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Switch to Forum Live View Shinto and Paganism?
5 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2008 - 11:00PM #1
Daii
Posts: 1
Hello! This is my first post so please be gentle ; ;...

I have been a pagan follower for 9+ years and have also had a large interest in Japanese culture, language, you name it.  I was wondering, how alike are they? (Shinto and Paganism)

They seem VERY similiar to me, but I have no real knowledge of shinto aside from books and the web. My reasoning behind the similarities is animism, nature-based, and multiple dieties... am I wrong? Sorry if my ignorance is angering...
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 04, 2009 - 8:25PM #2
Katsuninken
Posts: 67

This is probably too little, way too late, but in the event that you hadn't found your answers yet, I want to toss in my two cents.


You are right in that most Pagan paths, especially traditions like Wicca, are very similar to Shinto.


There are altars and incense and statuary and all that, but it is also similar in that Shinto also has four cardinal directions that correspond to primary elements and guarded by protectors. They even have animals associated with them like many Pagan paths do, called shijin (sometimes shishin). Also analogous to syncretic Wicca that uses the Watchtowers of Christian mysticism, syncretic Shinto, like Shugendo, has the Shitenno (which are the Four Buddhist Heavenly Kings).


Most Pagan paths also have a hierarchy structure when it comes to deities, ranging from heavenly deities to manifest deities, just as Shinto does. Many Pagans believe that their gods are in everything, and Shinto holds this belief as well. A rock, tree, even people.  In fact, just as in many Celtic traditions, many of the kami were once mortals that ascended through living extraordinary lives or through veneration.


I suppose the real linking fator is that unlike many religions, both Paganism and Shinto do not hold their spirits and deities as being supernatural. Even magic and mysticism are well within the natural world; you are simply manipulating forces that exist in the world in a way that others cannot.


 


That's just a quick rundown, but there are plenty more similarities. Again, I know this is a late response, but if it is still relevant and you still have interest, you are welcome to pick my brain for anything else you might want to know.

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5 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2009 - 10:48PM #3
Mason17
Posts: 9

    Paganism and Shintoism are very similar religions, though don't get me wrong- that doesn't mean their entirely the same. Paganism and Shintoism are very old religions which have existed for three thousand years or more. While Paganism was situated in North Africa, some parts of the Middle East and most of Europe, Shintoism was only found within Japan.


    Regardless, there are some similarities, such as:

  • Both Shintoism and Paganims are polytheistic- believeing in may Gods/ Goddesses.
  • Furthermore, the Gods and Goddesses are said to have the power to control things such as the moon, sun, water, earth, food, love, war and life.
  • Both religions are earth-based believeing in some form of spirit within nature.
  • Both are orthopraxy religions (high emphasis on rituals as opposed to devotion through strict beliefs)
  • The aim of both religios was to please their deities.

I hope this helps!


Mason Colbert

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4 years ago  ::  Oct 15, 2010 - 9:25PM #4
ivan91tran
Posts: 2

Mar 4, 2009 -- 8:25PM, Katsuninken wrote:


This is probably too little, way too late, but in the event that you hadn't found your answers yet, I want to toss in my two cents.


You are right in that most Pagan paths, especially traditions like Wicca, are very similar to Shinto.


There are altars and incense and statuary and all that, but it is also similar in that Shinto also has four cardinal directions that correspond to primary elements and guarded by protectors. They even have animals associated with them like many Pagan paths do, called shijin (sometimes shishin). Also analogous to syncretic Wicca that uses the Watchtowers of Christian mysticism, syncretic Shinto, like Shugendo, has the Shitenno (which are the Four Buddhist Heavenly Kings).


Most Pagan paths also have a hierarchy structure when it comes to deities, ranging from heavenly deities to manifest deities, just as Shinto does. Many Pagans believe that their gods are in everything, and Shinto holds this belief as well. A rock, tree, even people.  In fact, just as in many Celtic traditions, many of the kami were once mortals that ascended through living extraordinary lives or through veneration.


I suppose the real linking fator is that unlike many religions, both Paganism and Shinto do not hold their spirits and deities as being supernatural. Even magic and mysticism are well within the natural world; you are simply manipulating forces that exist in the world in a way that others cannot.


 


That's just a quick rundown, but there are plenty more similarities. Again, I know this is a late response, but if it is still relevant and you still have interest, you are welcome to pick my brain for anything else you might want to know.





Wow, hey that was very informative thanks. I've always known that paganism and Shinto are very similar, but I've never really been very sure about the differences. Wonder if anyone could shed some light on this for me? 


Thanks in advance.

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2010 - 4:42PM #5
Katsuninken
Posts: 67

Sorry for the delay! For whatever reason I've not been getting notification of posts. So if it's not too late, here's some of the differences you were asking about:


 


We have four cardinal directions, each guarded by an elemental animal as well as a Buddhist guardian, much like Western Pagan traditions, though the associations are a bit different:

East: Season - Spring. Associations: Renewal/Rebirth, Strength. Element - Water or Wood. Color - Blue. Guardians - Jikokuten/Dragon

South: Season - Summer. Associations: Prosperity, Passion, Abundance. Element - Fire. Color - Red. Guardians - Zochoten/Phoenix.

West: Season - Fall. Associations - Awareness, Insight, Divination, Magic. Element - Air or Metal. Color - White. Guardians - Komokuten/White Tiger.

North: Season - Winter. Associations - Wealth, Death. Element - Earth. Color - Black. Guardians - Tamonten/Tortoise.

The Guardians, or Shitenno, are Buddhist bodhisattvas known as the Four Heavenly Kings. The elemental creatures are the Shishin. There is a 5th element, that of Void, or simply Center, that is ruled by Taishakuten. As far as I am aware, there is no elemental creature associated with Center.


Our magic systems are actually extensions of ourselves. Either we are using our essence and shapin it directly into some kind of act that we want to see manifest, or we put that essence into something to act as a medium. We use talismans to a great extent, and any visit to any shrine will allow you access to priest-blessed talismans called omamori. They are used and then burned.


I guess another big difference is that Shinto is not so heavily rooted in duality. The big Pagan festivals and the ubiquitous Great Rite are all male/female, god/goddess based and with a huge emphasis on fertility. While we do have fertility rites, they are usually not related with the union of male and female energies. Often, when such energies are to be called upon, they are already united in one kami, such as Inari-okami that is both male and female.


If that was too vague, let me know and I'll see if I can dial it in a bit.

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3 years ago  ::  May 23, 2011 - 3:34PM #6
Mathonwy
Posts: 22

The animist "pagan" practices are very similar to the animism of Shinto.  Practices such as Shinto and Paganism (the term is a little too vague for my tastes, but whatever) all have a great deal of similarities.  I recommend you read more about animism in world religions and find the similarities for yourself and draw your own connections.  The most fundamental differences between Shinto and other animist practices are bound to be cultural, not necessarily spiritual.

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