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Switch to Forum Live View What is Shinto to the West?
9 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2008 - 10:16PM #11
Posts: 30
I agree that Shinto and Asatru have many similarities, but they are two different religions that developed separately.  However, I think the fact that they developed separately yet have so much in common would tend to speak for the validity of them both, at least as practical worldviews, and possibly as having deeper spiritual beliefs as well.

Some Native American belief systems are very similar to Asatru and Shinto, in that they honor ancestors, gods, and spirits.

Once again, this doesn't make the three religions the same religion.  But it does make me think that maybe we have more in common than we might believe we do.  And I know that if someone who was Shinto, Asatru, or any other religion that holds ancestors and spirits in high regard, as well as gods, and that consideres honor and self-reliance important, as well as community, if that person truly worked to uphold his or her religion's tenants... would be someone I respect, and would want to get to know.
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2009 - 12:08PM #12
Posts: 56
Hello, and thank you for having this thread!

I first found out about Shinto in college about 17 years ago, in a comparative-religion course. I was drawn to it right away because of its focus on nature. I think we also saw a video of a Shinto shrine in Japan, which was in a hilly area with a stream/waterfall near it. I loved the greenness and peace of the site, and the sound of the running water. It was a peaceful feeling I'd never felt before.

I'm a European-descended Westerner, and somewhere along the line I got the notion that Shinto wouldn't be very available to me here in Midwestern America, or that it wouldn't be realistic for me to practice it, or even that I may not be completely welcome for cultural reasons. (My college did a good job celebrating diversity, but not such a good job of sharing common ground between cultures/traditions -- in my experience, that is.)

I'm very glad someone posted about European traditions that are similar to Shinto.

Over the past year, I've been on a religious search. Somehow the way it's gone so far has got me stuck between Catholicism and Buddhism. The two have a lot in common, but I feel like I relate more to the saints than to the spirits in Buddhism (in the branches where there are spirits...). This is probably because I don't know enough about Buddhism.

The actual priests and other Catholic church employees I've talked to have been wonderful. They have tried to integrate psychological health with Catholic worship.

I agree that Buddhism can be very cerebral. A wonderful person here on Beliefnet recommended Jodo Shinshu to me, and it looks wonderful. Still, I can't decide. All I know is I seem to have a deep need for nature and for supernatural "people" to pray to.

I did participate (just as a visitor/musician really) in a European-style pagan Solstice celebration last December 21st. The spiritual experience I received from it was marveling at nature, even in small things like evergreen branches and bird feathers: the way they were constructed.... it's hard to explain.

Does it look possible for someone like me to practice Shinto?

Meanwhile, I'll check out the helpful links people have posted. Thank you!!

Blessings in any language --
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 28, 2009 - 1:21AM #13
Posts: 31

razd wrote:

Does it look possible for someone like me to practice Shinto?
Blessings in any language --

Wavies and Hello to all. I suppose I'm going to become widely unpopular for my response here, but, That's never stopped me anywhere else, so, it's not going to happen now.

The Question, Does it look possible for someone like me to practice Shinto? well, I don't think that this is a question that anyone else can really answer for you. I think that's between you, the path that you decide to take, and your deity or deities.

No one else is qualified to  make that decision or tell you if it's right or wrong. And well, if they do, then, we can all use some very colorful language in that kind of a situation.

I've recently decided to take a more hands on approach with Shinto, though, I'm not looking to practice Jinja Shinto. I'm in CA, in the Central Valley, and, it's not likely that I want to run across country to get to a shrine.

I believe quite a bit more along the lines of the folk Shinto and Traditions anyway. And, Yes, I am one of those horrid polytheistic pagans that are out there running around. Though, I have to say, I've spent a good number of years fighting with myself on the decision of what path to follow. I come from a multi racial household.

So, I've been pulled in the direction of Celtic Recon, and Shinto for awhile. (My Step Father was Japanese, and from the age of 3 on, I was raised as one of his own and was exposed to many of the Shinto beliefs. So, I'm not going to put myself in the category of Japan Crazed American either. This was how I was raised, it's who I am now.)

I'm choosing to look at both sides of my ancestry, and find what is true of both. That will be the path that I end up following. And, No one can tell me if I'm wrong in my choice, that's between me, my ancestors, and deity.

Decide what flavor you're going to be. And, be happy with it.

(PS... Please excuse my rantyness... I tend to take a while to say simple things at times)


Amare Et Sapere Vix Deo Conceditur
Even a God Finds It Hard to Love and Be Wise At
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