Also, I've been on the verge of having a headache. Athena suggested it was a stress headache, and I was like, "But I'm not that stressed," and she was like, "Oh yeah? So how about getting to that Kingdom Hearts video shoot?" and I was like, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! ...Okay, maybe it is stress." We tried to console ourselves by saying, "The worst that could happen is we don't go." And then I was like, "No, the worst that could happen is that we try to go, mess up on the public transportation thing, and get stranded miles from our home." ...We're still working on it.
Anyway, lyschan expressed some interest in the various things we're learning about Shinto that correspond to Christianity, so let's see what all I can remember. The thing that started the whole thought process (because it's the most recent) is the ablution ceremony. The translation "ablution" is one we chose to go with because it's the same word they used to translate the Japanese word misogi in our Man'yoshu book. (It's also the word they used in the anime subtitles, but we're more easily swayed by Japanese scholars.) But the point is, both of them are ritual washing ceremonies, and if you look up the word ablution at Wikipedia (at least I think that's where we saw this), it says a baptism is a type of ablution. Of course that makes sense, because a baptism is a ritual purification/washing ceremony.
What made it even more interesting to us was the words that went along with the misogi in Noragami. I'm not going to go into a whole lot of detail here, because we already wrote a note about it for Noragami 3, but basically it lists four traits. When we looked up the list as a whole (which was kind of difficult, because one of the traits was omitted for reasons), we discovered that according to Shintoism, those four traits are traits inherent in every human soul--like, a person might not actually have all those traits at a given point in their life, but they can and/or did, like, deep down. And! after a misogi, the idea is that all those traits are restored. In other words, you wash away the impurity (sin), and are clean again. Also, according to our research, it is customary to wear white for a misogi, just like you wear white for a baptism.
Furthermore, the reason human souls have those traits is that they are wakemitama of the gods. Wakemitama, roughly, means "divided soul," which kind of creates the impression of asexual reproduction, but the point is, even in Shintoism, people are children of God.
One of the things we thought to be the most fascinating came up when we were trying to find more information on the Yaoyorozu no Kami, which was brought up in volume one, so you can check it out right now! and see where it figures into the story. (You can do it this very moment, if you want! We'll still be here when you get back.) Only this particular bit wasn't important to the story, so we didn't look for other sources to corroborate the evidence, and we're going to need to investigate further, but apparently, according to Shintoism, there are three main categories of kami. There's the Amatsukami, which are the ones high up in the heavens, the most powerful, most exalted, etc. There's...the middle one, that we forgot what it was called, but we're pretty sure it had earth in it. And there's the Yaoyorozu no Kami, which means "myriad deities"--this is where you have the gods of all kinds of things of varying degrees of power and stuff.
We read about that and thought, "Hey, we've heard that before!" In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe that after the final judgment, most people will be go to one of three degrees of glory: the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, and the telestial kingdom. Celestial means "heavenly," as does the "ama" in Amatsukami. Terrestrial has to do with earth, like the middle category of kami. And in the telestial kingdom, there are all sorts varying degrees of glory and exaltation, just like the Yaoyorozu no Kami. Tadah!
Another fun thing to note that we've been thinking about since way before Noragami has to do with the Journey to the West legend (Saiyuki) from China. It's the story of a priest and his three servants who travel to the west to obtain the higher law. Sounds a lot like a certain group of wise men who came from the east to visit the Messiah (who brought the higher law). The Bible never specifies that there were three.
Well, those are all the ones I remember.
Today I'm thankful for getting to talk to people on the phone today, having sort of an idea what we're going to do for Halloween, having time to do some reading last night, finding some positive Noragami reviews, and Page being super cute and sitting on Athena's lap for a little while.