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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
This past year, working full time as a priestess

Hello all!

So I had realized recently, I hadn't updated this precious space in quite a long time - nor even my own personal blogs. Where had I gone? 

Well..the story is a bit complicated. Last year, 2017, was a huge transitioning year for me. 

I moved to Japan in May 2017. And since then, it has been a lot of time of trying to settle into my new home, my new environment. Even the weather when I landed was quite different, and made me very weak comparing to coming from Canada's cold winter. I also missed, and still do miss my family a lot back in North America, which is the only downside to living here, and that also weighed heavily on me.

While here in Japan, I began to work full time as a priestess at the Konkokyo Shrine of Yokosuka, and assist with monthly ceremonies as well as private ones, in which there were many.
In addition, since Yokosuka is a naval base town, despite not knowing Japanese entirely fluently yet, I still was blessed to be busy with both translation work and also interacting with the local American community here. It was and is really great, and I love it here, but before I realized it, my time was getting busier and busier! I hardly had time to go online at all; only to check a few emails and messages, or answer direct questions.

The Fall itself felt like a blur, and in November, late Fall season, we held our Grand Ceremony, which is one of the two biggest ceremonies of the year. (The other is in May, or late Spring). After that, Winter came and New Years season came around, the busiest season of the year for shrines since everyone comes to pray for a happy and safe New Year, and in addition for the Year-End purification ceremonies, and Mochitsuki (mochi making event) in January.

And now..that brings us to here! And things have finally come to a settle I think. At least, I'm managing things a lot better and understand the work flow of the shrine here, and the general schedule. As well as being used to the home here, and the local city is familiarized to me as well. 

So, while I do have some long-term work I need to do, such as continuing to answer emails and questions, shrine work, which includes a website and print materials I need to make for this year and will take some time, and in addition of course the ceremonies - and studying more Japanese - between all these things, I also want to make a commitment to post more articles regularly! 

So thank you all and to those who have been patient with me! I deeply appreciate it.

Since 2015, I've been in a kind of nonstop busy mode. Priestess training was back in 2015, 2016 had a lot of travel to Japan, and now 2017 just flew by doing work here - 2018 I'm hoping is a lot more stable year where I can be settled into a good work flow schedule smoothly.

And I hope by 2019, I'll have a better handle on everything to do some hobbies I want to pursue, such as dollmaking, and doing more art and creative writing. But I want to get important things done first, or I can't enjoy other hobbies personally!

In any case, I know this update isn't entirely educational or Shinto related...but I think sharing some insight just into what I learned working as a priestess full time is like, I'll share here a bit! Hopefully you'll find it interesting at least. After this, I do plan to go back to usual educational articles, so please look forward to them!


A photo of when I danced kibimai, a type of ancient kagura (sacred dance) I offered to Kamisama in the Konkokyo Shrine of Toronto, April 2017, before I left for Japan

Before I moved to Yokosuka, I did priestess work in Toronto. However, since it's in Toronto and Canadian culture is much different than Japan, services were only held every other Sunday, since it was the day of the week most had off in Canada, and other days people would be working and unable to visit. We also had to schedule around the western holidays like Easter, Christmas, and so on which also made having more regular ceremonies a bit difficult. In contrast, in Japan, we go by Japanese holidays which match up with the traditional rituals and ceremonies in the shrine, so it's much easier for the people to come more often.

So in other words...while I worked in Toronto - it was quite easier workload in comparison. I had the whole week, sometimes two free weeks, and then just had the one day I had to do priestess work. Of course it was a little sad for me, but it was also why I had a lot more free time to do blogging, or even other part-time work. 

I got an idea of what it was like to work as a full fledged priestess from the monthly ceremonies in Toronto - I helped a little with offerings, preparing tamagushi, and practicing ritual. I also did these intensely during priestess training, so things were as usual and not too unfamiliar. It was a lot like refining the skills. My teacher in Toronto is still the best teacher I have, and I respect him greatly now. I feel very blessed I got to train and learn under him.

However, since moving to Japan here and working more regularly in priestess work - I realized especially what my teacher meant when he said I still had a lot to learn! The workload is completely different in Japan, and since the shrine here is 120 years old, there were a lot of older knowledge of our shrine tradition I learned as well, and my mind and knowledge expanded so much more. 

The house and living area is right next to the shrine itself, so in addition I work essentially every day shrine keeping. It's a whole different experience. Whereas before in Toronto I could relax fully at home and not be concerned about visitors, just caretake my own kamidana - here I need to be sure to wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed (no pajamas!), open the shrine, and then watch for shrine visitors (sanpaisha) if they come and to greet them. Of course; I can afford now to have lazy days and sleep in, since 3 other priests and priestess work here (My partner and his parents) and I am not the Head Priest, but Associate Priestess, so my responsibilities are a lot lighter.

But I realized very seriously that if I was alone, I'd have to be much more serious about it, and be sure to get proper rest and a good schedule. We are open every day of the year, from 8am to 8pm, so I learned quickly the importance of having a very good schedule and managing everything - from personal hygiene, to chores around the house, to making meals, and managing the shrine and shrine work. It was so much more than I expected! 

As well, I gained a deeper respect for those who manage shrines alone. We don't get a salary or anything from a head shrine, so we are self-sustaining - and that means as well learning how to do accounting and managing money, and budgeting properly for things like offerings or ritual tools, to not overspend or even underspend too (buying the right amount and variety for Kamisama is also a factor for important ceremonies). 

In addition, at our shrine in particular, we also have a large garden, - which grows sakaki branches for tamagushi, vegetables such as cucumbers, and many, many oranges and persimmons - which is beautiful and I realized the bounty of nature, but as well, it's also another task to manage to caretake of the trees and plants, and trim and harvest accordingly. 

In making offerings, I also learned how to treat each food item carefully. We should try to place them the way they grow in nature, the proper way to cut and wash them, and the proper way to stack them with stability. Food offerings are still one of the hardest areas to master!

A mixed fruits and vegetables offerings I did for the mitama no kami, or ancestral divine spirits, about a week ago. I learned afterwards I should have spread the eggplants more, and cut the top of the leeks cleaner, to improve and perfect the form.

Despite all of this hard work, I really, really enjoy it, and love to learn all the new things I am! And very happy to do things with care and sincerity towards kami-sama. I was actually moved to tears at one point, to see how deeply everything is carefully made, cleaned, arranged, organized, and run in the shrine for kami-sama, mitama no kami, and the people who visit the shrine and who are parishioners of the shrine. I understood a strong sense of community and sincerity, and I was and am very grateful to learn as well.

As in, it's not just the form or method how to do things as a priestess, but what's very important moreso is the heart, spirit, and sincerity behind it. I feel like I really learned that this year, and I think I will begin to understand it even more the longer I work here. 

I learned being a priestess wasn't just ritual work or making offerings - but it was so much more. It wasalso making offerings with care and consideration, even right down to details like how to wash and clean and cut them (even using a special, kami-sama offering-only knife).

It was learning how to do many different things, such as gardening, harvesting, accounting, budgeting, learning how to cook with the offerings we eat after so nothing goes to waste, learning how to make sacred items properly, learning different types of ceremonies, even my work in coding, graphic design and social media was and is needed to work on having and updating information online - it ends up being a kind of jack of all trades job. That is, this is all behind the scenes to the very important spiritual work which is our main focus.

In the end, all of it is done for the community and kami-sama, which makes me so happy. I feel so glad and grateful to be able to serve the community and kami-sama - that we are a shrine where not only people can come together and rest and have a connection with kami-sama, but also for our shrine tradition in particular, to come and talk about any problem or issue on their mind (a rite called toritsugi mediation). Organizing and running the shrine well contributes to everything to go harmoniously, and it's amazing to me how it all comes together.

This year, I want to start doing the old, ancient prayers at sunrise - such as Ooharae no Kotoba, and Amatsu Norito, as our shrine tradition used to do 100 years ago. I want to make our shrine shine even brighter and have more spiritual strength by returning and nurturing to the roots. Thankfully, it seems kami-sama also agrees, as the past year we have had a lot of things from the past return - including a very old Tenchi Kakitsuke, or Divine Reminder from the Universe, made by a shrine parishioner from a long time ago!


The old Tenchi Kakitsuke. The meaning of the black background and white kanji, is that "even in the darkness, the reminder from the universe will shine through". It has such a strong spiritual power I feel!

So, those are the things I learned deeply especially this year about priestess work. For anyone who is considering to become a Shinto priest, or especially a Shinto priest in the Konkokyo tradition, there is so much to think about and manage...but I think in the end, it's very much worth it.

To see the smiling faces of everyone and their bright spirits - and to feel the power of kami-sama and the gentle power from the shrine and nature around us, I think it is all worth it, and any kind of physical and/or spiritual work that has to be done daily I'm so grateful to do every day!

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  • Mivi
    Mivi says #
    I'm so proud of you. I always love hearing about how your training is going. I cannot be as rigorous in studies since I don't liv

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Thanks Be to the Blood

I love my moon time, I love everything about it. 


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Part Three: A Story of Awakening-X'anyuae

She stepped out onto the glistening waters, hovering just above the surface seemingly weightless to any who may have observed. Once again, she breathed deeply into the radiant core of her bodies drawing up the energy of the waters and allowing them to move through her. Light emanated from her now expanded form and layer upon layer of her bodies moved undulating in response to the echoing she was calling them to.......

Read all of Part Two Here

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What to Do after a Major Otherworldly Vision

Full title: What to Do after a Major Otherworldly Vision or Powerful Calling from the Gods: Priesthood Means Service


A major, otherworldly, life-changing vision—or a forceful calling from the Gods—that lacks the follow-through of acts of service corrupts one’s spirit eventually.


The calling or vision ends up feeding the false ego. ... Wow, voice-recognition software turned “feeding the ego” into “cheating the eagle.” Oh, my Gods! (I added the word “false” later, when correcting the errors voice recognition created.)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha, Ted, that’s hysterical! Thank you for your loving support. That someone as service oriented as you could
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Dear Goddess, Francesca, this is a wise-womanly piece of teaching, and very obviously NOT just empty words! Your experiences refl
  • Jane Gilgun
    Jane Gilgun says #
    I'm looking forward to autumn and to winter because winter especially in Minnesota can be beautiful and because of the cold it inv
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Hi, Jane, thank you for your comments. They are beautiful, well spoken, loving, and deep. I agree with all of them. As I said in

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
A Story of Awakening-X'anyuae

The following is a story I wrote almost five years ago and posted to my first blog, The Magickal Pen. I love to read the works of Dion Fortune, and especially am intrigued by her use of fiction as a tome of teaching the mysteries. She is not the only author who makes use of this vehicle for studies and so, as one who seeks inspiration from many sources, I thought I would give it a try. 

I have waited until what I believed to be the right moment to share it again and to a broader audience and now seems to "it". There are so many things at this point in time that are pulling us in many directions and the footing and foundations that we may have worked so carefully at being the staples of our spiritual diets may be shifting and uneasy. So, we need to find new ways of engaging our learning and be open and receptive to all that can serve as lessons along our chosen paths. Maybe all that is needed to renew and shore up those foundations is a foray into a world of creation and fiction that might turn a key to a new awakening within. You be the judge....

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Can't wait to see what happens next. Thanks for sharing, Tasha

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Influence of Love


Being a Priestess is not only working to merge the energies of As Above So Below for all of humanity in an energetic manner, it is also working in a practical, heart centred and tangible way with all sisters and brothers on this earth plane.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Mother Priestess

A good deal of my Priestessing has been child rearing as of late, I am at home with a three and a half month old and a three and a half year old. For those of you that haven't heard of threenagers or haven't experienced the joys of a baby that wants desperately to be on the move and talking, yet lacks the skills to accomplish such desires, let me assure you our home is full of great big emotions, including this Mama working daily to redirect her passionate energy away from impatience and explosions and into gentle guidance through the beautifully bright rainbow landscape of emotions. 


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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Thank you, I will do my best.Is there anything specific you wish to know about?Let me know.
  • Candise
    Candise says #
    Bless you Tasha! I would love any Crone wisdom that you have to pass on!
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    What a beautiful piece you have written. In my crone years I feel fortunae o have access to so much that was unthinkable in my ear

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