Re: Ueshiba's spiritual beliefs
For what its worth, I just finished reading "Enlightenment Through Aikido" by Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei. Sunadomari Sensei was an uchideshi in 1942 and apparently stayed very close to O Sensei until his death. He speaks at great length about O Sensei's belief system and how it resulted in aikido. It was translated by Dennis Clark who did a pretty fair job of footnoting. I'm hardly an O Sensei scholar, so I can't vouch for its accuracy. Way beyond me in many ways; I found myself reading some paragraphs several times and asking "What in the world did he just say?" It would seem that one would have to be pretty grounded in Japanese culture to derive great benefit from it. YMMV. It might answer some of your questions.