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Among all the exercises practiced in the Art of Ninzuwu paradigm, we can say that The Soul of Fire, or Soul of Fire prayer, is the most essential. In The Ivory Tablets of the Crow, we read:
“Stay with the Soul of Fire. It is a Prayer of Fire that has been preserved, From a time that was before time. It is the Power of Lightening. Crooked in its shape, It is the Prayer of Fire.”
We find in just about all the coursework given, during the initiatory stages of Ninzuwu, the practitioner is advised to begin all workings with three steps and the Soul of Fire, or Prayer of Fire, is prominent among these. In regards to the Soul of Fire, The Yi Jing Apocrypha of Genghis Khan states:
“It is the Soul of Fire Prayer that has been preserved from a time before time. It is not the worship of gods, but the acknowledgement of a family that is often ignored by men. “
An understanding of the Soul of Fire is required before be duly initiated into the sacred rites of the Art of Ninzuwu. It is for this reason that some have asked, if these Ninzuwu practices date back to the Jomon period, then is there some record of these things in traditional schools of Shinto or Japanese folklore? It is highly probable that by comparison of what is written about the Soul of Fire with some of the spiritual beliefs held after the Jomon period we can find the answer to this and other questions.
We must first understand just what the Soul of Fire really is. In The Ivory Tablets of the Crow, we read:
“This formulae was given to me when I first made my oath to The Fountain of All that Dwells Beyond This World. It is very simple, but must be said one day after another for twenty-one days. It is called the ooh-zz-nn-eehzz-ooh-zz-nn, eek-hss-eehzz-eh-ph, the Soul of Fire, known to the ancient by the names of many goddesses, and it takes up residence in the flesh.”
Here we learn that the Soul of Fire is associated with “a spirit,” for it is said to be called by the names of many goddesses, and that it takes up residence in the flesh. These goddesses are described earlier in The Ivory Tablets in the following passage:
“Every day the fiery ones labored and toiled using only their eyes and thoughts as tools. Every night the Goddesses nurtured the scorpionic-architecture of these monuments and temples in their dreams.”
The “scorpionic-architecture” mentioned in The Ivory Tablets is The Armor of Amaterasu Ohkami. The “fiery ones labored and toiled” in the cultivation of chakras and the flow of energy throughout the body. The Armor of Amaterasu Ohkami is scorpionic, or scorpion-like, as scorpions possess an exoskeleton to protect them from predators. If indeed the Armor of Amaterasu Ohkami is the protective shell of the Soul of Fire, then the Soul of Fire would correspond to the astral body. Both Johuta and Xuz are described in The Ivory Tablets of the Crow wearing a “black armor.” Let us keep this in mind when comparing some aspects of the scorpion with the Soul of Fire (astral body).
Another thing that we must take into consideration, in regards to the Soul of Fire, is what it is called in the Vasuh language, ooh-zz-nn-eehzz-ooh-zz-nn, eek-hss-eehzz-eh-ph, or Nzu-Zhee-Nzu/Shki-Zhee-Phe.
Nzu-Zhee-Nzu means fire and Shki-Zhee-Phe is angel in the Vasuh language. Thus, the Soul of Fire can also be said to be a fiery angel. Interestingly, in Judaic-Christian lore, the seraphim are said to be fiery angels. However, in Ninzuwu Metaphysics our focus in how these parallels relate to our personal transformation and in what ways can it serve as an aid in the community. We find this application of the Soul of Fire on a historical level to that of the ikiryo.
In Japanese folklore, the ikiryo refers to a spirit that leaves the body of a living person and subsequently haunts other people or places, sometimes across great distances. However, the ikiryo is not limited to apparent negative behavior, but can interact in a purposeful manner in its said environment. Under the topic kiryo, Wikipedia states:
“The popular belief that the human spirit (or soul) can escape from the body has been around since early times, with eyewitness accounts and experiences (hauntings, possessions, out-of-body experience) reported in anecdotal and fictional writings. Vengeful spirits (怨霊 onryō?) of the living are said to inflict curses (祟り tatari?) upon the subject or subjects of their vengeance by means of transforming into their ikiryō form. It is believed that if a sufficient grudge is held, all or part of the perpetrator’s soul leaves the body, appearing in front of the victim to harm or curse them, a concept not so dissimilar from the evil eye. The ikiryō has even made its way into Buddhist scriptures, where they are described as “living spirits” who, if angered, might bring about curses, even just before their death…. However, according to mythology, the ikiryō does not necessarily act out of spite or vengefulness, and stories are told of the ikiryō who bears no grudge, or poses no real threat. In recorded examples, the spirit sometimes takes possession of another person’s body for motives other than vengeance, such as love and infatuation (for example the Matsutōya ghost below). A person’s ikiryō may also leave the body (often very shortly before death) to manifest its presence around loved ones, friends and/or acquaintances.”
What is interesting about the topic of the ikiryo, which connects it to the Soul of Fire, is what is mentioned in the latter part of what is mentioned on Wikipedia:
“According to Yanagita, tobi-damashi (飛びだまし?) is the equivalent term to the Senboku District, Akita region. Yanagita defines this as the ability of certain persons to traverse the world in their Ikirȳo form. Such individuals are purported to have voluntary control of this ability, in contrast to those who are only temporarily capable of tapping into such a state as a precursor to their death …There are cases where the wandering ikiryō appear as a floating “soul flame”, known in Japan as the hitodama or hidama…. However, a “soul flame” from a person who is near death is not considered unusual, wity the traditional conception among Japanese being that the soul escapes the body within a short phase (several days) either before or after death. Therefore, pre-death soul flames may not be treated as cases of ikiryō in works on the subject of ghosts, but filed under chapters on the hitodama phenomenon.
One case of a near-death hitodama deemed ‘suitable for discussion’ under the topic of ikiryō by a folklorist closely resembled the aforementioned tale of the woman’s head in the “Sorori Monogatari”, namely, that the subject who witnessed the soul’s apparition pursued it ruthlessly, until he discovered the owner of the soul, who claimed to have seen the entire experience of being chased during a dream. The subject worked at the town office of Tōno, Iwate, and one night, he reported seeing an hidama emerge from a stable and into the house’s entrance where it was ‘flying around’. He claimed to have chased it with a broom, and trapped it beneath a washbasin. A while after, he was rushed out to see his sick uncle on the brink of death, but he made sure to release the fireball from its trapping. He soon learned that his uncle had only just passed away, but his uncle came back to life again, enough so to accuse the nephew of the of chasing him with a broom and capturing him. Similarly, the folklore archives of Umedoi, Mie Prefecture (now part of Inabe) tells a tale about a band of men who, late in the night, spotted and chased a fireball into a sake warehouse, waking a maid who was asleep inside. The maid later professed to being “pursued by many men and fleeing” to take refuge in the warehouse.”
According to the information presented thus far, the ikiryo can take the form of what is known as a “soul flame. We also discover that this ability of the ikiryo, according to Yanagita, cited in quote, was under voluntary control of those skilled in its art. In The Armor of Amaterasu Ohkami, we read:
“In the Ivory Tablets of the Crow, we read about four distinct features of the Shamuzi. In the following passage we have inserted the names of the “four souls” next to their corresponding aspect found in the Shamuzi:
“Now the lower part of the Shamuzi is like a horse (nigi-mitama) and the upper part is that of a beautiful woman with long golden hair (saki-mitama). Its eyes are like those of a cat (kushi-mitama) and in its teeth are the fangs of a bat (ara-mitama). However, its spirit is pure as a small child (Soul of Fire) for innocence is a valuable treasure that has long since been forgotten.”
Usually, the Initiate will construct their altar by performing the Opening of the Sea ceremony prior to the Soul of Fire prayer. After the Soul of Fire prayer they are to call the Shamuzi. This is the science of the spiritual embryo. The Opening of the Sea represents the “water” that the embryo is contained in. Then, the Soul of Fire, symbolic of the actual embryo itself.”
It may very well be possible that the Soul of Fire, the spiritual embryo, after its development could be employed at will, and was associated with the ikiryo by those who were unaware of the ancient rites associated with this practice. We can be certain that this is the case, as it is confirmed for us in the last passage appearing in The Ivory Tablets of the Crow:
“During your instruction and exercises, you are still in the womb of your mother. When you are born you must learn how to exercise your own divinity. The one who knows everything is not divine. Remember, the true meaning of god is always connected to something unconscious. God is the spirit that acts on its own accord and there is where true freedom lies.”
Many who have undergone the initiation in The Ivory Tablets of the Crow are often marveled by the intense dreams experienced during this part of the process. After the initiation in The Ivory Tablets we are guided to focus on practices of purity in order to begin walking in the “other worlds.”
“Few have been led down the Path of the Nine Dreams, for virtue is imperative in these worlds. The spirits show not their true faces to men, so they weep in horror. But for those who are pure in heart, there is beauty in these worlds. But the Path is difficult to find, and it is therefore necessary to call Shamuzi to guide you through the Dream of travel.”
It is interesting that we are constantly reminded of the value of the Shamuzi. In other discussions, the Shamuzi was defined by the Mesopotamian terms shamu, meaning heaven, and zi, for spirit. However, we also know of a great connection between ancient Mesopotamian thought and Japan. Japan Encyclopedia defines the Japanese term shamu as “the former title of administrators of Shinto shrines.” According to A Japanese Grammar by Johann Joseph Hoffman, the term zi, means “own,” or “then of self.” Thus, the term Shamuzi, would mean “own administrator of Shinto shrine,” but more appropriately, the self-initiator of the Shinto rites. The Shamuzi has a direct link to the Soul of Fire. In The Ivory Tablets of the Crow, the incantation of the Shamuzi describes the guardian as an “Angel dwelling in the brightness!” The term shamuzi is very similar to shimizu meaning “pure water.”
In summary, i am reminded of the words appearing 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, and the ancients would create “gods” out of those that shine the brightest. However, these things should not by worshipped as such.”