Izumo Shrine

The year, 1999 was a very tough year for me. I was thirty three years old, the last year of the six years of "yakudoshi", the critical years for women, based on ancient Japanese tradition. In Japan, all women go to a Shinto shrine to pray for protection from upcoming three years of critical events when they become thirty one years old. However, I neglected the tradition because I live in New York and I thought NY is too far for the evil spirit to come and curse me. But I was too optimistic. Mr. "Yakudoshi" never forgot the expatriot who lives across the sea. I suffered repeated accidents and illness throughout the year. And on top of that, my boyfriend was 25 years old that year and he was in the last of the three year "yakudoshi" for men. When we were in Japan at the end of 1999, we both got hospitalized for different symptoms. That was enough persuation for both of us to believe in such mystery. We were both freaked out and decided to receive a Shinto rite to exorcize evil spirits.

On New Years Day of 2000, we went to Izumo Taisha Shrine ,the oldest and one of the most important shrines in Japan. According to mythology, which was compiled during the 8th century,this shrine is dedicated to Okuninushi-no-kami, a Shinto deity. We chose this Shinto Vatican to drive out the evil spirit.

The shrine is located at the foot of two low mountains of Izumo. The whole village was very quiet and peaceful like heaven. When we entered the shrine, we felt a very powerful energy from the air. It was very sharp. I felt as if my skull was opened up to receive spiritual power from head to toe. We thought that some undescribable power was coming from those mountains. We heard later that the mountains are so sacred that it is protected and kept off-limit to the public. Even though the ceremony of the exorcism was performed by the priests together with tons of other prayersfor other people, we believed it really worked because the year 2000 was a very peaceful and good year for us. AND we certainly learned "NOT to mess with old traditions".

Izumo, Japan 2000