chapter  8
18 Pages

Taboo

The kami is awesome and out of the ordinary, so it is best to meet him on your own terms, with all practicable precaution taken against unplanned or unprepared encounter. Efforts to minimize the possibility of chance confrontation by the kami have taken a variety of forms. Conformity with the herd, the suppression of originality, is a safe negative method of avoiding the kind of notoriety that attracts the attention of the kami and invites them to deal suitably with what they regard as an insolent flaunting of hubris. Indirection and vagueness-as in linguistic usage-are also employed regularly as a means of manipulating those of the kami, for example, who personify the forces of nature. But the most widely used and the longest established preparation for contact with the kami consists in the strict enforcement of ritual purification and an elaborate code of taboo on actions and on persons likely to be viewed with distaste by them.