Shinto Purification: The Misogi Ritual

Stuart D. B. Picken

Western religions, especially Christianity, in an attempt to reconcile be- lief with the age of science, have tried to “demystify” the universe, to demythologize it, as was the buzzword of the 1950s and 1960s. Strip away the old-fashioned cosmic terminology to let the message speak was the idea. But the message and the myth both vanished because the message and myth were more closely related than people cared to think. Some things can be said only in the form of a myth. If myth is then eliminated from discourse, nothing can be said.

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Gratefully reproduced from Sourcebook in Shinto: Selected Documents, by Stuart D. B. Picken, 2004.