29 September 2017

Prayers in the Rain

Tucked away in Granite Falls, the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America is the first Shinto shrine built on American soil after World War II. 

Tsubaki America Shrine was established in 1986 in Stockton, CA by Rev. Dr. Yukitaka Yamamoto the 96th High Priest of Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Mie, Japan. Tsubaki America was the 1st Shrine to be built on North American soil. A series of Priests from Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan served at Tsubaki America, introducing the Jinja Shinto to the US. 

In 1992 Kannagara Jinja was built by Rev. Lawrence Koichi Barrish to enshrine Tsubaki O-Kami. In 2001 17 acres of land adjacent to Kannagara Jinja was donated to Tsubaki America by the Matsuri Foundation and the decision was made to combine Tsubaki America and Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja at the sacred site of Kannagara Jinja.
We parked nearby and made our way down the quiet, secluded path. Marina gave me a tour as we listened to the rain fall on the rooftops, the crunch of gravel echoing under our feet as we walked. It was near closing hour, so the place was empty outside.
You can take various lessons here, such as aikido.

Before going further, Marina taught me about the temizuya (above) and misogi, a Shinto practice of purifying the mind, body, and soul.

From their website
Archetypically, Misogi is the practice of purifying oneself in free flowing water – river, waterfall or sea. The object of Misogi is to first purify mentally, physically and spiritually and to become responsive to and united with Great Nature. Owing to the finite nature of our human bodies we are susceptible to absorbing impurity. After continued contact with impurity our senses and connection to the life giving forces become dulled. To be more fully alive and in harmony with life,vitality from earth and inspiration from heaven and to come into harmony with our mission we can utilize the sacred technology of Misogi Shuho
It was really cool learning the steps from her. :)
Omikuji (fortune-telling paper slips) were tied around this tree's branches.
The rain started picking up more around this time.
Before heading back, we made our personal prayers.
On our way home we stopped by for something warm at the Living Room coffee house, a really neat and cozy community-based coffee place. It seemed like a good place to study!

They had blueberry bread pudding (yum!).
We stayed for a bit talking about cosplay before ending our day. 

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