Patreon Essay Back Numbers

Patreon Essay Back Numbers

I am writing a series of essays on Shinto, supported by people through Patreon. If you pledge to support the Patreon, you get each essay as it is completed, and if you make a higher pledge, you get some input into what the essays are about. Each essay is between five and eight thousand words long, and those I have written so far are as listed below.

What is Shinto? (October 2016)
A general introduction to Shinto, available free to anyone who pledges their support.
Matsuri: The Heart of Shinto Practice (November 2016)
A description of the central activities at a Shinto jinja.
Tennō: The Emperor in Shinto (January 2017)
The role of the Japanese Emperor in Shinto.
Kegarë and Harae: Pollution and Purification (March 2017)
The concepts and rituals around purity and impurity in Shinto
Attitudes to Shinto (April 2017)
What typical Japanese people think about Shinto, based on a survey carried out by Jinja Honchō.
Shinto from the Shore (May 2017)
A bit on my personal view of Shinto, based on a talk I was asked to give, in English, to a Japanese audience.
Shinto People (July 2017)
From priests to casual visitors, this essay describes the various types of people associated with jinja. It covers both the very well known but peripheral miko, and the absolutely central but almost completely unknown sōdai, but focuses on priests.
Kami (August 2017)
What are kami? They are not “gods”, but that is not very helpful. This essay explains how kami are seen in contemporary Shinto, and introduces four of the most popular: Hachiman Ōkami, Amaterasu Ōmikami, Tenjin-sama, and O-Inari-san.
A History of Shinto (September 2017)
A very quick history of Shinto, from its origins to the present day, focusing on the historical elements that are most important in understanding contemporary Shinto.
Yasukuni Jinja (November 2017)
A discussion of Yasukuni Jinja, the place where the war dead are enshrined and the most controversial jinja in Japan.
Shinto in Anime and Manga (January 2018)
The portrayal of Shinto in anime and, mainly, manga, from realistic depictions of life at a jinja to fantasy stories.
Norito (February 2018)
The formal prayers offered as part of every matsuri.
At A Jinja (March 2018)
The buildings and other features of a jinja.
In A Jinja (April 2018)
Significant items in a jinja, from o-mamori amulets to the goshintai that houses the kami.
Household Rituals (May 2018)
The Shinto rituals that are supposed to be performed within private households.
Shinto Myths (June 2018)
A general discussion of the role of myths in Shinto, and the main sources for them, together with a description of the creation myths found in the central texts.
Shinsen (August 2018)
The food and drink offered to the kami, both the standard offerings found at all jinja, and some examples of special offerings unique to a particular matsuri.
Shirahata Hachiman Daijin (September 2018)
My local jinja, and a good example of a “typical” jinja.
Kagura (December 2018)
The sacred music and dance of Shinto ceremonies.
Ōharaëkotoba (January 2019)
A transcription, translation, and basic commentary for the most important Shinto prayer (norito).
Myths of Amaterasu (February 2019)
A description of the myths of Amaterasu as found in the oldest sources for Japanese mythology, with some discussion of the significance of the events and the differences between the versions.
Jingū (March 2019)
Jingū, in Isë, the main jinja dedicated to Amaterasu Ōmikami, and the most important single jinja in contemporary Shinto practice.
The Shinto Establishment (April 2019)
Jinja Honchō, the Shintō Seiji Renmei, and Jinja Shinpō. Organisations that play a critical role in contemporary Shinto, and serve to a great extent as its public face.
Izumo Myths I (June 2019)
The first part of the myths of Izumo, including Susano’o and the Dragon, and the trials of Ōkuninushi.
Izumo Myths II (July 2019)
The second part of the myths of Izumo, including Ōkuninushi and Sukunabikona, and the transfer of rulership to the ancestors of the Tennō.
Myths from the Izumo Fudoki (August 2019)
Some of the myths included in the Izumo Fudoki, an eighth-century text described the province of Izumo in western Japan (modern Shimanë Prefecture).
Izumo Ōyashiro (September 2019)
One of the oldest and most important jinja in Japan, with a line of high priests that claims descent from Amaterasu Ōmikami.
The Ritual of the Daijōsai (October 2019)
The Daijōsai is an ancient Shinto ritual performed at the accession of a new Tennō. This essay describes what actually happens, as far as is generally known.
The Meaning of the Daijōsai (November 2019)
The ritual of the Daijōsai is believed to have great significance, but there is considerable debate over what, precisely, it signifies. This essay discusses the most important suggestions.
The Izumo Yogoto (December 2019)
An ancient norito, recited before the Tennō by the Izumo Kokusō, the chief priest of Izumo Ōyashiro, when he took up his role. The content sheds light on ancient forms of Shinto ritual, and the Izumo traditions about the kami.
Miho Jinja (January 2020)
A jinja in the ancient province of Izumo (modern Shimanë prefecture) that hosts some ancient and distinctive matsuri.
Mirrors, Swords, and Jewels (February 2020)
These are the items that make up the Sacred Treasures of the Tennō, and this essay discusses their significance within Shinto, both in general and as the Sacred Treasures.
Shinto for Non-Japanese (March 2020)
Is it all right for non-Japanese people to practise Shinto? (Yes) And how can they do it? (That’s a bit more complicated.)

If you want to get any of the past essays, apart from the introductory “What is Shinto?” essay, you should pledge to support the Patreon, choose the $1 tier, and increase your pledge by $1 for each essay you want. If you want the advance access that comes with the $5 tier, choose that tier, and increase your pledge by $1 for each essay you want. (You can, according to Patreon, pledge $7 at the $1 tier.) Then send me a message, through Patreon, telling me which essays you would like. After the increased pledge has been collected, I will send you links to the essays, and you may reduce your pledge to the basic level for the tier you want. The pledge will be collected at the beginning of the month following the first essay release after you increase the pledge; that will be at least a couple of weeks after you increase your pledge, and could be considerably longer if no new essay is released in the month when you do so.

This is a bit complicated, but I have not yet been able to set up another way to collect money. That is on the to-do list, but security is very important for anything financial, which means it may be some time before I can work out a method that is safe.

If you have any questions, please contact me, either here or through Patreon. Thank you for your interest!

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