Tigers in Tokyo

The Heart of Ancient japanese Men, 13000 year old tiger, dogu, jomon period

I call this 13,000 year old shaman’s effigy, the “Heart of the Ancient Tiger” because it has a special meaning for me. I have a very good buddhist, scientist and professional cellist friend from Tokyo, and although I had never had a dreaming with him before (the past twenty years) while he lived in the US, I recently did, only after he returned to Tokyo. I had a dream of one of my apprentice’s tiger, and she too has had quite a few dreams of a tiger.

This special dream walking, occurred in an ancient Japanese Tiger Temple, and I was being led by my Tokyo buddhist friend. He lead me to this specific ancient Tiger Temple in the Mountains of Japan and I saw a lot of baby tigers as we walked through the grounds and temple, picking out one and picking it up, it belonged to my apprentice.

The next morning when I woke up into this waking dream, I wrote my apprentice about the good news and also wrote my friend in Japan to let him know. I then went to search on the web, trying to find out when tigers had actually physically roamed Japan, I couldn’t find anything or anything scientific. So I wrote my apprentice and had her do a search as well, she couldn’t find anything either.

Most of the time, shamanistic realities and sensitivities, and the ancient nature of these shaman artist’s work prove that the sciences must follow the shaman artists manifestations, if one wished to understand our human and animist past in a more holistic manner, inclusive to females and the feminine attributes of life which held these teachings and power. This helps people understanding the truth of our past, not just the mental body’s philosophies and science philosophies through the written language, because this type of teaching descriptions are limitations.

Ancient art created by shaman tigers of both genders are from an oral and folkloric tradition, before gods and even before tiger gods, also have shown sprouting wings on the tigers, linking tiger with the animist-human soul (shape shifting in shamanic cultures of those times) carrying their human female soul-counterpart on their backs, becoming a white streak, and part of the Milky Way which protect the Earth. Throughout pre-history, tigers have always been regarded as the life-givers, the guardians and the protectors of mother earth and her souled humans.

So lets explore the Tiger in more current myth and folklore (the last 3,000 years) … some pieces of the following text are from an excellent wordpress site that I am friends with called ( japanesemythology.wordpress.com ), I have included some updates for gender corrections to make sure our past from here forth is more ‘inclusive’to women of earth’ … 

Shinto & Indigenous Japan and the Medicine Wheel is where the White Tiger sits, in the Direction is West, meaning is the white of the tiger represents the Element of Air:
Guards of Buddha’s teachings and mankind; observes the world with clairvoyance; corresponds to the season fall, the color white, wind, the element metal, and the virtue righteousness. Says Donald Mackenzie: “The White Tiger of the West, for instance, is associated with metal. When, therefore, metal is placed in a grave, a ceremonial connection with the tiger god is effected. According to the Chinese Annals of Wu and Yueh, three days after the burial of the king, the essence of the element metal assumed the shape of a white tiger and crouched down on the top of the grave. Here the tiger is a protector – a preserver.

As we have seen, white jade was used when the Tiger god of the West was worshipped; it is known as ‘tiger jade;’ a tiger was depicted on the jade symbol. To the Chinese the tiger was the king of all animals and lord of the mountains, and the tiger-jade ornament was specially reserved for commanders of armies. The male tiger was, among other things, the god of war, and in this capacity it not only assisted the armies of the emperors, but fought the demons that threatened the dead in their graves.”

The Tiger’s seven seishuku 星宿 (constellations) are:

Tokaki Boshi (Chn. = K’uei 奎)

Tatara Boshi (Chn. = Lou 婁)

Ekie Boshi (Chn. = Wei 胃)

Subaru Boshi (Chn. = Mao 昴)

Amefuri Boshi (Chn. = Pi 畢)

Toroki Boshi (Chn. = Tsui 觜)

Kagasuki Boshi (Chn. = Shen 參)

Tiger confused with Kirin of Japan
In Japan, the tiger is sometimes confused with the mythological Chinese Ch’i-lin (Qilin), which is rendered Kirin 麒麟 in Japan. Scholar Derek Walters says the Ch’i-lin was supplanted (replaced) by the White Tiger, for the Tiger more accurately reflected the astronomical iconography associated with the western lunar mansions. The Kirin, which often appears tiger-like in artwork (see photos below), is a different creature entirely from the White Tiger. The Kirin is said to have the body of a deer, the tail of an ox, the hooves of a horse, a body covered with the scales of a fish, and a single horn. The Kirin appears only before the birth or death of a great and wise person. Said to live in paradise, the Kirin personifies all that is good, pure, and peaceful; can live to be 1,000 years old.

spacerA mythical horned Chinese deer-like creature said to appear only when a sage has appeared. It is a good omen associated with serenity and prosperity. Often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body. In most drawings, its head looks like that of a Chinese dragon (see dragon above). Japanese art typically depicts the Kirin as more deer-like than its Chinese counterpart. Kirin is sometimes translated in English as a hoofed mythological horse-like beast with a single horn on its head. Some accounts describe it as having the body of a deer and the head of a lion.

Legends of the other Tiger Peoples
The appellations of Lolo are related to the Yi people’s worship of the Tiger, as “lo” in their dialects meaning “tiger”. This tiger worship likely is connected to the creator tiger worship of Goa, India and the Indian mother goddess Durga or the Bengali tiger rider) and in many parts of India, tiger is worshiped as a symbol of woman’s fertility, fertility as in her creative powers (not just child birth) and as the rites of the female warrior (protector) (of the forest and of the people against demons):

In Nagaland, the tiger and the human are said to be sisters, since the mother of the first spirit of the first tiger and of the first woman, are believed to have emerged from the earth out of a common passage, which was a pangolin’s den. The Goddess Durga, of the ancient Indus valley, is shown riding a tiger. Durga was created to destroy evil and the tiger was chosen as her symbol of power and immortality to do so. Tiger dances, in which young children are drawn into every year, are an important part of tradition in the Udipi town of Karnataka.

In parts of northern Bengal, both Hindus and pre-muslims, worship the tiger. Paintings show a priest, with prayer beads and a staff, riding a tiger and fighting evil. In the Sunderbans, the Hindu Goddess Banobibi or Dakshin Rai, the pre-muslim tiger deity, protecting people from demons, crocodiles and even tiger’s anger. So before setting out into the Tiger Reserve, people make an offering of sweets, rice and fruit to Banobibi or soothe Dakshin Rai with music.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Graham says:

    Thank you for sharing, my first Shamanic dreaming experience was of a blue tiger,which took place at Karme Choling Shambhala Retreat Center, Barnet, Vermont.


    1. Thanks for sharing Linda, in the shaman journey, the animals and avian at point of depth of journey is that if a tiger is striped in the waking life, one reaches the depth in dreaming (shamanic journey) and the tiger is the same in the journey, but when one is a beginner or green, the projection dreaming occurs in both dreams or shamanic journeys and at the more surface levels of shamanic journeying, one can project the tiger or any animal and avian, what the human wishes to project it as, it can be mean, nice, colorful etc, these are just levels of the journey, the deeper the level the more they match to what what the tiger is in incarnated in this physical world, including fierceness – for you would not climb into the tigers cage at the zoo in waking life, so too in shamanic journeys, at the deepest levels the tiger is ‘real’ and fierce and would tear you apart, and all is good no matter what levels we are at in shamanic journeying or dreaming to dream walking, they just get deeper and more real.


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