PSi #21 Fluid States - Japan, Osorezan cultural visit correspondence by Helen Moore

Osorezan Cultural Visit

by Helen Moore

We journey to Mt.Osorezan (Mount Fear) in the far north edge of Honshu, the deep north. Travelling through an area described as an axe shape, passing islands along the coast and winding through tall forests to a place considered ‘otherworldly’. The temple site, founded in the 19th century in  this remote place, can be snow bound for several months of the year. 

Crossing the volcanic rock-strewn landscape is walking on the terrain of the imagination: visualising the mandala of the lotus flower with surrounding mountains as its eight petals and Lake Usori as its heart. Standing down at the lake with its stretch of white sand and gazing out to Mount Osorezan, becomes a conversation. Some will later say, ‘I felt the mountain looking back at me’. 

A smell of sulphur in the air indicates the presence of underground thermal activity. There are hot pools here that have a long history of pilgims seeking benefits from their medicinal and healing properties. We also bathe in these waters. 

Many offerings, including dolls, have been brought to this site by families, often remembering children who have passed away. Spinning pinwheeels are placed like flowers on personalised rock piles. Empathy and acceptance can be sensed at the Temple for those that come with a need to express grief, in a way that other ceremonies or rituals may not have satisfied. Contamination and decontamination.

 

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Tags: Performance Studies in Asia  

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