July 27th, 2004

"Ladies, lock up your sons! "

Lots of different people have asked me this question over the past year.
"What is a kitsune?"
So I’m writing this up so as to have a link to send folks to because I’m
tired of typing this crap again and again. ;)

Lots of folks want to be experts on kitsune lore.
Good for them. I'm not an expert and everything I'm typing is based on my
own research, experiences and travels.
Don't like what I have to say on this topic? Good for you.
Write your congressman.

All this is IME and IMHO. :)

Kitsune means 'fox' in Japanese. However, not everyone believes that
kitsune and foxes are quite the same thing. Confused yet? It gets better.

The kitsune are an effeminate race. Those who are male are not usually
very "macho." (Yomari and ChongMa being fine examples of this.
Conversely Kuzumacha IS very masculine but that’s a rarity.)
The occupations that the kitsune take, and their mannerisms, are
those of women in the orient within the last few centuries.
Mythologically speaking that is.
In the 21st century world they are typically more of a raging fag
archetype. ;)

It is commonly believed that kitsune, in their best known mythological
manifestation, were introduced to Japan from China and Korea.
The Japanese liked the kitsune so much, that it was adapted to the
Japanese culture, and went through rigorous metamorphosis.
No one is 100% certain what the original mythology detailed exactly.

Some people believe that this type of fox spirit has its roots in India.
These people find kitsune to be very similar to the Rakasha.
(Generally a hell of a lot more benign however.)
In fact, Rakasha and Kitsune are considered to be enemies in some
(Hobbes and I get along with no troubles however, though neither of us
gives a fart for tradition.)
The kitsune's powers of illusion are also considered to be similar to that
of the Rakasha.

The kitsune, according to some legends are bad guys, all vampiric and
such. (MMmmm..yummy souls.) Then again in other myths they are the
loveable good guys and pranksters and whatever as well as faithful wives
turned mortal and given souls by the power of love blah blah blah.

Generally, most folks believe that Kitsune are magical spirit foxes that are
basically practical joke playing assholes.
Sometimes good. Sometimes evil.
Some people believe elements are integral to their design while others freak
out and insist that this is absolutely not the case.
Kitsune are generally expected to "die" at 900 years and typically earn 1 tail per
100 years of existence.
(There seem to be a lot of exceptions to this rule though and despite some
high pitched claims in the online universe I don’t know anyone who can really be
an expert. Darned things vary too much from place to place.)

Kitsune have been compared to succubi, demons, fairies and celestial beings.

Kitsune in Japan are typically linked with Inari. Inari is the Shinto god of rice and
sake, two central and essential commodities both in the culture and history of
trade and life in Japan.
As such, with the rise of industry and the diminishing importance of agriculture,
the role of Inari shrines has grown to represent success and prosperity in
business. Thus, while traditionally, prayers are made at Inari shrines for a good
harvest, nowadays shrines draw thousands of business and tradespeople
seeking blessings for their enterprises.
Especially for Hatsumoude, the first prayers of the New Year.
Characterizing Inari shrines are numerous statues of foxes, messengers of
Inari, and guardians of the shrine.
Inari's foxes are said to be helpful, but others are said to be dangerous.
A key often seen in the mouth of a fox statue is for the rice granary.
(In short the foxes that work for Inari are generally considered "the good guys"
while those who do not are "the bad guys.")

So there are the basics for you.

Enjoy. :)
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    It's a kind of magic.
high king

since we are on the subject of magical creatures

These guys make good guardians
title or description
They are shedim which is plural for shedu. They are Mesopotamian guardian spirits. The female of their species are called lamansu. They have the bodies of lions or bulls and the faces of men or women. They are winged. They protect and guard gateways. I put a picture up of two of them on my bedroom door. When invoked they ususally are called in the name of a Near Eastern diety ie Marduk, Ishtar or YHVH. You always have to be polite, honorable and honest with them. They might leave or enact punishment if you do negative unjustified magic. If you summon them you need some physical representation a statue or a picture is fine. They speak telepathically rather than speech. They are hunters of evil.
So I did a ritual to invoke them last year and they showed up. They told me their names. I called them in the name of Marduk and Ishtar. In Babylonian texts there are prayers to Ishtar asking Her to send a benevolent shedu.