Page:Occult Japan - Lovell.djvu/106

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OCCULT JAPAN.

pilgrimage robe, his hair dank from the bath and his whole person twittering with cold, and, striking a spark from some flint and steel, proceeded to light the fire and then to encourage its combustion by the usual finger-twisting, scattering of salt, prayer, striking of sparks, and brandishing of the gohei-wand.

After the exorcism was well under way, the head priest came forward and sat down before the kettle in order to perfect the rite, the acolyte falling back to the part of mute. In keeping with the good man's extreme purity, his finishing touches were very simple. They consisted of a soundless whistle which he kept up through his pursed lips and of certain archaic finger-charms symbolic of pulling some very heavy substance toward him. Then, still mutely whistling, he sat perfectly still and watched.

He had not long to wait. Suddenly a roar rose out of the body of the kettle, and at almost the same instant the priest's own body began to sway back and forth. Steam followed the roar; then, after a couple of seconds, the roar ceased. We did not have to be told that it was the voice of the Thunder-