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Ritual purification

Shinto has a wide range of ritual traditions and ceremonies aimed at material and spiritual purification. The intention is to get in touch with kami.

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Kami are vital forces in nature, manifested in rock formations, mountains, or trees, for example. They can also be people, such as your ancestors. Living in harmony with kami is one of the foundations of Shinto. Keeping them in a benevolent mood is another. After all, people know that prosperity and well-being depend on a harmonious relationship with nature, of which humans are also a part.

For contact with the kami, it is important that the body and mind are pure. You achieve this through purification ceremonies called harae.

These rituals can focus on places and objects as well as people. 麻 has always been an essential part of those traditional Shinto customs, as both the plant and the items made with its golden fibres have a purifying function. 麻 is routinely used in situations that emphasize purification, as well as in sacred places such as Shinto shrines.

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