TSUKUYOMI – Also spelled Tsukiyomi. The moon god and ruler of the night. In the Nihongi he is the son of both Izanami and Izanagi. In the Kojiki he is said to have been born from Izanagi’s right eye and in a third tradition supposedly sprang from a mirror in Izanagi’s right hand.

 A prominent myth about him says that once he was being entertained by Ukemochi the goddess of agrarian foods like beans, millet, wheat, soybeans and even agrarian animals like cows and silkworms. He was enjoying the foods that she supplied for him in plenty until he noticed that they sprang from her vomit, her genitals and her anus (similar to the Corn Woman myth in Native American mythology).

Outraged at this, Tsukuyomi slew her, scattering her remains across the Earth and from those remains crops and cattle continued to spring. This violent act of Tsukuyomi deeply offended his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu, chief deity of the Shinto pantheon. She ordered Tsukuyomi to forever remove himself from her sight, and that is why the sun and moon rise and set separately.

Alternate versions say that Ukemochi was slain by Susanowo the storm god instead, but I favor the version that attributes her death to Tsukuyomi since that version has the cosmogonic significance of  explaining why the sun and moon rise and set separately.



Filed under Mythology


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