Izanami-no-Mikoto - Goddess Of Life & Death
Izanami-no-Mikoto is sometimes called Izanami-no-Kanami and in English her name means She who invites
Although Izanami-no-Mikoto is regarded as the goddess of creation, her story like every other tale begins with her own creation, when the first gods Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi were in need of capable hands, to create the first lands of this world, they summoned Izanami-no-Mikoto and her husband Izanagi-no-Mikoto to life.
To achieve the perfect creation of the first lands, the first gods also gave Izanami-no-Mikoto and Izanagi-no-Mikoto the Ame-no-nuboko which is a "jewel studded magical spear".
It is said that Izanami-no-Mikoto and Izanagi-no-Mikoto, adhered to the orders of the first gods, as they went to Ame-no-ukihashi which was the “magical bridge between heaven and earth” and when Izanagi-no-Mikoto, turned the sea with the magical spear, drops of sea water falling off the Ame-no-nuboko formed an Island!
Izanami-no-Mikoto and her husband, soon settled on this Island and later built an Ame-no-mihashira which is a pillar, that would formalize their marriage, Izanami-no-Mikoto later had two children.
But since gods are meant to be perfect in all things, Izanami-no-Mikoto’s first children were not regarded as deities because they were born deformed and were always ill.
Izanami-no-Mikoto and Izanagi-no-Mikoto, later sought the counsel of the first gods, who told them that during the marital ritual of the Ame-no-mihashira, Izanami-no-Mikoto broke the silence, she spoke to her husband first, this was against the Ame-no-mihashira ritual as well as tradition, Izanagi-no-Mikoto was a god and her husband, he should have being the first to speak.
Izanami-no-Mikoto and her husband, later re-did the marital ritual and it went well this time, they later had eight more children, who were called Awaji Iyo [Shikoku], Ogi, Tsukusi [Kyushu], Iki, Tsushima, Sado and Yamato [Honsu] and these later became the eight great Islands of Japan.
Unfortunately, Izanami-no-Mikoto later died during childbirth, the grief stricken Izanagi-no-Mikoto, was said to have killed the baby and later journeyed into the Yomi which is the underworld, to seek as well as rescue his wife.
Izanagi-no-Mikoto continued his search for Izanami-no-Mikoto but the shadowy interiors, of the Yomi kept deceiving him, until he finally found his beloved but to his amazement, Izanami-no-Mikoto refused to go back with him.
Izanagi-no-Mikoto pleaded and eventually got angry, he demanded for an explanation, Izanami-no-Mikoto initially refused to answer him but through the anger, she saw the love and grief in his eyes, the goddess softened and told him that she could never go back with him because when she first got to the yomi, she had being so hungry that she ate, the food of the underworld and for that reason alone, there was no going back to the land of the living for her.
Izanagi-no-Mikoto was still confused, he couldn’t believe that his beloved wife didn’t want to be rescued, so he decided that he would take her back home, whether she wanted to or not.
Izanagi-no-Mikoto hatched a plan, he waited for Izanami-no-Mikoto to fall asleep, then he unbound his very long hair, from his beautiful comb and then made a torch with it but the suddenly frightened Izanagi-no-Mikoto, almost dropped the magical comb torch at what he saw, his once fair and beautiful Izanami-no-Mikoto, was now a rotting corpse, with all the works, from foul creatures to maggots, were creeping out from all over Izanagi-no-Mikoto’s body!
Izanagi-no-Mikoto quickly fled for his life but Izanami-no-Mikoto and her shikome [wild women] chased him, Izanagi-no-Mikoto was swift indeed, as he soon evaded them and quickly made for the entrance of the yomi, he then shut it tight with a huge boulder.
Izanami-no-Mikoto also got to the entrance but she couldn’t get through, she shrieked in anger, that for Izanagi-no-Mikoto’s betrayal of their love, she would take a thousand human lives, Izanagi-no-Mikoto is said to have retorted back, that he would save a thousand, with another five hundred lives in return.
Thus ends the tale of Izanami-no-Mikoto, the beautiful goddess of creation and life, who had such illustrious beginnings but shall we say “a very shrieky” end indeed!
If you enjoyed this tale like I did, do send in your comments or questions.
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