Miyako shamanism [in Ryukyu is.]

2.2.0 pp. 23-25 genealogy of deities of Miyako




"The creator god broke the pillar of the ting, and granted it to Kuitsunu. Kuitsunu ... threw it in the middle of the ocean. The pillar turned into an island. ...


Kuitsunu and Kuitama produced everything on the island. After that, Kuitama gave birth to a male and a female deity. The male was named Sodatsushin and the female Yoshitamashin. When Sodatsushin and Yoshitamashin grew up, a male and a female deity appeared to them. ... The male and the female deities ... had been born from under the earth. The male deity called himself Mukusoshin. He was dressed in leaves. {cf. [Manareva] "South Wind (god) was clothed in leaves" (M-PCD s.v. "kakahu")} The female deity called herself Sososhin. She was dressed in grass. {cf. grass skirts worn by Pacific islander (Polynesian etc.) women} The first couple ... arranged a marriage between Sodatsuhin and Sososhin, and [between] Mukusoshin and Yoshitamashin. The origin couple told the former [couple] to rule the eastern part of the island (Higashinakasone) and the latter [couple] to rule the western side of the island (Nishinakasone). A male, Yonaoshinomanusugan, was born to the former couple, and a female, Soimaratsukasa, was born to the latter couple. They became husband and wife. From this couple, all the people of Miyako are descended."


"Ninupa N’ma Tida (the Mother Goddess of the North Axis) served a wealthy family as a maid servant. ... One day, she went to the fields and gave birth to twelve eggs. In a few days, all the eggs hatched, and twelve deities were born. With the deities, the Mother Goddess retreated deep into the mountains of Karimata. Later, she distributed her twelve children to twelve sacred points".

M-PCD = Edward Tregear : The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-TreMaor-c1-5.html

2.2.0 p. 27 various gods at localities



Tsunuji otaki

Umanupa Nu Yu Nu Nusu (‘God of Wealth of the South Axis’)

Bissi otaki

Mantsu Nusu (‘Master of the Right Path’)


Uika Nusu (‘Master of Success in Life’)


Futsukata Kuikata Nu Nusu (‘Master of Appetite’) p. 29 sacred stone "planters" "filled with ashes" {cf. holy bhasma (‘ashes’) in India}

"The motoibi is the residence of the gods to whom the sanctuary is dedicated. ...

Some people ... send their prayers to the gods who may reside on the opposite side of the island or in Japan through their nakadui." p. 29 priestesses

"Yuzasu priestesses are shamans.

Tsukasa priestesses are non-shamans (mostly housewives) selected by lottery." pp. 30-33 otaki ‘sanctuary’ {cf. Otaki in New Zealand} allocated to the directions




deity’s nature

deity’s abode




"the eldest son of the Mother Goddess ... of Karimata." "a raven"

Ikema island



Mantsu Nusu

"the One Who Directs Ships in the Right Direction"

Bissi otaki



Fuji No Nusu

"god of the offshore reef"




Yabis^i Nusu

god of "a great reef off Ikema Island"





"sea deity"





"god of travel and navigation"

Takinata otaki in Bora




"goddess who protects the people and the island from tidal waves"

Amaripa otaki



? & ?

"two divine sisters who accompanied a divine hero, Nakasone Tuimishu, in his expedition to Yaeyama"

Uruka otaki



Akazakinu Akarutin Akamamiga Mazo Nusu

"The second son of the Mother Goddess of Karimata" "the God Who Enlightens the World, Blesses the People with Abundance, and Protects the Gate."

Akazaki otaki



Uika Nusu

"the third son of the Mother Goddess" "in charge of one’s advancement in life"




Futsukata Kuikata Nu Nusu

"stimulates one’s appetite’




Kani N’ma Tida


Kaniza otaki




"the eldest daughter of the Mother Goddess"

Tsukasaya otaki



Kinko Nusu Kura Nu Nusu

"the God of Granary"




? & ?

"The medicine god, who controls one’s life span and health, and the god who blessed marriages:

Madama otaki



Fuiyamiga Nusu

"controls rain"


p. 32 "The Akazaki Sanctuary was established by a divine-hero, Yonapasidzu Tuimishu ... on his way back from Okinawa". p. 34 other otaki

Bankuyama otaki "is the place where lost souls of living people are kept temporarily. If a person with soul loss does not come to the Bankuyama to receive his or her soul, the god sends it to the Oharuzu.

The god of the feast table, the god who receives ohatsu (offerings), and the god of the ritual plate reside in between the axes of the southeast and the south.

The goddess Bimaruting occupies a large cave in Yonandaki, which falls between Bora and Uruka. From the ceiling, there hangs a huge stalactite, which signifies the male sexual organ. She is the goddess of fecundity and enables women to conceive and bear children.

The god of the Muzuka Otaki in Agaikawane descended to earth, guarding the progenitor couple from devils. The sanctuary is dedicated to Ni>ijya Mumuchoga Nusu (the God Who Passes Judgement on Dead People on the Basis of Their Lifetime Conduct) and Cho Nu Nusu (the God Who Determines Right and Wrong)."

2.2.4 pp. 36-38 ni>ijya (‘afterworld’) of the dead




"Major deities who dwell in the ni>ijya are Ni>ijya Asa Tida (Father Moon), Ni>ijya N’ma Tida (Mother Moon) ... .

The Father Moon passes judgement on the dead and punishes them for improper conduct.

The Mother Moon is responsible for procreating new lives from the dead (or dead souls)."

38, fn. 14

"the recently deceased soul tires to remain in this world as long as possible".


"other dead souls [those who had died longer ago] try to sneak into this world."

38, fn. 15

[Amami (another island-group of Ryukyu)] "the dead soul is believed to move back and forth between this world and the afterworld or seven days after its death".


"a polluted ... state called busozu ... lasts for forty-nine (or sometimes 100) days after one’s death." {the 49-day period is Chinese}

2.5 pp. 46-49 becoming a shaman


initiation by deities


"Shamans are by nature spiritually oriented (i.e., kandaka umare) ..., they are not aware of their mission until gods and divine ancestors tell them they are destined to be shamans. Their [the gods’] message is manifested in kandaari. Kandaari involves ... violent body-shaking and jumping, insomnia, ... singing, and screaming. ... In many cases, the potential shaman tries to escape from this destiny by defying the messages or asking the gods to wait for a while. This ... leads to aggravation of kandaari. Thus the potential shaman ... decides to accept the mission".


"The apprentice becomes a shaman after he or she opens the path to the gods (michi aki). ... His or her god may tell the apprentice in his or her dream thyat the path to the gods is open."

2.6 p. 50 receiving of deities by humans

"(1) receiving household protecting gods, such as the ukamagan, the tukurugan, and the yu no kan;

(2) receiving individual protecting gods, mau".

p. 61 annual festivals



its nature



"beseech the divine aid for their hardships."



"thanksgiving ... for affluence ... from the gods."



"Ancestors obtain permission from the gods to came back to this world. People welcome their ancestors ..., offer a great amount of ritual food, and send them off to the afterworld".


sukamaze tasuke

"People may ask the gods to insure their safety while they engage in their occupations".



"Those who want to receive their mau ask ... to ... . For those who have already received mau, ... saatsuki to celebrate the birthday of their mau."


so futsu harai

"people throw away all the foul words directed at them by others".


fuzuki (fate)

"People offer ... to the gods of fate, who reside on the upper layer of the universe".

pp. 64-66 magical fright {this is also the usual object of shamanic cures in Latin America}


souls of the living & their fright


p. 64

"the human has seven souls.

One is attached to his or her head,

two to his or her shoulders,

two to both of his or her sides,

one to his or her chest,

and the last one to his or her back."

p. 64, fn. 28

"one is attached to the head,

one to the forehead,

two to the shoulders,

one to the front and

one to the back, and

one around the legs."


"When he or she faces odoroitakoto (is very frightened) ... his or her soul drops on the spot. When the person loses more than two of his or her souls, he or she ... always feels tired, ... has nightmares, ... and the prolonged absence of the souls could lead to his or her death. He or she must recover his or her lost souls (tamasu uke) if he or she is to recover."

64, fn. 29

3 types of tamasu uke : "to recover the soul

lost on the land,

in the water, or the soul

which entered the tomb"


4 types of tamasu uke :

"(a) The tamasu ["soul"] is recovered at the spot at


which the client lost his or her soul.

(b) The tamasu is pulled from the spot to the gate, at which the shaman recovers the tamasu. [viz., at the gate to the site where the incident occurred] ...

(c) The ritual is performed at the pier. [viz., in cases of the incident having occurred on another island or at sea] ...

(d) The shaman and the client go to the Bankuyama of the Oharuzu. [viz., Bankuyama for incidents having occurred shortly ago; Oharuzu for incidents having occurred long ago]"


[a matter of concern to the shaman while conducting the tamasu uke] "The client’s soul has been on the spot where it is mingled with the shi>imi (essence) of the surround entities ... . Therefore, first, the shaman must take the shi>imi away from the client’s soul, then recover it."

64, fn. 28 "The soul looks like a butterfly. It likes to leave the body and wander around." {this would belong to a different system, that of dreams – cf. the butterfly-dream of C^uan C^ou (the Taoist philosopher)}

pp. 68-70 corrective rituals




"when the client visit sanctuaries to receive divine energy in his or her mau koro, his or her shaman must obtain permission in advance from the gods. Otherwise, they must go to the sanctuaries again, nullify the previous rituals (hotoki), apologize for their rudeness (tandi), and implore the gods to allow them to receive their energy."


"When people are called on by the souls of the recently deceased, they ask the shaman to send the soul back to the afterworld. The shaman takes the soul outside the client’s household and dispatches it to the world of the dead. The shaman splashes water on the street to separate the dead soul from the living".


"The Miyako people believe that foul language (e.g., curses, abuse, gossip) directed at them by others ... negatively affect their fortunes. The people ask the shaman to turn out the foul words (futsu harai). In this harai, the shaman uses ... sand, a bottle of sea water, heads of raw fish (three or seven), and branches of five species of plants (saruke, n’genopa, yaraugi, dakifu, and kanyugi). The sea water must be ladled when the tide ebbs : ... like flowing waves (namifutsu), which must retreat to the offshore. ... The mouth of raw fish eats up foul words. ... Kanyugi implies to chase (the gossip), dakifu to wrap it, and yaraugi to put things in order."

pp. 77-81 praeternatural powers of shamaness & of shaman




[of shamaness] "when she saw something, she felt as if she as if she had seen it with the third eye on her forehead. For instance, she ... saw her altar covered with a white veil. In a few days, she was informed of ... death."


[of shaman] "circumstances in which he heard the voice of gods. He explained : I feel my body swelling. I feel dizzy, as if I were enveloped in mist. My god – he seems to be standing above the right hemisphere of my head ... begins to speak to me slowly".


"Body shaking indicates that shamans are possessed by gods. ... [The shaman], in a sitting posture leaped up high from the tatami floor during the period of his kandaari. ... When the yukumigan (divine lion) possesses [the shaman], his head moves violently. He stands up, dances, and blows his breath."


"[The shaman]’s strong point is that of division, and [the shamaness]’s is that of multiplication.

The power of addition is used for musubi (i.e., to establish a path through which divine energy is transmitted ... from a sanctuary to one’s koro).

The power of subtraction is applied to harai (i.e., to throw out the polluted).

The power of division makes it possible for shamans to look through people and the world.

The power of multiplication is required to magnify shaman’s powers. ... By ritual manipulations, a path is built between each sanctuary and his or her koro, and divine energy is transferred through the path (i.e., musubi). By the power of multiplication, interactions of divine energy among sanctuaries ... produce greater powers than the sum of the power of each sanctuary."

pp. 94-95 sexual dreams of shaman and of shamaness




"Those shamans have sexual intercourse with their gods [goddesses]. If they are males, beautiful young females appear in their dreams."

"his [the shaman’s] sexual acts with various goddesses are much more satisfying than actual [read : waking-world] ones."


"Shamans engage in sexual acts with deities. But this occurs in dreams ... in the world of gods. ... They indulge in sex in their dreams."


[autobiographical account of dream-experiences by a shamaness] "My god appeared with another man and told me to sleep with the man. Otherwise, my god said, he would not teach me anything. Sometimes he threatened my life, holding a knife in his hand. "Sleep with this man : otherwise I will tear you to pieces." ... Sometimes the man disrobed me, and his penis touched my thigh. I refused him, crying. Then the man turned [in]to another god."

shaman’s visionary receiving of power-song at waterfall



p. 104 "A beautiful woman in a kimono of various colors told him to go to the waterfall in Nago. ... The god of the waterfall told me to disrobe. I became naked and jumped into the water. ...

{Likewise at Waringa lakes in Wamani, "from a waterfall on a rock wall. At the lake we had the flourishment, then we had to enter the frozen water and rub our body with a crushed herb that is supposed to bring good luck and health." (LH)

"Baiame, the ... great sky god … may bestow shamanic abilities on Aborigines through their dreams. He causes a sacred waterfall of liquid quartz to pour over the dreamer’s body, absorbing him totally." (LCh)

"Foretelling the future from prophetic dreams was known in Scots Gaelic as taghairm. This rite was said to been performed by a diviner, wrapped in the 'warm smoking hide of a newly-slain ox, and laid at full length in the wildest recesses of some lonely waterfall'" (OM).}

I heard someone singing a song. I sang the song. ... A female and a male ... sang by turns."

{"He who is really a shaman hears ... during his sleep ... this song, rebounding off the celestial vault. ... I had this dream : A shaman ... started to spit out the magic plants ... . There was at that spot a waterfall so high that its water became foam while it was falling" (TY, p. 103).}

LH = http://snobear.colorado.edu/Adina/Watson/Las%20Huaringas.htm

LCh = http://crushevil.co.uk/blog/?p=44

OM = http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/Oxhide1.htm citing : Boundaries and Thresholds, ed. H.R. Ellis Davidson, Thimble Press, 1993.

TY = Jacques Lizot : Tales of the Yanomami. Cambridge U Pr, 1991.

pp. 156-157 dreams by shamaness




[one dream] "I saw two huge stone doors. ... When waves stroked, the doors opened and closed."


[another dream] "The earth was split, and a stair[well] appeared. I descended the stair[well]. I reached the bottom of a large cave. I saw


another stair[case] which ascended to the ting. The god with the beautiful white beard was standing in the east. Below him, two gods were seen holding two chobo ["scrolls" (p. 370)] Behind the gods, I saw a waterfall. ... White carps were sailing in the line. I went toward the north where I saw a hole. The water ran through the hole into the open sea. I found myself at an open place ... of clay, and the water splashed like bubbles. ... I walked on the field and went into a tunnel. I came out of the tunnel. I was on ... beautiful white sand. There were several old women in blue kimono. ... I saw many people coming from all directions. They carried small packages in their arms. I found out that I was in a sacred place. ... The old woman told me to pray to gods. I did this. I left the sanctuary. ... There was a tiny hole in the rock. ... I passed through the hole and came out on the hillside."


[still another dream] "The white nunodan ["white tapes offered to the navigation god" (p. 374)] turned [in]to the broad path which led to the ting. At the far end, I saw the ryugu ["sea" (p. 375)] castle. ... Many gods and goddesses came oput of the castle. The goddesses looked very beautiful in kimono of various colors. ... Waves produced various sounds, which formed a delightful melody. The goddess Otohime opened and closed her fan. ... I entered the ryugu castle. I saw a white folding screen. The screen opened, and I saw a god and goddess. ... The goddess was lying down, and the god was standing. {"Ku (upright) represented male ... power, and Hina (prostrate) was the expression of female ... power" (HD, p. 389a).} On his back there was a large shell which was reflecting light like a mirror." {"fang-chu mirrors pick up heavenly dew when they are exposed to the moon" (TM, p. 163). [Aztec] "'Old moon god'. ... Tecciztecatl portrayed as an old man who carries a large white seashell on his back." (T)

HD = Mary Pukui & Samuel Elbert : Hawaiian Dictionary. U Pr of HI, Honolulu, 1971.

TM = Isabelle Robinet : Taoist Meditation. State U of NY Pr, 1993.

T = http://www.pantheon.org/articles/t/tecciztecatl.html

Naoko Takiguchi : Miyako Shamanism. PhD diss, U of CA at Los Angeles, 1984.

(see also :- ASIAN FOLKLORE STUDIES, Vol. 49, 1990: 1-38 = Naoko Takiguchi : "Liminal Experiences of Miyako Shamans." www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/afs/pdf/a766.pdf )