Heaven and Earth Really Are Flowers – Ikebana in Japan for World Peace

A good friend of mine I met when I lived in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands introduced me by email to a friend of hers. Joan D. Stamm is the author of the new book, A Pilgrimage in Japan - The 33 Temples of Kannon. It's a fabulous read for those of us … Continue reading Heaven and Earth Really Are Flowers – Ikebana in Japan for World Peace

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My Photographs of Ise Jingu Grand Shrine Published in Kyoto Journal

Happy to announce that photographs of mine I took of Ise Jingu Grand Shrine in Ise, Japan have been published in Kyoto Journal magazine issue 92. Titled "Devotion" it features photographs I took, ironically on a rainy day, of the most sacred shrine in Japan that is devoted to the Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu. The photographs … Continue reading My Photographs of Ise Jingu Grand Shrine Published in Kyoto Journal

Otaue Shinto Rice Planting Ceremony at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Shrine Celebrates Life and Farming

Along with the heat of summer and rainy season, shrines all over Japan host rice-planting ceremonies to pray for a plentiful harvest. Called the Otaue Shinto Service, since ancient times, Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Grand Shrine here south of Osaka hosts the largest ceremony in the nation and has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk … Continue reading Otaue Shinto Rice Planting Ceremony at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Shrine Celebrates Life and Farming

Grieving and Healing at the To-Kae Lantern Festival in Nara During Obon

Now I know why I was having dreams of my late sister, mother and father so much recently. It was Obon time in Japan, the Buddhist holiday equivalent of Halloween in the United States or Day of the Dead in Mexico. It's believed that each year during Obon, the spirits of ancestors return to this world … Continue reading Grieving and Healing at the To-Kae Lantern Festival in Nara During Obon

In Japan, Swastikas Are Symbols of Good Luck and Health, Not Hatred and Nazis

In Japan the swastika is called the manji (卍). It is an ancient symbol of good luck and well-being. The symbol was on maps in Japan to denote Shinto and Buddhist shrines and temples. I remember seeing it on Google maps the first time I visited Japan in November, 2016 and marveled at the impression … Continue reading In Japan, Swastikas Are Symbols of Good Luck and Health, Not Hatred and Nazis

Osaka Tenjin Matsuri Festival: Opportunity to Participate In The Cosmos

I felt the world re-enchanted and a reconnection to sacred time when I was transported out of mundane time by participating in the Tenjin Matsuri Festival in Osaka July 24-25. A festival that is considered one of the top three festivals in Japan and has been held at the Temmangu Shinto Shrine for over 1,000 years, it allows young and old to cut through the one-dimensional rationality that dominates our consumer society and momentarily restore the sacred connection to the cosmos.