Onmyōdō (also In'yōdō, lit. ‘The Way of Yin and Yang’) is a traditional Japanese esoteric cosmology, a mixture of natural science and occultism. It is a very eclectic blend, including Wu Xing (Five Elements), Yin and yang, shikigami, and divination to ofuda and alchemy.
Over the centuries, the various arts and practices of onmyodo gradually became absorbed into Shinto and Buddhist tradition, and also into the disciplines of the Shukenja, and other ascetic groups. Thus, in many anime and manga works, miko (shrine maidens) are shown as knowing how to summon and control shikigami.
A practitioner of onmyodo is called an onmyoji. Traditionally, the only ones able to legally practice onmyodo were appointed by the Imperial government, and were in fact, civil servants of the Bureau of Onmyō. During the Heian period, onmyōji had quite a bit of political clout, but when the imperial court fell into decline, their status as civil servants was lost. Their original responsibilities included keeping track of the calendar, divination, and protection of the capital from evil spirits. They also watched for auspicious and/or harmful influences in the earth, (earthquake detection).
The most famous onmyoji is Abe no Seimei, who is roughly analogous to the Merlin of Arthurian legend. Like Merlin, it is said that he was not entirely human. Abe no Seimei is a documented historical personage who lived from about 921 CE to around 1005 CE, the middle of the Heian Period. A shrine dedicated to him was built in Kyoto soon after his death, and still exists today.
- Paper Charm Magic
- Sealing Magic
- Spiritual Awareness
- Wu Xing Manipulation
- Yin & Yang Manipulation
- Four Symbols Physiology
- Shinto Deity Physiology
- Supernatural Priest Physiology
- Supernatural Shrine Maiden Physiology
See Also: Onmyodo.