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Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto is considered to be the deity of the moon in Shinto and Japanese mythology. He also plays a very important role in the Art of Ninzuwu teachings. There are several mythologies describing the origin of this kami. One account, according to a version appearing the Nihon Shoki, he is said to be the offspring of both Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto and “was to be a consort of the Sun-Goddess, and to share in her government.” Another mythology in the Nihon Shoki describes Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto being produced by Izanagi-no-Mikoto use of a white-copper mirror, which was held in his right hand. Of course, there is the popular myth, which describes Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto coming into being as a result of Izanagi-no-Mikoto bathing and purifying himself, specifically the cleansing of his right eye, when he returned from the Land of Yomi. Although these three myths seems to describe Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto’s origin story differently, they actually illustrate three hidden aspects of the Shinto gnosis, the result of purification and cultivation of the hidden powers of the mind.
“According to the legend recounted in the Nihon shoki (“Chronicles of Japan”), the moon god, Tsukiyomi, was dispatched to earth by his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu, to visit Ukemochi no Kami. (According to the Kojiki, “Records of Ancient Matters,” it was another brother, the storm god Susanoo, who was sent on the mission.) The food goddess welcomed him by facing the land and disgorging from her mouth boiled rice, turning toward the sea and spewing out all kinds of fishes, and turning toward the land and disgorging game. She presented these foods to him at a banquet, but he was displeased at being offered the goddess’s vomit and drew his sword and killed her. When he returned to heaven and informed his sister of what he had done, she became angry and said, “Henceforth I shall not meet you face to face,” which is said to explain why the Sun and the Moon are never seen together.”
The myth, cited above, was probably used, not only as an explanation for why the sun and moon appear at different times, but also the flooding of crops produced by heavy rainfall, high tides, which were all attributed to certain lunar cycles and the effect it had on the weather. We also see, according to the information cited from the Encyclopedia Britannica, how some aspects of Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto’s character are similar to Susanoo-no-Mikoto, the sea god. We know that Susanoo-no-Mikoto and Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto are not the same deity, as they way they were produced was different, though their origins are described in the same account. One clue, as to understanding Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto’s place in Shinto mythology, has a lot to do with understanding the meaning of his name. William Aston, in a book entitled, Shinto (The Way of the Gods), states the following concerning Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto:
“The usual derivation of his name is from tsuki, moon, and yomi, darkness. It is to be observed, however, that this yomi is often written with a character which implies a derivation from yomu, to reckon, a word which contains the same root as yubi, finger. “Moon-reckoner” is not an inappropriate name for a luminary which is recognized in so countries as a measurer of time. Tsuki-yomi was represented at Ise as a man riding a horse, clad in purple and girt with a golden sword. Another shintai of his was a mirror.”
The name Tsukiyomi is composed of two parts, tsuki meaning moon and yomi, which is often translated as darkness, but in this case relates to counting. However, there is another interesting point that must also be considered. The Nihon Shoki’s record of Emperor Kensō includes an episode in which a human medium delivers an oracle of the Moon-Kami stating that land should be offered to the kami Takamimusuhi. In the Nihon Shoki, we read:
“Hereupon the Moon-God, by the mouth of a certain man, addressed him saying: “My ancestor Taka-mimusubi had the merit in conjunction (with other Deities) of creating Heaven and Earth. Let him be worshipped by dedicating to him people and land. I am the Moon-God, and I shall be pleased if an offering is made according to his desire.”
It is interesting that we find in this account that the Moon-God, is said to take possession of a certain man. In the Art of Ninzuwu teachings this man is none other than Shiho-tsutsu-no-oji. Old Age in Pre-Nara and Nara Periods by Susanne Formanek, mentions the following:
“Looking at the earliest written monuments of Japanese culture, old people are indeed first mentioned as holding the status of gods, or rather, gods appear in the shape of old people….. This similarity or closeness of the aged with the souls of the dead is also suggested by the word kamusabu as used in the Manyôshû. Meaning literally „to behave, act like a god“, this word is used to describe the transformation of the souls of the dead into gods as well as the ageing of things and of persons. The pertaining to or being connected with the other world which thus characterized the okina is also exemplified by the already mentioned Shiho-tsutsu-no-oji. In the Nihon shoki variants of the Yama-no-sachi legend he is the one helping Yama-no-sachi to reach the Palace of the Sea God, which can be interpreted to be related to that other world beyond the sea where the souls of the dead went to. The whole episode seems to be a mythical relation of a kind of initiation rite in which the initiand is made to die a symbolic death to come back to life provided with the knowledge of the other world and may hint at the fact that in the remote past of Japan’s history old men played the part of the initiator in initiation rites of this kind.”
Shiho-tsutsu-no-oji is described as “the old man of the sea” in some accounts. He guided Hohodemi to the Palace of the Sea, Ryugu-jo, which is a symbolic account of an astral initiation. Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto’s aspect as Shiho-tsutsu-no-oji, or as the Nihongi describes, the Moon-God speaking through a certain man, has also a big part to play in the astral mysteries of the ancient times. The “sea” was just another metaphor for the astral world, as Owatatsumi-no-Mikoto, who ruled Ryujugo, was also said to possess the “tide jewels,” which could control the tides of the ocean, a power that is associated with the moon. The ancient nobility of Japan engaged in a certain form of initiation, which encompassed the moon in its workings. Metaphorically, this process was described as Shiho-tsutsu-no-oji, a personification of the Moon-Kami, creating a vessel for Hohodemi to travel to Ryugu-jo, a place beneath the seas, as the sea was a metaphor for the astral world.
Based on our discussion so far, we can see that Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto plays a big part as initiator into the realm of the astral mysteries, or “sea,” as some ancient mythologies described it. This solves the mystery and clarifies the fact that Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto is not Susanoo-no-Mikoto. In the Art of Ninzuwu, Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto corresponds to the Vasuh letter Tuu. According to The Yi Jing Apocrypha of Genghis Khan, Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto is relative to the Reiki symbol Sei-He-Ki, which means “god and man has become one,” like in the account of Emperor Kenso.