sorei - ancestral spirits


sorei 祖霊 ancestral spirits, ancestor spirits

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The term is used frequently to refer to a soul that no longer possesses individual characteristics.
As Yanagita Kunio has shown, for a certain period of time (thirty-three years in many cases) after death a soul receives memorial services and is called a shiryō spirit of the dead). This is distinguished from a sorei, which has lost its individuality. Some posit that sorei may be further elevated to become deified spirits (shinrei, mitama).
A family or a community may worship deified ancestral spirits as their "ancestral deity" (sojin) or "tutelary deity" (ujigami).
source : Nishioka Kazuhiko,Kokugakuin

shiryoo 死霊 spirit of the dead

. ujigami 氏神 tutelary deity, guardian/patron deity, clan deity .

source : panoramio.com
Ikohayawake no mikoto jinja - sorei sha 伊去波夜和氣命神社祖霊社
Izanagi and Izanami

soreisha 祖霊社 "shrine for the ancestor sprits"
. mitamaya 御霊屋 mausoleum .

soreisha 祖霊舎 household Shinto altar, kamidana 神棚 .

. kamidana 神棚 household Shinto altar, "shelf for the Gods" .


sojin, soshin, oyagami 祖神 spirits of ancestral deities

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Progenitor kami of a clan. Here a kami is not viewed as a transcendental being but rather is a concept within the genealogical relations of living people. A synonym of sojin is oyagami (parental deity), where oya does not necessarily refer to a progenitor but rather has a more general, comprehensive connotation. It is based on the belief that all human beings are descendents of kami. The term sojin does not always imply an ancestral deity of a certain bloodline or particular locality. Amaterasu, the ancestral goddess of the tennō (emperor), is a good example.

The progenitor kami of the tennō's line is alternatively termed kōso (imperial ancestor), tenso (heavenly ancestor), or taiso (great ancestor). Compendium of Aristocratic Kindreds (Shinsenshōjiroku), which was compiled in the Heian period, categorizes families in the Kinai region according to their ancestors. Those whose ancestors were tennō were designated kōbestu; those whose ancestors were kami were designated shinbetsu; and those whose ancestors were foreign immigrants were designated shoban.
The category of those with kami ancestors is further divided into three types:
those whose kami ancestors were heavenly kami were tenjin;
those whose ancestors were descendents of kami were tenson; and
those whose ancestors were earthly kami were chigi.

The progenitor deity for some important historical clans are noted below:

Abe no ason — Ōhiko no mikoto (Left capital, tennō descent)
Kibi no ason — Wakatakehiko no mikoto (Right capital, tennō descent)
Fujiwara no ason — Ame no koyane no mikoto (Left capital, kami descent, tenjin)
Isonokami no ason — Kannigihayahi no mikoto (Left capital, kami descent, tenjin)
Ōtomo no sukune — Ame no oshihi no mikoto (Left capital, kami descent, tenjin)
Owari no muraji — Hoakari no mikoto (Left capital, kami descent, tenson)
Inbe no sukune — Ame no futotama no mikoto (Right capital, kami descent, tenjin)
Kamo no agatanushi — Taketsu no mi no mikoto (Yamashiro, kami descent, tenjin)
Ōmiwa no ason — Ōkuninushi no mikoto (Yamato, kami descent, chigi)
Kuzu — Ishiho oshiwake no kami (Yamato, kami descent, chigi)
Tsushima no ason — Ame no koyane no mikoto (Settsu, kami descent, tenjin)
Tsumori no sukune — Ame no ho akari no mikoto (Settsu, kami descent, tenson)
Uzumasa-kō no sukune — Shikōtei (Left capital, immigrant descent, Han)
Miyake no muraji — Ame no hihoko no mikoto (Right capital, immigrant descent, Silla)

The phrases such as "sumera ga mutsu kamurogi" (cherished ancestral deity of the tennō) in the Great Purification liturgy (oharae kotoba) archived in Engishiki, or "waka mutsu kamurogi" (our cherished ancestral kami) referred to in the Kōtoku chapter in Nihongi both suggest a familiar and beloved parental kami. This traditional view has a strong connection to the idea of a parental deity in modern new religions.
source : Nishioka Kazuhiko, Kokugakuin

kooso, kōso 高祖 imperial ancestor
tenso 天祖 heavenly ancestor
taiso 大祖 great ancestor


oyagami, sojin 祖神 "parent deity"

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"Parent deity," an extension of the image of parenthood to kami, expressing the belief that kami care for human beings in the same way that human parents care for their children. The term is believed to describe the close relationship between kami and humans, one embodying a particularly intimate affection toward the kami.

The concept of "parent kami" can be found in at least two forms:
(1) a somewhat abstract concept of oyagami which has existed since ancient times and
(2) a more or less doctrinally codified concept which developed as a part of sectarian Shintō and Shinto-related new religions.
This article will discuss the latter concept.

Certain of the Shinto sects understand the entirety of nature, the world, or the cosmos to be a living entity, a life-current or interlinked vitality which overflows with productive power, one which is undying and without end. In turn, the original source or root of that interlinked vitality is sometimes expressed as oyagami, a term used to describe the original or ultimate existence which endlessly gives birth to all things.
From this point of view, it is thought that human beings are "apportioned spirits of the kami" (kami no bunrei), or "offspring of the kami (kami no ujiko) whose lives have been bestowed or loaned to them by the kami.

Based on this concept, a doctrine developed which suggested that human beings, as "children of kami," are originally of the same substance as kami, and thus harbor the potential to reach the state of kami within themselves. For example, within the new religion of Tenrikyō, the main deity is called "Oyagami," and the sect founder Nakayama Miki is known as "Oyasama"; this kind of common use of the word "parent" (oya) affixed before the kami serving as the subject of worship is thought to be a reflection of the Japanese people's traditional apprehension of the meaning of kami.
source : Fukushima Shinkichi, Kokugakuin

. doosojin 道祖神 deities by the wayside .


senzo matsuri 先祖まつり festival of the ancestors

On the island Mikurajima 御蔵島 there is no temple any more, only a soreisha shrine 祖霊社 to celebrate during O-Bon, O-Higan and other festivals.
So now they celebrate this festival twice a year during the equinox. During the rituals, girls of the age of 15 are allowed to wear a long-sleeve kimono for the first time, to present them to the ancestors as "little women".
After a ceremony at the shrine, people eat mochi ricecakes and sweets in white and red auspicious colors.
source : satoyumi

. Ancestor Worship and the O-Bon お盆 festival .


- - - - -  H A I K U  - - - - -

source : yukikot23.exblog.jp

ichimen ni sorei ichimen no manjushage

everywhere there are
ancestor sprits - everywhere there are
spider lilies

Morio Suzume 森尾雀子

. WKD : Spider Lilies (higanbana, manjushage) .

zangiku o oreba sojin no koe sunari

breaking a late chrysanthemum
I hear the voice
of the ancestor spirits . . .

Hata Yumi 秦夕美

. WKD : zangiku 残菊 remaining chrysanthemum .




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