Mythology Monday: That Time Amaterasu Hung Out In A Cave


So, in a post I made earlier this month I told you all about Izanagi and Izanami, and mentioned three other gods. This story is about one of them, specifically Amaterasu.

So, Susano-o is told to go down to Earth by Izanagi one day, for some nebulous reason, but probably because he’s a bit of a dick and not particularly well liked by the other gods. Susano-o is like, “OK, I’ll go, but let me say goodbye to my sister Amaterasu first.”

Remember how I mentioned earlier that the other gods aren’t too fond of Susano-o? Well Amaterasu really doesn’t like him, mostly because one day he told her that she ain’t shit. So, needless to say, Amaterasu is a bit suspicious of her brother’s reason for visiting.

Susano-o is like, “No, it’s cool, and to prove it’s cool let’s have ourselves a god making contest. You know, for fun.” So they take an object belonging to the other and start making some gods from them. Which is apparently something that they can do. Amaterasu makes 3 goddesses from Susano-o’s sword, and Susano-o five gods from Amaterasu’s necklace. Then Amaterasu declares herself the winner because those gods were made from her jewelry.

Susano-o, believing that this is bullshit, proceeds to flip his shit. Seriously, he throws a flayed pony on Amaterasu’s altar and kills one of her priestesses. This results in two things: Susano-o’s trip to Earth becoming a full on banishment, and an understandably upset Amaterasu to go sulk in a cave.

Now, this is not the greatest thing to happen, because she’s the fucking sun, and life on planet Earth kind of needs the sun to be, you know, alive. The rest of the gods know this, so they decide that they kind of need to do something about this.

First they try pleading. No dice. Then they try ritual sacrifice. Nope, not coming out. Then Ame-no Uzume, the goddess of dawn and partying, comes up with an idea. First, she hangs a jade mirror outside the cave. Then she turns a washtub over and decides to show the gods her new stripping routine.

This is the most hilarious thing the deities have ever seen, and Amaterasu decides to poke her head out and see what all the hubbub is about. Then she sees her reflection in the mirror and thinks, “Wow, I look pretty good today.” So this lures her out, and the other gods quickly seal the cave up so she can’t run back in.

Thusly the planet is saved. By exotic dancing.

And the moral of the story is to maybe just let your siblings win every once in a while.

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