Saturday, August 23, 2008

Twenty years of visiting Ise - Part 4

After visiting the Gegū, looking at Asama-yama (Mt.Asama) on the right, which is one of the passing points of the sun, we drove the winding highway towards Izawa-no-miya. As we come close to the town, Isobe-cho, we started to see some stores lining on the right side of the road. As we drove down the hill, we saw two police cars stopping a car for speeding on the opposite side of the road. I felt sorry for the policemen to be working even on the Obon holidays. I told my family to remind me on the way back for not speeding.

Izawa-no-miya had expanded their parking lot since last year. The shin-den (rice field at a shrine), where the Otaue-shiki* is held, now had a roof in the area for the visitors to watch the ceremony. When I first visited the Izawa-no-miya twenty years ago on my bike lead by my god spirit guides, they didn’t even have a parking lot. I am happy to see the development happening every year and at the same time, reminisce about the modest looking old days. Even the eel restaurant, just before the main gate to the shrine, looks like they have renewed their signboard. Back then, it looked so shabby, it was hard to tell whether they were open or not.

We went through the Torri archway, cleansed our mouth and hands with the provided water and slowly walked toward the shrine. To me, the approach (san-do・参道) toward Izawa-no-miya always feels like a transbirth canal (san-do・産道). It feels like returning back to a mother’s stomach from the lower world. The main shrine would be the womb. When I send my blessing at the shrine, the nichirin (the circle of light) of Amaterasu-Ohomikami appeared in my mind as always. The calm and gently vibrational energy signified that nothing critical is going on.

For the God Spirit who resides at this shrine, this major turning point of time is just another phase, and it seems like serenely observing the eternal flow of time. Mother of earth is for sure a Big Mama with a steady nerve.

After visiting the Izawa-no-miya, we went to a French restaurant outside the main entrance of Gegū. Because it has been one and a half year since our last visit to Ise Shrine and spending time with my family, so I decided to give them a treat. We had a lunch menu that was 3500 yen each. Too bad I (the driver) couldn’t have a drink. [laugh] As we were leaving the restaurant, when I was at the cashier, I found a photograph on the wall. It was a photo of the Dai-Torii grand archway. The lower part of the photo showed a clear rainbow color orb. I thought it was very unusual to see a shot so clearly close to the ground.

Leaving our car at the parking lot of Gegū, we took the bus to go to Naigū (the inner shrine). On the way from Izawa-ni-miya to Gegū, we had seen how crowded Naigū is and we knew we didn't want to drive in there. (continue)

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live

[Otaue-shiki - 御田植式 : Rice planting ceremony held at rice-planting time in May or June in all parts of Japan to pray for a good rice crop and successful harvest.]

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