The world is a fine tapestry, ever worked and ever evolving upon the loom of spirit. The worlds of the visible and invisible mesh, and sometimes the unseen is glimpsed between the red posts of the torii on a walk in the woods, or at home. The Kami ever call for their Miko, and they are both within us all. The flower of a poem opens her petals to the sun, amidst a garden of other poems.
The poetry herein is the product of a Western Woman who has been heavily influenced by the East, and particularly by her researches into Shinto spirituality and Japanese folklore. Although the poems and songs speak for themselves, brief explanations of culture have been included, with a list of resources for further reading in the back.
Land of the Kami
Kamikakushi is the hiding of a person or object by a spirit. There are many stories telling of this, often featuring Tengu, which is to be best translated as a crow spirit instead of the more common translation of crow goblin. Other spirits are capable of doing this as well, one excellent example being the ancient story of an ancestor of the Japanese Emperor being taken to the Palace of the Dragon King, Ryujin, of the Sea where he marries Princess Shining Jewel.
Kami is both a singular and plural word, and is translated by some as a spirit, by others as God or Goddess and by yet others as Deity. In truth it is all of these and yet none of these, a word defying precise translation, a nebulous presence. It or they is present in everything and everyone, although some are more revered than others are. Kami can inhabit trees, mountains, or stones, as well as be the stones. They can choose to manifest visually, but are more often recorded as showing themselves in dreams and visions. Kami is also the awe inspiring thing itself.
Some may wonder exactly where the land of the Kami is. By exploring the lore of many societies, the best answer is that the land of spirits runs parallel to our own, overlapping naturally in many places. When one wanders into these areas, or places opened by spirits for whatever reason, it may be possible for those with the right heart to enter their world, and vice verse. The spirits are therefore all around us, waiting for those with the eyes to see.
Red Arched Bridge
Like the myriad Kami
Events from my past peek
Across the Bridge Between
The Seen and Unseen.
A face, a voice, a smell
Trigger memories of long ago.
My priceless treasures
Bubble to the surface with pleasure.
Heavenly Kami go about their tasks.
Earthly Kami do so too.
They rupture through to this world
Bringing precious light to dreams tightly furl’d.
I linger on the Red Arched Bridge,
Biding in the mists in between.
What will be seen next time
They part and blur the magic line?
Water burbles under the bridge,
The river running undefiled onward.
A crack resounds in the silence
And liquid life again makes acquaintance.
The Land of the Kami
In Takama no Hara, the High Expanse of Heaven,
There is the Land of the Kami
Where the Shining Ones dwell,
Where Amaterasu dwells.
The rice paddies are green and irrigated
The dams unbroken
The animals well and whole
And Amaterasu weaving.
Amaterasu patiently weaves the silk
That becomes the clothing
Of the New Year,
The bamboo towers high
Waving in the wind.
The Rivers run clear
Dancing to the Sea.
The Amatsu Kami, the Heavenly Ones
Dance and sing, ebb and flow,
Each according their Nature.
Each is following Kannagara.
Down below upon the earth, hidden behind the warp
Of the Fabric of Materiality,
There too, is the Land of the Kami,
Just beyond the dividing mist.
All around us dwell the Kunitsu Kami
The Earthly Kami,
The Yaoyorozu no Kami,
The Myriad of Kami.
Amatsu Kami, Kunitsu Kami, Yaoyorozu no Kami,
Dancing and singing, ebbing and flowing.
Copyright© Teresa Garcia. All rights reserved.