View toward winter solstice sunrise from Asadori Myoujin (photo by Iwakage)
We at WoshiteWorld send our best wishes for the New Year beginning on winter solstice day, December 21-22. We do realize that it is summer solstice for you readers who live in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, north of the equator, since indigenous times, the December winter solstice marked the beginning of the new year.
The people of the Wosite era had a calendar, and it is described in the documents. Also, from the research done at the Kanayama Megaliths in Gifu Prefecture, we know that for more than five thousand years, the Jomon people observed the sun’s path in the sky and made a highly accurate calendar. The precise dates of the winter and summer solstices are difficult to determine by observations, but these ancient people accomplished this difficult task.
Here are two posts about the solstice by Okunomichi, and by Iwakage. There is also a winter solstice festival at Asadori Myoujin, which stems from prehistoric Jomon Japan. Perhaps the people of Wosite participated in it. The winter solstice is described in Wosite documents as the beginning of a new year and a time of renewal.
To our readers, best wishes for a happy new year!
Earth seen from Moon, Apollo 8 image by NASA
There is an eye-catching phrase in the Hotsuma Tsutae: Tuki no Mitu, Water of the Moon. Tuti means moon, and mitu means water. See the large Wosite characters for mitu. The phrase is the first column of the verse.
The passage consists of lines 2610-2613 in Hotsuma Tsutae. The verse reads:
tuki no mitu kutaseru tuyu ha kawa no mitu utuho ukure ha kumo to nari ti-ayumi nohoru hani no iki
This is a description of the water cycle where water comes down as dew and rain into rivers which then evaporate to form clouds and the cycle repeats.
August 30, 2017
This passage made us wonder if tuki no mitu, water of the moon, really meant that there is water on the moon. If the people of the Wosite World are correct, isn’t it amazing that they knew this before we moderns did?
News confirming this came out recently. Previous reports as early as 2009 indicated that there might be water present on the moon. Excerpts from three news articles dated 2017, 2013, and 2009 are given below.
News report August 2, 2017
A new study of satellite data suggests that the moon’s interior is surprisingly water-rich.
The research, published July 24, 2017 in Nature Geoscience, finds that numerous volcanic deposits across the surface of the moon contain unusually high amounts of trapped water.
The researchers found evidence of water in nearly all of the large pyroclastic deposits – that is, deposits of rock fragments erupted by a volcano – that had been previously mapped across the moon’s surface, including deposits near the Apollo 15 and 17 landing sites where the water-bearing glass bead samples were collected.
The idea that the interior of the moon is water-rich raises interesting questions about the moon’s formation, say the researchers. For example, scientists think the moon formed from debris left behind after an object about the size of Mars slammed into the Earth very early in solar system history. One of the reasons scientists had assumed the moon’s interior should be dry is that it seems unlikely that any of the hydrogen needed to form water could have survived the heat of that impact.
Shuai Li is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii and co-author of the study. Li said:
The growing evidence for water inside the moon suggest that water did somehow survive, or that it was brought in shortly after the impact by asteroids or comets before the moon had completely solidified. The exact origin of water in the lunar interior is still a big question.
Previous News Articles
May 9, 2013
Water inside the moon’s mantle came from primitive meteorites, new research finds, the same source thought to have supplied most of the water on Earth.
The findings raise new questions about the process that formed the moon.
The moon is thought to have formed from a disc of debris left when a giant object hit the Earth 4.5 billion years ago, very early in Earth’s history. Scientists have long assumed that the heat from an impact of that size would cause hydrogen and other volatile elements to boil off into space, meaning the moon must have started off completely dry. But recently, NASA spacecraft and new research on samples from the Apollo missions have shown that the moon actually has water, both on its surface and beneath.
By showing that water on the moon and on Earth came from the same source, this new study offers yet more evidence that the moon’s water has been there all along.
November 13, 2009
‘Significant Amount’ of Water Found on Moon, By Andrea Thompson
It’s official: There’s water ice on the moon, and lots of it. When melted, the water could potentially be used to drink or to extract hydrogen for rocket fuel.
NASA’s LCROSS probe discovered beds of water ice at the lunar south pole when it impacted the moon last month, mission scientists announced today. The findings confirm suspicions announced previously, and in a big way.
Seoritsuhime is the guardian spirit of rapids, rivers, and purification. She was also an accomplished woman of the Wosite World. Yamanomiya has posted a series of reports on Seoritsuhime shrines in Tono and Hanamaki, Iwate. The series begins with the post, Iwate Shrines of Seoritsuhime .
This post begins a series on eight shrines of Seoritsuhime in Iwate prefecture. At the core is a group of five related shrines in Tōno. They are as well connected geometrically, Genbu claims. There is a legend in Tōno about three sister megami (female kami). Three of the shrines represent the sisters, the fourth the mother. All are shrines of Seoritsuhime.
The sites visited include:
- Kitakami River source: Yuhazu no Izumi at Mido Kannon, Iwate town
- Sakuramatsu Jinja and Fudo Taki, Hachimantai
- Ishigami Jinja, Tōno
- Kamiwakare Jinja, Tōno
- Hayachine Jinja, Tōno
- Rokko-ushi Jinja, Tōno
- Izu Jinja, Tōno
- Tsuzuki Ishi, Connected Rocks, Tōno
- Hayachine Jinja, Hanamaki
Yamanomiya, our sister site, has posted a visit to the Tsubaki Jinja in Nagoya. It turns out that this shrine honors three of the great Wosite persons we have met here on Woshite World. They are Toyoke-sama, his grandson the Amakami Amateru, and the latter’s consort Seoritsuhime.
Toyoke-sama. Our beloved Toyoke-sama is also known as Toyoke Kami and Toyouke Ōkami 豊受大神. Toyoke-sama was arguably the greatest kami of Hotsuma. He is remembered as the father of Isanami and grandfather of Amateru. Amateru came to study with him when he was sixteen. Toyoke-sama imparted to the future Amakami of Yamato the wisdom of the ancestors known as the To-no-Wosite teachings of the Ame-naru Michi, the Way of Universe.
The teaching is for all, and especially for leaders of society, to embody high principles of human behavior: honesty, integrity, and caring for the welfare of others.
Hutakami. Toyoke’s daughter Isako became Isanami, spouse of Isanagi. The couple are known as Hutakami (Futakami), the kami couple of myth and legend. The Hutakami went throughout the land of Hinomoto teaching the Awa no Uta, the Song of Universe, containing all 48 of the syllables of Wosite language, promoting speech for improved communication and cooperation as well as for promoting good health and vitality.
Takamimusubi. Toyoke was descended from Ta-no-Kunisatsuchi. Toyoke’s imina birth name was Tamakine. This means he was a man of tama spirit. We notice the many local words beginning with Ta. Tamakine became the fifth Takamimusubi in Hitakami which we now call Tohoku. Hi-taka-mi means to see the sun high in the sky. A remnant of Hitakami remains in the name of the major Tohoku river, Kitakami-gawa, whose old name was indeed Hitakami-gawa.
Taga. The center of Hitakami was at Tagajo (Taka-jo), east of current Sendai. You can get there after a short train ride. You will be shown the remains of a former government center. There is still a large stone inscribed in more recent times, called the Keta-tsubo. On this rise may have been located the Yamate-miya of Toyoke. Nearby are several shrines named Taga Jinja. One of these, we believe, is the original shrine of Toyoke. This shrine spun off the Taga Taisha in Ōmi (now Shiga-ken). Why Ōmi? Ōmi was the center of Yamato under the care of Isanami and Isanagi.
We visited Taga Taisha. It is a large shrine that hosts a million devotees on New Year’s Hatsumode. By looking for the oldest part of the keidai precincts, we found Toyoke’s hokora next to Amateru’s.
Tanba. Toyoke lived to a ripe age. When he was quite along in years, there was a disturbance in the region we call Kyotango in Kyoto-fu near the Japan Sea. Amateru asked Toyoke-sama to manage the situation from a base in Miyazu. Toyoke-sama transferred from Hitakami to Tanba and all went well and the people prospered. Toyoke-sama taught how to raise the five grains such as rice, wheat, and beans, and also how to raise silkworms for weaving.
When Toyoke-sama felt his lifeforce dwindling, he called for a tomb to be dug in the mountain of Kujigatake. He would prepare for his last breath. When Amateru heard about his grandfather, he rushed to his side. He entered Toyoke’s tomb and received the final teaching. Thus Amateru was initiated into the high level of wisdom. Then Amateru was sent out and the tomb sealed. The people were in such grief that Amateru stayed for a while to comfort them.
Toyoke’s tomb is said to be on Mt. Kujigatake (Kushi-gatake, also called Manai-gatake) where there is a manai spring. At the foot of Kujigatake is a shrine called Hinumanai Jinja. Toyoke Ōkami is the revered deity. The monument shown above mentions Five Grains. It is said that half-way up the mountain is an altar rock for the offering of five grains and other foods.
When Amateru himself came to the end of his life, he had a tomb built nearby. Amateru’s trusted friend, Sarutahiko, was the last to see Amateru in his tomb.
Futomani. Toyoke-sama is the author of the Futomani Motoake chart which was employed as an aid for teaching cosmology and as a guide for decision-making. Amateru complemented the Futomani by selecting its 128 waka. We wouldn’t be surprised if Toyoke-sama also organized the Wosite syllabary into the neat, logical system that it is.
Motoake chart from Julian-Way
The son of Toyoke-sama also attended the lessons with Amateru, and he became the sixth Takamimusubi.
ukesuteme ne no kuni ni kite tamakine ni …
Ukesuteme came to Ne no kuni to see Tamakine … from Hotsuma Tsutae Aya 15
Another Kunisatsuchi, Ta’s brother, Ka-no-Kunisatsuchi, had gone to China, and he had a descendant named Ukesuteme. Ukesuteme came to Hitakami to study with Toyoke accompanied by the sister of Isanagi from the land of Ne. Shirayama-hime (Kokori-hime) and Ukesuteme both excelled in acquiring the wisdom of To.
ukesuteme korohin kimi to tinami ai
After Ukesuteme returned to the Korohin mountains and married the ruler of Akagata, they had a son. Consequently, admired for her wisdom as for her nurturing, she became known as Nishi no Haha, Mother of the West. In China, the Mother of the West has the name Xi Wangmu. She is one of the Seven Immortals. In Taoist paintings she holds the Peach of Immortality in her hand. In the Wosite literature, it is written that she received peach branches from Toyoke-sama to plant in Korohin.
Alternate identities. Another name for the kami of food is Ukanomitama. And Toyouke’s most popular identity is Inari, the kami of the rice fields. The Inari shrines are the most plentiful in Japan, grounded in folk religion. Inari devotees may not realize the connection with the sage of Hitakami.
Toyouke at Ise and Moto-Ise Shrines: Probably due to Toyouke’s reknown as provider of Five Grains and foodstuffs, his name has morphed into the female Toyouke-hime no kami at the Geku Outer Shrine of Ise Jingu. And yet, the chigi of the honden is cut vertically in male sotosogi fashion! As it is at the Moto-Ise shrines Hinumanai Jinja and Manai Jinja Okumiya of Kono Jinja (below).
Let us remember Toyoke-sama who served the people of Hinomoto during their critical developmental period. Toyoke-sama, the great sage, set society’s tone of compassion based on a deep connection with Universe. And, in remembering Tamakine Toyoke-sama, we do not forget our own tama nature.