SARUTAHIKO – The god who guards the floating bridge between the Earth and the heavenly realm of the gods, Takamagahara (“High Plain of Heaven”). He is depicted as a giant wielding the jeweled spear that once belonged to his father Izanagi and which Izanagi used to stir the primordial broth on Earth as he and his wife Izanami were preparing to begin creation.
Sarutahiko is considered the god of pathways and crossroads, both real and symbolic. He took his sentry duties so seriously that he once even tried to bar the way of the god Ninigi and his retinue when he was on his way down from Takamagahara to rule over the Earth. He had been assigned this mission by the supreme deity of the Shinto pantheon, the sun goddess Amaterasu.
Sarutahiko was persuaded to allow Ninigi to continue his journey to Earth by Uzume, the goddess of the dance, who became his wife. A 2,000 year old shrine at Tsubaki still honors these two deities, who are said to be the ancestors of the clan of female Heian court dancers called the Sarume.
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