Shinto

Walking Prayer

Lately I haven’t prayed at my kamidana lately and I feel pretty guilty for that. For months I had kept a daily schedule in which I would pray to Inari-Okamisama daily, change offerings and sometimes meditate. It’s changed because my partner has been home recovering from a surgery and although it’s absolutely not his fault, I still feel highly anxious praying when other people are around. It’s something that I’ve never been able to do and I truly hope that one day I can get over it as I believe it would certainly improve my spiritual life.

That said, I have been praying. I’ve been walking daily in an attempt to improve my mental and physical health and it definately seems to be helping at least the former. Whilst I’m on my walks I’ve taken the chance to observe and communicate with nature in all its forms. While first I thought that this was almost an excuse for not doing what I would call ‘formal’ prayers (i.e. at a kamidana, shrine, altar etc), I soon found that it helped me connect with the earth energies around me a lot easier.

When I first became pagan I found that I could easily tap into and assess the mood of trees and natural places. I am an animist and so this makes perfect sense to me. My first spell was a healing spell for an area near my old home that had grown completely stagnant, was full of litter and was generally abandoned. I prayed with all my heart that the trees and other flora there would no longer be hurting. A few weeks later, it was announced by the council that the area was to be made into a nature sanctuary. Coincidence? Maybe. But at the time I fully believed that I had manifested this much needed change and it was truly my hook into paganism.

nnphoto-coed-talon-woods
A part of the woodland where I used to live (Coed Talon) Image Source

Over the last few months I seem to have reached a type of stagnancy with my prayers at the kamidana and it felt as though I was doing it because I had to, rather than as a way to connect to kamisama. There was something missing and it felt automated. Even when I meditated it felt as though there was a blockage between myself and Inari-Okamisama, something that is very distressing for me.

Walking outside and praying has helped me in a huge way. I live in a very small flat and I think the lack of contact with nature was really getting to me. We don’t have a garden either, when we do I want to place an outdoor shrine, a hokora to Inari-Okamisama. Although it won’t be ‘official’ as I have no idea how I would be able to get a wakemitama (divided soul) or a priest over at this time, it would at least place the kami in an area that I personally feel is appropriate; nature. Of course, I will most likely keep my indoor kamidana for daily prayers and gratitude, but use the hokora for matsuri and other events. I’m still figuring it out.

Even though I am unable to walk much because of my disability it feels as though the energy of the earth is cleansing me. Walking on the grass, next to the trees, in the farmers fields and by the small streams is absorbing and cleansing the kegare which has been stuck to my being lately. Praying to Inari-Okamisama and the local gods outside has been energizing for me – walking outside and seeing what I am truly grateful in front of me has helped a lot. It’s one thing for me to stand in front of the kamidana and thank kamisama for the nice weather and it’s another to actually be outside in said weather.

I’m not sure this post makes too much sense but I just wanted you all to know where I’m at currently. I hope that you too have been making good use of the beautiful Spring weather and that your hearts are cleansed.

4 thoughts on “Walking Prayer”

  1. I sometimes get worried about not doing enough formal prayer/devotion/meditation, but then remember that just spending time with nature in relaxed connection is prayer enough.

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