Dreams, Inari, Kami, Shinto, Uncategorized

(Dream) An Evening At A Shrine

I wanted to write up and share this dream I had about an hour ago as it was intensely powerful. I have been rather stressed all day as we have had workmen here who stayed much later than I hoped (for a total of 8 hours!) and I was pretty bitter that I was unable to carry out my Lughnasadh plans. I ended up having a nap, and that is how we arrive here.

The Dream

I was in Japan with my partner. We were staying in a small place in Fushimi (though this is very much a fictional Fushimi) and it was late afternoon, early evening. Charlie had gone to get food and I was bored and decided it might be nice to go for a walk and see if I could spot some small roadside shrines.

I walked along a long street, trying to read signs and figure out what they said, recognising kanji here and there. I followed the road until I came to a small park which had children’s playthings in the traditional white fox design associated with Inari-Ōkami, slides, spring riders, see-saws and such. Thinking this was a charming feature of Fushimi, I walked through the park and watched the children play. I could swear that some of the white fox designs had a life of their own, moving this way and that with a yellowish glow about them. Perhaps it was a trick of the sunset, I thought. However, the whole place had a charged energy about it that I couldn’t ignore.

Carrying on through the park I walked through a large heavy wooden gateway that was open and along a granite stone path before I noticed a large vermillion torii in front of me. I suddenly realised I had entered a shrine and looked back behind me, noticing another torii hidden behind the gateway too. Feeling a fluttering excitement throughout my whole body I walked ahead and spotted a small shrine nearby and to my left, two stone foxes looking down at me from their perch.

Throughout this walk I was feeling so excited and so blessed, it’s hard to explain. I was continuously making mental notes, thinking ‘this is my first time walking through a torii’, ‘this is my first time seeing a real shrine’ and such. In the dream I thought it was waking life and so the impact was huge.

There was a crowd in front of the small shrine and I heard someone, an elderly Japanese man, lead the prayer.‘Kakemakumo kashikoki..’ After these two words, his voice was drowned out with additional voices as the rest of the group prayed in unison to Inari-Ōkami.

After the group had done their bows and left, I approached the shrine nervously. I stared at the foxes for a while, their ferocious but protective gaze looking down at me. I bowed with great sincerity, clapped and began my prayer ‘Kakemakumo kashikoki, Inari-Ōkami ni ōmae ni maosaku…’ I heard behind me voices join in with the prayer, though I could have sworn I had seen nobody else around. I was maybe a few lines into the norito before I felt tears streaming down my face, missing words and entire lines as I sobbed. But the choir of voices carried on, filling in the blanks and filling the air with the beautiful norito.

After I had finished praying, I clapped and bowed once again before looking at the shrine with all the love in my soul. I was here, I couldn’t believe it. As I turned to move on and explore the rest of the shrine grounds a young Japanese boy about 8 years old in what seemed to be a miniature version of a priests outfit in shades of blue and complete with his black hat approached me.

“I notice you are crying, why is that? Are you upset?” The boy asked.

“No, I’m not upset” I replied “I am happier than I ever thought I could be. I never thought I would see this place and be able to pray to Inari-Ōkami in this manner.”

The boy seemed confused, but content. He beckoned me silently to follow him up some deserted stairs which I hadn’t noticed before. Without question, I followed the boy.

As I approached the top of the stairs I noticed it was now night-time and the sky was scattered with stars. There were lanterns lighting up the shrine grounds which despite it being dark, were far from deserted. There was a large platform which seemed to hold some kind of spiritual water which was full of noise; laughter, chanting and yelling. I couldn’t see anybody but I felt the presence.

Focusing my gaze, I finally saw the source of the noise; the white shimmering outlines of hundreds of people of all ages and gender were celebrating on the platform, splashing the strange spiritual water everywhere. I wanted to join in but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to. I felt as though I wasn’t yet ready, as if I had forgotten something.

“I’ll be back in the morning” I said, to no-one in particular, as the boy had already vanished.

Not long after, I woke up feeling especially groggy but somewhat renewed. I’m not entirely sure what this dream meant, but it does feel like a while since I have had a dream involving Inari-Ōkami in this way.

Today is the first of the month and I do believe that that what we dream on this day is important and will set the pace for the month. I have also been working with Inari-Ōkami very closely recently.

I find it interesting that I chose not to participate in the celebrations with the other people and that I felt as though I had forgotten something. I feel that this is something I will ask Inari-Ōkami about soon.

So yeah, that was my especially uplifting and spiritual dream I had today!

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