Amaterasu Picture

Amaterasu (天照), Amaterasu-ōmikami (天照大神/天照大御神) or Ōhirume-no-muchi-no-kami (大日孁貴神) is a sun goddess and one of the principal Shinto deities (神 kami). The meaning of her name, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is "the great august kami who shines in the heaven".She was born from the left eye of Izanagi as he purified himself in a river and went on to become the ruler of the Higher Celestial Plain (Takamagahara).

She is also said to be directly linked in lineage to the Imperial Household of Japan and the Emperor, who are considered descendants of the kami themselves.

The tales tell of great rivalry between Amaterasu and Susano'o (Amaterasu's Brother and God of the Storm and Sea). When he was to leave Heaven forever because Izanagi ordered him to, he went to say goodbye to his sister. Amaterasu, suspicious, proposed him a challenge: each of them was to turn an object of the other's into people. Amaterasu created three women from Susano'o's sword while he created five men from her necklace. Amaterasu said the men were hers because they were born of her necklace. Susano'o destroyed her rice fields, threw a dead pony into her loom, and killed one of her assistants in anger. For this, Amaterasu, sad, angry and scared, went to hide inside Ama-no-Iwato, the "heavenly rock cave", so the Sun was hidden and the world became dark for along time. The Oni (devils of Japanese mythology) came out to the dark world, and the gods could not make Amaterasu come out of the cave.

The intelligent goddess of happiness, Ama-no-Uzume (天宇受売命), took a small boat, turned it upside down near the cave entrance, and began a dance on it, tearing off her clothing in front of the other Kami. They thought this was so funny that they laughed happily.

Amaterasu heard them, and looked out to see why the gods were laughing. When she opened the cave, she saw her wonderful reflection in a mirror Uzume had put on a tree, and slowly came out of the cave.

At that moment, the god Ameno-Tajikarawo (天手力男命) closed the cave behind her, so she could not go back in. Another god tied a magic rope across the entrance. The sun goddess was then asked by the Kami Ame-no-Koyane (天児屋根命) to go back with the gods. She agreed, and light came back to the earth, but Susano'o was punished by being banished from Heaven.

(Source: Wikipedia)

I made this for the Contest "Gods and Goddesses" on
Continue Reading: