The Four Gods

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The concept of the four gods, also referred to as the four symbols (四象), originates from ancient Chinese astronomy. Astronomers believed there are 28 mansions or constellations spread out along the sky. They divided the sky into four quadrants – north, south, east and west, each containing 7 of the mansions, and with a divine creature ruling each quadrants. These creatures are known as the four gods: the azure dragon, vermillion bird, white tiger and black turtle.  Continue reading

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Ikiryo and Ushi no Toki Mairi

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People have heard of out-of-body experiences, but the Japanese belief takes it a step further. According to folklore, a living spirit is what happens when a spirit leaves a living person to haunt someone, like an out-of-body experience. Supposedly, it takes a strong emotion to provoke this happening – usually hate. If a person holds a strong grudge against another, their spirit could leave their bodies to cause harm against that person, even possibly possessing it.

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Night Parade Part 8

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The allies, so named in the tale remained seated in their spots in the circle just as their surrounding youkai burst in a sudden geyser of blood and limbs. The Fox chuckled while the Tanuki sighed of waste. The remaining youkai retaliated in outrage and several immediately raced to the Onmyouji, but were brought down by the Tengu and his whirlwinds, allowing Subaru time to summon his Shikigami.

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Night Parade Part 6

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The Bakeneko had a turn, a monster dog with teeth that could bite through steel, saliva that poisoned and a howl that brought the dead from the earth. I set fire to the dead and when the dog rose it’s head to howl again, I had a dagger ready in my hand and slice of its heads. The Bakeneko hissed, feline whiskers twitching as his monster dog’s heads fell, one by one. Continue reading

Night Parade Part 5

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Tamamo-no-mae-woodblock The Nine-Tailed Fox did, dressed in her favored outfit of a human woman from the Heian era, with the kimono and head veil to demurely cover the lower half of her face. It was only the distinctly vixen slant of her eyes that gave away her sly nature as she smiled coyly at me, a cultured court lady with a flirtatious look.

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