Percival Lowell - Occult Japan or The way of the gods
Shinto, or The Way of the Gods, is the oldest religious faith of the Japanese people. Based on the aboriginal worship of nature and ancestors, it is a religion of innumerable deities and rituals. As Buddhism established itself in Japan, it absorbed many of the Shinto beliefs while assigning them an inferior status. Officially unrecognized by the Buddhist state, ancient Shinto practices have been kept alive to this day as an occult tradition embodying the magical, primeval, and shamanic rites central to the Japanese culture.
'Occult Japan' was originally published in 1894 and is still unrivaled in its detailed descriptions of Shinto 'miracles, possessions, and incarnations.' Percival Lowell, an explorer and author of several other works on the Far East, drew these descriptions from his own observations and experiences during his travels throughout Japan at the end of the 19th century. Unlike other accounts written on the subject by religious missionaries, his are startling in their frankness and objectivity, neither underestimating nor romanticizing the Shinto religion, but presenting its many contradictions with candor and literary grace.