Magic in Japan: Part 1 – Onmyodo

Onmyōdō is a traditional magic  of Japan. Practiced by a sorcerer, called an Onmyōji, it is a mixture of natural science and occultism. It includes Wu Xing (the Five Elements,) Yin and Yang (duality in nature that complement one another: such as light and dark, fire and water,)  Shikigami (spirits summoned to act as a protector-servant,) O-fuda (a talisman, issued by at Shinto shrine and hung in the home for protection. Made by inscribing the name of a kami (spirit)  on a strip of paper, wood, cloth,) Alchemy, and Diviation. The most famous onmyoji was Abe no Seimei.  He lived sometime between 921 CE and 1005 CE, the middle of the Heian Period. Many believed him not entirely human. Soon after his death, Seimei’s followers built a shrine dedicated to him. It stands to this day in Kyoto.

Abe Seimei.jpgFamous Onmyoji: Abe no Seimei

Look for Tengu Prince and Cherry Jewel,

Books One and Two of the Fantasy/Action Adventure series:

Legends of the Demon Shapeshifters

Tengu Prince Cover for Kindle  05252015Ebook Cover Blood Red

2015 Year of the Green Sheep

Green Sheep

People born under the sign of the Sheep seem the least likely to cause trouble. Probably because they respect order and rules, and prefer uncomplicated, easy lives, free of conflict or problems. Still, if danger appears, whether saving their own life or others, Sheep are extremely combative and put up a ferocious battle.

Mild, unassuming and whimsical, they seem incapable of making their fortune by their own efforts. One way or another they attract success and money which makes life easy for them. Innately intelligence and artistic, Sheep succeed in business. With the help of others, Sheep people generally land on their feet. Illustrated in their aptitude for knowing the right doors to knock on.  They also possess the gift of manual dexterity, which in turn makes them talented artisans.

However, in family matters they may flounder. A bit too undisciplined and morose, at times, this nature can bring out negative, antisocial behavior. Outside circumstances influence the Sheep’s actions and reveal startling contrasts in their seemingly impassive natures. Though they like to leave decision-making to others, they cannot be forced to follow a path they do not like. Lack of self-control and multiple delays may cause others to lose patience with them. Agreeable when they want, they often use their charm to take advantage of others, sometimes living at another’s expense.

Rams  gravitate toward the fantastic and the supernatural. Attracted to the Arts, many are highly creative while retaining their practical side. Art must have a functional use as well as reflecting beauty. Their strong artistic inclinations give them a keen eye for beauty. They adore exquisite things. Since they  crave peace and harmony, they need to surround themselves with beauty both in their living and working environment. Otherwise, they easily become depressed and dispirited.

Though their romantic life is often tempestuous, under the influence of Wood, they are thoughtful and good-humored.  Though they assume a leisurely way of life, still they are mindful of other people’s wishes. Sentimental, generous and with high moral principles, they have complete trust in those they believe in, often allowing others to take advantage, while making unwise sacrifices to keep the peace. A tendency to mother others,  they may collect both humans as well as animal strays to feed and take care of.

Related Articles:

Chinese Zodiac

Wood (Wu Xing)

Goat (zodiac)



Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Autumn In Kyoto

This morning a few of us visited a large flea market at the Toji Temple, which is near our hotel in Kyoto. We arrived early to avoid crowds, but were met with hoards of people including many foreigners looking and buying. Near the main entrance there was a large area with vendors selling flowers, plants, dried fruit and even bonsai.







It appeared as though anything you wanted could be found here, antiques, clothing (new and old), jeans, car license plates from Washington state, snacks, old books, antique scrolls and inserts, dishes, light bulbs, cutlery, tools, bonsai tables, stones and even pins! Lots of good stuff and we left fully loaded with goodies. We did not visit the snack shops….





Today was the set up and judging for the 34th Japan Taikan Bonsai Exhibition one of the main Japanese exhibitions . Earlier…

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Chinese Civilization 2009-07-06 Secret of Painting Scroll at the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony

A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains Scroll by Wang Ximeng  (1096–1119)


(Qilin Tavern 中国·时事·财经·军事)

Related Sites:

Xuan Paper

Wang Ximeng

2008 Summer Olympics

Song Dynasty

The “Roaring Dragon” of Shokoku-ji Temple (Kyoto, Japan)

I wrote this several years ago and just found it in the archives of my blog. I wanted to share it with you again.

Ledia Runnels' "Mysterious Orient"

Kyoto imperial palace garden in Kyoto, Japan

You enter the temple. An eerie quiet surrounds the few pilgrims, besides you, inside the hall of the inner sanctum. Yet it feels as if someone or something is watching from above. Your gaze travels toward the ceiling where a giant dragon is coiled in painted wood above your head. While you stand transfixed, yours and the creature’s eyes lock.

Then the unthinkable occurs. Someone claps their hands disturbing the peace of the sanctified place. Before righteous indignation registers, an amazing thing takes place. The dragon, in all its Imperial majesty, roars.

You cannot believe it. A trick of imagination and the awesome surroundings must have caused the breathtaking phenomena. Yet, another clap summons the dragon once again and you smile.

“So this is what calls the creature to wake.”

You hear someone whisper that the sound is a reverberating echo traveling between the parallel planes of the floor and…

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Year of the Blue Wooden Horse

Five Chinese Elements - Diurnal Cycle
Five Chinese Elements – Diurnal Cycle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Promises to bring good times and a happy and prosperous 2014!

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people‘s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as ‘Qianli Ma’, a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).

People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely.

They cannot bear too much constraint. However their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers.  They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own.

China Zodiac Animal - HorseHoroscope and Numerology Elements
Earthly Branch of Birth Year: wu
Wu Xing (The Five Elements): huo (fire)
Yin Yang: yang
Auspicious Directions: northeast, southwest and northwest
Lucky Colors: brown, yellow, purple; Avoid: blue, white, golden
Lucky Numbers: 2, 3, 7; Avoid 1, 6, 5
Lucky Flowers: calla lily, jasmine, marigold
Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Best match: tiger, sheep, dog; Avoid: rat, ox, rabbit

Celebrities Born in the Year of the Horse
Louisa May Alcott, Chopin, Davy Crockett, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sandra Day O’Connor, Rembrandt, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Cynthia Nixon, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Jason Biggs, Jackie Chan, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Leonard Bernstein, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt, Ashton Kutcher, Emma Watson, Josh Hartnett, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Genghis Khan, Emperor Kangxi and Yongzheng of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911)

Fortune Foretelling in 2014
Overview: It is their order to encounter the Year of Birth (Benming Nian), a year to offend “Taisui’, the god in charge of people’s fortune. In 2014, their fortune in all aspects will be fluctuant which requires their great cares. They may stress out, in which case they are suggested to self-adjust by talking more to others or taking part in group activities. Upon any difficulties, they should be strong to overcome them all. If they treat people around friendly and behave righteously, they will smoothly get through the year.

Career: Horse people are easily offended this year even for trifles, and seem not to keep a harmonious relationship with colleagues. Sometimes they doubt themselves too much, gradually short of confidence. When finishing a task, they ask people around to confirm again and again. In this case, it is suggested to be confident and talk more to family instead of complaining to colleagues. Just keep a low profile, get along well with boss and be careful of tricks by mean people and then they will make some achievements in job.
Wealth: Their financial fortune will be unstable in 2014. It seems that there will be much unexpected cost. Thus to make ends meet comes first When managing money matters, they should consider accepting others’ suggestion. It is necessary to be careful to make any investment. Businesspeople should make a full scheme before making a large amount of investment, because the market will be changeable in the year.
Relationships: The fortune in love life for horse people will be just so-so. If they would like to get married in the year, it is strongly suggested to select an auspicious date according to the dates of birth of the bride and the bridegroom, or they will suffer a lot in marriage. Singles may meet several people that they have feelings for, but none of them are doomed to be their Mr./Ms. Right. If standing in dilemma, they’d better refer to the idea or suggestion of their relatives and friends. Husband and wife will argue a lot in the year, to avoid which communication and mutual understanding weighs. For all lovers, mutual trust is the secret for an everlasting relationship.
Health: As they offend “Taisui” this year, they may suffer some discomforts. Some insidious diseases like dermatosis may happen. To avoid that, they’d better have a full physical examination. Besides, they also need to be careful to avoid unexpected injuries by knives and others sharp items. Females should pay attention to problem in urinary system and males need to care more about their stomach. Adjusting their emotions and traveling outside will help with their health as well. They also need to remember not to eat too much for each meal.

Marvels of Japan

Guardian in Todaiji, Nara
Guardian in Todaiji, Nara (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marvels of Japan

The third and last Pinterest link for anyone interested in Japanese culture. This is the quintessential link for Japanophiles from me to you. Enjoy!