The Kojiki is a very ancient book of the Japanese having to do with the creation of the universe and the building of the first land. Among the Japanese, we find many interesting mythologies not the least of which is the ancient Japanese story of creation which we will very briefly consider in this article.
The Kojiki opens with the story of the coming of the three gods. Every nation has its Trinity and this trinity is the expression of all things which come into creation. The moment abstraction is concreted it divides itself into three forces which are the Trimuti of India or the three phases of human life. God, the Unmanifest, manifests Himself through three creatures for there are but three expressions of force in the universe-the creative force, the projective and perpetuating force, and, thirdly, the disintegrative or reductive force.
The moment that any life essence assumes matter it becomes subject to these three gods who are in reality the rulers of Maya or of the created universe. The only reality is the Uncreated which is the beginning and end of all creation.
In the ancient doctrines of Japan, there are two kinds of deities – heavenly gods and earthly gods. The heavenly gods refer undoubtedly to those beings who dwell in the spiritual planes or else those beings who, while manifesting in the world, descended from the spiritual planes. In other words, they are those forces extraneous to our Ives which assist in the molding of our consciousness, while the earthly gods are those who, though born of men, achieve immortality and become deified as the fruitage of their labors here.
The Kojiki shows two divisions to the universe – the heavens and the earth. The heavens came before the earth which was horn out of water by the actions of two gods who arc called Izanagi, the Male-Who-Invites, and his sister Izanami, the Female-Who-Invites (literal translation).
These two were the creators of the earth and represent the principles of polarity which bring solid matter into existence.
It is said in the ancient hook that in the plane of the superior world called the Most High Heaven there were three deities born out of nothing, that is were differentiated from That Which Is Not. They were parentless creations, self-born androgenous crealess creations, self-born, androgenous creaknown and, according to the ancient story, withdrew themselves from creation after the appearance of two secondary deities. The first of these self-born ones was called the Master-of-Heaven’s-Center; the second was called the Most-Distinguished-Producer-of Wonders; and the third the Divine-Producer of-Wonders.
They appeared in clouds floating over the heavens and the source of their being was unknown but they are seldom symbolized because even their shape is but a hypothesis. From them came two others that were born of a strange hollow stick or reed like growth which came out of the earth at that time when it was a floating bubble in the center of a great ocean.
The names of these two deities were The Elder-Reed-Shoot deity and the Heaven – Born – Eternally – Standing Deity.
They likewise were unseen to mortal men and were born without parents.
These five constitute the eldest of the ancient cosmogony and in modern occultism represent the Elder Brothers or the five Great Initiates who never leave the temple but, like the ancient deities, hide their person. The Wisdom-Religion is divided into two divisions, the five god-born or god-reclaimed ones and the seven man-born or man-unfolded ones. It is these two divisions which constitute the mystery schools of the ancients.
The higher group contains five which is the number of the astral plane or the high priest, while the second contains seven which is the number of the Mosaic law and the earthly things. In the ancient wisdom, the five-pointed star stands for the elder five whose thrones are in the human brain. It is through these five superior deities that man secures liberation cosmically and they represent the wounds of the crucifixion and are the most secret of the ancient wisdom.
According to the sacred books and early literature of the East, edited by Professor Charles F. Horne, Phd., the literal names translated into English of the next seven gods and goddesses are as follows:
First, the Earthly-Eternally-Standing-Deity and the Luxuriant-Integrating-Master-Deity. These two were heaven-born without procreation and were unseen in the mortal world.
Then came the Mud-Earth-Lord and Mud-Earth-Lady, the Germ-Integrating-Deity and his younger sister the Life-Integrating-Deity; the Elder-of-the-Great-Place and his sister the Elder-Lady-of-the-Great-Place; the Perfect Exterior and his sister the Oh-Awful-Lady; the Male-Who-Invites and the Female-Who-Invites.
From the Earthly-Eternally-Standing deity down to the Female-Who-Invites, we have what is termed the Seven Divine Generations.
These represent the seven Logos or the gods of the planetary chain who are the outpouring of the five unseen First Causes which are the outpouring of the Three most sacred centers which Three are the Witnesses of the Unknowable.
In Masonry the numbers Three, Five and Seven are of great significance and Masonically it means exactly the same as in the ancient Japanese mythology-the three great tools, the five senses, and the seven liberal arts and sciences. The seven liberal arts and sciences are the lowest and belong to the earth, corresponding to the Entered Apprentice degree of Freemasonry which is keyed to the number seven.
The five, which is the number of the priest and is called the Hierophant in the ancient Taro, is the mind which thinks through the heart system and is best expressed by that old saying, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” As has been said before, five is the number of the astral plane, is the key to the Fellowcraft degree of Freemasonry, and is the number of sense perception which is the fruitage of the astral plane.
The Master Jesus, expressing the principle of the astral plane, wore over his white garment a crimson robe as the symbol of the blood system.
Three is attuned to the mind, is the Master Mason’s degree and the key to the third degree of Masonry. It belongs to the mental world and the mind-born gods are without father or mother, being born in the subtle mind-stuff of the Saturn period. Thus we see the ancient cosmology played out in both spirit and matter.
The gods placed the last two named deities upon the Bridge of Heaven or the Antakhrana which is the bridge connecting the divine with the human, sometimes known as the Heavenly Stairs. Handing them a jeweled spear they told them to stir the brine floating in the ocean until it should curdle. The spear was then drawn up and the brine that dripped from it piled up upon the surface of creation, forming a mighty island which was called Onogoro or the First Land.
Upon this, they built their first temple and a hall eight fathoms square, from which point all creation was carried on.
This legend undoubtedly refers to the ancient mystery of the descent of the spiritual hierarchies on to the North polar cap of the earth which was the first point to become crystallized. The spear was the ray sent down by the sun upon which ray the spiritual hierarchies descended and the sun drew up the water, leaving the earth. The ancient myth tells that the spiritual hierarchies built their temple upon the sacred island of the Gobi Desert where it has remained even to this day.
From this point, all the work of civilizing and unfolding human thought, race, and culture has been carried on. It is this point which the occultist believes to be the place where the spiritual bridge or cord connecting the planet with the sun passes into the earth. This is the beanstalk of Jack which we read of in the fairy story which grew all the way up to heaven.
In the temple of Shamballah, we find the sacred cosmogony played out again. Of the twelve Masters or Elder Brothers who inhabit it seven are demi-gods attuned to the concrete world, while five remain in the shrine all the time as the invisible life and power of the great work in the world. In this way, the ancient Japanese creation exactly agrees with that of the Hindoo, the Jewish, and the Chinese, for, while the deities differ in name, in each case they represent the laws and properties necessary for the creation of concrete manifestation out of abstract possibility.
They all have taught us that the gods became mortal themselves when they entered mortal substance and that all things are subject to birth, growth, and decay, the trimuti of human expression, until they are superior to Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, the concretions of the Absolute.
This is all played out again in the body of man, in the zodiac, and in many other stories and allegories of the various religions of the world. All these doctrines have twelve gods or demi-gods of which one is the leader, three are His messengers and all the remaining are demi-gods. All of these gods carry out the dictates and orders of their Leader who in turn is born out of the parentless abyss and carries sacred or magic implements of power which are the basis of his superiority over mortal men.
The implements which make the gods greater than men are all to be found when we analyze the Masonic implements and instruments which are symbolical of mental, emotional or physical body qualities which in turn symbolize the spiritual expression of man seeking manifestation in partially crystallized bodies.
The great Japanese colleges of learning, especially the Buddhistic colleges, are beginning to take great interest in unravelling the mystery of mythology for they realize, as the Christian world must eventually realize, that mythology is the most accurate historical data on spiritual subjects which we have preserved to us and that the keys of wisdom, both scientific and theological, are concealed in the mythologies of ancient people.
Neither history nor literature as an entire has preserved truth but mythology has been honest and it makes little difference whether you are searching for the effects of a chemical combination, the birth of a planet, or the effect of contradictory emotions on the human soul, you will be perfectly safe in accepting the mythological characters and their word in solving a problem. A country that knows its mythology is fortunate indeed, and in this respect Japan is especially blessed for it has one of the most fascinating and inspiring mythologies known to the world today of which this little word we have spoken is but the beginning of a study that could involve lifetimes and has astounded all who ever attempted it.
Check our Archive With Articles By Manly P. Hall
♦ If this article resonates with you, please join our newsletter by using the forms on this website so we can stay in touch.
Source: “The All-seeing Eye” Magazine By Manly P. Hall
Featured Image By Wikimedia Commons