Written for: Carpe Diem #880, Secrets of the Deep North Unveiled:
coolness, cloud peaks, not permitted to tell
not permitted to tell
how sleeves are wetted
in the bathroom
© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)
There are several places in Japan which are seen as sacred and holy, but some of those places hide secrets too. One of those secrets was on Mount Yudono. Let me tell you a little bit more about the secrets of Mount Yudono.
Basho wrote “not permitted to tell” on Mount Yudano (meaning: bathroom). On this mountain was a spectacular waterfall which had been a Shinto place of worship since early times. Only men could visit it and only after a rigorous climb with several rituals and services in various temples. At the gate, after purification rites, they must remove their shoes to climb the rocks barefoot. In addition, before being allowed to view this wonder, each men had to swear never to reveal what he witnessed there.
In modern times, in interests of disclosure, the secret of Mount Yudano has been revealed.
Due to the wearing away of the rock and the reddish minerals in the thermal-warmed water, the waterfall looks exactly like the private parts of a woman complete with sounds and gushing water. The practice can be thought of as worshipping the reproductive aspect of the feminine earth.
Knowing this, the name of the mountain becomes clear. Even clearer is the earlier name for the mountain, Koi no Yama (“mountain of love”)
men climb to reach opening
sight remains secret
© Sara McNulty