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The Black Dragon Society’s history dates back to times of remote antiquity. Some say even before the human beings walked the earth. It’s purpose, ultimately, has always been to protect the earth from the workings of black magic and other negative influences that harm our natural environment.
Dragons are sentient creatures, genie, also known as the immortals, who have are in service of the overall good and exist in the astral, usually described as the sea in many Asian mythologies. The symbology of the dragon is truly prehistoric. The origin of the Chinese dragon, for example, is not certain. The presence of dragons within Chinese culture dates back several thousands of years with the discovery of a dragon statue dating back to the fifth millennium BC from the Yangshao culture in Henan in 1987, and jade badges of rank in coiled form have been excavated from the Hongshan culture circa 4700-2900 BC. Another interesting feature about the history of the dragon, we learn in the Wikipedia article entitled Naga:
“In China, the nāga was equated with the Chinese dragon (Chinese: 龍; pinyin: lóng)….The Buddhist nāga generally has the form of a great cobra, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the nāgas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance. In Buddhist painting, the nāga is sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head.”
Ancient dragons also correspond to the nagas in some traditions. The fact that the naga, in some Buddhist depictions, were portrayed as a human being having a snake or dragon above its head, indicates that a dragon was a symbol of an adept and perhaps one who was initiated into certain mysteries. This can also be seen as the Zhee letter resonating above the head of the Initiate as described in the initiation practices of the Art of Ninzuwu.
The nagas, dragons, and other creatures existed in their own rites before they were merged with Buddhism. During pre-Buddhist times the dragon was a symbol of either a certain esoteric rite, an Initiate, or an Immortal existing in the visible and invisible realms. It was the entrance into the divine realms. Our interest in the Dragon rite, and its “society,” begins with an ancient myth, which describes the quality of the dragon.
The history of The Esoteric Black Dragon Society begins with Owatatsumi-no-Mikoto, also known as Ryujin. Owatatsumi-no-Mikoto is a legendary dragon and god of the sea in ancient Japanese mythology. Owatatsumi-no-Mikoto represents the oldest rite in Shinto mythology, as the kami of the sea was created by Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto before even Amaterasu Ohkami. This aspect of the creation myth seems not to represent the sun itself, as a symbol of Amaterasu Ohkami, but prehistoric priesthoods. This aspect is re-emphasized in certain accounts where certain celestial deities were created due to Izanagi-no-Mikoto’s bathing is the sea in order to purify himself after leaving the Land of Yomi. Certain aspects of this creation account emphasize that it is only be means of purity that certain divine powers can be obtained, and thus Izanagi-no-Mikoto bathing in the cosmic sea, or the waters, produced an ability to merge and employ the powers of the sun and moon, Amaterasu Ohkami and Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto respectively. Thus, it was born that water became and essential part of ancient shamanistic initiatory rites, as water represented another dimension, and also the stellar plains. Waters of the sea reflected the light of the sun and moon at their respective times and this too opened up one to the other worlds. Please review our article. Why is the Mirror A Sacred Emblem in Shinto? Our point here, however, is that within the history and symbology of the dragon, specifically, Owatatsumi-no-Mikoto is an ancient initiatory rite into a metaphysical world that is often overlooked by who practice Shinto. This is revealed for us in the legend of Hikohohodemi no Mikoto. In the Nihon Shoki, we read:
“The elder brother Ho-no-susori no Mikoto had by nature a sea-gift; the younger brother Hiko-ho-ho-demi no Mikoto had by nature a mountain-gift. In the beginning the two brothers, the elder and the younger, conversed together, saying: ” Let us for a trial exchange gifts.” They eventually exchanged them, but neither of them gained aught by doing so. The elder brother repented his bargain, and returned to the younger brother his bow and arrows, asking for his fish-hook to be given back to him. But the younger brother had already lost the elder brother’s fish-book, and there was no means of finding it. He accordingly made another new hook which he offered to his elder brother. But his elder brother refused to accept it, and demanded the old hook. The younger brother, grieved at this, forthwith took his cross-sword and forged from it new fish-hooks, which he heaped up in a winnowing tray, and offered to his brother. But his elder brother was wroth, and said: “These are not my old fish-hook: though they are many, I will not take them.” And be continued repeatedly to demand it vehemently. Therefore Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto’s grief was exceedingly profound, and be went and made moan by the shore of the sea. There he met Shiho-tsutsu no Oji.”
In the metaphoric account, we read of Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto making “moan by the shore of the sea.” This represents entrance into an initiatory rite. It is not uncommon, even in some indigenous faiths today, for a potential initiate, to make a petition by a river or a large body of water. Religions of the United States in Practice, Volume 2, edited by Colleen McDannell, states the following under the topic, The Rite of Baptism in Haitian Vodou:
“The unseen world of the spirits is conceived as an elaborate universe that mirrors our world. The dead and the spirits are separated from the living by an invisible body of water,….The spirits of the dead live in the land an ba dlo (under the sea), a land called Ginen (mythical Africa). In a ceremony that must be done at least once a year and a day after a sevite dies, priests or priestesses call the recently dead from under the waters, and send them on to God. Ancestors who were perfectly important, powerful, or memorable may cycle back again spirits, to help in healing, guidance, and protection, to make life more bearable for the people still alive on the earth.”
Based on the rites of Haitian spirituality, the dead and the spiritual world lay behind an invisible body of water. (Interestingly, wata is an Old Japanese word for “sea; ocean and is connected to the African term Mami Wata, showing a migration of certain people to and from Asia.) Additionally, ancestors who found the need to serve as an aid to humanity and their descendants also came from under the waters. This is more than likely the case with Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto, as he is approached by Shiho-tsutsu no Oji. Old Age in Pre-Nara and Nara Periods by Susanne Formanek, mentions the following:
“Looking at the earliest written monuments of Japanese culture, old people are indeed first mentioned as holding the status of gods, or rather, gods appear in the shape of old people….. This similarity or closeness of the aged with the souls of the dead is also suggested by the word kamusabu as used in the Manyôshû. Meaning literally „to behave, act like a god“, this word is used to describe the transformation of the souls of the dead into gods as well as the ageing of things and of persons. The pertaining to or being connected with the other world which thus characterized the okina is also exemplified by the already mentioned Shiho-tsutsu-no-oji. In the Nihon shoki variants of the Yama-no-sachi legend he is the one helping Yama-no-sachi to reach the Palace of the Sea God, which can be interpreted to be related to that other world beyond the sea where the souls of the dead went to. The whole episode seems to be a mythical relation of a kind of initiation rite in which the initiated is made to die a symbolic death to come back to life provided with the knowledge of the other world and may hint at the fact that in the remote past of Japan’s history old men played the part of the initiator in initiation rites of this kind.”
Formanek’s observation helps us develop that the account of Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto, signaled by the appearance of Shiho-tsutsu no oji, was indeed an initiatory rite, one that is preserved by The Esoteric Black Dragon Society today. I am reminded of the words in The Ivory Tablets of the Crow:
“The Opening of the Sea must precede all operations given with the formulae listed herein. It is the Art of Fire and Water, which began in the cities of Vasuh and Ut . It was practiced by the god Quf.”
The Legend of Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto continues:
“The old man inquired of him saying – “Why dost thou grieve here?” He answered and told him the matter from first to last. The old man said: “Grieve no more. I will arrange this matter for thee.” So he made a basket without interstices, and placing in it Hoho-demi no Mikoto, sank it in the sea. Forthwith he found himself at a pleasant strand, where he abandoned the basket, and proceeding on his way, suddenly arrived at the palace of the Sea-god. This palace was provided with battlements and turrets, and had stately towers. Before the gate there was a well, and over the well there grew a many branched cassia-tree, with wide-spreading boughs and leaves. Now Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto went up to the foot of this tree and loitered about. After some time a beautiful woman appeared, and, pushing open the door, came forth. She at length took a jewel-vessel and approached. She was about to draw water, when, raising her eyes, she saw him, and was alarmed. Returning within, she spoke to her father and mother, saying: “There is a rare stranger at the foot of the tree before the gate.” The god of the Sea thereupon prepared an eightfold cushion and led him in. When they bad taken their seats, he inquired of him the object of his coming. Then Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto explained to him, in reply, all the circumstances. The Sea-god accordingly assembled the fishes, both great and small, and required of them an answer. They all said: “We know not. Only the Red-woman has had a sore mouth for some time past and has not come.” She was therefore peremptorily summoned to appear and on her mouth being examined the lost hook was actually found.”
We read in the above account that Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto sank beneath the sea and when he approached a beautiful palace, he saw a woman near who was about to draw water. Here we can see that this place beneath the see was symbolic of an etheric plane, as the woman was looking to draw water beneath the sea. Of course this cannot be taken literally. This woman, who is later identified as Toyotama-hime-no-Mikoto, also known as Otohime, is described in The Armor of Amaterasu Ohkami as the gatekeeper of a very are and sacred knowledge. Her name means “radiant jewel” and may pertain to an aspect of an initiatory rite that was performed during the full moon.
“After this, Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto took to wife the Seagod’s daughter, Toyo-tama-hime, and dwelt in the sea-palace. For three years he enjoyed peace and pleasure, but still had a longing for his own country, and therefore sighed deeply from time to time. Toyo-tama-hime heard this and told her father, saying: “The Heavenly Grandchild often sighs as if in grief. It may be that it is the sorrow of long in, for his country.”The god of the Sea thereupon drew to him Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto, and addressing him in an easy, familiar way, said: ” If the Heavenly Grandchild desires to return to his country I will send him back.” So he gave him the fish-hook which he had found, and in doing so instructed him, saying: “When thou givest this fish-hook to thy elder brother, before giving it to him call to it secretly, and say, ‘A poor hook.'” He further presented to him the jewel of the flowing tide and the jewel of the ebbing tide, and instructed him, saying: “If thou dost dip the tide-flowing jewel, the tide will suddenly flow, and therewithal thou shalt drown thine elder brother. But in case thy elder brother should repent and beg forgiveness, if, on the contrary, thou dip the tide-ebbing jewel, the tide will spontaneously ebb, and therewithal thou shalt save him. If thou harass him in this way, thy elder brother will of his own accord render submission.”
Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto dwelt in the sea palace, popularly known as Ryūgū-jō, the Dragon palace castle. Wikipedia describes the Dragon palace as follows:
“In Japanese folklore, Ryūgū-jō (竜宮城, 龍宮城 Ryūgū-jō?, lit. Dragon palace castle) is the undersea palace of Ryūjin, the dragon god of the sea. Depending on the version of the legend, it is built from red and white coral, or from solid crystal. The inhabitants of the palace were Ryūjin’s families and servants, who were denizens of the sea. In some legends, on each of the four sides of the palace it is a different season, and one day in the palace is equal to a century outside its boundaries. The most famous legend about the palace concernsUrashima Tarō‘s visit to Ryūgū-jō for three days.”
We read in the information cited above that the each of the four sides of the dragon palace is a different season. Where could such a place exist? In the heavens of course!
Was Ryugujo, the Dragon Palace, which is said to have a different season on each of its four sides, actually symbolic of the Big Dipper and the Pole Star? Controversial and legendary martial artist, Ashida Kim, made this observation in an interview with The Believer:
“In China there is a Black Dragon Fighting Society, before than it was called the Black Dragon Tong of Retribution, before that it was called several other things. Six thousand years ago it was called the Polestar School. The purpose was to preserve knowledge. My theory is they were preserving knowledge from civilizations from time of Atlantis. I think there have been lots of civilizations we don’t remember because of these Planetary cataclysms, but that’s a whole astrological theory. Be that as it may, back then the polestar was Sigma Draconis and that was in the dragon constellation. Since then the polestar has drifted, and now it’s Polaris, which is 15 degrees off from the actual geographic pole. That’s why the planet wobbles. The planet wobbles and every 43,000 years the poles shift and we have a cataclysm. Anyway, they got the name “Black Dragon” because the dragon star was once the polestar, but now it was hidden and so it was black.”
Famous Taoist scholar, Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson wrote the following in the text Daoist Magical Incantations:
“In 3000 B.C., the Celestial North Pole pointed to the star Thuban, in the constellation known as “Draco,” or the Dragon. Draconis was considered to be the most important constellation at that time, and it seemed to pivot around the Heavens via one of its own stars, Thuban (also known as Alpha Draconis). Over time, the gradual change from Draconis to the Great Bear (Blg Dlpper) slgnified an energetic shift that occurred on the planet many centuries ago.”
It seems very probable that the legendary account of Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto and his visit to the Dragon Palace was all a metaphor, symbolizing an initiatory rite that had a lot to do with intercourse with the energies of the Pole star and the Big Dipper. Professor Johnson continues:
“To the ancient Daoists, the Northern Dipper was a celestial bridge that existed between Heaven and Earth. It was the path of celestial travel, the gateway to the Underworld, and the field of creative transformation.The sorcerer could therefore ascend into the Nine Heavens and deliver petitions
(“reports”) to the Celestial Immortals. The Big Dipper was also used as a form of protective power, keeping the sorcerer safe from all manner of demonic influence that were sure to become attracted to the sorcerer’s occult studies and rituals. The sorcerer could therefore receive various powers to control the energetic realms of nature, as well as to control the various actions of evil spirits and demons…. The sorcerer could invoke the magical power of Thunder in order to destroy the energetic and physical realms of people, places and things (specifically an evil spirit or demon)…In ancient China, it was traditionally believed that the Celestial Gate (or Gate of Heaven) was the energetic portal that an individual’s soul entered into at the time of death, thus leading the deceased into another dimension. This magical gate could also be accessed and opened by an experienced Daoist sorcerer.”
If Ryugujo is actually the Big dipper constellation, then the legend of Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto should reveal an initiation into similar powers as those described by Dr. Johnson in regards to the Taoist sorcerers. The story of Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto continues:
“The god of the Sea thereupon drew to him Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto, and addressing him in an easy, familiar way, said: ” If the Heavenly Grandchild desires to return to his country I will send him back.” So he gave him the fish-hook which he had found, and in doing so instructed him, saying: “When thou givest this fish-hook to thy elder brother, before giving it to him call to it secretly, and say, ‘A poor hook.'” He further presented to him the jewel of the flowing tide and the jewel of the ebbing tide, and instructed him, saying: “If thou dost dip the tide-flowing jewel, the tide will suddenly flow, and therewithal thou shalt drown thine elder brother. But in case thy elder brother should repent and beg forgiveness, if, on the contrary, thou dip the tide-ebbing jewel, the tide will spontaneously ebb, and therewithal thou shalt save him. If thou harass him in this way, thy elder brother will of his own accord render submission.”
Here we can see that Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto was blessed with the power of the Tide Jewels and able to overcome his brother’s oppression in regard to such. i am reminded of a passage in The Ivory Tablets of the Crow, which states:
“Listen to my words carefully. Every battle is a creation. There is only one palace. It is the Dragon, but it is also called the Gate of Death in error by many who do not understand. You still do not understand. Look up at the heavens and see the darkness of the night that surrounds you. Is it not lifeless? While it may be spoken about in a manner that is common, it is still the home of the Wanderers and the Fiery Ones. Beyond this darkness is the place of eternal spirit in light.”
The account of Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto concludes:
“When the Heavenly Grandchild was about to set out on his return journey, Toyo-tama-hime addressed him, saying: “Thy handmaiden is already pregnant, and the time of her delivery is not far off. On a day when the winds and waves are raging, I will surely come forth to the sea-shore, and I pray thee that thou wilt make for me a parturition-house, and await me there.”
When Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto returned to his palace, he complied implicitly with the instructions of the Sea-god, and the elder brother, Ho-no-susori no Mikoto, finding himself in the utmost straits, of his own accord admitted his offense, and said: “Henceforward I will be thy subject to perform mimic dances for thee. I beseech thee mercifully to spare my life.” Thereupon he at length yielded his petition, and spared him. This Ho-no-susori no Mikoto was the first ancestor of the Kimi of Wobashi in Ata.
After this Toyo-tama-hime fulfilled her promise, and, bringing with her- her younger sister, Tama-yori-hime, bravely confronted the winds and waves, and came to the sea-shore. When the time of her delivery was at hand, she besought Hiko-hoho-demi no Mikoto, saying: “When thy handmaiden is in travail, I pray thee do not look upon her.” However, the Heavenly Grandchild could not restrain himself, but went secretly and peeped in. Now Toyo-tama-hime was just in childbirth, and had changed into a dragon. She was greatly ashamed, and said: ” Hadst thou not disgraced me, I would have made the sea and land communicate with each other, and forever prevented them from being sundered. But now that thou hast disgraced me, wherewithal shall friendly feelings be knit together?” So she wrapped the infant in rushes, and abandoned it on the sea-shore. Then she barred the sea-path, and passed away. Accordingly the child was called Hiko-nagisa-take-u-gaya-fuki-ahezu no Mikoto.”
Just as Toyotama-hime-no-Mikoto is the gatekeeper of the sacred knowledge, she also aids the initiate in the development of the spiritual embryo. After this process is complete, Tamayori-hime-no-Mikoto, who represents the rite of the new moon, wherein the spiritual embryo is now nurtured under the stars, cares and cultivates this divine being.
Today these initiatory rites still exist and aid in the development of a “dragon” state of consciousness. The Initiate is aided by senoir practitioners and a whole pantheon of immortals, who are and were known in history as the Nagas, Tengu, and etc. Many of these ancestor shaman, who many historical Japanese families would often trace their lineage to, were listed among the kami appearing in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki. The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji lists five classes of immortals:
Guǐxiān (鬼仙—”Ghost Immortal”): A person who cultivates too much yin energy. These immortals are likened to Vampires because they drain the life essence of the living, much like the fox spirit. Ghost immortals do not leave the realm of ghosts.
Rénxiān (人仙—Human Immortal”): Humans have an equal balance of yin and yang energies, so they have the potential of becoming either a ghost or immortal. Although they continue to hunger and thirst and require clothing and shelter like a normal human, these immortals do not suffer from aging or sickness. Human immortals do not leave the realm of humans. There are many sub-classes of human immortals, as discussed above under Shījiě xiān.
Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): When the yin is transformed into the pure yang, a true immortal body will emerge that does not need food, drink, clothing or shelter and is not affected by hot or cold temperatures. Earth immortals do not leave the realm of earth. These immortals are forced to stay on earth until they shed their human form.
Shénxiān (神仙—”Spirit Immortal”): The immortal body of the earthbound class will eventually change into vapor through further practice. They have supernatural powers and can take on the shape of any object. These immortals must remain on earth acquiring merit by teaching mankind about the Tao. Spirit immortals do not leave the realm of spirits. Once enough merit is accumulated, they are called to heaven by a celestial decree.
Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): Spirit immortals who are summoned to heaven are given the minor office of water realm judge. Over time, they are promoted to oversee the earth realm and finally become administrators of the celestial realm. These immortals have the power to travel back and forth between the earthly and celestial realms.
The rites of Owatatsumi-no-Mikoto are still preserved in the teachings of the Art of Ninzuwu. In the Armor of Amaterasu Ohkami, Owatatsumi-no-Mikoto is said to align with the Vasuh letter Bnhu. Bnhu equals 45, which is the sum of the Soul of Fire Prayer itself. B(2) + n(14) + h(8) + u(21) = 45, The Soul of Fire Prayer consists of the numbers 1 to 9:
1 + 2 + 3 = 6. 4 + 5 + 6 = 15. 7 + 8 + 9 = 24. 24 + 15 + 6 = 45
In The Yi Jing Apocrypha of Genghis Khan, all of the Initiatory Dreams appearing in The Ivory Tablets of the Crow are said to fall under the dominion of Owatatsumi-no-Mikoto. The Esoteric Black Dragon Society continues to educate in aspects regarding this ancient initiation. In conclusion, let us reflect on the words written in The Ivory Tablets of the Crow:
“Know that all things exist in water, and that water is the space that the Dream exists in. Fire is the power that radiates its influence over the Dream,”