Excerpt from Goddess and Sirens

by Stacey Demarco

You are enough. Build your self-esteem from the inside out. It’s your turn to shine. Be the sunshine in your own life!

Amaterasu is the sun goddess of the Shinto faith. She is one of the most loved of the Japanese deities and there are many myths surrounding her.

Amaterasu lives a peaceful life in harmony with the workings of nature, shining brightly among her herd of horses and gardens full of silk worms for her weaving. However, her brother Susano’o is much more disruptive and chaotic.

In some versions of the story, Susano’o became jealous of his sister and slaughtered her horses and her silk worms. When Amaterasu came upon such a gruesome and shocking scene, she felt so overcome with grief and hopelessness that she retreated into a cave. This left the earth with no life-giving sun, and all grew cold and dead. The earthly plane became a haven for evil spirits, and people began to die from lack of food.

with grief and hopelessness that she retreated into a cave. This left the earth with no life-giving sun, and all grew cold and dead. The earthly plane became a haven for evil spirits, and people began to die from lack of food.

The other gods and the humans waited outside Amaterasu’s cave and tried everything to get her to come out again. She refused, never wishing to show her face again. As things grew desperate, Uzume, Amaterasu’s sister, had an idea. She began to dance and sing loudly and comically. This brought a roar of approval from the assembled crowd, and their laughter rang across the world.

Amaterasu became curious, listening to these lively, happy sounds, and decided to peek out of her cave. Uzume was prepared and had placed a mirror just outside the cave. When the bright light of dawn that was Amaterasu’s energy hit the mirror, the goddess was bedazzled by her own reflection, and Uzume was able to pull her out of the cave. The world again became a better place by her presence, and Amaterasu understood her true worth.

Call upon Amaterasu when you are feeling low in self-esteem and when you feel like you are not enough. Amaterasu’s very name means “to shine in heaven,” and this is what this goddess encourages us to do—let our own light shine. First, we have to understand ourselves a little better and know how truly important we are—to those around us and to the world at large. Without building true self-esteem from the inside out, creating a true love of ourselves, we are limited in what we do.

The effects of low self-esteem can permeate our lives easily! When we don’t love ourselves or when we only rely on others for our love, it is difficult to stay balanced, keep our boundaries, have a healthy body image, be successful, and simply enjoy our lives to the fullest. We see the effects particularly when we shy away from taking positive risks and growing. Having positive self-esteem means we shine, and that is evident for all to see.


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