Misogi Shuhō is an ancient Shinto practice of purifying one’s body and spirit in the cold water of an ocean, waterfall, or river.
Misogi Shuhō is an ancient Shinto practice of purifying one’s body and spirit in the cold water of an ocean, waterfall, or river. Through misogi we purify and intensify our Tamashii, or soul.
The practice originates from the mythology recorded in the Kojiki where Izanagi, after visiting the “bottom country,” or place of afterlife, returned to Earth and ritually bathed in the Tachibana River to rid himself of impurities. After ritually purifying one’s self, the impurities are carried away to the depth of the ocean where the kami Haya Sasura Hime seizes and dissolves the impurities, ridding us of imperfection and returning us to our pristine, natural state of brightness and purity.
Those taking part in misogi change into clothing for the ritual. Men wear white loincloths called funodoshi, and women wear white robes called mizugoromo. Both wear headbands called hachimaki. You may bring a swimsuit if you are more comfortable with your own clothing as an under layer.
Next, participants assemble in the shrine to recite “Misogi Ō Harai” and to receive a simplified form of purification called shubatsu. Since the waterfall, river, or ocean is itself a kami, there is a need for purification before entering. We then will proceed to the misogi area on the beach where we will do various chants and physical movements before entering the ocean water.
After misogi, we will return to the shrine to change, have tea and have a Q&A.
NOTE: Misogi involves various rituals and spiritual focus, though it is actually a relatively short time submerged in the water. Thus, it is an accessible practice for most people, assuming they don’t have a heart condition, medical restriction or other physical consideration.
WHAT TO BRING:
Please bring a towel, and sandals or lightweight water booties (the rocks can be sharp) We have traditional clothing available to borrow. Ladies wear a white cotton kimono-type gown; men wear a white cotton loincloth. If you prefer to wear a swimsuit, or want to wear something under the cotton clothing, please bring that. We have changing rooms available at the Centre.
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