What is sakaki, this plant essential to Shinto rituals?
If you have ever been to a Shinto shrine, you may have had the opportunity to attend a ceremony called "Tamagushi-hoten".
A "tamagushi" refers to a piece of paper attached to a sakaki leaf with a hemp string. It is an essential element for Shinto rituals and festivals. In Shinto, the tamagushi is also used to pay formal homage during official visits.
Tamaguchi is often mistakenly thought of as an offering item with the same status as rice, alcohol, fish, vegetables, fruits, salt or water. However, tamagushi is said to have a special meaning since it is offered and revered in ceremonies. The tamagushi shows respect to the deities and allows the wishes of the believers to be transmitted.
According to the "Collection of Rituals and Events of Shinto Shrines" (published by the Main Office of Shinto Shrines), "Tamagushi is an offering showing respect to the deities and a form of prayer to receive divine authority".
The sakaki tree is considered a sacred plant in which the human heart and heart of deities can easily dwell.
The sakaki is a tree with beautiful bright green leaves, which is found in the western part of Ishikawa Prefecture, Shikoku and Kyushu.
It has been an important and sacred plant in Shinto since ancient times. The word "sakaki" is said to be derived from the word "sakai-ki", which means "a tree on the border between deities and man". The word "sakaki" is not a word of Chinese origin, but an original Japanese term.
Nowadays, it is difficult to find Japanese sakaki, because most of the plants sold in florists or supermarkets come from China or other foreign countries. The reason is simple: sakaki is grown in eastern Japan and it is difficult to grow. Therefore its price is more expensive compared to sakaki plants from abroad. However, sakaki leaves produced in Japan are known to be thick, firm, and they last longer.
It is the ideal plant to use as an offering in a household shrine.
In the language of flowers, sakaki refers to someone or something with modest charm, something unshakable, or something or someone honoring the deities. The language of flowers is wonderful, don't you think so?
The sakaki purifying mist produced at 供TOMO is the first Japanese sakaki serum and alcohol-free spray.
We developed this product with the hope that the "invisible power" of this plant will be an ally against the invisible enemies of everyday life, such as viruses and pathogens.
This purifying mist has been used in several famous shrines so far, and we are honored that Shinto priests use it to disinfect their hands.
供TOMO team will continue to write about the shrines we visit in the future, so stay tuned! And don't forget your sakaki plant when you pray at the shrine!
To learn more about 供TOMO sakaki cleansing mist, you can click here!