This, the longest of Shumei’s major chants, is mainly used three times a year, on February 3, June 30, and December 31, and for special purification ceremonies. The Kamigoto can also be recited by individuals when the need for special purification is felt or when a new resolution is made following a regrettable action. After all, we all have good reason to feel regret at times. Chanting the Kamigoto is a fine way to dissipate the spiritual clouding caused by transgressions and it helps a person maintain an open and pure heart.
Background and Translation
“Kamigoto” literally means “Words of Kami,” implying divine communication. The Kamigoto, like the Amatsunorito, comes from the Shinto tradition. And as with the Amatsunorito, Meishusama modified this chant to increase its potency. The two chants can be thought of as fraternal twins. Both have the capacity to purify spiritual clouds, rejuvenate our spiritual energy, and align us with truth. Chanting either of these prayers generates a sound that purifies our surroundings and prepares us to receive Divine Light. Although its tones and meter are different from the Amatsunorito, the Kamigoto can be regarded as the Amatsunorito’s bigger brother.
The chant has a loose episodic narrative and is a request for divine intervention to purify the earth, the body, and the spirit, sullied because of some indiscretion. The poem calls on kamideities to intervene and dissipate spiritual pollution.
This is a paraphrased version of the Kamigoto’s text:
Words of the Kami
Kamurogi and Kamuromi, rulers of heaven
Called a meeting of the countless gods
And there expressed the wish
That their grandchild rule in peace
Over the land of many reeds and rich grain.
The gods of that land were outraged and rebelled.
So Kamurogi and Kamuromi expelled them all
Purging all treachery from every rock
And every tree, from root to leaf.
Then, rising from their heavenly thrones
They pressed aside the tiers of clouds
And placed their grandchild upon the earth
To rule the land.
Preparing for the new Sovereign’s reign
Izanagi and Izanami pacified the land of
the midday sun
Where the four quarters of the earth meet.
And there they set the columns of a palace in bedrock
Raising the structure’s crossbeams to the skies.
And when the palace was finished
The grandchild took shelter there and ruled
a placid land.
But even in that fair realm the sins of man and spirit
Multiplied, making the land heavy with misfortune.
And so, a purification ritual was performed.
Blocks of metal-hard wood were cut and
Arranged on sacred altars.
Twigs of hemp, chopped at both ends, were sliced.
And a fervent Amatsunorito was voiced.
And then as now, when we chant
Celestial spirits will push aside heaven’s doors
And part the clouds to hear our words.
Earthly spirits will climb to the summits
And part the mist so that our words be heard.
And as heaven listens, every sin will vanish
As the gusts of wind dissipate the blankets of clouds
As the early and late breeze dissolves
the mist of dawn and dusk
As the massive ship sails from the harbor,
disappearing on the vast ocean
As the cluster of thickets are cleared from the hill by a
No sin will remain.
Then, Seoritsuhime, the spirit who lives
in the river torrents
That plunge from the steep crests of the highest peaks
Will take these sins with her into the great sea.
And after she has taken them to the sea
Hayaakitsuhime, who lives where all
brackish currents meet
Will swallow them up with one grand gulp.
And after she has swallowed them whole
Ibukidonushi, who lives at the edge of breath
Will blow them to the netherworld.
And after he has blown them to the netherworld
Hayasasurahime, who lives in the depths
of the underworld
Will wander off and lose them.
And when she has lost them
Will plead that all the sins of
Body and mind be purified.
Thus, we humbly pray.