Kami Focus: Iwanagahime

Welcome to my new weekly feature, kami focus! As I own the Gods and Goddesses of Japan card deck, I will be meditating on one card a week and writing about that particular kami. This week is Iwanagahime.

I will be working with Iwanagahime this week in order to ground myself and help my anxiety calm down.

Name meaning:Iwa‘ meaning rock, ‘naga‘ meaning long and ‘hime‘ meaning princess.

Kami of: Rocks

Themes: Unshakeable strength, grounding, peace of mind

Enshrined at: Iwanagahime Jinja (Hyogo), Isasa Jinja (Shiga), Kumomi Sengen Jinja (Shizuoka)

Mythological Origins:

Iwanagahime is a daughter of Ōyamatsumi-no-Kami. According to Shinto myth, Ōyamatsumi offered both his beautiful daughter Konohanasakuya-hime and her older sister Iwanagahime to Ninigi-no-Mikoto. However, Ninigi could not bear Iwanagahime’s unattractive appearance and thus returned her to her father. According to kojiki, Ōyamatsumi told Ninigi that he had offered his daughters together with the vow that the life of the Emperors would be as eternal as the rocks. But as Iwanagahime was returned, the life of the Emperors would instead be short like the blossoms of flowering trees. (Konohanasakuya-hime means “tree-flower-blooms-princess”).

According to alternate writings transmitted by Nihongi, Iwanagahime was embarrassed by this incident and put a curse on the emperors and all other beings – causing them to live short lives as the blossoms. This story is offered as an explanation for the brevity of human life. In later years, Iwanagahime was revered as a kami representing longevity.

In a different “alternate writing” of Nihongi, Ninigi is portrayed as finding both sisters weaving on a loom in a high palace on the crest of the ocean waves.

Shishi outside of Iwanagahime Jinja Shrine (磐長姫神社 狛犬 吽形)

Spiritual Meanings: 

Iwanagahime reminds us to keep our feet firmly on the ground. When we become distracted, our energy separates from our physical body and begins to wander. We become forgetful, experience health problems and come up against obstacles in every day life.

Praying to Iwanagahime will help you to feel grounded and make sure that your body of energy is firmly attached. Staying grounded is an important aspect of spirituality and good health.

Connecting to rocks and the element of Earth is cleansing and refreshing for our energy. If you are feeling stressed, distracted or anxious, walking barefoot on the rocky Earth can help you re-connect with kami and the Earth energy. The solidity of rock underneath your feet can have a massive grounding effect and clear your mind.

Bringing rocks into your home as decorations will remind you of the rigidity of the Earth and the blessings of Iwanagahime.


Encyclopedia of Shinto – http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=78

‘Gods and Goddesses of Japan’ – Yuriko Ohno

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