My incense holder themed after Matarajin-sama (hand-made)

On some level I was always fascinated with the unknown other. I suppose that's just how it is when you're autistic and also trans and you've been aware of those facts about yourself for pretty much as long you remember.

If a cartoon was an assault on the senses, a game was hard to control and full of glitches, or a piece of music wasn't even really music, it was always guaranteed that I would like it as a child. I suppose it was only a matter of time of becoming fully aware of the fact that I WAS the other I loved so dearly.

The same way the unknown other was always a part of my life, I feel like Matarajin-sama was too. The strange, the flawed, the obscure, the unknown, it was all him, outside of me or inside. He's countless concepts and beings; a protector of Buddhism, the connection between the visible world and that which is not comprehensible to us, fate itself... but for me, he's the other. In a way, to me, he is home. A home I never truly had.

This was the reason why I chose a hannya mask to represent him instead of an okina mask. His unconventional and hard to grasp nature are what I know him as. The unknowable and unnatural is his nature.

And for that reason, when he arrived in a way I could comprehend, although he intimidated me at first, I was quick to realize that we knew each other well at that point. My first prayer to him was done a couple of years ago (2021), at a point where I was only a year into practicing Shinto.

I grew up in an atheist household so Shinto practice has been a rough ride for me, but getting in touch with Matarajin-sama improved my spiritual senses and ways of practice significantly. Which makes sense as getting to know your flaws and deficiencies are the key to improvement. That's how he creates and alleviates obstacles.

As of writing this (2023 december), my big obstacle in my religious practice is getting the same wavelenght as Buddhism, if that makes any sense. Shinto practice, although rocky, the philosophies of it came to me very naturally. Buddhism is quite the opposite, unfortunately, but if Matarajin-sama is to be trusted (and he is), my inability to truly grasp it lies within what I need to improve upon in my life and so with enough practice there will come a time when Buddhist practice will be as natural as breathing.