The Spirit World of the Kami

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This illustration captures the kami of sun, wind, and water. All manifestations of nature are interrelated. The wind impacts the water, and the water ultimately shapes the earth. The sun represents Amaterasu Omikami, the Sun Goddess. Her glorious yellow hue represents her importance for all life. And yet, its nebulous, amorphous shape represents the impossibility of perfection. Imperfection is, in a sense, the ideal form. The sun is not perfectly round. Like the ocean and the wind, the sun has no absolute form. Likewise, no human being is perfect. The spirit world of the kami is one with the grounded aspects of life. Human beings interact with the natural world simultaneously with the spirit world. The sun, wind, and water together impart a harmony and union between human beings and the natural world, and between individual elements of the natural world. Ancestral spirits are omnipresent in the illustration too, signified in the illustration by the millions of microdots in the sea. Konpira, the protector spirit, is present in the sea. This illustration can be a charm, or mamori, for fishermen, to encourage spiritual connection with the seaborne elements. When visiting the shrine is not possible, the openness of the sea becomes the shrine. Water also signifies the process of purification, essential to Shinto practice as one of the core four affirmations (Robinson, 2010). These purification rituals can be elaborate, as with harae, or they can be simple and functional. The
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