MISOGI AND SPIRITUAL EXERCISES
The mind and body should be conditioned before misogi . On the night before, it is recommended that meat should not be eaten and alcohol should not be drunk. The senses should be freed by avoiding any physical substances that might cloud or distort them. They should be ready to be receptive.
Those taking part assemble in front of the Shrine office at the Bagreed time, and from there they proceed into the hall beside the EHaiden to receive a simplified form of oharai called shubatsu. Since the waterfall, which is called Konryu Myojin (Myojin means "gracious Kami") is a Kami, there is need for purification before entering. Thereafter, we move to the dressing rooms where men put on white loincloths and hachimakis, head band, and women don long white kimono-like robed and hachimakis. After coming out of the dressing areas, we move down to an open area above the entrance to the fall and face the Honden. We bow twice, clap twice and bow once. We are now ready to commence the warm-up exercises.
Exercise I: Furitama ( Soul Shaking)
1. Stand with your legs apart about shoulder width .
2. Place your hands together with the right hand over the left. Leave space between them big enough for an imaginary ping pong ball.
3. Place your hands in that position in front of your stomach and 0shake them vigorously up and down.
4. While shaking them concentrate and repeat the words: Harae-do-no-OKami - an invocation to the Kami of the place of harai.
The Object of Exercise I
The purpose of shaking the soul is to generate awareness of it within yourself. Kon, (the soul), in Shinto, is one of the four important elements along with Mei (life), Rei (spirit) and Ki (which means Spirit in its causal aspect - Ki is a kind of energy source). Kon is the most important of the four since human beings can also be described as Waketama (separated individual souls), which is another way of saying "children of the Kami".
Exercise II Torifune (Bird Rowing)
1. Stand straight and put your left leg forward
2. Clench both fists with your thumbs inside
3. Lean forward and move your arms as though rowing a boat starting from your left knee and ending near your *armpits. As you "row," shout "Yie".
4. Perform this 20 times and then repeat Furitama
5. Changing to a right leg stance, repeat the Torifune shouting "Ei" and "Ho" alternately. Do this 20 times and then repeat Furitama
6. Return to the left foot forward stance and remake the clenched fists as before and bring the hands up to the chest to a shout of "Yie" and thrust them down and forward with hands opened and fingers extended to a shout of "Se" After this, once again repeat the Furitama
The Object of Exercise II
The basic purpose is to introduce a dimension of physical calisthenics along with the spiritual. Since misogi is a psycho-physical experience, both types of warm-up exercises are necessary. "
Exercise III Otakebi (Shouting)
1. Stand up straight leaving a space between your feet.
2. Place your hands on your hips
3. Follow the michihiko, leader, as he shouts the following three invocations: Iku-tama! Taru-tama! Tama-tamaru-tama!
4. Follow him in repeating three times the long invocation: OKami! OKami! Kunitsu-OKami! Sarutahiko OKami To-toshi-ya
The Object of Exercise III
Shouting Iku-tama activates the soul which is just coming to awareness. Taru-tama affirms the awareness that you can realize the infinite in your soul. Tama-tamaru-tama confirms both and keeps the soul activated at its quantum level. The closing invocation addresses Sarutahiko OKami, head of the earthly Kami and acknowledges him to be of great power.
Exercise IV Okorobi (Yielding)
1. Stand as in Exercise III
2. Place the left hand on your hip and your hand with two fingers extended in a gesture that resembles the "Boy Scout Salute"
3. Three Kami are invoked here and with each invocation, you cut the air in a sweeping gesture with the right hand as follows: Kunitoko-tachi-no-Mikoto! "Yie!" " Sarutahiko-no-OKami! "Yie!" Kokuryu-no-OKami! "Yie!" At each time of cutting the air, you should take a step forward with your left foot and then back again.
The Object of Exercise IV
By specifying these three important Kami, Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto (the earthly Kami), Sarutahiko OKami (Kami of guidance and head of the earthly Kami) and Kokuryuon-no-OKami (Kami of water, life and ki), you can be united with them, remove your impurities and receive their power as your own.
Exercise V Ibuki (Breathing)
1. Stand with your feet apart
2. Lower your hands and arms towards your knees
3. Lift your arms above your head by extending them fully outwards
4. Inhale while raising them
5. Exhale slowly and deliberately while lowering your hands again
6. Place hands and arms down by knees and exhale completely
7. Repeat five times
8. Turn to face the waterfall, bow twice, clap twice and open your 0arms palms upwards towards the fall.
9. You are now ready to go down the steps towards the waterfall.
The Object of Exercise V
The purpose is to conclude the preparation by taking deep breaths which have the effect of raising the metabolism of the ki to its highest level of sensitivity and receptivity by absorbing the ki of the universe.
Exercise VI Nyusui (Getting into the Water)
1. Just prior to entering the water, you will receive from the michihiko, Sakashio, or purifying salt that will be sprinkled on you.
2. Receive a ladle with Japanese sake and salt. Spray it from your .mouth in three mouthfuls into the stream.
3. The michihiko will recite the nine letter prayer as follows: &Rin-Pyo-To-Sha-Kai-Zin-Retsu-Zai-Zen 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
4. The michihiko then cuts the air symbolically nine times, and shouts "Yei!"
(The Meaning of the Prayer and the Square in Shinto, the numbers from 1 to 9 is used to symbolize the secular world and its impurities. Before entering the water the cutting of the square implies removing the impurities of existence from its nine areas.)
5. Enter the water and spray water on your face, chest and loins
6. Clap your hands twice, and bow once
7. Cut the air from right to left with your right hand as in Exercise
8. Approach the fall and enter , right shoulder first. Turn round and face the michihiko holding your hands in front with middle fingers together pointing away from you.
9. Shout the following: Harae-tamae-Kiyome-tamae-ro-kon-sho-jo! Continue until the Michihiko shouts "Yei" as a signal to come out.
The Meaning of the Final Prayer: The expressions harae and kiyome ask for the purifying of the individual by the washing away of all tsumi from the ro-kon-sho-jo, from the six elements of human beings that Shinto identified, the five senses and the mind.
After misogi, participants go back to the Haiden after drying off for a period of chinkonto, spiritual practice, to pacify the soul. This in turn is followed by a naorai, a ceremonial drinking with the Kami which has the effect of strengthening the vertical musubi. In other words the links between people and the Kami become stronger. As participants celebrates, the horizontal musubi also becomes stronger. The connections of Kami-human being and human being-human being become more effective and person in relation to person and person in relation to Kami can begin to Aunderstand and become what destiny decreed at birth. This is the goal and ideal of misogi and ultimately of Shinto - to enable, as one scholar has put it, homo sapiens to rise to homo excellens.