Symbols - What does heaven look like
Shide are ceremonial strips of paper made into the shape of a zig zag pattern. Shide are used extensively in Shinto. They can be hung from shrines, hung from the back of the Obis, attached to wands and so on.
The zig-zag pattern is important. The zigzag, lightning like pattern is a symbol of kundalini energy and is found all over the world with universal meaning. It can be found in cave paintings in Europe, on the cloth used by African tribes, on the body paint for Native Australians and in their paintings.
It symbolically describes the surge of energy that travels up the spine during a very intense kundalini experience which is described like a ‘bolt of lightning’ [hence the symbolism].
Hanging a shide from the back of an obi has real significance, as it implies a person who has been through the experience of kundalini awakening.
On the right we have a hugely symbolic painting. It was published in 1763.
The person wears a symbolic hat – the clitoris shape of the kabuto. They carry a fan. The person is an actor – a male – portraying a geisha, so adopting a male/female role indicating a person who has joined up with their feminine side – the chemical wedding – the merge. He is wearing an undergarment with a spiral pattern – the energy of the universe. He carries the ceremonial Shinto wand or gohei and on the wand the shide are fastened. The wand is stuck into the back of his obi indicating that the energy has travelled up his/her spine.
There are pomegranates decorating the robe.
Finally we need to know that Uzaemon was an outstanding actor who specialised in kabuki dances and was known as Japan’s leading kabuki dancer.
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