She is the Japanese Sun Goddess, and the highest deity in the Shinto tradition. Born of the left eye of the God Izanagi, the royal family of Japan traces their ancestry back to her.
In the Kojiki, Amaterasu is described as the goddess from which all light emanates and is often referred to as the sun goddess because of her warmth and compassion for the people who worshiped her. The Kojiki, is the oldest book in Japan, translating to 'Records of Ancient Matters', in English.
She was also know for the teaching to the Japanese how to grow rice. She also invented the art of weaving with the loom and taught the people how to cultivate wheat and silkworms.
There is a story of the first dawn, that involves Amaterasu and her brother Susano-O. One day Susano-O went into a rampage and defiled his sister's rice fields and temples and killed some of her maidens, accidentally. So angered was Amaterasu, that in protest she hid herself in a cave and sealed it with a large rock.
All the Gods of the Japanese came and tried to get her out but they were unable to make her budge. So Ame-no-Uzume, Goddess of merriment, decide to have a party outside the entrance to the cave. To the great excitement of the other Gods.
Amaterasu was so intrigued by all the sound of excitement that she rolled the rock aside and asked the nearest God what all the excitement was. The response? Well we have a new Goddess now. When asked where she was, the God pointed to a mirror hung from a tree.
When she looked in the mirror she was so enthralled that she left the cave, which was then sealed behind her. Now that she was out the Gods convinced her to go back into the heavens again and allow her light to shine on the Earth again. But from this day forward Amaterasu carried a bow and quiver of arrows with her, so that she could deal with her brother if he ever stepped out of line again.
Just an FYI this site will be going down for maintenance in the next couple of hours. Should be up by tomorrow. I apologize for any incovenience.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Posted by Patrick McCleary Monday, June 16, 2008
Who is Amaterasu?