to go to the hospital. They don’t become repeaters except in the case of particular diseases. Yet in the case of spiritual healing, people are sure to become repeaters. They don’t feel there is something wrong with being a repeater and are willing to come to the healer over and over again. To the eye of others, such people look poorer and poorer, whereas they have the illusion that they are full of energy. Don’t you think it strange that healers who pretend that they can cure all diseases have a lot of repeaters as customers ? The truth is healers make them repeaters by attaching unnecessary spiritual dirt to them.

  • particular 特定の
  • yet にもかかわらず
  • be sure to~ 必ず〜する
  • be willing to~ 進んで〜する
  • illusion  幻想
  • pretend 偽って主張する
  • attach 付ける

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

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