On the Shinto shelf (Kamidana) sit various items. As I was taught, most of those items represent elements that are necessary to support life itself: Fire via the candles, Salt, Water, Rice, Plant life etc… though one wonders whether Sake (rice wine) is necessary to sustain life.
Other items on the shelf have an inner meaning. The mirror shows ones true self. The arrow represents a prayer shot toward the heavens with a hope of being answered.
Still other items have more of a personal significance. The pine cone was selected by my teacher, when his teacher Shoto Tanamura observed a very powerful / energetic Pine Tree during one of his visits. He felt it was the most powerful of all the pine trees clustered in that area of Los Angeles County.
The American Indian Feather was given as a gift to my teacher by a student (Native American). The significance is: a three dot feather is reserved for the Indian Chiefs.
Traditionally, a written prayer is placed inside the Shinto house itself. The one we have was written by Monks in a Japanese Temple to be used in my teacher‘s school. The idea is to ask for purpose, direction and protection while training.
These are just a few of the items gifted to us by my teacher. We have more to share on this topic.
Keep your eyes open for future installments of “Gifts from My Teacher“.