KANNA – The thunder/ storm god of the Ainu people. His children are all of the lesser storm deities and often live – or at least ride around – on individual clouds.
Kanna and his offspring are often depicted in flying dragon form and so, since dragons are serpents he is conflated in some myths with Kinashut, the chief serpent deity. Continue reading
IRURA – This goddess was the psychopomp of the Ainu pantheon.
She and her dog would guide a dead spirit from their gravepost in this world to whichever afterlife the fire goddess Fuchi had decreed the soul should be sent to, either for reward or punishment. Continue reading
My recent item about Ainu deities has proven so successful here’s a quick take on three of the lesser deities from the Ainu pantheon, the three brothers named Seremak, Urespa and Usapki.
SEREMAK – The patron god of vigor, vitality and general physical fitness. He had a flattened belly (“Six-Pack abs of the Gods!”), nine pairs of wings and wielded a sword and a spear made of mugwort. Continue reading
The Ainu people of Japan suffered oppression at the hands of the Japanese which was similar to that suffered by various conquered peoples around the world at the hands of the Western World, Russia, China and the Muslim World.
The Ainu migrated south to the Japanese islands from the northern lands of the Inuit. Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will recognize the similarities between the Ainu and Inuit belief systems and methods of worship. In addition certain linguistic similarities will be noted between the Ainu and the Japanese. The Shinto “kami” becomes the Ainu “kamui”, to cite the most prominent example.
As with the Inuit, exact names and aspects of the following deities can vary, with the most pronounced differences being in Saghalien.
- NOTE: I am still working out my entry on the Ainu bear god. If you know the Ainu then you know that that entry alone may double the size of this article. And as always, anyone curious about my source books can just ask.
RUKORO – The Ainu god of the male privy. No, I’m not kidding. The powerful stench from his domain serves the useful purpose of fending off evil spirits. Because of his association with evacuation and expulsion of things unclean he is regarded as a powerful exorcist. There is no corresponding goddess of the female privy, owing to primitive taboos about menstruation.
CHUP – The sun god of the Ainu. His wife is Tombe, the moon goddess. Ainu homes orient their sacred window toward the east to greet the rising sun. Until recent decades it was customary to salute the sun upon exposure to its rays, similar to the practice of genuflecting to the center of an altar, but done without kneeling.
It was considered disrespectful to bodily cross the rays of sunlight striking the hearth through the sacred window. It was better to wait until the position of the sun changed. An inau, one of the idols or totems of the Ainu people, would be set up to honor the sun. That inau bears an incised outline of the orb of the sun and during rituals libations and praise are offered up to Chup. Continue reading