Page:Occult Japan - Lovell.djvu/151

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petitions, to which the god makes reply. When he has finished asking what he will and the god has finished replying, the nakaza falls forward on his face.

The maeza concludes with a prayer; then striking the nakaza on the back, with or without the ceremony of previously writing a cabalistic character (a Sanskrit one) there, the maeza wakes him up. One of the others gives the man water from a cup, and when he has been able to swallow it, the rest set to and rub his arms and body out of their cataleptic contraction. For at first it is practically impossible to take the wand from his unnatural grasp.

Although eight men are considered the proper number by Ryōbu canons for a full presentation of the function, so many are not really vital to its performance. Two are all that are absolutely essential; one to be possessed, and one to hear what the god may deign to say. I have seen trances with officiators in number anywhere from two to eight. One man alone would be sufficient, were it not a part of the rite that some one should hear the god's words; for one man can take the parts of both maeza and nakaza