The Tengu are supernatural creatures of both Buddhist and Shinto lore, often taking the form of a bird-like creature, combined with some human characteristics. This has often led to much mystery and speculation about their origin, as the term tengu is said to derive from the Chinese Tien Kou (Tiangou 天狗), or “celestial hound.” The name is misleading, however, as the crow-like Tengu looks nothing like a dog. Under the topic, Tengu, Wikipedia reports:

“The term tengu and the characters used to write it are borrowed from the name of a fierce demon from Chinese folklore called tiāngoǔ. Chinese literature assigns this creature a variety of descriptions, but most often it is a fierce and anthropophagous canine monster that resembles a shooting star or comet. It makes a noise like thunder and brings war wherever it falls. One account from the Shù Yì Jì (述異記, “A Collection of Bizarre Stories”), written in 1791, describes a dog-like tiāngoǔwith a sharp beak and an upright posture, but usually tiāngoǔ bear little resemblance to their Japanese counterparts.

The 23rd chapter of the Nihon Shoki, written in 720, is generally held to contain the first recorded mention of tengu in Japan. In this account a large shooting star appears and is identified by a Buddhist priest as a “heavenly dog”, and much like the tiāngoǔ of China, the star precedes a military uprising. Although the Chinese characters for tengu are used in the text, accompanying phonetic furigana characters give the reading as amatsukitsune (heavenly fox). M.W. de Visser speculated that the early Japanese tengu may represent a conglomeration of two Chinese spirits: the tiāngoǔ and the fox spirits called huli jing.”

While scholars find it somewhat a puzzle that the Tengu appear distinctly different from the Chinese tiangou, from which the term derives, Ninzuwu-Shinto holds a history of these beings that puts everything in its proper perspective.

The Tengu were modeled after the Anzu bird of ancient Mesopotamian mythology. (This is in line with Ninzuwu history, which describes an empire stretching from Japan to what is known today as ancient Mesopotamia.) Wikipedia mentions the following in relation to the Anzu bird:

“In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology, Zu is a divine storm-bird and the personification of the southern wind and the thunder clouds. This demon—half man and half bird—stole the “Tablets of Destiny” from Enlil and hid them on a mountaintop. Anu ordered the other gods to retrieve the tablets, even though they all feared the demon. According to one text, Marduk killed the bird; in another, it died through the arrows of the god Ninurta. The bird is also referred to as Imdugud or Anzu.”

The famous myth about the Zu bird and the Tablets of Destiny were symbolic of the planet Jupiter, which was often associated with Enlil, and a major comet, represented by the Zu bird. The planet Jupiter was long known as a protector of humanity as it often absorb and alter the course of comets entering our Solar System. In this case, it may have been a celestial event of some magnitude that was observed by ancient man where Ninurta, associated with the planet Saturn actually diffused a comet entering our Solar System, as Ninurta was said to recover the Tablets of Destiny after they were stolen from Enlil. It is here that we see a connection between the Zu bird and the Tengu.

The Zu bird also known as Imdugud, is popularly known by the Assyrian name Pazuzu in modern times. The following website gives us a good, definition of this entity.

“Not much is known about Pazuzu — or Zu, as he is sometimes called…The Yezidi tribes of Kurdistan, who worship a Watcherlike god called Malek Taus, or the Peacock Angel, tell a very similar story to the one about Zu and Tiamat. In their mythology, a creature — who is half-lion, half-eagle — called Imdugud, or Anzu. “This monster was said to have stolen the Tablets of Destiny from the god Enlil (Ellil) in Akkadian which, in its possession, gave ‘him power over the Universe as controller of the fates of all,’ enough to endanger ‘the stability of civilization,'” Andrew Collins writes in his book “From the Ashes of Angels.”..It is interesting to put Pazuzu alongside Watcher myths, and compare his protectiveness of women, as well as his ability to bring massive plagues, to the Watchers story in the Book of Enoch.”

When we examine certain facts about Pazuzu and compare them with the Tengu, they are almost identical.

1. In Myths and Legends of Japan (1913; by F. Hadland Davis), the Tengu are said to emanate from the primordial Japanese god Susano-o. This is quite interesting as Susanoo-no-Mikoto is a trickster deity associated with the sea. Pazuzu is the king of the wind demons according to Assyrian and Babylonian mythology. Pazuzu is known in Sumerian as Imdugud. Imdugud was an Anzu bird. Anzu birds were known to respond only to Enlil, but Imdugud only responded to Enki. Enki, similar to Susano-o, was the Lord of the Sea and also regarded as a trickster deity.

2. The Total Japandemonium presents a very good point in regard to the Tengu that is noted by other scholars concerning the topic:

“In the 1300s the epic Japanese text ‘The tale of Heike’ includes a detailed and quite complex description of Tengu hierarchy. Tengu are all born from the spirits of the dead, they are the ghosts of priests, monks, nuns and ordinary men and women.”

The tale of Heiki depict the tengu as the deceased spirits of priests, monks, nuns, and etc. In Babylonian Star-Lore by Gavin White, it mentions the following on page 59 in regard to the Anzu bird, later known as Pazuzu:

“Thought of in this manner the Anzu-bird symbolises the host of discarnate souls..,by the 3rd millenneum the constellation of the Anzu bird was so ancient that it no longer arose in the correct season.”

Here we can see another correlation between the Tengu and the Anzu-bird, known to the Assyrians as Pazuzu. It is with this in mind that we can also understand that the Tengu were among the first “gods.” The fact that the Tengu originated as earthly priests and priestesses and were able to move consciously in the “afterlife” as mentors and teachers is in accord with ancient Shinto cosmology. Their role in such a state would be to mentor humans on the path, specifically relatives and those of kin. Based on how they carried out their “post-life” responsibilities, they would gain merit to advance in the “divine world.” The Encyclopedia Britannica, by Hugh Chisholm, Volume 2, has to say on this topic, page 212 states:

“gods of fire, wind and water, gods of the sea, and above all gods of the sky, show no signs of having been ghost gods at any period in their history. They may, it is true, be associated with ghost gods, but in Australia it cannot even be asserted that the gods are spirits at all…,they are simply magnified magicians, super-men who have never died”

The Tengu were also responsible for what is known today as Reiki. If you ask any person who is a native Japanese speaker, the Kanji used for Reiki, 霊気, means “ghost energy.” Interestingly, Mikao Usui, who is said to rediscover the lost healing art, received his knowledge of Reiki during a twenty-one day meditation on Mount Kurama. Mount Kurama is the home of Sojobo, the King of the Tengu. It’s surprising that many haven’t made this connection already. From a Shinto perspective, Mount Kurama is seen as the Temple of Sojobo. Any healing practice that was discovered in this location should be credited to this kami.

The arts taught by the Tengu to those that they mentored, revolved around immortality, known in Japanese as sennin and the Chinese term xian.

3. The Tengu were known as protectors of mountains and forests, Later, they became known as protectors of sacred law. In like manner, Pazuzu was invoked for protection. many people of ancient Mesopotamia even wore amulets with images of Pazuzu for protection. This view is expressed today in the modern world by those who own dogs for the purpose of protecting their property.

4. Other similarities can be gleamed by a review of the images of both the Tengu and Pazuzu:

Yamabushi Tengu
Yamabushi Tengu

Pazuzu Head (Courtesy of the British Museum.
Pazuzu Head (Courtesy of the British Museum.

The most ancient form of the Tengu is the “karasu” or “crow” Tengu, which will discuss in detail shortly. Below is a depiction of the Karasu Tengu along with a statue of Pazuzu. The reader will note that in both depictions the right hand is up and the left hand is down.

Karasu Tengu
Karasu Tengu

Statue of Pazuzu
Statue of PazuzuBased on our comparison, thus far, we can see that the Tengu is relative to the Anzu-bird.

5. There is an almost undeniable feature of the Tengu that supports its association with the ancient Mesopotamian Anzu-bird, and that these supernatural creatures were mentors in a certain school of knowledge concerning immortality. Issai Chozanshi, eighteenth-century samurai, authored a classic work on martial arts, discussing themes such as perception of conflict, self-transformation, the cultivation of chi (life energy), and understanding yin and yang. The title of this infamous work is The Demon’s Sermon on Martial Arts: And Other Tales. The book’s description states the following:

“The “demon” in the title story refers to the mythical tengu, who guard the secrets of swordsmanship. A swordsman travels to Mt. Kurama, famous for being inhabited by tengu,” 

In the version of this classic work, translated by William Scott Wilson, we find the following description of the Tengu in the book’s introduction:

“With beaked faces, feathered wings, and heavy talons, tengu were fearsome creatures. Terrifyingly quick, they could move from one place to the next almost instantaneously.”

Japanese Buddhist Statuary website also describes the Tengu as possessing ‘supernatural powers, which include shape-shifting into human or animal forms, the ability to speak to humans without moving their mouth, the magic of moving instantly from place to place without using their wings, and the sorcery to appear uninvited in the dreams of the living.’

Here we see confirmation of our correspondence of the Tengu with the Anzu-bird. In the Sumerian myth, Lugalbanda and the Anzud Bird, we find that not only do the Anzu possess powers of supernatural speed, but they are able to bestow such gifts on those they found worthy. Wikipedia gives us the following synopsis of the said myth:

“This story starts with Lugalbanda alone in the highlands of Lullubi. He finds the chick of the giant Anzu (or Anzud) bird, which is described as a lion-headed eagle, and decides to feed the chick. When the Anzu bird returns, it is first startled by the chick not responding to its call, but once it finds out what happened, it is very pleased with Lugalbanda and in appreciation grants him the ability to travel at super speeds. With his newly gained super power Lugalbanda catches up with his comrades who are laying siege to the city of Aratta.”

When we compare the course Anzu-bird mentioned in the Sumerian myth with the abilities of the Tengu, we see that they were one and the same race of beings who could bestow special powers upon the human beings that they mentored or aided in completing certain tasks that were appropriate in the divine scheme of things.


History of the Tengu According to the Art of Ninzuwu

Now that we are aware of similarities between the Tengu and the Anzu-bird, and that they are of the same race of beings. We will now move on in our discussion to observe a rare knowledge about the Tengu held within certain organizations that claim mentorship by them. Under the topic Tengu, Wikipedia states the following:

Tengu are worshipped as beneficial kami (gods or revered spirits) in various Japanese religious cults. For example, the tengu Saburō of Izuna is worshipped on that mountain and various others as Izuna Gongen (飯綱権現, incarnation of Izuna?), one of the primary deities in the Izuna Shugen cult, which also has ties to fox sorcery and the Dakini of Tantric Buddhism. Izuna Gongen is depicted as a beaked, winged figure with snakes wrapped around his limbs, surrounded by a halo of flame, riding on the back of a fox and brandishing a sword.”

The information cited by Wikipedia shows that there are in existence certain cults that revere the Tengu as beneficial under the proper definition of the term “kami.” Different than other Shinto systems of spiritual technology, Ninzuwu history reveals that the Tengu were the original possessors of the sacred wisdom, which symbolically revealed in the Babylonian Creation myth where Tiamat bestows Kingu, the son of the Abzu, with the Tablets of Destiny. In an online article entitled Lilith: The Scarlet Woman, we read:

This Chaos was characterized as an endless Great Sea located in the heavens. The primal gods themselves, the Deep Ones, were called the Ab-Zu (Ap-Su), stellar powers who were connected directly with the Great Deep. Their servitors, who carried out their will, were called the An-Zu, lunar powers who were connected with the air of the night sky. Primary among these were the Abgal, seven wise demi-gods who also emerged from the Waters of the ABYSS, and each of the seven were created male-female.”

The fact that the Tengu, Anzu-bird, were the original custodians of the sacred knowledge and bestowed such upon those worthy, can be seen in ancient Mesopotamian art. Below is a depiction of two Anzu-birds in care of the “tree of life.”

Anzu-bird (Tengu_ custodians of the "tree of life."
Anzu-bird (Tengu) custodians of the “tree of life.”

In later periods of history, initiates of the sacred knowledge depicted the Anzu-birds (Tengu) as their mentors guiding them in use of the sacred knowledge as they were depicted standing behind their human initiates.

Anzu-bird (Tengu) standing behind their human initiates revealing their mentorship.
Anzu-bird (Tengu) standing behind their human initiates revealing their mentorship.

In Shinto mythology, superhuman powers were bestowed only upon those who were an heir of the kami, or mentored by the Tengu or certain fox spirits, as was the case with Abe-no-Seimei the famous onmyoji.

While many scholars erroneously claim that the Tengu entered Japan with the arrival of Buddhism, such speculations have no foundation. Tengu were protectors of the mountains, trees, and other phenomena linked with nature and practices that held such objects sacred and were initially opposed to the intermixing of Shinto with Buddhist belief. In the oral traditions of the Art of Ninzuwu, originating in the Jomon period, the Tengu were said to be depicted in ancient Shinto myth as guides, like the Yatagarasu, “the eight-hand-crow.” In the book, Japanese Mythology by Jim Ollhoff, we read:

“The myth of Jimmu allowed them to trace their families back to divine origins, all the way back to Amaterasu. It was said that Jimmu was a fierce warrior who was guided by a deity in the shape of a crow.”

Under the Wikipedia article Yatagarasu, we find:

“Yatagarasu the Crow-God himself is symbolic specifically of guidance. This great crow was sent from heaven as a guide for Emperor Jimmu on his initial journey from the region which would become Kumano to what would become Yamato.”

Yatagarasu was used by Amaterasu-Ohmikami to guide Emperor Jimmu. What is interesting is that the Yatagarsu means “eight-hand-crow.” In the meaning of Yatagarasu, we do find that the “Crow-God” was of the race of the Tengu. In Ninzuwu-Shinto metaphysics the term “eight-hand-crow” is symbolic of “eight crossroads of heaven,” often noted by another guide, who escorted Amaterasu-Ohmikami’s grandson Ninigi, Sarutahiko-Ohkami.

During the Jomon period, before the establishment of the Yamato Dynasty, existed several tribes who revered the Tengu, known by those who they mentored as the Ninzuwu. The Ivory Tablets of the Crow explains:

“The Ninzuwu appear to be adepts whose bodies are made out of dark matter, and exist in a world before time. The Cult of Nyarzir implemented methods so that one could evolve to a state of being as that of the Ninzuwu.”

The Cult of Nyarzir, or Nizir by Chaldean accounts, migrated from Dilmun, known as the Land of the Rising Sun (prehistoric Japan) in to the area of what is known as ancient Mesopotamia. The Yi Jing Apocrypha of Genghis Khan states the following in its introduction:

“Michael Rice, in a book entitled, Egypt’s Making: The Origins of Ancient Egypt 5000-2000 BCE, states:

“In Sumerian texts which celebrate Dilmun various epithets are customarily attached to it, by which it is represented as a paradisial place where the gods dwelt and in which numerous act of creation took place. It is called the Land of Crossing, the Land where the Sun Rises (for the Land is situated in the Sea of the Rising Sun) and throughout its literature particular emphasis is placed on Dilmun’s purity..”

In ancient Sumerian texts, Dlmun is described as “the Land where the Sun Rises,” which is situated in the “Sea of the Rising Sun.” It was also described by the Sumerians, like the Mountain of Nizir among the Chaldeans, as a land where the gods dwelt and a place of creation. This doesn’t discount that there may have been a Dilmun of later ages near the region of ancient Mesopotamia. However, the paradisiacal place of Dilmun where the gods dwelt seem to point to the Empire of Mu located in the region of Japan.”

The lineage of the Art of Ninzuwu was founded by what is known today as the Tengu, who were prehistorically called the Ninzuwu. The “Tengu,” as already cited earlier, were protectors of nature and those who revered such. Interestingly, we find that Johuta, the Ninzuwu that founded the Art of Ninzuwu lineage, is the daughter of Nudzuchi. Nudzuchi is mentioned in the Nihongi as follows:

“Then they produced Ku-ku-no-chi, the ancestor of the trees, and next the ancestor of herbs, Kaya no hime. Also called Nudzuchi.”

It is a great blessing that many have an opportunity to study under the Ninzuwu (Tengu), even speaking the sacred Vasuh language of these superhuman mentors, knowing that benefits of such undertakings and training can in the beauty of humility. Stay blessed.

13 thoughts on “The Tengu: Protectors of the Shinto Mysteries & Founders of the Art of Ninzuwu

    1. Warlock Asylum says:

      Asante sana wewe pia!

  1. Hi my name is Lisa
    I google Tengo because I been seeing Tengo this past week 3 times on different trees on my property
    I took pics Sunday 27 and today Tuesday September 29 2015 of the Tengo … I can send them to you to give your thoughts on it…?
    Strangely enough I been feeling a stronger connection to nature recent days and feel a sense of communication …
    What are your thoughts on why The Tengo would be appearing to me ?
    You seem to have much knowledge on The Tengo, so I ask
    I have had this happen in the past as well
    Kind regards

    1. Warlock Asylum says:

      Greetings Lisa! Thanks for posting your comment. I am not sure why the Tengu would appear in your experience. The Tengu are free-spirited beings. In some ways that would be like asking us why is someone walking through your neighborhood?

      Perhaps such experiences are do to some sort of work you may be involved in spiritually, or in terms of nature. Our work with the Tengu is based on a definite structure and organizational purpose. Additionally, not all Tengu are relative to the Ninzuwu- Tengu.

  2. Tengu*
    Sorry for the misspell…. Was my spellcheck

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