My name is Matthew Martin and I discovered Paganism, Tarot and Shinto in my late-teens and Welsh Druidry in my late-twenties. I would describe my faith as an energetic mix of Shinto and Paganism. I primarily work with the deity Inari-Ōkami, kami of rice, fertility and prosperity. Other deities I work with include Loki, Bast, Cernunnos, Ceridwen, Morrigan and others.
I was born and raised in the lovely rural Wales where I grew up around tales of witches, dragons and magic. I currently live with my partner Charlie in England with our many pets – currently our cat Tama, three snakes, a leopard gecko, a hamster and five rats!
I have been reading tarot and oracle cards since I was 16 years old. My first deck was the Dragon Tarot by Peter Pracownik and it served as an intuitive launchpad to my obsession with reading and learning about these magnificent tools. As well as tarot, I also have experience with psychic readings, pet readings and through communication with spirit.
I found out about paganism through my love of the supernatural and paranormal in my early teenage years, although I didn’t practice it until I was 16 or so. I was wary of the reactions of people around me and the many misconceptions that arise from the words ‘witch’ and ‘pagan’. I began my pagan path by absorbing every bit of information I could find on Wicca and traditional British witchcraft, soon crafting my own unique path. I am ashamed to state that I had no idea Druidry existed until my late twenties, but immediately adopted the Welsh-based path into my practices, feeling as if I had truly come home.
During my research into paganism and my special interest in animal spirits and folklore, I came across Shinto and the deity Inari-Ōkami. There was a familiarity with the kami that felt akin to a motherly feeling. Little did I know how Inari-Ōkami would impact my life and my beliefs, fully adopting me under her wing.
I created my first crude kamidana with as much English information as I could find on Shinto, which in 2006 wasn’t a lot. I used the book ‘The Fox and the Jewel’ by Karen Smyers as my bible on all things Inari-Ōkami, and it grew from there!
Currently, my path is formed of a meeting between the beliefs of paganism (druidry, witchcraft, kermeticism) and Shinto (mostly Inari shinkou), which compliment each other perfectly. It is important to mention that I do keep Shinto and Pagan practices separate out of respect, which means I have separate altars/shrines and have separate worship times and days for different deities.
I keep a kamidana (shrine) for Inari-Ōkamisama in my home, which is the most elaborate shrine I keep. Here, I offer daily prayers, offerings and sometimes music as well as perform cleansing rituals (Ōharae) on the first and fifteenth of each month. The biggest ceremonies of the year are the New Year and Midsummer ceremonies, in which everything is fully cleansed, shide (paper ‘zig-zags’ that protect against negative energies) are replaced and many prayers are spoken. I primarily pray in Japanese, though I will sometimes read the English translations if praying for others, or if I need extra focus.
My pagan altar is a ‘work’ altar on which I perform spells and rituals. Like traditional Wiccan altars, I have a masculine and feminine side, with tools placed in their dedicated spots. I do not use my pagan altar as much as I worship at my kamidana, but when I do it is often according to the moon phase.
I believe that Spirit/Kami/The Divine is present in all natural things including humans, animals, plants, trees and rocks. This belief is known as animism.
I believe that all deities are forms, or archetypes of the same Universal energy and so no deity feels forgotten or neglected when it comes to worshipping. I also believe that when a particular deity calls to us with signs, it is that particular aspect of the Universe we need to work with right now.
I believe that because we are created from the same energy as the stars, the sun, the moon, the planets and the universe, we are inherently sacred and we should treat ourselves as such. We are an expression of the Divine.
I believe in the concept of Yin and Yang. Everything has an opposite and matching reaction.
I believe that we pick up impurities, also known as kegare (穢れ), pollution or negative energy, by simply existing in this world. We must therefore regularly cleanse ourselves physically and spiritually in order to keep this at bay. (This is not the same concept as Christian sin)
I believe that ritual serves as a means to become closer to the Divine and therefore, the Universe. I believe that we should re-enact ritual with understanding, sincerity and as close to the source pantheon as possible out of respect.
I believe that magic is the art of energy and time manipulation and should only be practised for positive reasons.
I believe that as energy is recycled, reincarnation is certain.
About This Blog
This blog was originally created in February 2011 on Tumblr under the name ‘Fox of Inari’. I eventually moved it here to WordPress, where it remains today, unchanged except the name.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information and personal experiences with Shinto, Inari-Ōkami, Here, I post information and personal insights related to Inari-Ōkami, Shinto and sometimes Druidry.
It is my life purpose to help others with their relationship with Inari-Ōkami, spread awareness and information of Inari-Ōkami and above all, try to help others heal and live their lives as they were meant to.
If you have any questions for me, please let me know! Thank you for reading!
If you are interested in my blog posts or would like to use me as a guest blogger, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If time permits, I will normally say yes to such requests. I do not charge for writing services.