If you need help with exams, blessings for your marriage, or good favor for your newborn baby, you’re out of luck. Sorry — try again next month.
This is the tenth month, or jugatsu (十月). It’s also known as kaminazuki (神無月), or “the month without gods.” This is the month where all the Shinto gods vacate their homes — the shrines, mountains, rivers, trees, and countless other places where they reside — and convene in Western Japan, at the Izumo Taisha (and only in Izumo, by the way, is the month called kamiarizuki [神有り月] or “the month with gods”). There, I imagine, they have a raucous party, drinking all the sake offered throughout the year and perhaps have a cookout. It’s gotta be lonely and frustrating sometimes, stuck in some big tree in the middle of a forest, bestowing benediction on the very occasional hiking grandma.
Let’s hope this retreat sees all those gods refreshed and ready for work in the eleventh month. The backlog’s going to be killer.