It is no surprise that strands of history merge into story, then into legend, then into the official position of the imperiala family— ha—chosen by god! They say that the first emperor was descended from the sun goddess. This could be a fiction to justify the imperial family, or a fiction to give authority to the mythic histories.
In hell, Izanagi frightened his pursuers with peaches, letting him escape, which is why peaches are blessed. An old woman ate a peach, regained her youth, and bore a son, the peach boy, who made friends with talking animals—a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant. Together, they subjugated a band of demons who had been raping and pillaging his home island.
You might say that anything that has value is a spirit, but a spirit’s value, like nature, might be good or bad. They reside in places and in things, like the moon, the winds, the trees, or the mountain streams. People can become spirits if they hang around. These are our ancestors and those who defy authority. Like nature, they are of nature, but they are hidden from us, kindly doing us favors or playing tricks on us.
Originally, the seven lucky gods were ordinary gods; no one cared about them, there were so many gods, gods all over the place. A Buddhist priest chose them for a special virtue: longevity, fortune, popularity, sincerity, kindness, dignity, and magnanimity. Now, every trade and craft wants to claim one for themselves.
We do as we’re told and worship the gods that can help us out although many of them got their powers by disobeying. The old spirits go back to when doing good deeds was better than worshipping.
Before you enter a shrine, you perform the purification ritual. The ritual is necessary whether your hands are clean or dirty. We have no Bible, our scriptures are these symbolic acts. The ritual cleanses you of the evils you cannot see. Focus on what you can see to wash away the unnatural world. You see the natural world and become a part of it.