Amaterasu and Susano-O: Out of the Cave and Into the Light

Some people say they were brother and sister, Susano-O and Amaterasu. Other people say they were meant to be husband and wife. One thing, however, was clear. They rarely agreed on even the smallest thing, and so could never tolerate the presence of the other for very long.
     And yet, despite their many differences, there was a very close bond between them, which brought them together again and again. Here is the story of one such meeting.


Amaterasu was Goddess of the Sun in the blessed land of Japan.

Amaterasu was the Sun goddess. Her gentle beauty and warmth radiated life force and hope throughout the blessed land of Japan, and far beyond. Amaterasu was the one who showed the people their beauty and potential.

Susano-O was the Storm God of Japan; he covered a lot of ground!Susano-O was the Storm god.
He was the one who released pent-up feelings, shaking things up if they became too stagnant. The people called upon him  often when things needed to get moving again. Susano-O was also known affectionately as The Impetuous Male, because he loved to move quickly, creating chaos and noise wherever he went.

    Now the elders tell us that one day, Susano-O (also known as Susa) went up to the heavenly realm to visit his sister. He was about to make the long journey to the underworld to be reunited with their long-dead mother, and he was a little afraid of making the trip. He had heard terrible tales of the horrors he would find there and wondered if he would be changed forever, or even if he would return at all.
     To strengthen himself for this journey, Susa decided to spend a season basking in his sister’s light and wisdom. He knew, better than anyone, that her light could be a soul-warming comfort.
     In his haste to see Ama (that is, Amaterasu, of course), Susa moved through the sky with a crackling thunder, shaking mountains and rivers and sending all living beings into hiding. The night seemed to fill with dancing furies as an inky velvet spread across the sky.

Do red dragons frighten you?

     Even Ama became frightened so she decided to take a few precautions when meeting him. She placed a quiver at her side and a bow in her hand as she stepped forward to greet him.
     "Why do you disturb the peace of our kingdom, Susa? Surely, you have more than enough activity in your own kingdom!" Ama looked at Susa a little disdainfully through her bowstrings. She had not forgotten their last quarrel and hoped to hold him off with a strong facade.

This was not exactly the picture of love and devotion he was hoping to find.    Susa replied in his most courtly manner, "O, radiant, fair sister, I wish you no harm. My only desire is your warm company, a glimpse of your lovely face, and a few pleasant words before I descend to the underworld to find our most esteemed mother."   

     His answer pleased her, but Ama knew her brother well and decided to ask for more proof of his good intentions. Susa then proposed that they should create children who would rule the blessed land wisely. He hoped Ama would then realize that he had all of their best interests at heart. Perhaps she would allow him to stay for awhile, until he could pluck up enough courage to descend to the dark place below.
     Ama agreed. She took her brother’s sword, broke it into three pieces, and after chewing the pieces for many days and nights, blew a light mist from her mouth, which gave birth to three goddesses who were more beautiful than any other goddesses then living... excepting Ama herself, of course.
     Susano-O then asked his sister for the five jewels she was wearing, and after cracking them between his teeth, blew a light mist from his mouth and gave birth to five masculine deities who were more powerful than any other deities then living...excepting Susa himself, of course.

 Although he had created the five gods from Ama’s jewels, Susa was altogether too pleased with himself and began jumping around boasting of his omnipotence, rarely a wise move even for a god. When Ama reminded him that the gods had been created from her jewels, Susa became enraged. Why didn’t she appreciate him?!
     Losing all self-control, he released the wind and rain he held under his waving arms. He destroyed Ama’s carefully tended rice fields, filled in her precious irrigation ditches, and even deposited mud and excrement in her temples!

Page 2  

View a Japanese Painting of Amaterasu!

 About the story   About the symbols   Resources   Next Story


Symbols    Stories    Dreams    Poetry
Invoking the Muse   The Hero's Journey
Contact Us    About the Site
Bookstore     Mailing List
Links     HOME   Site Map

©2000, Lyrica. All rights reserved
Lyrica is a registered trademark.

Link to download free RealAudio player Link to audio recording of story