Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shinto New Year

text, captions and fotos by Nat  S.

HATSUMODE:  FIRST SHRINE VISIT OF THE NEW YEAR,
TSUBAKI GRAND SHRINE OF AMERICA, GRANITE FALLS, WA

Senior Priest, Rev. Lawrence Koichi Barrish performed Oharae at midnight on December 31, and multiple times during the following days of January 1 and 2, 2013. In this period, over 1000 people visited the shrine.

View of Mt. Pilchuck on the way to Tsubaki Shrine.
Several peaks in the Cascade Range are visible during the drive.


The main torii, 23’ high and hewn of logs from Port Orford cedar, stands near
Crooked Mile Road.  A torii is a gateway to the sacred space of Shinto shrines.  
(This view looks back towards the road from the pathway to the shrine.)

A fire is maintained as a spot for visitors to warm up while walking shrine grounds,
or while outside registering and waiting to attend one of the scheduled Oharae
(purification ceremony for renewal of life energy and our connection with nature). 


Visitors pause at a temizuya to scoop fresh water for rinsing
their hands and mouth before entering the shrine for Oharae.


At the top part of this photograph are shimenawa (rope made from
twists of rice straw) and shide  (zigzag strips of white paper), hanging
actually from a torii in front of the shrine.   These indicate a purified
space.  Visitors walk up the stone steps to enter the shrine for Oharae.

A rope, vertically suspended between the blue banner and offertory box,
may be swung by visitors to sound a bell. Ringing the bell is part of a
sequence which includes bowing and handclapping done in prayer to Okami.    

Tsubaki Shrine is on the stony banks of the Pilchuk River.  Here Jack
Frost has edged fallen leaves, like this Big Leaf Maple, with delicate ice crystals.


Sacred spirit of an old tree near the Pilchuck River
is signified by encircling the trunk with shimenawa and shide.

To plan your own visit, check www.tsubakishrine.org  for information on activities and events.

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