It’s not just a catchy name. The story says that when The Japanese goddess Amaterasu of light was banished from heaven to the underworld for disobeying The Creator- she had no choice but to descend into darkness. She could have refused and left her immortal life in heaven, but upon reaching the depths of hell she saw how dark it had become and decided to change things.
So evil beings were banished from their realm (from this point on called “The Land of Shadows”) and instead, Amaterasu offered divine light so that no one would be robbed of precious time in this life or in death.
Reasons why you should respect Amaterasu:
1) Her compassion
2) Her sacrifice
3) Her ability to forgive
4) Her devotion to light
5) She’s the only goddess that can be seen on earth [farming, gardening, or helping people]
6) As a goddess she shows us what we can aspire to be like.
7) She is the only goddess that shows compassion for humans [making sure humans don’t suffer]
8) She showed great affection for all living things
Her compassion –
Let’s make a list of all the bad things that have happened in her life. She could have easily chosen to “run away” from her duty and she could have just let the darkness remain in the underworld. But out of her great compassion for humanity, she sacrificed and used all the strength she had to revive and restore light to the world.
The legends say that she used her sword to cut off the thread of time from heaven so that there would be no end of life on earth. It is said that every day she continued to cut at the thread. This was until she finally cut it off in her own hair and then let it fall into the underworld.
Even after the world had been restored from darkness, she continued to use her sword to cut at the thread of time. She did it until there would be no more deaths or birthdays. When she finally stopped there would be only good things for life and only love for everyone.
Her sacrifice –
Let’s look at all the bad things that have happened in her life. She could have easily chosen to “run away” from her duty and she could have just let the darkness remain in the underworld. But out of her great compassion, she used all the strength she had to revive and restore light to the world.
Her sword is said to have been made out of lightning and right after it was created clouds began to form around her. The legend goes that she went and cut off the thread of time from heaven so that there would be no end of life on earth. It is said that every day she continued to cut at the thread.
It is said that every night she continued to cut at the thread. She did it until there would be no more deaths or birthdays. When she finally stopped, there would be only good things for life and only love for everyone.
Her ability to forgive –
The story says that she could have stayed in heaven and refused to cut at the thread of time. But because she is compassionate, she took her sword and cut off the thread instead. If we reflect on this, I think we can learn something about forgiveness from her.
If someone does something bad to us, it is easy to seek vengeance and hold a grudge or be filled with hatred for that person.
Her devotion to light –
It is said that Amaterasu entered the darkness first and then came out with her sword to cut off the thread of time. It is said that she held her sword upright and walked forward through all the lands. After she served her purpose, she took her sword back and summoned forth light from heaven.
Because of what she did, we still have light today on earth.
She’s the only goddess that can be seen on earth –
Because she is the goddess of light, she can be found in nature, in the sun and the moon. And she is also a goddess that serves people who are doing everyday tasks.
One story says that there was once a young man who was working on his rice fields. He carried a basket of rice on his head as he walked along the edge of the water field. On this day he saw her, but he didn’t look at her long enough to know it was Amaterasu.
As a goddess, she shows us what we can aspire to be like –
Amaterasu is also like a mother because she protects her children and takes care of them. She is someone we can look up to because she is kind, patient, gentle, and loving. She shows us that we can be a mother goddess for everyone in our lives.
She is the only goddess that shows compassion for humans –
It was said that she went down to earth and walked among the villagers. She was carrying a basket of rice on her head. She sat down by the river and washed her dirty feet in the water. Everyone that saw her only wanted to gather food, but she didn’t want to take anything from them. She just wanted to sit there and watch the children playing.
She showed great affection for all living things –
Though she is a goddess, there are many stories about how kind she is to other creatures too.
One day she went into the forest and found a little girl who was crying. When she asked why this girl was crying, the girl said that she was lost. So Amaterasu took her basket and filled it with rice so that she could have something to eat for herself.
After Amaterasu gave her food, the little girl smiled at her and said “Thank you.
To know her is to love her. And once you know about the story of who she is, I think it’s impossible not to feel like you can be something more than the person you were before.