Sometimes you don’t know why you do something until you’ve done it.
I came to Japan to research the practices of Ninja.
I now realise I came to Japan to discover Shinto.
Shinto is a uniquely Japanese religion that many say is not a religion at all, because at its essence there is no founder -no Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed – there’s no Bible or Koran or Vedas or Bhagavad Gita.
It’s an ancient religion that’s the closest thing I’ve found to the New Age movement,
it’s not monotheist but pantheistic, and nature based.
It doesn’t believe in sin.
It doesn’t believe you have to suffer to achieve salvation.
It believes in the inherent perfection of each individual soul.
It believes that Kami – the universal god force – is not only all that is, but is also within each of us and we can achieve union with that god force through right thought and action and purification.
Shinto speaks of the horizontal nature of life and death, whereas Christianity and many other religions speak of the vertical nature of life and death.
The vertical view is that there is a heaven above us and a hell below us, metaphorically, and we have to rise to reach God. And if we don’t we fall into the fiery pits of hell.
The horizontal view is that heaven is all around us, in different realms, and God is within us.
What does all this have to do with Ninja?
At their core, all Japanese martial arts are spiritually based. That’s what I came to Japan to research. The underlying spirituality of Ninja. Because in my writing, that’s the wellspring of character.
Many of you who follow this blog might think there is a disconnect between my work on intuition, expressed in my movie PGS, and my work on modern day witchcraft, expressed in my Palace of Fires thriller trilogy, the first book of which is to be published by Penguin Random House in January.
They are different aspects of the same themes I’m exploring.
One informs the other.
And they will appeal to different people, different age groups, different sensibilities.
But at their essence, they’re exploring the same stuff.
In future posts I’ll write more about Shinto, which I find fascinating, and which I’ve just briefly touched on here. And I’ll also write more about the inter-connectedness of PGS and Palace of Fires.
If you’re interested in learning more about Shinto, a good starter is The Essence of Shinto, by Motohisa Yamakage.
I leave Japan later today to resume normal duties getting PGS out to the world.
And now I know why I came here.