Izanami

February 12th, 2008 by sabrina

Izanami is the Shinto Goddess of creation and death. She personifes the Earth and darkness. She and her brother/husband Izanagi were the first beings on earth. When they wanted to be married, they built a pillar called Ame-no-mihashira (pillar of heaven). They walked around the pillar from opposite directions, and when they met, Izanami was the first to speak. Izanagi did not think this was proper, but they married anyway. Izanami bore two children, but they were both deformed. The Gods advised that this was because Izanami had spoken first when they met around the pillar. They tried again, and this time Izanagi spoke first. The children that followed this second union became the eight islands of the Japanese chain.

Izanami was burned to death giving birth to Kagu-Tsuchi, the incarnation of fire. In anger, Izanagi killed the child and cut his body into eight pieces, which each turned into volcanoes. Izanagi then tried to retrieve his wife from the underworld, but Izanami had already partaken of the food of the dead and could no longer leave. Izanagi did not want to leave her, but he saw that she had been claimed by death and had begun to rot. He turned and ran, barricading the entrance to the underworld. Izanami was enraged at her husband’s sudden betrayal, and vowed to kill 1000 of his subjects (the living) every day. Izanagi, in return, vowed to create 1500 new subjects every day, so that there would always be more living than dead.

Izanami’s name means “she who invites”, and she is also known as Izanami-no-mikoto or Izanami-no-kami.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008 at 10:48 pm and is filed under Southeast Asian. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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