Monday, December 29, 2014

How to pacify your house and land

How to *kuyō or bless the ground( your house and your land) 

From the very early stage of this blog, I have been mentioning about the lowest level spirits such as grass, trees, stones, house… all nature spirits will start to speak out very soon.  Due to the recent high development of cameras and videos, we are now starting to witness these little spirits on the ground and floors.
Until now only people with psychic visions were able to see them, but from now on, it will be seen in everyone'e eyes. These spirits were called the 地霊 ji-rei (ground spirits) from the ancient time. And in Japan, we have a 地鎮祭 ji-chin-sai (a Shinto ground ceremony to pacify the local guardian spirits) when building something new on top of a land.  However, in the recent years, this kind of ideas honoring the local spirits are performed less and less. And there are far too many new religions that only tries to make money, teaching wrong ways of kuyō that is not really working for the spirits. The spirits who live in the lower area than your knee height are very clingy and affect the living human beings. 
We sometimes see death spots (the dot patterns that appear on the skin on a corpse). These are actually marks from the clinging spirits on the human being around the ankles. People do get affected from these spirits and change the fate of the family or the individual's life. 
If you are feeling some kind of weirdness about your home or the land, I suggest you to do this floor kuyō. Make a *tanzaku, thick washi paper small board and write "The place for the spirits of the house and the land" (or in your own words equivalent to this). Put it on a tray and place it on the floor.
However, it may not have an effect if you have not been doing ancestral kuyō for over a year. I would say, don't do it since ancestral kuyō should come first. You will need the guard from your ancestors in order to have this work properly. If you do sense spirits in your house that are an unpleasant experience, this will work quite quickly.  You don't have to do it if you don't have any weird feelings about your place. If things are normal it is unnecessary.
The reason why it has to be on the floor and not on a higher altar with the ancestral kuyō is because these spirits are the lowest level spirits and they literally cannot come up to any higher places than the ground/floor level. The gravity is pulling them down and they don't have the power to go any higher. In order to pacify the spirits of the ground/land/house, you must make another altar on the floor separately from your ancestral kuyō alter.

When doing ancestral kuyō, the ancestral spirits will come around one by one in the right time to receive the blessing. But with the lower level spirits, they will come swarming and craving for the human's compassion and the scent of the incense. They will continue to throng around until they had enough. And they will eventually be able to move to the next dimension to the right place where they belong depending on their karma.
In Japan, there is a common custom to place a pile of salt at one's door way. But this will only avoid the spirits. And it only works temporary. This will not able the spirits to move to a higher place(dimenson). Therefore, in order for the spirits to leave your place for good, you must give them an altar and incense(the scent is like food for the spirits.)

Details on how to do the floor kuyō for the spirits in your land and/or house.

  1. Make a *tanzaku, thick washi paper (if not washi, best to find material made out of tree bark, natural material paper) small board and write "The place for the spirits of the house and the land" (or in your own words equivalent to this). Put it on a tray and place it on the floor. Better to have a stand for the tanzaku  (see example: or something to hold it straight up.
  2. On the tray, you will also have an incense burner. Light up one incense daily.
  3. Put your hands together and say this or something equivalent, " To the spirits who reside on this land and house, I thank you for letting me live in this house and this land. I offer this scent to you." The main purpose here is the scent of the incense. It's like giving food to them. It will nourish their soul. So the words can be very simple. 
  4. Once that prayer is done, leave the place.
  5. After one hour, if you need to move the tray you can. Make sure the incense is out completely.
It is best to do it for 7 days and preferably everyday. If you can't do it consecutively, that fine. But do it for 7days. After that you don't need to do it, unless you felt something is unpleasant at your place. 

Once again, you don't need to do it if you don't feel there is any problem. If you are not sure whether to do it or not, it means you don't need to do it. If you need to do it, you will know right away with your ancestral spirits guidance.

The right location for the kuyō

  • The location to place the tray(alter) would be usually (North~East) which is called the kimono(鬼門, demon's gate). Place it on that direction where people don't hang around. But if this location feels not right, the next ura-kimon(裏鬼門, the opposite demon's gate) would be (West~South).
  • The hallway or kitchen is another good place. Without thinking about those direction, if you feel this is the right place, then go ahead and place it there. When doing it in a hallway, it's better to keep the door closed if there is a door at one/both end of the hallway while doing the prayer.
  • Avoid the entrance area where people walk with shoes on.
  • Another good location is where you find an area that feels coldness. If there are several places like that in your house, do it in all locations one by one. (It can be done in the same day, but don't do it all at the same time. )
  • If you are living in an apartment building, the floor you live on would be the ground floor for you. 
※ The floor kuyō should be at least one meter away from your ancestor's alter.
※ You can move the tray within 7 days but do one place at a time. Best to do one place a day. 
※ And before you place the tray, best to clean the floor.

The right time for kuyō

You can do it any time. For ancestral kuyō, we avoid the unstable hours (one hour before and after the sunset. Midnight to 3am). But for the floor spirits the hours are irrelevant.

The tools for kuyō

  1. The tanzaku paper board (place for the spirits to reside). It should be at least 30cm long. Best if it has a gold rim. Use a black ink pen/marker when writing the words. The gold or other colors are hard to see for the spirits.  ※once you are done with the kuyō, you can just put the tanzaku in the trash.
  2. A stand or something to hold the tanzaku. It needs to stand straight. Best to use a wooden stand. You can just use two pieces of small wood and cut the middle so the tanzaku fits in. Make sure the wood was not used for anything else before.
  3. Incense. Use one every time. The longer the stick the better. 
  4. A tray. A wooden tray is the best. Color, size, shape is irrelevant. Better to have a plain one without too much drawings or letters painted on it.
※ Other points to consider: Best to sit down when praying but it's okay to be standing depending on the location. The lights can be on or off, it doesn't matter. You can do it for your summer/second house, a shop or any other types of business place as long as you own or renting the place. 
※ Don't rush it. Prepare it well and do it only when you find it necessary.

*Kuyō 供養: A memorial service or sending a prayer, blessing to honor the deceased. (ancestral worship)
 *Tanzaku 短冊 : A rectangular shape thick washi paper normally used in writing Haiku ( short poem). Common size is 366×62 mm (14 ½ x2 ½ inches).

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu
 Thank you for letting us live

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

original Japanese blog written 2014.12.28