The Dance of Izanagi and Izanami- no-mikoto

In Japanese mythology, Izanami-no-Mikoto, also given as 伊弉冉尊 or 伊邪那美命, meaning “she who invites” is a goddess of both creation and death, as well as the former wife of the god Izanagi-no-Mikoto. She is also referred to as Izanami-no-kami

The first gods Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi summoned two divine beings into existence, the male Izanagi and the female Izanami, and charged them with creating the first land. To help them do this, Izanagi and Izanami were given a spear decorated with jewels, named Ame-no-nuboko (heavenly spear). The two deities then went to the bridge between heaven and earth, Ame-no-ukihashi (“floating bridge of heaven”), and churned the sea below with the spear. When drops of salty water fell from the spear, Onogoroshima (“self-forming island”) was created. They descended from the bridge of heaven and made their home on the island.

The story of this book only differs in that Izanagi and Izanami volunteered to consolidate the Earth. In addition the two deities are described as “god of yang” (陽神 youshin, male deity) and “goddess of yin” (陰神 inshin, female deity) influenced by the ideas of Yin and yang.

Izanagi and Izanami by Ross Robertson … The story of Izanami and Izanagi represents balanced creation occurring. …. By learning to identify each element of yin and yang and responding with the right …

Analysis of any mythical structure is an ongoing process, never definitive. Nevertheless, key features can be identified and explored. In the case of Izanagi and Izanami, we will look at the creation of the world, the union of male and female, and the necessity of cosmic order.

The story of Izanami and Izanagi represents balanced creation occurring. Male and Female principles operate jointly and in accord, but each with its particular part to play. In the first act of creation, the Male and Female pair serve as the conduit for Heaven to unite with the formless world below. The divine phallic spear is inserted into the amniotic void, and form arises. Although Izanagi is represented as wielding the spear, it has clearly been given to both brother and sister, and it is their joint task to create the world. Their combined efforts appear quite successful in this first episode of creation. In this phase, the pair is operating in a primarily male, or yang capacity.

The Art of Ninzuwu is a set of esoteric teachings that focuses on the process of awakening and nurturing of this divine spark.  Let us look at the first passage in the text once again:
“Beyond the stars, beyond the darkness of the night they dwell. Into the realm of light they reside in stillness. Without need of the elements, for what is it? It is consciousness. The mere reflection of this statement caused that which is self-aware to stare at itself in darkness. Yet, it remains whole.”
The Ivory Tablets of the Crow is a very deep esoteric practice that cannot be learned or understood by simply reading the text, but through practice. Here we find that the cited passage corresponds to the first Vasuh letter Zhee. The text describes Zhee as follows:

Different than Western Esoteric teachings, Ninzuwu Philosophy dictates that nurturing this divine spark begins with following the Ways of Heaven and Earth in accordance with cultivation of the Yin and Yang energies. The Ivory Tablets states:
“The mere reflection of this statement caused that which is self-aware to stare at itself in darkness. Yet, it remains whole.”
In the above passage uses the term “remains whole,” revealing something a unified quality that can be perceived by those living in the world of duality as separate. Zhee in simple gematria adds up to 44, or Hmu-Hmu. In The Armor of Amaterasu Ohkami we read:
“Hmu-Hmu represents the Yin and Yang principles. Through this unification one leaves the world of duality and enters fourth dimensional consciousness. The “Gateway of Fourth Dimensional Consciousness” is held by Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto.
Each Vasuh letter represents a parable, star, and universe. In the Vasuh letter Zhee, we see not only the story of the origin of this universe, but also that of Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto. Z equals Aum-Phe (26). In this case, Aum-Phe represents Aum, which carries the power of the first symbol, and Phe, a symbol of the art of levitation and the emotional quality of an object. Aum is invoking the “emotional” quality of the first letter in Phe, the sixth letter. Just what sort of emotional energy is being invoked in this case?

 

the names of these creator deities mean “He Who Invites,” and “She Who Invites.” This is reminiscent of our terms in aikido (at least in many styles) of uke and tori. “Uke” is derived from the verb “to receive, to accept.” “Tori” is similarly “to take, catch hold of.” In both cases we have complementary opposites who are nevertheless described by nearly identical terms. In all cases, there is the implication of receptivity.

Izanagi and Izanami are the primordial Male and Female. They are the personification of Yin and Yang. Different, but equal. Opposite, but complimentary. In aikido, uke is the one who initiates the encounter, and receives (invites) the technique. Tori receives the initiative, and returns the compliment.

The erotic element is key. Izanami has a part of her “which does not grow together,” while Izanagi has a part that “grows to excess.” Remember that “aiki” is about proper joining. The pieces have to fit. When the Brother and Sister deities come together in the right way, Takemusu Aiki (creative or generative power) is the result. When the joining is out of order, there may be monstrous consequences.

In aikido, we likewise must be aware of openings and lines of resistance. We must make openings to accommodate an incoming force. We extend our own force into any safe opening. So long as the shapes continue to match one another, aikido emerges spontaneously and organically. By learning to identify each element of yin and yang and responding with the right fit, the system remains in balance. Creativity and life sustaining activity emanates from the interaction.

Another important element of the myth is the central axis, at first manifested as a spear, later as a pillar. The heroes are unable to complete their task until first connecting with this axis which unites the upper and lower worlds. Only then can creation occur. In practical terms, this relates to our posture, as it is very difficult to move and turn effectively with a broken axis.

But more importantly, this axis is the essence of ikkyo, the fundamental technique underlying all others. It defines the line of gravity, and establishes the basis for dimensionality and spatial order. When the pair of lovers first seize the spear, they are establishing the vertical dimension. When they circumscribe the pillar, they establish the horizontal dimension. In their ritual act, we also see harmonious creation described in circular motion. Further, the axis is shared, not dominated by either of the partners.

O-Sensei asserted that aikido is a creative and life-giving force, different from all other budo. Yet we know from practice and from the myth of Izanami and Izanagi that this is not always easy, even when the partners mean to cooperate. In practice, we know that errors emerge when we are too passive or too aggressive. In the creation myth, the original sin seems to be a lack of patience. Whether Male or Female, disaster comes whenever we cannot wait our turn. In aikido we know that we must not only do the right things, we must do them in the right order. This is true for both uke and tori. Doing the right thing at the wrong time will disrupt the natural progression of the encounter.

In this way, the myth establishes order in space (by insertion of an axis implying dimension) and time (by asserting a ritual sequence that must be followed). Matter and energy may then participate in the creative dance. In aikido, we learn to develop our awareness of spatial relationships and proper timing, and the geometries of matter and energy are allowed to balance and fit one another.

The myth ends tragically. The Lovers — Brother and Sister, Husband and Wife — become enemies. The clear implication is that they are forever estranged, and that pain and alienation are our inheritance. Yet I suspect that O-Sensei believed that the emergence of aikido is the inevitable continuation of the cosmic drama. Through aikido, enemies may become lovers.

That aikido is a martial art is a given. It is necessary that we begin in the world of violence, destruction, death, and defeat. Yet aikido is also proclaimed to be a new kind of martial art (or else a return to the primal origin of budo). Aikido is an art of protection, not of conquest. The hard discipline of aikido teaches us to correct ourselves rather than control others.

Much of our practice is wandering around in a dark and terrifying place, looking for life, looking for the beautiful face of our beloved. Much of our practice is filled with the certainty of our mortality, at once shameful and outrageous. Our partners may be disgusting or infuriating. We may run as if in a nightmare, desperate to find the way out. And yet the way out is the way of separation.

Still, there are times when we meet and all the elements come together. Perhaps both partners join in mutual affinity, or perhaps just one has accidentally stepped into the divine secret. But we know those moments in practice where heaven and earth are one. No longer dancing, but moved by the dance.

In this martial art there is joy, beauty, and infinite conciliation. In this art we meet as brothers and sisters. For all the necessary seriousness and discipline, it is the moments of sexiness and fun that make it real. At these times we reunite Izanami and Izanagi. By the look in their eyes and the smiles on their faces, you know when they meet and remember.