Page:Shinto, the Way of the Gods - Aston - 1905.djvu/164

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154

THE PANTHEON—NATURE DEITIES.

(the site deity) and Kamado no Kami (the furnace deity). We hear of an Iku-wi no Kami (live- well-god) and a Fukuwi no Kami (luck-well-god). Special wells were sunk for the water used in the ohonihe ceremony, and worship paid to them.

Well-diggers (idohori) at the present day sometimes purify the ground previously to beginning their operations and set up gohei. In fine weather, at night, they apply their ears to the ground, when they can hear the water- veins below. Old wells should not be wholly closed, or blindness to one of the family will be the result. Hence to appease the God of the well a bamboo is let down into it before filling it up. Wells are worshipped at the New Year.

Water-Gods.—The element of water generally is deified under the name of Midzuha no me (water-female). She is said to have been produced from the urine of Izanami when dying, or, according to another account, from the blood of Kagu-tsuchi when he was slain by Izanagi.[1] The Jimmu legend says that the water used in sacrifice to Musubi was entitled Idzu no Midzuha no me, that is to say, "sacred-water-female," thus identifying the element with the deity to whom it belongs.

Wind-Gods.—The Nihongi speaks of one Wind-God named Shinatsu-hiko (wind-long-prince). He was produced from Izanagi's breath when he puffed away the mists which surrounded the newly formed country of Japan.[2] The conception of the wind as the breath of the Gods is also found in the Vedas and elsewhere. In the latter part of the Nihongi frequent mention is made of embassies to Tatsuta, in Yamato, to pray to the Wind-Gods for a good harvest. A norito addressed to them[3] makes two Wind- Gods—one masculine, named Shinatsu-hiko, and one femi-

  1. See above, p. 92.
  2. Nihongi, i. 22.
  3. See Index—'Wind-Gods.'