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Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


Hexenritter posted:

that being said, maybe restricting picks to 2 per vote or something?

I'm not sure what you imagine the benifits to be?

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JesterOfAmerica
Sep 11, 2015


Yeah, there has been clear direction from both of the votes.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

Magnusth posted:

I'm not sure what you imagine the benifits to be?

I just meant that restricting the number of options per vote would give a clearer result than leaving it open to where a person can vote for every single option, 1: ABCDEFG 2:UVWXYZ style. If you're fine with it as is though, no sweat. I just remember you and Olo mentioning in the discord during the first vote cycle that votes aren't counted in order of preference, rather they're treated equally.

Eh, I'm starting to ramble, need caffeine. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


Hexenritter posted:

I just meant that restricting the number of options per vote would give a clearer result than leaving it open to where a person can vote for every single option, 1: ABCDEFG 2:UVWXYZ style. If you're fine with it as is though, no sweat. I just remember you and Olo mentioning in the discord during the first vote cycle that votes aren't counted in order of preference, rather they're treated equally.

That is litterally no problem. I everything is fine with you, i encurage you to vote for everything.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

Well that's just fine and dandy then!

cat_herder
Mar 16, 2010

BE GAY
DO CRIME


Closing votes as of now so we can write an update!

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


Life is pleasurable, as the days go on you spent your time like any other youth. Between playing outside and your lesson you have found a hobby to call your own, go. In the heat of summer you often made you way through the more unconventional pathways of the place, often to Jun-san and Jun-san great concern. It was during this solo adventures you taught yourself the how to avoid people. The end results of your actions brought you extra sweets many a time.



You were first introduced to the game by your father but you quickly took to it. The strategy of the stone provided an exemplary way for you to not only gain extra sweets but to pass time when winter came and the outdoors where disallowed to you.

You spent most of your time when you weren’t studying by the largest lake in the Palace Gardens. Jun-san and Jun-san did their best to keep you away from it, but it was beautiful and peaceful, and your friend was there, a very pretty girl in an ornate kimono that never seemed to get dirty or wet. She always avoided telling you her name, or where she lives, and when you ask your mother or the servants about her, they tell you there’s no one there and to stay away from the lake.

One day, you arrive at the lake and don’t see her. Odd, she’s usually around waiting for you. There’s a tree that overhangs the lake that she usually sits in. Perhaps she’s just late. Wouldn’t it be amusing to her to arrive and find you in her perch? Besides, it might be a good view. You wander to the base of the tree and give it a shake. It seems sturdy enough to climb, and you pull yourself up into it. At first there are plenty of hand-and-foot-holds, and you make it quite far into the canopy. You peer through the leaves and discover it really is a great view, you can see most of the lake from here. Even better, you can see the koi in the pond swimming around right below you.

It dawns on you that being over the water might be a bad idea about the same time as the branch you’re on snaps. Fear grips you, but you’re already falling. You can almost feel the slimy bodies of the fish, taste the algae in the water

… but there’s a sudden STRONG wind, and a warm, dusty scent, like Mother, but older…

The next thing you know, you’re on a mossy rock, on your back, staring up into the other side of the tree you just fell out of. You sit up and look around. Was that a dream? But you’re covered in broken twigs and leaves, and when you turn around and look at the lake, a branch floats on the surface, surrounded by the ripples of hungry fish.

“Dear young master, are you okay?”

How does she always appear behind you? You turn around quickly, and your friend is there, her kimono still immaculate, but she looks concerned, and maybe a little sad. Questions swirl in your mind, but all you manage to say is “What happened?”

The girl sits on a rock next to you. “I didn’t expect you to climb my tree, but I suppose one should expect the unexpected from the human world, especially with children. Ah, it’s been such a long time... In any case, I was able to save you, and the contract remains. But I suppose now that you’ve experienced such a thing, you should probably know what to expect. Dear young master, I am Kuzunoha, and I am charged with protecting you.”

You’ve heard that name, somewhere. She’s… related to you? You’re fairly sure. But before you can say anything, you hear someone announcing the Hour of the Monkey. It’s already late in the day, and someone will be looking for you, soon. Kuzunoha smiles sadly and shoos you off. “The palace will be upset if they find that you were playing here, and worse if they discover what happened. Go, quickly. And please, be more careful, young master.”

It isn’t long after that, a two weeks before the 7th new year of your life, that your mother calls you to her. One morning. You find her in one of her rooms, behind a portable, see-through bamboo screen, on the right side of the room, and your father, Abe no Yoshihira, on the left. Sit down in front of them and bow deeply, as is required.


Your mother speaks first.
“Kaoru. We have decided that it is time for you to start your formal training and education. Starting in the new year, you will begin following in your father’s footsteps.”

Yoshihara continues.
“Born into the Abe family, you have a special gift; the second sight, the Kenki ability. It’s been passed down from my father to me, and from me to you. It is what allows us to see spirits, ghosts and demons. You may well have seen some already, unknowing. But such abilities also make you vulnerable to spirits and demons, and can lead you to trouble by showing you what you cannot deal with. That is why you will follow in the footsteps of your family, and become an onmyoji. So you will be able to handle your gifts, and be protected from those evil spirits which might target you for them.”

Your mother speaks again.
“You’re lucking to be born into the abe family with such gifts. Many who have them never known what they see, and drift about, confused, always uncertain, and easy target for demons and monsters.”

Yoshihara speaks.
“Therefore, the first day of the new year, I will be your teacher. I look forward to teaching you, and to spending more time with you, my son. Jun-san will, of course, continue to mind you when I cannot, and you will continue living here.”

And with that, that was decided. The first day of the new year, you went, with your minder, to the Abe residence, and begun your long and difficult training as an onmyoji.

What areas of study did you excel at, early on?
A: Calligraphy and writing. Writing beautifully is very important in heian society, and it is believed that a person’s character and soul can be seen in their skill at calligraphy. A letter written in beautiful characters will always matter more than a letter that is merely functional; and a poem, ugly written, will be considered far beneath a lesser poem, beautifully written.

B:
Chinese and the reading of chinese classics. While chinese is no longer quite so fashionable as it was a century ago, it is still an expected skill of young noblemen like you. Reading dusty chinese books on philosophy, ying/yang science, the five elements and buddhism is also a required and necessary skill in the study of onmyodo.

C:
Poetry and art. While not a major focus of your studies, every young man of good birth is required to learn how to compose beautiful poems, which form the basis of nearly every form of formal social interaction, from courtship to seeking allies to simply connecting with friends.

D:
Calculation and memorization of the stars and planets, their meanings, and their relations to the days and the calendar. This includes some math and astronomy, at a very basic level, yet, but also a large amount of rote memorization and repetition, skills that will be useful in any art you might study later. Calender keeping is also important in choosing the right day for important court rituals, life rituals, and the magico-religious rituals of Onmyodo.

E:
The study of the sutras, the buddhist holy texts. While not strictly a part of the arts of onmyodo, the sutras are still studied, as they contain great and useful wisdom, and their recitation can help banish demons and evil influences, which is among the skills required of an Onmyoji. Even with no relevance to your education, however, the sutras would still be studied, as they are the best source on ethics and the nature of the world and the divine wisdom of the buddhas.

After studying a few years, your studies slowly began deepening, and your father begins covering more technical and mystical subjects, subjects that you will be expected to know and master before you can really be called an onmyoji, in addition to the more basic subjects of poetry, chinese, calligraphy and so on. You studied all of these, of course, and began achieving some skill in every aspect, but even so, you excelled more in some than in others.


Which of these did you excel at?

F: Meditation and breathing exercises aimed at honing and expanding your mind, and making you more aware of supernatural energies and spirits. The exercises als focus on calming you down, and sorting through your emotions and thoughts to clear your mind and focus your will. While not all onmyoji deal with demons directly, your father emphasizes that if you plan on doing so, you will need a strong will and the ability to keep your mind clear from the lies of evil, deceitful spirits.
The exercises themselves usually const of simple meditation and breathing exercises, sitting, crossed-legged, and focusing on nothing but your breath for hours on end, but are sometimes accompanied by the recitation of sutras or the repeated chanting of mantras. Now and then, your father would take you places, to shrines particularly, and have you close your eyes and try identifying spirits around you or the energies around you.

G: Divination by way of the stars, that is, astronomy and astrology. By observing the stars, using astronomical tools like a bronze armillary sphere, and referring to books on astronomy, I learned to predict the future for people, places, families, and the world in general. This is an exceedingly technical skill, moreso than a purely mystical one, but is nevertheless of the more commonly used skills among onmyoji, as divination of every kind is in high demand at the Heian courts.

H: The study of ying-yang theories and five elements lore. These are abstract, difficult and technical subjects, but are necessary for the most advanced forms of divination, and underlie and support all other subject an onmyoji is supposed to master. In practice, it requires a lot of reading and understanding of complicated texts on metaphysics and philosophy, and he use of sliding chinese instruments of divination, the full use of which can take a lifetime to master.

I:
The recitation of holy mantras and the use of mundras, holy gestures with one or both hands, to repel and defeat evil spirits, demons, ghost and other monsters. This means learning and training to use a large number of gestures, including the nine symbolic cuts, a set of syllables and mantras, as well as their associated mundras, specific sutras and prayers for a variety of different kinds of ghost and demons and other circumstance. As i studied, however, my father warned by that many of these could be dangerous to use if i was underprepared or used one which was too advanced or too powerful for me to handle.

J: I, but mantras and mundras for the cleansing disease and sickness of mind and body, not the exorcism and defeat of evil spirits.

K: I, but mantras and mundras for the protection and blessing of myself and others, as well as the places they live in or spaces they occupy.

L: The study and use of Harae, rituals of cleansing and land-quelling. These are among the most important skills of an onmyoji. Harae dispel curses and bad fortune, and cleanse places and people tainted by evil or disease; people who’ve just recovered from illness or have been otherwise made impure, or places where people have been sick, died, or where crimes and sin have been committed. They are also used to cleanse and repel evil energies and misfortune from new or unused places, such as a new wing of a building, or a home no one has lived in for some time; these rituals are important for the spiritual well-being of people and the propper order of society.

M:
The preparation and blessing of ofuda and omamori, small paper talismans used for blessing, protection, good luck, sealing away and a number of other uses. Onmyoji may also use them as part of rituals of banishment, exorcism and other spells. This involves very carefully, and beautifully, writing the correct prayers and mantras on paper or silk talismans, and blessing them with rituals and the invocation of the right divine spirits and patrons. That said. The training itself consists mostly of writing the same prayers and mantras over and over and over again, focusing on their meaning, as well as studying the rituals of their blessing and empowerment.

N:
The rituals of summoning and communing with spirits and ghosts. These allow a practitioner to speak with hidden or trapped spirits, and summon forth gods and spirits to help with a particular task, and even bind them as shikigami, a role somewhere between patron spirit and familiar. While communing with spirits is a necessary part of nearly every Onmyoji’s life and work, the summoning of spirits is a tightly controlled practice, and misuse of it in the form of necromancy or other improper acts can result in severe censure from the Onmyoryo, the bureau of divination.


You may ask questions of your parents and minders.

ThatBasqueGuy
Feb 14, 2013

someone introduce jojo to lazyb




ADFG

Father, what is the most important thing to mind as a onmyoji?

Father, what is the charge of our clan?

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



"Father, what if you send me to China to accelerate my learning of the their language, art, poem, astrology, sutra, and KUNG FU Buddhism.

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


ThatBasqueGuy posted:

Father, what is the most important thing to mind as a onmyoji?


Your father thinks for a moment or two, then answers. "There are many things one must mind as an onmyoji, and I am not sure one can be said to be the single most important. But my father gave me a piece of advice that have always served me well. Spirits all have their own wills and wishes, good or ill, and make their own judgements, and forgetting that brings woe."


ThatBasqueGuy posted:

Father, what is the charge of our clan? [/b]

"The charge? What do you mean? What an odd question."

Nyaa posted:

"Father, what if you send me to China to accelerate my learning of the their language, art, poem, astrology, sutra, and KUNG FU Buddhism.
"Well, the way to china is long and difficult for a child, and the emperor does not often send ships there anymore. Besides, we have all we need here; we have the sutras here, and wise monks who teach them; and my father, and Kamo no Yasunori before him, have been the greatest astrologers for a long time. Why should you go all the way to china when the most skilled astronomer in the country lives a few streets away? As for poetry, the court abound with skilled poets and beautiful words, and if you want to learn" here he breaks of for a moment, and looks towards your mother, hidden behind a bamboo screen. She nods, and your father continues. "Then I am sure your mother will be happy to help you; the emperor himself praises her skill, after all."

ThatBasqueGuy
Feb 14, 2013

someone introduce jojo to lazyb




The main reason for our clan being. A mission above all others, if such a thing can be said to exist.

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



To resurrect orochi-sama

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


ThatBasqueGuy posted:

The main reason for our clan being. A mission above all others, if such a thing can be said to exist.

Yoshihara raises an eyebrow. "Our clan is because it is. Though we, perhaps, have more of a charge than some others, simply because noone else can do what we do as well; my father, my brother, me and now you are all blessed with the spirit's sight, and fortune has allowed us, through the hard work of my father and Kamo no Yasunori, to have it bloom into mastery of the ways of divinaton and ying-yang lore."

JosephWongKS
Apr 4, 2009

I hate this book and I hate Railrunner and I hate Thunderbark and I hate Black Magic and I hate everything they stand for.

Who is Kuzunoha? Can she teach me any skills or abilities? Can I teach her to play chess?

AnAnonymousIdiot
Sep 14, 2013



Voting ACFI

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



"Father, what is the purpose of mankind? Why are we born?"

"Father & mother, what is your opinion on Buddism and Shintoism?"

"Father, is there really no third force in Yin-Yang theory?"

"Father, what is the divine purpose of the Emperor?"

"Father & mother , was our purpose not to change the world for the better beside solving petty spite between nobles?"

"Father and Mother, If I am born under a great family, I wish to become greater. To be above and beyond. Or is it not our place to seek beyond the normal height of one's destiny?"

"Mother, were poetry that satisfy others the best poetry? The universal guideline is determine by the Emperor's Eyes?"

"Mother, when it come to following the order of the Emperor, should I listen to the current Emperor or the orders of the ghost of the previous Emperor? Surely there will be a time where it can't be both."

"Father, why it is man's role to handle issues of the spirit and not gods? Where there a story to it? To test mankind?"

"Father, is there a fundamental similarity or universal connections to Yin-Yang theory, Holy Mantra, Astrology, and perhaps nature as a whole?"

ThatBasqueGuy
Feb 14, 2013

someone introduce jojo to lazyb




Are there spirits that can help me unlock the highest secrets of Go?

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



ThatBasqueGuy posted:

Are there spirits that can help me unlock the highest secrets of Go?

Lord Zedd-Repulsa
Jul 21, 2007

Devour a good book.



ACE
FGMN

SniperWoreConverse
Mar 20, 2010

Shamanistic Tendencies


BCE

FHIN

JesterOfAmerica
Sep 11, 2015


ThatBasqueGuy posted:

Are there spirits that can help me unlock the highest secrets of Go?

Yoshihara raises his hand to his forehead and nods dismissively.

"Yes there are gods to pray for skill at go"

Nyaa posted:

"Father, what is the purpose of mankind? Why are we born?"

At this Yoshihara puts his hand on his chin.

"That is a question that changes depending on who you ask. For the follows of Buddha the answer would be to reach enlightenment, as the sutras say: We are all trapped here thanks to worldly desires. However, a commoner may just be happy to live day to day. Ultimately we all have fates handed down to us from heaven and it is up to us to discover and act on it"

JesterOfAmerica fucked around with this message at Mar 22, 2018 around 18:40

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


JosephWongKS posted:

Who is Kuzunoha? Can she teach me any skills or abilities? Can I teach her to play chess?


Your father answers:
"She is a... friend of our family. She can certainly teach you some things, if you ask. As for teaching her to play Go, you are very welcome to try, though I believe that she may be the one to teach you a thing or two about the game."

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



“Father, who are our enemy?”

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


ACE
FLN

Tagichatn
Jun 7, 2009




CD
FIJ

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


Nyaa posted:

“Father, who are our enemy?”

Yoshihara raises an eyebrow. "Our enemy? Live life well, and if you're lucky, you won't have any."

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


For the record: alot of these questions are stuff that'll become relevant during training, so we'll try to answer them as a part of the next update.

ThatBasqueGuy
Feb 14, 2013

someone introduce jojo to lazyb




Father, how does one cultivate love?

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

Father, what can change the nature of a man?

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Magnusth posted:

What areas of study did you excel at, early on?

A: Calligraphy and writing.
B: Chinese and the reading of chinese classics.
C: Poetry and art.
D: Calculation and memorization of the stars and planets, their meanings, and their relations to the days and the calendar.

Magnusth posted:

Which of these did you excel at?

F: Meditation and breathing exercises aimed at honing and expanding your mind, and making you more aware of supernatural energies and spirits.
G: Divination by way of the stars, that is, astronomy and astrology.
J: I, but mantras and mundras for the cleansing disease and sickness of mind and body, not the exorcism and defeat of evil spirits.
K: I, but mantras and mundras for the protection and blessing of myself and others, as well as the places they live in or spaces they occupy.
L: The study and use of Harae, rituals of cleansing and land-quelling.
M: The preparation and blessing of ofuda and omamori, small paper talismans used for blessing, protection, good luck, sealing away and a number of other uses.
N:The rituals of summoning and communing with spirits and ghosts.

Magnusth posted:

You may ask questions of your parents and minders.

Father . . .

Why don't you live with us?

Where do you go when you're not here?

Tell me a story?

What is outside these walls?

Do you like Taiyaki too?

Will you play with me?


Mother . . .

Why doesn't Father live with us?

Where does Father go when he is not here?

Tell me a story?

What is outside these walls?

Will you play with me?

May I have some Taiyaki?

cat_herder
Mar 16, 2010

BE GAY
DO CRIME


CourValant posted:

Father . . .

Why don't you live with us?

"I have my own household to manage. You'll understand when you're a little older."

quote:

Where do you go when you're not here?

"I live not far from here, in the Abe family's mansion. Soon, you will live there too."

quote:

Tell me a story?

"Your mother is a much better storyteller than I, I'm afraid." At this, your mother laughs. "Your father praises me too much, Kaoru."

quote:

What is outside these walls?

"Our great city of Heian, surrounded by temples and the Katsura river, blessed by the gods and our Emperor."

quote:

Do you like Taiyaki too?

He laughs pleasantly. "I'm not much for sweets, I'm afraid."

quote:

Will you play with me?

"I'm very busy with my work, but I will come and play with you as much as I can."

quote:

Mother . . .

Why doesn't Father live with us?

"My family is even larger and more unwieldy than your father's family. A combined household would be too chaotic and confusing, especially for a young boy."

quote:

Where does Father go when he is not here?

"To his home, to his office in the Palace, or sometimes to temples or to visit people who need his help."

quote:

Tell me a story?

Your father stifles a laugh, and your mother is quiet for a long moment, before she speaks. "In a certain emperor's reign..." At this, Yoshihara laughs and clears his throat. "He's too young for that one, I'm afraid, and we'll be here listening until he's old if we aren't careful." "Who would tell the whole thing to a child? I was going to tell him a story about the Empress's childhood!" Your mother retorts, but she's laughing, too.

quote:

What is outside these walls?


"Our beloved city, Heian, resting in the most auspicious valley in the heart of Yamato. Soon, you will begin to see it for yourself."

quote:

Will you play with me?

"Of course, once your father goes home we'll find some nice game to play."

quote:

May I have some Taiyaki?

"You've been a very good boy, so yes, you may." You can hear the smile in her voice.

cat_herder fucked around with this message at Mar 27, 2018 around 09:19

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature!

Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We!

Join Us at Paradise Lost!


Soon after, the new year comes. You go to the shrine with your minders, and all around you in the streets there are candies and food and people drinking. Both of your parents are very busy in the time leaving up to the new year's and just after, but all around the palace and the city, there is an air of joviality and happiness, and you get to gorge yourself on candy and pastries.


Soon after, your education proper starts.
Your father is the one who trains you, officially, but you spend very little time in his company, at least early on. Instead, one of the trainees at the Bureau of Divination, the Onmyoryo, is the one who spends his time training you. His name is Kamo no Hatsuo, and he mostly quizzes you and tests you in complex homework he gives you, and then leaves you alone to do.

You spend hours and hours sitting alone, or with a minder, writing the same Chinese characters over and over, trying to force yourself through reading difficult Chinese passages with Jun-san's help, writing poetry on your own in the demanding Waka form, poetry your teacher always critiqued harshly when you performed it for him, just as he always corrected even the most minor errors in writing Chinese characters and in reading Chinese grammar, or in your understanding of the sutras, another set of texts you read and reread over and over to learn and understand.



The most difficult of all the things he teaches you, however, are the complex mathematics and interrelations needed for astrology and calender-keeping, and the variety of different meanings and symbols each star, year, planet, comet and so on are assigned and their complex five-elements interactions. The system is complex, deep, and requires a large amount of rote learning of seemingly arbitrary interactions, and yet… you excel. Though you don't learn the specific and complex ways one uses this system for divination, you quickly understand how each part fits together, how Mars, representing fire and the phoenix, changes things as it travels through the sky, how its warmth and fire interplay with each constellation, and how each constellation in turn interplays with it, and how its element, the ying/yang energies of the year, and its zodiac sign, each interplayed with each other in subtle and nuanced ways.

While your teacher, of course, corrects your mistakes when you make them, he seems genuinely happy about your enthusiasm in this particular field, and often spends much more time than really necessary helping you come to a better, deeper understanding of the subject.
Now and then, your father helps you with your education too, sitting down with you to help you understand the material you're going through, or helping you compose poetry on your own.

At least, that how it goes early on, the first two and a half year of your education. One day, during the summer of your ninth year, however, you show up at the Abe household, and your father is there to receive you. He tells you that it is time to move on in your studies, and start with the basics of the various arts necessary for an onmyoji.
That day, you follow your father around most of the day, as he goes about his job. Most of that is sitting in his office at the Bureau of Divination doing paperwork as he explains the various roles am onmyoji must fill and skills he must possess.
The first few days are similar; you follow your father around, ask questions, and spend time reading the new texts he gives you. Soon, you stop following your father around every day, and spend most days reading, then going over things for a short while with your father at the end of the day. Some days, it is instead Kamo no Hatsuo who who goes things over with you at the end of the day.

In addition to new texts and following your father around, you also get new exercises to do, and soon, a daily routine starts.
You wake up every day, and do meditation exercises, sometimes with mantras, sometimes without. Then you eat, and then you go to your father's house, where you read complex books on five-elements theory and astrology, books you are under no circumstances allowed to move from where they are. Then you eat lunch, have a quick walk to freshen your mind and stretch your legs.
Once you return, you sit down for half an hour meditating, then practice your writing and poetry for an hour or two. Once you have done so, you practice mantras and mundras, sitting for hours repeating the same words and movements of the hand, teaching your mind to focus only on that
movement and those words as you become intimately familiar with them. Now and then, you
even see a flash of light or hear the wind move in response, as you slowly become better at them. Then, at some point, your mind reels and your fingers hurt; at this point you often take another walk, calm yourself, and then read up on divination methods, from tortoise-shell cracking to dream interpretation. Eventually, your father will return, and you will eat dinner together as you go over what you've studied, and you ask him questions in response.



It is often here you feel like you learn the most. He might explain to you how there can be no third force in ying-yang theory, as every other force must arise from either the passive or the active principle; or tell you that while Buddhism is the best guide we have for morality and ethics, onmyoji cannot forget the native gods of the land, as they often are the cause of, or the remedy to, many of the supernatural problems that onmyoji must solve. When he is a philosophical mood, as happens, he might tell you that men are the ones who handle many issues of the spirits, as men are often the ones who cause them through the casting of curses, or by treating each other ill and in so doing engender the wrath of vengeful ghosts.

Later, once your questions are over, you often play a game of go, and in summer time, you have about an hour of playing outside before it gets dark, at which point you go inside, read for an hour, meditate for half and hour, and then go to bed.

About once a week, however, this pattern breaks, and you follow your father around for a day, or more rarely, Kamo no Hatsuo. This is where you learn some of the more involved, ritualistic skills required of an onmyoji, as you help your father light incense for cleansing rituals, visit noblemen who fear they have been cursed, and prepare amulets and talismans of protection, fortune and luck. Often, you have to stay outside when your father, in the prestigeful position of Onmyo no Suke, second in command of the Bureau of divination, goes and visit high ranking officials, or is summoned by Fujiwara no Michinaga, one of the most powerful men in the country, but even so, you learn much from these days.
You do well in all areas, and your skill at calculation and understanding complex interactions helps a great deal with understanding the complex theories of onmyodo. Most of all, however, you excel at meditation and using your spirit sight.



Every day. you sit in the position your father suggested for meditation, lotus position. You begin slow measured breaths. With each successive one the world around falls away, and you sense something different. You open your eyes to world just slightly different from the one you were in just a moment before. Colors are more vibrant the wind just slightly more melodic as the kami begin to fill your senses.

You look around you and see spirits as they have been described by your teacher; many are pretty,some beautiful, but there are also many tiny ugly things, small demons no more powerful than a leaf on the wind, feeding on the petty vanity of many nobles, all throughout the city.
Then suddenly you snap back, you spirit sight receding. Once again, you repeat the meditation as you attempt to reach the state you were just in. Having reached it before it comes easier to you the second time. With you senses returning to the spirit world you set to practice extending the time that you can maintain your spirit sight. Your progress comes at jagged pace but overall you ability to maintain your spirit sight grows.

Within a few months, your spirit sight begins extending beyond just your meditation practice; even as you walk around the city following your father or teacher, or just stretching your legs, you see eyes and shapes moving just in the corner of your eyes; now and then, when you visit a shrine with your father, you see eyes peering out from inside the shrine, or faint voices responding to your prayers and greetings.

It is around this time, fairly early in your education, as your spirit sight first begins to extend beyond your meditation, that your father, once a month or so, starts taking you to the seimei shrine. It is, he tells you, a part of his own childhood, erected at the house where he did most of his studying, to the honor of his father. He tells you that one of the people here can help you with your education, leads you into the shrine propper, and, while he can't stay, tells you to practice your meditation until the priest joins you.


You do so, breathing in and out, in and out, in and out for a few moments, but are soon interrupted by a man entering the room; he wears long, white robes, like a priest's, and the same large hat every courtly nobleman wears, and he looks old, much older than even your father. He smiles at you and sits down, and you bow, of course, as you must, and then he… asks you questions, and lets you do the same.
He asks about your education, and how much you know, and helps explain even the most complex theories in simple, understandable ways; shows you, both with his hands and in his descriptions, the various nuanced ways each mantra and mudra interconnect, and the differences between each, and how one movement of the hands, or way of folding them, recalls passive and active principles and invokes the gods.
You learn much when you visit the shrine, which is around once a month, and each time, it goes the same way: you're told to wait, and you practice your meditation for a bit until this kindly old priest interrupts you and helps you work through all the things you are learning.

You are 13 years old when you first get a taste of responsibility. That day, the Bureau of Divination is hectic, and your father sends you on an assignment. “A certain man in the Sugiwara household has been stricken by something evil. He is pious and respectable, and was considering taking the vows and retreating to a temple, but we received word this morning that he's ill. It's time you put your training to work. A carriage awaits you outside, and will take you to his home on Rokujo.” Are you up to the task? There's much you don't know, but when you open your mouth to say so, your father speaks. “You've studied hard, and I have faith you will be successful. Now, go.”

When you arrive at the Sugiwara mansion, the servants quickly escort you inside to an old man resting in the main room. You step behind the screen and kneel to examine him. He's pale and sweaty, and his eyes roll when he tries to look at you. He's not doing well at all. A medium that was sent along with you sits patiently to the side, awaiting your command.

You light the incense, and what then?

A: I extend my spirit sight through the room. I might be able to see the spirit causing the trouble? And once I've identified them, I can exorcise them.
B: I ask him about his dreams, hoping to divine from them the cause of this melady; a curse or an evil spirit will often be accompanied by specific symbols and images while dreaming.
C: I have an attendant bring me to a fireplace, and heat up the tortoise shell I've brought with me, to perform kiboku, divining facts and information about this illness from the cracks that form.
D: I begin chanting a sutra. Often, the power behind the words can drive away demons without any other effort. The Lotus Sutra is frequently invoked, as is the Heart Sutra.
E: I intone a mantra to invoke Yakushi Nyorai, the Medicine Buddha, calling upon him to banish
F: E, but also use a mudra; the Yakushi Sangai-in mundra, the mundra made by Yakushi Nyorai in his statues.
G: E, but i also use a mundra; the Karana Mudra, which I think is most relevant here, as it dispels demons and removes obstacles.
H: I perform harae, a ritual of purification, to expel any evil that may be clinging to Sugiwara, and purify him of both sins and spiritual impurity that may be causing his Illness.
I: I do something else! Fill in.

Nyaa
Jan 7, 2010

Q.E.D.



a

ThatBasqueGuy
Feb 14, 2013

someone introduce jojo to lazyb




B seems like a safe option. Dunno if using our spirit sight puts us in any immediate danger

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

cat_herder posted:

"You've been a very good boy, so yes, you may." You can hear the smile in her voice.



Magnusth posted:

You light the incense, and what then?

A: I extend my spirit sight through the room.
B: I ask him about his dreams.

Let's diagnose the problem before we try to solve it.

AnAnonymousIdiot
Sep 14, 2013



We do AD

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




AB

Anything else is ... what's a good contemporary idiom for acting blindly/impulsively/recklessly?

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

dont be mean to me posted:

Anything else is ... what's a good contemporary idiom for acting blindly/impulsively/recklessly?

Kaoru would be in more hot water than a Japanese Teabag?

SniperWoreConverse
Mar 20, 2010

Shamanistic Tendencies


AB

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Lord Zedd-Repulsa
Jul 21, 2007

Devour a good book.



AB

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