Friday, November 7, 2008

Book Update

I am nearly done with the entry for Ceres, but somewhere in the last week I got distracted by Amaterasu and the Japanese Goddesses and began assembling and researching their entries for the Goddess Oracle Deck book. This, I think, is one of the reasons it's taking me so long to write this book; my brain just does not work in a linear fashion (yeah, yeah, quelle surprise). So, while I exceeded my writing quota by rather a lot this past week I don't have a finished page to show for it yet.

Hopefully soon I will.

One thing I did learn which is very interesting but probably too much detail to get into in the book is that several of the Goddess Benzaiten's shrines in Japan are located within caves. Benzaiten, or Benten, the Japanese Goddess of Luck, Love, Eloquence, and Music, is an odd one: She is a version of the Hindu Sarasvati who was syncretized with various local Shinto Kami (roughly, Deities) and adopted into Buddhism when that came by; so She has elements of all three. Lucky, indeed!

Two of Her cave-shrines are located in the city of Kamakura. One of them, the Zeniarai Benten Shrine, is home to an unusual custom: it is believed that money washed in the underground spring there will double, so there are baskets and ladles provided for doing just that. (The Wikipedia article is here, though I do apologize for linking to Wikipedia; as a lover of obscure Goddesses, I find Wikipedia generally disappointing, but in this case it is a decent starting point). Another of Her shrines in Kamakura is the Benten-kutsu cave, which has several figures carved into the living rock of the cave wall.

She also, for whatever reason, tends to get depicted nude (perhaps it's those Hindu origins) unlike a lot of Japanese sculpture; here is a collection of images of Her. Check out that modern metal one that has Her pulling a Jimi Hendrix on the biwa!

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