Amaterasu

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System Lord Amaterasu

Earth Culture of Origin

Japan, Shinto

Presides Over

The sun.

Earth Mythological References

Amaterasu, the powerful sun goddess of Japan, is the most well-known deity of Japanese mythology. She was created from the left eye of the Creator deity, Izanagi. From his right eye came the incarnation of the moon (Tsukiyomi) and from his nose came the incarnation of wind or storm (Susanowo). The world was then divided among the three with Amaterasu inheriting the heavens, Tsukiyomi the night and moon, and the storm god Susanowo ruling the seas.

Legend says that Susanowo, was troublesome and uncontrollable and was banished to the dark realm Yomi by their father, Izanagi. Before leaving, however, he went to Takamanohara (heaven) to bid farewell to his sister, Amaterasu. Amaterasu suspected his intentions were bad and prepared for battle.

Susanowo explained his purpose was only to say good-bye, but she did not believe him and requested a contest for proof of his good faith. A challenge was set as to who would bring forth the more noble divine child. Amaterasu made three women from Susanowo's sword, while Susanowo made five very powerful gods from Amaterasu's ornament chain. Amaterasu claimed the title to the five male gods attributing their great power to the fact they were made from her belongings.

Amaterasu's insistence in her claim of victory enraged Susanowo and drove him to violent campaigns. The battle between these two reached its climax when Susanowo hurled a half-flayed pony--an animal sacred to Amaterasu--into Amaterasu's weaving hall destroying her palace and causing the death of one of her attendants. She fled and hid into the cave called the Iwayado. With Amaterasu's incarnation of the sun disappearing into the cave, darkness covered the world.

All the gods and goddesses tried to coax Amaterasu out of the cave, but she refused. Seeing this, the kami of merriment, Ama-no-Uzume, placed a large bronze mirror on a tree, facing Amaterasu's cave. Then Uzume clothed herself in flowers and leaves and overturned a washtub, and began to dance on it, drumming the tub with her feet. Eventually, Uzume shed the leaves and flowers and danced naked. All the male gods roared with laughter, and Amaterasu became curious. When she took a look outside, a ray of light called "dawn" escaped. Amaterasu was dazzled by her own reflection in the mirror. The god Ameno-Tajikarawo pulled her from the cave and it was sealed with a holy shirukume rope. Caught up in the happiness and good feelings, Amaterasu's depression lifted and she agreed to return her light to the world.

Stargate References

Amaterasu made her first appearance as part of a Goa'uld delegation, including Lord Yu and Camulus. They were seeking an alliance with the Tau'ri against Ba'al who had seized control of Anubis's base and Kull Warriors following Anubis's defeat and had gained a great deal of power. (8.01 "New Order Part 1")

Clearly seeking the weapon in Antarctica used to defeat Anubis for themselves, the Goa'uld tried to bluff and threaten their way into securing Dr. Elizabeth Weir and the SGC's cooperation. Thanks to Daniel Jackson's counsel, however, there was not much Amaterasu or her companions could do to persuade the Tau'ri to ally themselves with these double-dealing snakes. (8.01 "New Order Part 1" and 8.02 "New Order Part 2")

While Camulus sought and was granted asylum with the Tau'ri, Amaterasu and Lord Yu left empty-handed and at the mercy of Ba'al's growing forces. Amaterasu's ships were eventually taken over by the Replicators right before they were annihilated in the battle over Dakara, but Amaterasu's own fate was not revealed. (8.02 "New Order Part 2", 8.16 "Reckoning Part 1", 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2")

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--Marcia 18:09, 10 Jul 2004 (PDT)