Kamidana, which literally means God Shelf, is something that peeks the interest of foreigners visiting a Japanese household. It’s a miniature shrine found in houses and offices. They are usually decorated and placed high up on the wall. Traditionally, it is believed that any house or office with a Kamidana will flourish and Japanese treat them with great care and respect.
My Kamidana has positively changed my life. Allow me to share some snippets about its existence and impact on my life. I hope you’ll find these fun.
You will need to understand 3 Japanese customs in order to understand Kamidana.
1. Sakaki Branches. A plant that is referred to as God’s favorite plant. It’s a plant that is considered suitable to present to the gods. It is common to keep Sakaki plants on the Kamidnana. Sakaki written in Chinese characters mean “wood-God.” 榊 is combined with “木＝wood” and ”神=God.
The Sakaki plant is available all year round, so you won’t have a difficult time adding it to the God’s shrine which will make the Gods who live and visit your shrine comfortable and look favorably on your Kamidnana.
2. Rice, salt, water, and Japanese sake are important to the gods. If you want the gods to stay at your shrine, then you have to ensure they are served with the basics. Rice, water, and salt are considered the basic items while the Japanese Sake, which is made from rice, is an additional item to delight them. As you might have noticed, every item in the Kamidana is either white or clear as it shows the values of holiness and sacredness.
3. The Divine and Sacred Mirror. The Mirror is an important aspect of your Kamidana since a mirror reflects the sunshine and the sunshine comes from the sun. In Japan, the god of the gods is Amaterasu and is believed to be the highest of all the gods. Aside from representing the sun, it also represents reflection on ourselves. Sitting and reflecting on our behavior is a human activity that should always be considered when we pray to our gods.
After decorating my home with Kamidana, I noticed some subtle changes in my personality that probably led me to a better lifestyle. I started dusting and organizing when I found time because I wanted to make sure that the Gods would enjoy visiting my Kamidana. I want to show my respect to them so I want to have a clean home. I’ve also noticed I’ve become more reflective and let go of things that aren’t making me happy. Things that don’t have any use to me anymore I let go.
As I declutter the things in my house, I’ve noticed that it also helps me internally. I’ve also let go of negative thoughts and ideas that once lived freely in my head. It isn’t farfetched to say that I have a stronger, positive cognition.
My relationship with others and material things have also changed. I don’t stress out over things I can’t change or are out of my control. It doesn’t mean that I’m completely stress free but I notice that I have a better perspective and moving in the right direction.