By Stacey Demarco. Illustrations by Jimmy Manton.
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.
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.
If our strong, healthy self-esteem tips over into arrogance or narcissism, it is not true balance. In this world full of celebrities who are nothing but pretty faces, who are famous just for being famous, it is not surprising that many people believe that self-esteem and selfworth come from the outside in, from the admiration of others. Take the admiring people away, and if there is no solid core of self-worth, there is little left.
mirror, sun, silk, silkworms, cave
This beautiful invocation helps you connect to Amaterasu when you wish to build your self-esteem.
You’ll need an orange or yellow candle, incense, some solar water (water left out over seven days in the noonday sun), a small scrap of ribbon or silk or a gold piece of jewelry, and a small hand mirror.
The perfect time to do this is at dawn, but any time during the day is fine. Dress up in your “finest silks” or wear something that’s uplifting and decidedly gorgeous. Whatever you wear, it should make you feel good!
Light the candle and incense, face the sun, and say:
I honor you, Amaterasu. I ask you to turn your light upon me.
I honor you with this piece of silk (or jewelry) and ask that it become a talisman of power.
Goddess of the sun, bless me. I ask that I see myself in my true light and that I love myself fully. Let me not hide who I am. I ask that laughter heal and balance me. I ask that I see myself in dazzling beauty and warmth.
Hold up the mirror and look at your reflection, and say:
I love myself.
I carry the divine spark of the goddess within me.
Now sprinkle the solar water upon yourself.
Ask Amaterasu, What can I do next to grow myself? Listen, and write down anything that comes to mind. Consider acting on this advice later.
Thank Amaterasu and blow out the candle when you are ready.
Carry the piece of silk or wear the piece of jewelry to remind you of your own light and the blessing of this goddess.
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