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How can I become a Shinto Priestess?

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How can I become a Shinto Priestess? 2004/4/7 23:04
If it's possible in any way to become a miko or, Priestess in the shinto religon, I would like to know. I've searched on the web for days for infromation, and have not found the infromation i needed. If there is anyone who has infromation, please respond.
-Thank You
by Kelli Wilson  

as far as I know 2004/4/8 13:55
these people volunteer for the position and if selected by the governing body of the shrine or location they get to help out.

Mind you they all have day jobs. Being a member of the Shinto clergy is not like in other traditions where it is a position supported though the church.

Be aware that you will be up against a wall. There is a debate as it even if kami even exist outside of Japan. Women are not high in the pecking order, nor do they tend to stay long. My wife was one when she was a little girl for a few weeks.

I have no idea how welcome a foreign woman would be in the mix, no matter how pure your desire to help. That shouldn't stop you from trying. You won't know until you do.

1st - learn to speak Japanese perfectly
2nd - find a job in Japan
3rd - start asking around your local shinto shrines, but expect to be met with a good deal of surprise.

Good luck!

by Mokurai rate this post as useful

Ask around? 2004/7/9 11:31
I guess you'd have to go to Japan and/or your local shinto shrine. [It sounds odd, but there are Shinto shrines in America] and ask.
by Murasaki rate this post as useful

Shinto priestess 2004/7/11 22:04
One Japanese priestess open to working with foreigners is a woman near Nara. She only speaks Japanese

Alternatively, if you are in America, you could approach Tsubaki Shrine at this address;
kannagara@prodigy.net
http://www.TsubakiShrine.com

by John Dougill rate this post as useful

miko or priestess 2004/7/18 08:21
You are talking about two different jobs. Ones a shrine virgin. (Maybe not many qualify) A priestess is a female priest. Not many around but its possible.

Its not just a matter of dressing up. I suggest you study a little about Shinto. What they stand for. What they stood for before WW2. Even Japanese people are sometimes up in arms with political connections old and new. Read the Yasakuni thread. Its a Shinto Shrine.

Dont want to put you off but foreign people have made some headway into Japanese religion and culture. But this idea sounds just about as remote as you becoming the pope

by kage rate this post as useful

Shinto in America 2004/8/12 14:50
I was wondering if their is a Shinto Shrine in America. If anyone knows, please e mail me. Thank you
by Heather Varney rate this post as useful

Miko or Shinto Priest 2004/8/27 10:51
Hi. I'm a daughter of Shinto priest... so I know little bit about Shinto Priest and Miko. My dad wanted to take over the Srine so he was expecting me to be a priest... (Thanks God, I got away!)

Since I was little, I had to be Miko to help my dad... Miko is like an assistant. Tradtionally, it is like Virgin something, right? But to me, it was like a waitress job... (not really working around food but)...

My dad's shrine is not so big so when there is a big festival, wedding or New Year's cerebration, we had to hire some girls for Miko position. We didn't really care who to employ as long as it they are female... Sometimes we hired boys but we don't call boys "Miko". To be Miko, you don't really need any qualification. On the ceremony day, Miko has to help Priest to so whatever the priest has to do... so you will learn by helping him so there won't be a training. (Not hard job... Like just use Sake when Priest ask you to, bring Tamagushi when priest ask you to... something like that) But if you are to work in a super big shrine, you might have to have some training to dance in front of Kami.

To be a priest... Easiest way (to your brain) is to be an apprentice under a priest for few years. You can be a priest after working under a priest everyday for 2 or 3 years (I think it was 2 years). But my dad went to Kokugakuin University to be a priest. I think there are only 1 or 2 University who have the course to be a Shinto Priest. Uni in Japan in usually 4 years and you really have to study history and tradition while you are at Uni (hard to your brain!!) Usually, it is hard to get into Uni but I could get in if I wanted because my dad could be my referee (Did I spell it right?)

By the way, what make you decide to be a priest??? So interesting... I was born in a Shinto priest's family and since I was born it was like... my life pass was already set and I hated it.

I think you have a chance to do Miko's job if you go and ask Shinto priest about a month before New Year's eve and say "Miko-san no Shigoto wo sasete kudasai" (Please let me work as Miko)or "Miko-san wo boshuu shiteimasuka?" (Are you looking for some people for Miko position?) But you need some Japanese speaking skills... because I have never seen a Shinto Priest who can speak English! Good luck!

by That's my family business! rate this post as useful

non-Japanese priestess 2005/1/19 12:37
I believe that there is a non-Japanese Shinto priestess living on Vancouver Island, Canada somewhere. I can't remember the name of the shrine, nor the name of the priestess. But you might want to contact this person. There is also a very good on-line Shinto community on Yahoo. You should check it out. Good luck.
by yuko rate this post as useful

Shinto Shrines in America 2005/1/25 04:30
There are a few Shinto shrines in America that I know of. Other than the 6 or so in Hawaii, there is the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America in Washington State, and a small (but legitimately functional) shrine in Colorado, located at the Shambhala Mountain Center.
by marshall elliott rate this post as useful

Just know where to look 2005/3/27 10:55
I also want to be a miko, so I asked the priests at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Washington, and they said they would be more than willing to help to train me. I don't know if this helps, but I hope it does give you hope.
by Future Miko rate this post as useful

about the non-japanese priestess.... 2005/4/24 07:35
Yuko, you mentioned something about a non-japanese priestess on vancouver island, by any chance would you kno whow to contact her?
by Rani rate this post as useful

hope this will correct some bad info 2005/5/7 10:16
A friend of mine used to be a Miko, so I know a little about the issue. Miko and Shinto priestesses actually do get paid, priestesses quite a bit more than Miko; actually they get paid quite well, at least by clergy standards.

Miko are becoming ever more in demand, since the number of those willing to take on the role has been in decline since at least WWII. Part of the reason for this is that they both have to fit certain qualifications. Amongst these are that they have to have natural (i.e., dark brown or black) hair (it can't be lightened), and it has to be long enough to wear in the traditional, covered ponytail style. They cannot have any tattoos or visible piercings.

It's *extremely* unlikely that any non-Japanese girl or woman would be allowed to become a Miko. An Okinawan, yes, and perhaps someone of Korean descent. But Shinto is not just the national religion of Japan, it is also considered one of the repositories of the "kokutai"; the national essence. As such, they naturally want to keep it as "Japanese" as possible. It's possible that there's a Shinto jinja in the US or somewhere that might accept a non-Japanese Miko, but it's going to be a real struggle to get them to take you seriously. Learning fluent Japanese is going to be a necessity, as is becoming very familiar with Shinto, of course.

Sorry this is so restrictive, but that's part of what has allowed Shinto to survive centuries of external pressures. It's a great religion; one of the most fascinating and "natural" of them all. Even if you can't become a "real" Miko or priestess, you can still participate in the Shinto faith and celebrations. Best of luck to you.

by Robert rate this post as useful

Shinto 2005/5/9 16:54
I don't really have much information you becomming a priestess as I am fairly new to the religion, though it is now the religion that I go by. I just thought I should wish you luck in your journy to become a miko. Though I am not Japanese, I am very spirited, to the point that I believe my spirit to be that of pure Japanese. I plan to take a pilgrimage to Japan some day, perhaps even live there, it's just that Nihon seems very familiar to me. I also plan to go to as many shrines as I possibly can, and before I go, I will most definitely learn fluent Japanese, because I hope to attain the wisdom of my elders. I am relatively young (18) and as a younger child I was not exposed to much Japanese culture, but I still found to feel that I find it so very familiar to me, no matter how distanced I was then. And I found Shinto on my own without aid from anyone in a sort of mystical way.

I hope you don't mind the story, but I have the feeling to rant. But you see It was about a year or two ago and I had found even more enthusiasim for Japanese culture. And I searched for any Japanese book I could find in my school library and I had searched every single day and I must have been across the same shelf at least 100 times and there was no Japanese book there, but one day I went by that same shelf and I saw a book about Shinto, it wasn't there before but here it was and I found it. It was at least a 5-10 year old book so I decided to check it out...and I was the very first person to check it out, it appeared to have been in that library for at least as long as it had been published. I became so enthralled with Shinto and I read that book even through class. And I felt like it was for me and it was me, I felt so comfortable and so familiar with it. And to this day I believe that I did not find Shinto but Shinto found me. And I hope that if you are Shinto that you feel the same way.

Shinto is a part of my very being and I believe That this life is the first time that I am not of Japanese descent, but I feel with every bit of my spirit that I was Japanese in a past life, and a past life before that and a past life before that. To those that don't understand, it would appear that I am mentally insane, but I assure you, this feeling I have, this feeling I have for Shinto and for Nihon is something that cannot fully be explained in words.

by "Hogyokou" rate this post as useful

Beautiful 2005/11/30 08:43
yes I remember when shinto "found me" and i hope (though a foreigner) to be a priest someday as well
by Gryffyn rate this post as useful

kelli wilson 2005/11/30 10:27
To the original poster. If you are so familiar with the religion as to want to become a priest then you must know more about the religion then any of us on here and you should be able to find that info out on your own.
by ya rate this post as useful

Gravity 2005/12/2 08:53
Being a priestess isn't a profession you can take on. It is true that a lot of high-school girls probably spend some of their time volunteering or searching around for shrine positions, but that means your competition is bigger.

It is very difficult to become a priestess, not so much a miko, because as someone else has already pointed out, their tasks are usually menial, since they are untrained.

Realistically, you need to work much harder than anyone else to become a priestess because the 'clergy' is still largely male, and some portions of it you won't even be able to gain access to unless you were born to a family with that background.

The fact that you may be caucasian, or of another nationality that can't pass for Japanese means you probably have no real chances of becoming a miko in Japan. Some shrines may let you have the 'miko experience' by dressing up though.

There are special qualities a priestess needs, and her life is often lonely and plagued with religious detail. Rituals are important in Japan, so your Japanese needs to be more fluent than the average Japanese.

All in all, it isn't impossible for you to become a shinto priestess, but doing it in Japan would require it to change as a nation of jealous national pride. Try seeing about studies you can do, jobs and such and see what's available in whatever country you live in.

by Katsuyuki rate this post as useful

Ah the elusive Shinto 2005/12/5 13:16
I too am inexplicably drawn to Shinto and have wondered about becoming a Priestess. A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine has a chapter about a delightful Priestess who was born into Shintoism. I can't seem to get enough of it but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much representation in New Zealand. I am doing the Shikoku pilgrimage in May/June next year - hopefully that will give me even more insight...Good luck and don't give up if it feels profound
by E rate this post as useful

Becomeing a shinto priestess 2006/1/2 11:38
Yes it is possible to become a shinto priestess.My father is a Shinto priest that works in his own shrine, I am a shinto nun-in traing witch means I am at the age were I am trainging to become a shinto nun(shrine maiden).I asist my father is exorcisms,songs,and prayers.I have no choice by to become a Shinto priestess becomes it runs in my blood, it is my duty to carry on our family tradtion.I am at the age 13 and soon most lickley at the age 18 I can become a shinto nun.But you just can't snap your fingers and become a Shinto priestess, their are three stages.
1)Shinto priestess nun-in traing
2)Shinto priestess nun.
3)Shinto priestess
They are all basicly leveles of priestess.A Shinto priestess is above a shinto nun, and all.Wehen you are a Shinto priestess it means you have reached enlightment in a human life, witch means you wouln't reincarnate, you would become like Budda.So if you start your training at an early age it is likely you can become a shinto priestess.
by Sakura rate this post as useful

to kelly wilson 2006/1/3 08:50
why? I mean someone to become a shinto priest shouldn't be a Shintoist?

And then Shintoists should know hot to become a priest, isn't it?

I mean me, who i am a christian , i know what to do to become a priest.

Let me know

by I Love Sakura rate this post as useful

On Vancouver Island. 2006/1/17 07:59
I live midway on Vancouver Island, I can make it anywhere on the island in a matter of hours.

I too would like to know how I could find, contact, visit the shine here.

by Avor rate this post as useful

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