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Old 09-06-2014, 01:10 PM   #385
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Christopher Li wrote: View Post
As a couple of folks have pointed out, you're already making crucial misinterpretations of the original Japanese....
And with that, I'll step out of this conversation, it's kind of pointless, don't you think?
It is pointless unless you make your critiques clear. You've made vague allusion to such -- but hardly "pointed it out." I prefer direct points.

Are we speaking of the "jeweled" part of the "jeweled spear" you vaguely criticized earlier? It is variously rendered as 天沼矛 or 天瓊戈 both rendered as "Ame nu hoko." The first is generally considered to be a phonetic use of the Chinese character for the Japanese "nu" since it refers otherwise to a swamp, 沼 "numa". This usage now predominates in modern Japanese whereas 沼 read merely as "nu" is very archaic when referring to jewel or gem. In the case of 瓊, "nu" more specifically refers to a fine jade . This is the connection to tama 玉 which means "jade" and as appears in 勾玉 magatama= "bent jade (gem)" which is one of the regalia of the Emperor, and a common symbol of political authority in villages and territories way back before Heian times.

According to Nihon Shoki, Susanoo presented these gems to Amaterasu in a 500 gem necklace-- who bit them (suggesting the magatama comma shape is but part of a whole with its missing complementary shape -- suggesting the full Taijitu). Alternatively, another version says it was her necklace originally, and Susanno bit the gems apart in a fit of pique. Either way, one of them then spit them out down to earth to create many derivative deities -- thus justifying their divine significance as a heaven-sent symbol of human authority derived from the gods of both sun and storm.

Izanagi was the primordial sky god as Izanami was the primordial earth goddess. Susanoo was his descendant god of sea, sky and storms -- and hence tying back to the association of the floating bridge (and the jade-gem (or spiral image) spear --as a waterspout or tornado image) --

Susanoo is important as the progenitor of what Ueshiba came to call aiki -- in the image of the Kusanagi "grass-cutter" sword --another of the regalia of Imperial authority. Kusanagi was taken from the tail of the Oroshi -- the long, coiled ,"eight-branched" firespitting demon snake. (Tornado -- plus lightning). His most violent episode in Kojiki comes when he flays a horse and drops it on the roof of the palace where Amaterasu is doing her weaving. Now, tell me THAT's not a tornado -- tatsumaki 竜巻 = "long, coiled ". "Grass-cutter" wold be an apt description of scour patches that
a whirlwind leaves when touching down in grain fields.

The term "numa" -- may hearken to a mangled reference or parallel association from the mainland -- and may tie the Kojiki-Nihon Shoki creation sequences to those of China. Specifically, they may refer to the creation story of the Jade Emperor Yu Huang 玉皇 and the Post-Deluge progenitor heroes/deities -- NuWa and FuXi. Nuwa 女媧 and FuXi are the children of the Jade Emperor -- and like Izanagi and Izanami -- are both siblings and spouses. NuWa supposedly created men of mud -- giving some interesting further phonetic connection to numa meaning swamp -- and a similar image of the solidifying drops from the spear of Izanagi -- compared to the dripping muddy scarf of NuWa .

NuWa and FuXi are also typically depicted as having snakelike bodies interwined in the dual-opposed spirals we have been discussing. FuXi is also the fabled inventor of the eight trigrams -- and so also tie into Carsten's concerns about K'an and Li, and the water and fire imagery -- as do the Susanoo (storm)/Amaterasu(sun) roles in combination in the descent of the magatama to earth. Jade in Chinese lore is the 'stone of heaven" a link between the heavenly and earthly worlds -- which is the image of the character for jade: 玉 yu or maga-. of magatama.

What does all this mean ? We can ring the changes on comparative mythology all day long, and for a very important reason: The ancients were just as pointedly and carefully observant about phenomena as as we are-- and got the concrete images generally quite correct. They also saw the patterns of relationships -- and in complex depths of associations too. What they lacked was a sense of impersonal and general physical laws by which they might with greater facility organize functional principles lying behind these observed phenomena -- as we do. They ascribed such patterns and the often fickle manner in which they seemingly appeared to personalities and characters of personified gods.

Casting no aspersions on the richness and layered subtlety of their observed association -- and indeed the accuracy of their imagery -- the plain fact now is that we don't need more divination into our art -- we need more physics.


Erick Mead
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