Happy New Year 2004 from Japan

My friend Robert, from New Jersey, is working on a project in Japan. He sent the following pics and text.

I arrived at Mt. Fuji late morning; the sky was clear and the wind cold but soothing.

The initial view of Mt. Fuji was breathtaking. It seemed to just appear and float in front of my eyes.

The actual journey to the mountain took about an hour by bus. We were lucky...we made it to the 5th step. Usually in the winter snow covers the road and the first step is all that is accessible....so very lucky! The view was very clear at the top. The top of the mountain appears to be like a pyramid...and floats within the clouds.

I was in a tour group and made several friends...a married couple with a 7 year old daughter from Germany...and happened to find my mountain buddy named Tim, (5 years old) from Belgium and his mother, Tanya who is here on business. Tim and I became close buddies. They both speak English, Russian and Flemish!

Well back to the story...I had brought a crystal up to the mountain. Ellie, I know you said to light a candle, but it was very difficult to find one, surprisingly!

I placed the quartz crystal on Mt Fuji. I meditated to bring your energy as well as the members from previous workshops and friends.

I also asked for world healing and connection of my other experiences from Sedona, Mt. Shasta, and Hawaii (love and light) to the site.

I felt instant connection. My experience just filled me with peace and love and a reconnection with myself (spirit).

I took the high speed bullet train back to Toyko. Tim asked if I would remember him. I was so touched by his friendship... I gave him my business card and told him to write to me.

So many times we run around looking for gifts and pleasures in the world...but when we stop to feel and look around ...the joys of life abound. I am so grateful for my experience on Christmas!


Robert Federico

Happy New Year 2004 to all the readers

My Visit to the Meiji Shrine on January 3, 2004

For the Japanese culture, New Year's is a very important cultural holiday. It is a weeklong period of completions, promises, wishes and tasks are wrapped up... and a new phase of reordering of your life is installed.

It is also a time of visiting Shinto Shrines around Japan.

My day began by entering the shrine through the main gate called the 'Tori' which means 'Gate'. It marks the entrance of sacred ground and a realm of transcendence. It is a place that purifies the worshippers hearts and minds. Shinto worship is the indigenous religion of Japan and dates back to the earliest days of human civilization. Shinto views all things. People and natural objects as the abode of spirits named Kami... which means Gods or Nature Spirits.

Culturally the monkey represents the protector of good spirits.

This is the Year of the Wooden Monkey. The area is thickly wooded from 100,000 seedlings sent from all over the Japan. The Meiji Shrine was dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. His reign Emperor Meiji saw Japan transform from a medieval state to a modern state. He and his wife devoted their life to increasing prosperity, peace of a nation, promotion of a national education system and the promotion of a morality.

Shinto worship has three elements, purification, offering, and prayer.

It begins with the act of purification, which usually involves the use of water at the fountains.
Worshippers rinse their hands and mouths using a bamboo ladle.

Next, an offering is presented to the Kami, in this shrine...
it is Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.

Offerings such as barrels of sake which is said to purify the land...or money.

Coins are tossed in front of an alter, then a prayer is given through a process
of bowing twice, clapping hands twice, pray and then bowing once more.

Finally, a personal wish is presented to the Kami...
such as love, peace, or success for the upcoming year.

The wish is written on a wish tablet made of wood.
It is placed of a wish ladder... and another prayer is given.

A fortune is optionally taken from a booth. A stick with a number is pulled from a box. The number corresponds to your fortune. If the fortune is good you can keep it..or tie the fortune to a string ladder. The fortunes from the ladder are given back to the shrine and burned for the next year.

At the end, you walk out of the Lori gate and return to the physical world.

For me the experience brought a wonderful connection to nature and people. I felt that the process opened up the power of prayer...that prayers aid in guiding ourselves and maintain our destiny. We all have the power to change and stay on course. We sometimes stumble, but we are always being helped if we maintain an open heart.

I will leave you with two poems from Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.

A Poem by Emperor Meiji

For the times to come
And of meeting what must be met
All of our people
Must be taught to walk along
The Path of sincerity

A Poem by Empress Shoken

Every morning
We gaze into our mirror
Which are unblemished
Oh, that we could attain
Such a purity of soul