This sun goddess was the chief deity of the Shinto pantheon. In the Nihongi she is the daughter of both Izanagi and Izanami but in the Kojiki she springs from Izanagi’s left eye. During one of the conflicts with her brother Susanowo the storm god she withdrew to a cave in protest of the storm god’s incessant belligerence. Susanowo had been overstepping his bounds by causing it to storm day and night and had even soiled himself in his sister’s personal rice patties. (Dude had issues. Let’s face it. )

Since this deprived the world of the light and warmth it needed to survive Omoigane, the god of wisdom, devised a, well … wise … plan to lure Amaterasu back to her rightful place as the supreme deity. He had the one-eyed smith god Amatsumara forge a large mirror and place it outside the cave Amaterasu was hiding in. The dancing goddess Uzume, well …  danced … magnificently before it, prompting cries of appreciation from all the other assembled deities.

 Amaterasu, curious about all this commotion from inside her cavern hiding place, asked what was going on.  Omoigane shrewdly claimed they had found a deity even more illustrious than Amaterasu herself. This prompted her to peek out of the cave, and, catching sight of her own reflection in Amatsumara’s mirror, was so entranced by its beauty that she ventured out of the cave. Tajikara, the god of physical strength, seized her and prevented her from fleeing back into the cavern while the god of magic sealed off the mouth of the cave with a straw (or in some myths rainbow-hued) rope, thus preventing the sun goddess from ever  withdrawing into it again.

The assembled gods then punished Susanowo by stripping the storm god of much of his godly power before exiling him to Earth, where he had a series of adventures like Hercules. He settled in Izumo where he headed an extended family of deities who included Okuninushi the god of medicine. The Izumo Cycle of myths are among the most memorable in Shinto mythology. Much later Amaterasu sent her grandson Ninigi to the Earth to assume control of the world from the descendants of Susanowo in Izumo.


Filed under Mythology

17 responses to “SHINTO DEITY: AMATERASU

  1. This is probably one of the most imaginative myths I have yet heard. Very different and interesting way to solve the dilema.

  2. soiled himself in his sister’s rice paddies…well I never !!

  3. Woman

    It never ceases to surprise me that the more I learn about other cultures myths, the more I understand I culture!!!

    But Hercules like adventures??? Good line!!!

    • I know what you mean! And I make the Hercules comparisons with a lot of figures, like the Navajo god Nayanazgeni, the Vietnamese deity Lac Long Quan, Maui from Polynesian myths, etc. It helps get people interested.

  4. love these goddesses u come up with! every 1 else just does greek and egyptian.

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  7. Awesome, seriously. Awesome. Great post. Thanks for sharing. It is very good.


  9. Thomas

    My favorite sun deity!

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