||Some people say they were brother
and sister, Susano-O and Amaterasu. Other people say they were meant to be husband and
wife. One thing, however, was clear. They rarely agreed on even the smallest thing, and so
they could never tolerate the presence of the other for very long.
And yet, despite their many differences, there was a very
close bond between them, which brought them together again and again. Here is the story of
one such meeting.
|| Now, the elders tell us that one day,
Susano-O (also known as Susa) went up to the heavenly realm to visit his sister. He was
about to make the long journey to the underworld to be reunited with their long-dead
mother, and he was a little afraid of making the trip. He had heard terrible tales of the
horrors he would find there and wondered if he would be changed forever, or even if he
would return at all.
To strengthen himself for this journey, Susa decided to spend a
season basking in his sisters light and wisdom. He knew, better than anyone, that
her light could be a soul-warming comfort.
In his haste to see Ama (that is, Amaterasu, of course), Susa
moved through the sky with a crackling thunder, shaking mountains and rivers and sending
all living beings into hiding. The night seemed to fill with dancing furies as an inky
velvet spread across the sky.
Even Ama became
frightened so she decided to take a few precautions when meeting him. She placed a quiver
at her side and a bow in her hand as she stepped forward to greet him.
"Why do you disturb the peace of our kingdom, Susa? Surely,
you have more than enough activity in your own kingdom!" Ama looked at Susa a little
disdainfully through her bowstrings. She had not forgotten their last quarrel and hoped to
hold him off with a strong facade.
This was not exactly the picture of love and devotion he was
hoping to find. Susa replied in his most courtly
manner, "O, radiant, fair sister, I wish you no harm. My only desire is your warm
company, a glimpse of your lovely face, and a few pleasant words before I descend to the
underworld to find our most esteemed mother."
answer pleased her, but Ama knew her brother well and decided to ask
for more proof of his good intentions. Susa then proposed that they should create children
who would rule the blessed land wisely. He hoped Ama would then realize that he had all of
their best interests at heart. Perhaps she would allow him to stay for awhile, until he
could pluck up enough courage to descend to the dark place below.
Ama agreed. She took her brothers sword, broke it into
three pieces, and after chewing the pieces for many days and nights, blew a light mist
from her mouth, which gave birth to three goddesses who were more beautiful than any other
goddesses then living... excepting Ama herself, of course.
Susano-O then asked his sister for the five jewels she was
wearing, and after cracking them between his teeth, blew a light mist from his mouth and
gave birth to five masculine deities who were more powerful than any other deities then
living...excepting Susa himself, of course.
he had created the five gods from Amas jewels, Susa was altogether too pleased with
himself and began jumping around boasting of his omnipotence, rarely a wise move even for
a god. When Ama reminded him that the gods had been created from her jewels, Susa became
enraged. Why didnt she appreciate him?!
Losing all self-control, he released the wind and rain he held
under his waving arms. He destroyed Amas carefully tended rice fields, filled in her
precious irrigation ditches, and even deposited mud and excrement in her temples!
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