Page:Occult Japan - Lovell.djvu/298

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276
OCCULT JAPAN.

she possesses people. Once, they said, she had possessed a daughter of the Imperial house, many centuries ago, upon this very spot. Here, then, was a strange temple, indeed; a temple dedicated to a possessory spirit; possibly something without a counterpart on earth, save for another like it at the Gekūsan, which I found in the course of the same day.

To the Ise priests all this was but a half-understood tradition. For their sect is esoteric no longer. They know nothing personally of the practice of possession. All the greater their unwitting witness to the fact; and to the still more important fact which this one proves. For it proves that in early days the possession cult was common to all Shintō, and not as now the heirloom only of certain sects.

So completely was possession once an integral part of the Shintō faith, that it erected these temples to the possessory spirits. Nothing could well testify more deeply to belief in their existence, and nothing seem to bring them home more closely to their devotees than this fashioning of an