FUNADAMA – Shinto goddess of ships and boats. Like Toyota she was a daughter of the sea god Watatsumi. (Remember, I mostly go by the Kojiki and the Nihongi, the earliest written accounts of Shinto myths. Those two books refer to the humanoid Watatsumi as the god of the sea. Ryujin the dragon god of the sea came from later traditions. )
Sailors, fishermen and all travelers by sea, river or lake would pray to her Funadama for protection and there is still a Continue reading
UZUME – This daughter of the gods Izanagi and Izanami was the goddess of dancing, a skill that served her in good stead in two major Shinto myths. When the sun goddess Amaterasu had hidden herself away in a cave, Uzume danced naked as part of the plot concocted by the god of wisdom Omoigane to lure Amaterasu back out into the world.
In the other major myth Uzume is part of the retinue of the god Ninigi when Amaterasu sends him down to rule over ancient Japan. Their descent was blocked by Sarutahiko, the god who guards Ukihashi, the floating bridge between Continue reading
INARI – The Shinto rice god. His wife was the goddess Ukemochi and when she was slain by the moon god he married Mitama, the goddess of agriculture. His son was the scarecrow and divination deity Kuyebiko. There are even versions of Shinto myths in which Saki is said to be Inari’s daughter and the goddess of the intoxicating drink Saki like Dionysus is the god of wine in Greek myths.
Inari often roamed the rice fields of Earth, sometimes in the form of a fox, his familiar animal. This connection between the rice god and foxes came from the way foxes often Continue reading
SUSANOWO – The Shinto storm god. He is appropriately depicted as an impetuous, ill-tempered god and was often at odds with his sister the sun goddess, Amaterasu. In the Nihongi he is the son of both Izanagi and Izanami but in the Kojiki he is born from Izanagi’s nose as a sneeze.
At one point he was seriously over-stepping his authority in a fit of anger. In some versions he was angry over his sister Amaterasu being the Chief Deity in the Shinto pantheon instead of him, in others he was angry because his mother the goddess Izanami could never return from Yomi, where she was now fated to rule over the dead forever. At any rate he was Continue reading