You know, I’m not actually sure if a spear is a masculine image. However, I’m also relatively sure that anything that stabs is a masculine/phallic image or symbol. This is, of course, barring certain kinds of axes, though those are more slashing instruments.
Anyway, I digress.
I’m seeing a lot of masculine imagery in Japanese myth. And by ‘Japanese,’ I mean Shinto, not Buddhist. In this case, the creation story involving Izanami and Izanagi and the interesting imagery that seems to be showing up again and again.
Long story short—in terms of the creation myth (or at least one version)—Izanagi either stabs his spear into the mist/ocean and stirs the waters, which eventually creates the first land.
Now—back to the imagery part. Water is considered feminine (and, ironically, associated with death and the Otherworld in a number of cultures) for the most part. A spear—for all appearances—is masculine. Like in Greek culture, the active creative aspect is male. The same seems to go for the very early Japanese, as well.
We see this theme once again in the marriage of Izanami and Izanagi and part of the story of the ensuing (and very large!) family. Izanami initiates (it’s actually quite funny—she says she is lacking in an area and he has an excess and invites him help remedy this issue. Most interesting ancient pickup line ever!) and the child that’s produced from this union is unhealthy and disformed. They come to the rather odd conclusion that their child was this way because she initated. So, they try again, Izanagi initiates, and they eventually have a normal child.
I’m sorry—this is just so fascinating for me. I’ll have to look at other creation myths that follow the pattern of active-masculine creation. Well, creations myths that aren’t part of the Big Three (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, I mean).
And an end note: I’ve tried to condense the myth, so I’m really hoping I haven’t managed to confuse anything.
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