Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gods And Goddesses: Izanami

Izanami is the goddess who was the wife of the god Izanagi, while also referred to as Izanami-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-kami. Her name means “she who invites”. Izanmai is the goddess of creation and death.

When Izanami and Izanagi decided to marry and to bring upon new generations upon the earth, they created a ritual to celebrate. Their first child was deformed and appeared in a shape like a leech, with this child associated with the deity Hiruko on occasion. This deformity was supposedly caused by Izanami crying out in delight when seeing Izanagi during their marriage ceremony. So the marriage ceremony was attempted again with Izanami keeping quiet, allowing for their next act of love to create the largest islands of Japan. The bubbles which arose in the ocean further allowed smaller islands. Izanagi and Izanami created other deities later on, of the sea, wind, mountains, rivers, trees and rice.

Izanami eventually gave birth to a fire god, Kagutsuchi, causing the death of Izanami. Izanami’s death put forth more deities from Izanagi’s tears and Kagutuchi’s blood. When Izanagi went to the underworld Yomi for Izanami, Izanami refused to return to the world of the living as she had eaten the food of Yomi and could not return.

As Izanagi lit a torch, he saw Izanami’s rotting body, this shocked Izanagi and he tried to leave Yomi. Izanami tried to keep Izanagi in Yomi, but Izanagi announced that he shall divorce with Izanami. Izanami protested by stating that she will take the lives of one thousand each day, Izanagi replied he would give life to one thousand five hundred each day. 

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