Coming Out of the Cave & Reflecting on the Past Year

Take heart from the legend of one of the most powerful solar goddesses, Amaterasu. Her myth is potent with meaning about how we can hide our light from the world in times of distress or trauma, and how to emerge back into the light.

This year has had some dark moments, no doubt. 

However, for this moment, as the full moon is lighting up our sky, let’s allow her to illuminate the reflections of our psyche.

I’d love to share with you one of my favorite myths for this post-Solstice and Yule, the liminal time before the turning of the wheel of the year.


One of the most powerful solar goddesses, Amaterasu, has dominated Japanese Shinto belief for centuries. (Other sun goddesses across the globe include Saule/Baltic, Sulis/Celtic Roman, Cybele/Mediterranean, and Sekhmet/Egyptian)

Her shrine was first built in Ise in the 7th century AD and is rebuilt every 21 years in the same spot, in exactly the same form.

A short version of her myth: 

Origin of Music and Dance at the Rock Door by Shunsai Toshimasa, 1887. The top center figure is Amaterasu herself, emerging from the cave and radiating rays of sunlight.

She is born of the primordial couple and is so bright that they place her in the sky as the Sun.

Amaterasu’s brother, the god of war, goes on a destructive rampage where he desecrates her quarters with his excrement.

As she looks down at the havoc, horrified, her brother pierces her with a spindle shaft. The metaphor of a spindle penetrating her represents the violation of rape.

Amaterasu retreats to a cave to hide out of shame, disgust and fear.

Her absence makes the world dark and cold, funereal. To woo her out of her cave, 800 deities decorate a tree with jewels, ribbons and mirrors and place it at the mouth of the cave, along with a large copper mirror fashioned by the smith goddess.

The shaman named no-Uzume, goddess of jollity, then performs a dance intended to restore the earth’s fundamental energies. As the dance of the shaman grows more frenetic, she begins to undress and make jokes. In some myths she has the body of an old wrinkled woman who jiggles around her deflated breasts and stretches open her crinkly, ages old yoni!

The gods begin laughing so loudly that Amaterasu comes out of the cave to see what is going on. She catches her reflection in the copper mirror and is dazzled by her own radiance.

Amaterasu returns to the world, brings back the light and banishes her brother. 

This myth is potent with meaning for how we can reflect on the ways we hide our light from the world during times of distress and trauma … and how to emerge back into the light in ways that feel safe for us.

Journal Exploration: Shine On

The following journal prompts will help you bring aspects of yourself into the light that you may have been holding back.

~What is keeping you from shining like the sun? Is it fear? Feelings of uncertainty or doubt? Do you fear outshining others that you love and respect? (This is super common by the way.)

~What are the healing roles of beauty and humor in your life? What can you do to cultivate them and bring you out of your dark moments?

~Reflect on reflections: how seeing your beauty reflected back to you makes you want to shine more.

~Who can play the role of the magic mirror in your life? 

~Who are those people you can count on to see your greatness, light and beauty... even in the midst of difficulties and darkness?

~Who will mirror your shine without resentment, jealousy or reservation? 

Breathwork Meditation for Connecting with Amaterasu

I use and teach this technique of chakra breathing any time I need to ground and calm my mind and body. I’m excited to share it with you!

Step 1: Begin to inhale slowly in a count of four through the petals of your solar plexus chakra, known as Manipura in Sanskrit, which translates to “lustrous gem.” (I like to envision my solar plexus chakra like a flower with petals reaching out from its center, like a beautiful radiant sunflower.)

Step 2: Hold the breath for four counts, allowing the golden- yellow warmth to expand and spread, as if you’re running sunshine throughout your body.

Step 3: When you exhale, breathe the gold light out through the petals of your solar plexus chakra into your aura, which surrounds your entire body.

Step 4: Hold your breath for four counts visualizing the yellow- gold light infusing your aura and bathing every cell of your body.

Repeat the pattern beginning with step 1 at least three more times.

To close the practice, breathe in Cosmic energy through your crown chakra at the top of your head and send the light down through your spinal column, then ground this energy deep into the heart of mother earth.

Body Prayer to Embody the Energy of Amaterasu

This easy body prayer movement sequence will increase courage and radiance. It’s basically the yoga stance known as Warrior’s Pose, with an added element of visualization.

This can be done indoors or out. Stand with your legs wide apart. Move your right foot so it faces to the right and begin bending your right leg slightly.

Raise both arms out to the sides, up to your shoulders and turn your head and face to the right.

Take a deep breath and as you are gazing into the horizon, imagine your future self standing in front of you. This you is radiant, fulfilled, healthy, affluent and joyful. See how they hold their body, how they’re dressed, the style of their hair and make up.

This self is doing this same stance facing you and eventually your outstretched hands come closer together, your fingers touching.

Feel your future self’s positive and enlivening energy flowing into you and spreading throughout your body, infusing every cell with more radiance and confidence.

*This article was taken from Chapter 5: Shining Your Light, from Kris’ book Return to Enchantment: Your Guide to Creating A Magical Livelihood
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