Geisha of Japan
Geisha means “Art Doer” or Performing Artist.
Geishas are recognized by their white make-up and elaborate hairstyles with beautiful flowing robes; however this is the dress of the Meiko, an apprentice into the Womanly Arts.
Traditionally women were selected and underwent training from an early age to prepare to perform all of the functions of the Geisha.
The Geisha are said to inhabit a separate reality from mundane life, and their world is called, the flower and willow world. Flowers represented courtesans, while the Geisha herself was likened to the graceful Willow.
Early Geishas as well as their Korean counterparts were termed “wanderers” indicating freedom of movement and the characteristic of not having a fixed abode – within general society - but residing within a Temple.
In ancient Japan, as Shinto, just as other Pagan traditions does not frown upon sexual pleasures, the needs of married men were met quite openly, and without familial complications or the disapproval of society at large. Sex, though always synonymous with pleasure, played no part in the professional customs and ways of the Geisha .
Ancient Japanese men obviously had the ability to discover and practice making love in many other ways, too. Spiritual satisfaction of the soul, which is Love ~ attained through the guidance of the Priestess; through dancing and general appreciation and enjoyment of the Arts, as well as having a confidante, or personal Muse, was valued above simple sexual fulfillment in those days.
The Geisha was extensively trained in Ethics, Spirituality and the Creative Arts. Calligraphy and Art were their speciality; and the sublime techniques of attaining ultimate pleasure other than from mundane sex. The name of the Geisha was tarnished during WW2, as young and homeless women were forced into prostitution and served the needs of those soldiers who took to calling them ”Geisha girls”.
Well, the ancient and honorable art of the Geisha survives and thrives today, with more and more people valuing the traditions of their ancestors and thus having great respect, appreciation and admiration for the Geiko. Contemporary Geisha are recognized as professional entertainers, educated in traditional Japanese arts such as verbal and non-verbal communication and generally, making their guests feel completely relaxed and at ease during performances of dance, music, singing and various other forms of cultural entertainment. Geisha can still be readily found in Kyoto, Tokyo and Kanazawa.
The training of modern Geisha in the traditional ways begins at around fifteen years of age. Residing in special houses, called Okiya, in the Geiko districts of Japan. aspiring Geishas complete their examinations, which test the aspirant Geisha or Geiko on the skills she has mastered during her years of tuition under the auspices of the geiko, or geisha themselves. The talented candidates are chosen and will progress to becoming apprentices, or Maiko after the initiatory period.
Geiha generally meet up with trusted clientele in the traditional setting of the Tea House, or Ochaya. These venues are exclusive and membership is earned by trust.
The entertainment of customers aside from the seasonal dancing, accompanied by Geiko music played with traditional instruments includes games, with good-natured drinking competitions while providing excellent cuisine and witty conversation.
As a rule, when encountering a Geisha it is the ancient custom to treat one with every due respect. And who knows? Perhaps giving respect gives blessings in return.
Đào nương of Vietnam
Can tru is commonly recognized as a form of music with entrancing vocals to accompany it.
The performing art of Can tru was originally performed by women similar to Geisha in years long gone by; and it is known that the Đào nương sung for the entertainment of the court as well as performing spiritual songs for the royalty of dynastic Vietnam.
What is said to be remarkable about Can tru are the vocals of the music.
Once again, detailed information is sketchy as to the precise functions and roles that the women fulfilled in earlier, Matriarchal times; and as with the Geisha and Kisaeng, their role was changed to blurred associations with patriarchal ideas of prostitution. Certainly it is known that Can Tru performers were acting as consorts to upper-class patrons in later times, however, the practice of Can Tru in more recent times seems to have been suppressed according to one source.
The title Đào nương means Lady, or Maiden.
Kisaeng of Korea
Strangely enough, the true origins of the Kisaeng are hinted at in an 11th Century manuscript which describes the Kisaeng as women highly skilled in the arts of needlework, music and in medicine.
Later records, well, the only surviving records, describe these women as court entertainers only. Some trace the ancient roots of the Kiseang to the Kingdom of Silla, a country ruled by both Queens and Kings; although as in most places, there are indicators of a distant Matriarchal society where Queens ruled and Kings were the Consort of the Monarch.
One must bear in mind that all over the world, when Matriarchal society was replaced by Patriarchal systems of spirituality and governance, all traces of the ancient Goddess worship were eradicated, to simply erase from living memory the evidence of the past .
The Kisaeng were especially degraded as Patriarchy took firm control of Korean life. These previously revered women were downgraded to slave status and literally treated as such, at best as prostitutes serving the whims of their male clientele.
In North Korea, all Kisaeng descendants were labelled as members of the 'hostile class' and are considered to have 'bad songbun', i.e. "tainted blood."
A Crown and belt from Silla indicative of a high level of skill in craftsmanship.
These are the Flower Boys of ancient Silla, a select group of male youths who were trained in the arts as were their female counterparts, the Kiseang. One could say comparatively speaking, that these are Male Geishas, and indeed, male Geishas definitely existed at one stage in the past herstory of Japan.
The Hwarang were especially known for their use of makeup and accessories; and were described as either Shamans, consorts of Female Shamans, or even as playboys.
The women known as Wonhwa 源花, "Original Flowers" seem to have preceded and have come from the same origins as the Flower Boys. Though the Wonwha are officially said to have little connection with the Kisaeng, this may stem from later differentiation according to class status.
The Wonhwa are described as court beauties or courtesans. These were refined women schooled in Ethics and Philosophy, and so can hardly be described as the “cheap prostitutes” of patriarchal “standards”.
Women played a much more prominent social role in pre-Joseon dynasty Korea, and as mentioned earlier on in Silla, which had three reigning queens in its recorded history.
At some point thereafter, the Siilla King decreed that boys from good families who were of good morals were to be chosen as well as young women and renamed them Hwarang, though this term was originally the feminine Hwanang, meaning Flower Girl.
The Hwarang were not completely militant in character. Originally the Wonhwa were not primarily trained in the Martial Arts but instead mostly in the Feminine Arts.
In later years under patriarchy, the role of the sacred Priestess degenerated while the Hwarang were trained more exclusively in the Martial Arts although still cosmetically feminine in appearance. Their spiritual influence included Buddhism and Taoism and were viewed as highly skilled assets to the Kingdom, generals and other leadership positions being accorded to many.
Again and unfortunately so, we see the degeneration of the traditions of the Hwarang and their ultimate identification with homosexual prostitutes in more recent times.
Yiji of China
The Yiji of China before the Yin Dynasty, were high class women courtesans who provided spiritual and intellectual services, encompassing art, poetry and calligraphy to satisfy the needs of their clients.
Very rarely was actual sex involved and when it was, it was not paid for but mutually agreed upon by both parties, taking the nature of a harmless affair without harming anyone involved.
Again, we see the gradual decline of the Art of Sacred Priestess in this ancient land as over time, the Yiji became associated with the sex trade.
… Notes on the above ~
Geisha ~ “The Geisha are said to inhabit a separate reality from mundane life, and their world is called, the flower and willow world. Flowers represented courtesans, while the Geisha herself was likened to the graceful Willow.
Early Geishas as well as their Korean counterparts were termed “wanderers” indicating freedom of movement and the characteristic of not having a fixed abode – within general society - but residing within a Temple.”
The willow tree is probably one of the trees most associated with genuine ancient Goddess Pagan traditions in Europe and elsewhere.
Within the Ancient Near East, Lilith was associated with Inanna’s Temples of Love; and as Inanna’s “Right Hand”; was said to bring men into the Temples of the Great Goddess.
Co-incidentally?, A Name of Lilith in Jewish texts. is “The Wanderer” )
Đào nương ~ “The performing art of Can tru was originally performed by women similar to Geisha in years long gone by; and it is known that the Đào nương sung for the entertainment of the court as well as performing spiritual songs for the royalty of dynastic Vietnam.”
. In Pagan times, the Queen of State was also the High Priestess of the land; and was attended to by her entourage in court, which included but was not limited to, singers, dancers, advisors ,astrologers, artists and priestesses. With the gradual changeover from Matriarchal society to a new form of governance, this very ancient tradition was continued on in a modified form in many countries, where the emphasis was then placed more exclusively on the performing arts
“What is said to be remarkable about Can tru are the vocals of the music.”
In ancient Pagan times, a priestess was trained to make use of the voice, in the tradition of Isis, as Isis creates with it.
Kisaeng ~ “Strangely enough, the true origins of the Kisaeng are hinted at in an 11th Century manuscript which describes the Kisaeng as women highly skilled in the arts of needlework, music and in medicine.”
The Kisaeng were skilled in needlework, music and medicine ~ Coincidentally, though, J these are all traditional arts practiced by the Pagan priestess of the Old Religion. The professions of physician and healer,magician or witch, were as once synonymous.
Hwarang ~ “These are the Flower Boys of ancient Silla, a select group of male youths who were trained in the arts as were their female counterparts, the Kiseang.”
In another “co-incidence”; though one especially striking in comparative value, the male Temple Prostitutes of Ishtar and Inanna were also termed Flower Boys. Men who wished to commit themselves to the service of Goddess Temples became women spiritually and honored the Divine Feminine within and without, to become Priests of the Goddess and thus be allowed to participate in certain women’s only rites and take on certain functions performed within the Temple. Inanna Herself is known to have made men as women by Her own hand during the initiation process.
The origins of the term Flower Boy also lie within the ancient Egyptian pantheon. As Hapy is the Androgynous Deity venerated for his powers of fertility and abundance; a rain and river God responsible for the seasonal annual flooding of the Nile river basin, Hapy was the consort of the primal Serpent Goddess Wadjit, the Cobra Goddess, of the Oracle; who brought unity and harmony to both Red and White kingdoms .
As surviving records of the Art of the Priestess were systematically destroyed and/or concealed by the agents of the Patriarchal religions over centuries of suppression of Women’s Mysteries in many areas of the world; we are fortunate indeed to have the privilege of re-learning part of our heritage from surviving records and examples of an Ancient and noble , highly refined and spiritual way of life which was at one time, universal in extent .
The “Dragon Lady” has become a widely applied stereotype applying to Asian and Asian- American women since the 1930’s. Hollywood has contributed to enhancing this stereotype, which is of a scheming, ruthless, even piratical “femme fatale” nature.
The deadly, seductive, scheming and manipulative woman achieving power through deception and attraction ~ now, where have I heard that one before?
Exotic, dominant and opportunistic; knowledgeable in sexual pleasures both incredibly alluring yet “forbidden”; the “Dragon lady” as portrayed on the big screen, has heavily influenced and defined societal perceptions of Asian women. These were deliberately created by the media for a specific reason and agenda.
These unrealistic stereotypes may have been glammed up for the purposes of mass entertainment; however the true tale behind the Dragon Ladies of ancient times, from all over the world has been hidden, forbidden and concealed for a long while . Well, as we have briefly explored the more contemporary aspects of the ancient Art of the Priestess as it has manifested in various Oriental cultures, we can take a peek behind the veil and gaze into the sparkling deep blue waters from which the water lily blooms in all it’s splendour ~
Behind the Dragon Lady’s Fan
True origins of The Dragon Lady
“From the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1350-1027B.C.E) come various remnants of female snake deities.
The rain cycle was composed figuratively of dragon goddesses,divinities of streams, lakes and marshes whose archaic forms combine a scaly serpent below the waist with the torso of a lovely woman above…The Dragon Goddess’ shadow flits through ancient poems and stories, still visible in the delicate Dragon Ladies and Shamankas intended to replace her.”*
Shamankas are mortals who have the power to travel within the spirit world to interact with supernatural beings often on behalf of humans as well as serving as the mouthpiece of the Oracle, a role which they fulfilled in the courts of Bronze Age China .
Nu Kua and Fu Xi
Nu Kua is the primordial creator Goddess who moulded humankind from clay and bore Her Consort, Fu Xi, from Her own body. Nu Kua sings while playing a reed organ, creates the music of the universe ; weaving and spinning the world of vibrational frequencies into existence while Fu Xi turns the wheel.
“In the late Chou (770-221 B.C.E.) and Han dynasties (202 B.C.E.-220C.E), Dragon Ladies , or Shamanesses, turn up as relics of serpent worship.
But by that time female dragons and serpents were being nudged out of legend by the official, predominantly male cult of Confucianism.” ~ Buffie Johnson
*“Lady of the Beasts ~ The Goddess and Her Sacred Animals(1994).Johnson, Buffie. San Fransisco; Harper and Rowhers. Inner Traditions International ISBN 0-89281-523-X
The Dragon Lady was the most revered Priestess of the Goddess Religion which was universal in extent, with the Great Serpent or Dragon Temples, or Dracontias covering every corner of the globe and the Sacred Dragon or Great Serpent as the symbol of our Ancestral, Nature-based form of spirituality. In Japan, the Japanese Royal family are firmly believed to be descended directly from the Dragon!
Priestesses have the Lotus as their symbol .And this sacred Lily of myriad meanings, is the flower of creation, which also symbolizes the Sun, or Light which emerges from the Darkness of infinite Potential.
Amaterasu is the Goddess of the Sun; indeed, Amaterasu is the personification of the Solar disc, without which we could not survive. The centre of our sphere of the Galaxy, giving life to all living creatures on Planet Earth.
The Name Amaterasu comes from the word amateur, or “shining in heaven”. The full Name of the Goddess, Amaterasu-ōmikami, translates as “the great august kami (Divinity)) who shines in the heaven".
“The worship of Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as "the cult of the sun".This phrase can also refer to the early pre-archipelagoan worship of the sun itself “~ Wikipedia
As the main shrine buildings built in honour of the Sun Goddess and Goddess of the Universe ` the Sun was seen as the centre of the Universe by the ancients ~ we have little access to the details of an earlier, pre-archipelagoan worship of the sun itself.
The ancient shrine at Ito remains as a legacy of the worship of this earliest Japanese Divinity. It is apparent from the very intimate relationship with Nature that is continued in the Shinto Religion today that the Goddess is both the literal personification of Nature, and the unmanifest aspects of Divinity.
Thus, the symbol of the Goddess and God of Old is the Dragon, and not only of Japan, as the Temples of the Dragon, called Dracontias, were a common feature all around the world for millennia before the advent of the patriarchal religions, when the worship of Nature in the way of the Yin and Yang gave way to male dominance over the spiritual affairs of humankind.
Behind the Sun, lies infinite Darkness, and Amaterasu is both the Light which comes from this Darkness, and the Darkness which bears the Light.
One day, the Sun Goddess Amaterasu was offended by the actions of some other divinities and retired into her cave of darkness.
All of the Deities and their entourages tried unsuccessfully for ages to try and persuade the Sun Goddess to emerge again from the darkness, and bring life and light into the universe again. Every entertainment, intrigue and attraction was used to entice the Goddess to come out again and share the Light within of Herself that makes all things grow, to no avail.
Eventually, a large mirror was placed at the entrance of the cave.
When Amaterasu, out of curiosity, saw Her stunning reflection or mirror image, the Goddess emerged from the cave and joined in the laughter of all of the deities and nature spirits, the Goblins, Elves and Fey gathering around in celebration.
Life was restored to Earth as a result, as the Sun is after all, the giver of Life to the planet, And that magic mirror ~ became the sole object on the Shinto altar.
A dragon tattoo portrays Woman as Creator. Like the dragons of our ancient heritage, a woman's true form represents life, the world and the universe. Dragon body art portrays a flowing, fluid, sinuous motion in space that veils deep power just beneath the cool surface, just waiting to emerge and erupt into a beautiful flower full of grace.