Jan 7, 2015

Still at the shrine

 This is the main door to the altar, in fact at this shrine because of the small size, it is the only door. The white area that you can see inside is a mirror. Many shrines have a mirror as the main object on the altar. There seem to be a number of reason for the shrine, but the basic idea is that the mirror captures the essence of the person reflected in it. The earliest Japanese myths have the Goddess Amaterasu giving her mirror to her grandson and telling him that it contains her essence. Mirrors also ward off evil beings, because when they see themselves in the mirror, the horrible image scares them away. Also I think that there is also some idea of the worshiper seeing their own essence when looking into the mirror.
Beside the shrine is a cherry tree. The best trees have trunks that look like this, showing both their age and the hardships they have survived. The name of this shrine, if you will remember, was Kasuga or SpringDay. Cherry trees blossom in the spring and the flowers symbolize the sadness reflected by the short life of the beautiful blossoms, paralleling the short but beautiful life of humans.

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