It is Ujigami that Influences You Most

%ef%bc%97%e5%b7%bb

If you have a household shinto altar with Kamifuda(神札), a kind of amulet provided by a shinto shrine, in it, you wonder when you should exchange the old Kamifuda for a new one. People seem to get a new one when they visit a shrine on New Year’s Day. It’s good to get one from a local shrine.

  • altar 祭壇
  • amulet お守り
  • provide 供給する
  • local 地元の

From a spiritual point of view, you should change your Kamifuda every year from December 25 to January 15 because Setsubun Day(節分), February 3 is near. Setsubun day is when years are renewed and it’s like New Year’s Day in the World of Gods. As for Ujigami(氏神), a local deity when you were born, each one has its own name and historical meaning, and, considering the modern society where people often move, I think a new idea about Ujigami is needed because I think it’s important for worshipping Ujigami to actually function.

  • renew 新しくする
  • as for A  Aに関して言えば
  • consider よく考える
  • function 機能する

Shrines in your neighborhood are more important than Ubusuna shrines(産土神社), a shrine near a house where your parents lived when you were born. Every Ubusunagam(産土神), a holy spirit who worked for you when you were born into this World of Reality so that you could have your physical body, is a child of Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami(天照太御神).

  • neighborhood 近所
  • physical 物質的な

So, when you set a household shinto altar in your house, it’s advisable to put Kimifuda you obtained at a local shrine on Jingu-taima-fuda(神宮大麻札), Kamifuda issued from Ise Grand Shrine(伊勢神宮) or Izawa-no-miya(伊雑宮). If you cannot afford to visit Ise Grand Shrine, Kamifuda issued from Ichi-no-miya(一宮), the largest local shrine, supplies the place of Jingu-taima-fuda. This is also true of people with foreign nationalities who were born in Japan.

  • advisable 賢明な
  • obtain 手に入れる
  • place 代わり
  • nationality 国籍

The present way of life has much more influence on you than the past when you were born. Your present life is influenced by an indigenous holy spirit patrolling the area. I call the spiritual being Ujigami(氏神). Yes, your local Ujigami is most related to your life.

  • indigenous 土着の
  • patrol 巡回する
  • related 関係している

You must wonder which of the local deities you should worship. Generally speaking, the deity enshrined at the nearest shrine to your house is Ujigami. However, the shrine may be dreary or ruined. In this case, pay a visit to shrines in your neighborhood one by one, and then decide on a shrine you think is good somehow or the one that is cleaned all the time by someone as your Ujigami shrine.

  • dreary 寂れた
  • ruined 荒廃した
  • decide 決める

If you cannot feel anything special at shrines or you cannot obtain Kamifuda because the shrine is uninhibited, you should choose the largest shrine in the region as Ujigami shrine. Any shrine can be your Ujigami shrine by visiting it many times and enshrining its Kamifuda into your shinto altar.

  • unihibited 人がいない
  • enshrine 祀る

By the way, I’m often asked by people living in foreign countries about what they should do when they want to set up a household shinto altar at home. If you have a three-box-type shinto altar and can have a chance to visit Ise Grand Shrine;

  1. Put Kamifuda of Izawa-no-miya on the one of Naiku(内宮) of Ise Grand Shrine in the middle box.
  2. Put Kamifuda of Geku (外宮)of Ise Grand Shrine in the left box.
  3. If possible, put Kamifuda of Hakusan Shrine(白山神社) behind the one of Geku of Ise Grand Shrine. There are four Hakusan Shrines at the foot of Mt.Hakusan: Shiroyama-Hime Shrine(白山比咩神社), Hakusan-Chukyo Shrine(白山中居神社), Heisenji-Hakusan Shrine(平泉白山神社) and Nagataki-Hakusan Shrine(長滝白山神社).
  4. Leave the right box empty, and the local spirit in the country where you live will reside in it.
  • foot 麓
  • empty 空の
  • reside 宿る

Even Japanese people can rarely visit Ise Grand Shrine and Hakusan shrines, so if you live in a foreign country, you should visit the shrines when you come back to Japan temporarily and obtain its Kamifuda. I myself wasn’t able to change my Kamifuda of Ise Grand Shrine for five years due to work.

  • rarely 滅多に〜ない
  • temporarily 一時的に
  • due to A  Aのために

In the case that you can’t come back to Japan to obtain Kamifuda, write “天照太御神” on a hard paper several millimeters thick and enshrine it into your shinto altar. The paper has to be hard enough not to bend. Hollow cardboard is not suitable. If you don’t have a shinto altar, erect the paper with two small blocks of wood.

  • thick 厚い
  • bend 曲がる
  • hollow 中空の
  • suitable 適した
  • erect 立たせる

Also, if Sakaki plant is not available, substitute leaves of evergreen trees. It’s important to offer two bunches of leaves and water in a water vessel to the altar. And offer gratitude, thinking of the sun as God and saying “I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su.” The Sun God is wherever you are on the earth. It’s OK to exchange your Kamifuda for a new one within a year. If you’re lucky enough to visit Ise Grand Shrine several times in a year, you can do it every time. Kenbarai-fuda(剣祓札) costs you only 500 yen.

  • evergreen 常緑の
  • bunch 束
  • vessel  容器
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち

It is not until you or your family member living in your house visit a shrine and get Kamifuda that your house is spiritually connected to the shrine and it begins to function as Yorishiro(寄り代),  a place where spirits stay temporarily. If you’re given Kamifuda by someone else,  it’s better to bring the Kamifuda to the shrine once in person.

  • connect 繋ぐ
  • function 機能する
  • in person 本人で

Holding grateful memorial services for your ancestors could have the greatest spiritual influences on you directly. Start holding the services first, and you will have mental space. And after that, you had better enshrine Kamifuda in your shinto altar to worship it.

  • directly 直接的に
  • mental space 心の余裕

It’s important to understand that what righteous gods give you is not such material things as humans hope for. It may be disappointing in a sense.  That is, righteous gods would try to give you true assets that will do you good even after death rather than trifle advantages that are good only in this world. If you’re not mature enough, you won’t know their value and meanings. Gods beyond human understanding are the beings to which you should give the grateful magnetism expecting nothing back.

  • righteous 正しい
  • material 物質的な
  • hope for A   Aを欲しいと望む
  • disappointing がっかりするような
  • assets 財産
  • mature 成熟した
  • trifle 些細なもの

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.