Some Shinto Priests

A Dutchman has become the only (?) The Essence of Shinto. Yamakage seems interested both in explaining Shinto to the West and revitalizing it within Japan. He is old enough (81) to remember what happened when this decentralized practice was co-opted by the imperial government in the late 19th century.

Yamakage quotes one priest with approval:

Shrines should gather parishioners together and not teach them, I believe. We should not give any lectures to those who come to pay respect at the shrine or to visit the office of the shrine. We have to respect their positions or ideas. We should neither criticize them nor force them to follow our ideas. For the shrine is the public facility, and we don’t ask which religion or sect they belong to. The shrine is not the place we give more education. It is the place where they freely feel and learn something in their own way.

With so much pressure on contemporary Paganism to follow the “Protestant mode,” with designated leaders, “congregations,” and so forth, we might want to consider Shinto as a model in some things instead, particularly the idea of a priest serving a shrine instead of a congregation–which was true in ancient Paganism as well.