- Divination. A Taoist-style Bureau of Divination (Onmyo-ryo) formed part of the Imperial Court in the Heian period. Divination to assist harvest and cultivation still forms a part of many festivals. Methods used include futomani, heating the shoulder-blade of a deer and reading the cracks; the popular o-mikuji (divination by drawing lots and numbered slips of paper); archery (o-bisha, mato-i, yabusame, o-mato-shinji) where divination is based on the angle of the arrow in the target; smearing rice-paste on a pole and seeing how it sticks, and sounding a small drum. In the Awaji-shima Izanagi-jingu a form of divination called mi-kayu-ura uses hollow bamboos dipped by farmers in boiling rice to foretell the planting and harvest, while at the Koshio jinja, Akita, rice paste is smeared on a three-metre pole and divination of the crops is based on the way it sticks. Similar but more complex forms of divination are used in the Kasuga-taisha to determine different planting times for 54 different vegetables. At the Shiga-no-umi jinja, Kyushu, a busha archery crop-divination contest is performed on the 15th day of the lunar new year.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.