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Izangi and Izanami

Izangi and Izanami
Painting by Eitaku Kobayashi (Meiji period). Izanagi to the right, Izanami to the left.


Izanagi is a deity born of the seven divine generations in Japanese mythology and Shintoism, and is also referred to in the roughly translated Kojiki as “male who invites”, or Izanagi-no-mikoto.

He and his spouse Izanami bore many islands, deities, and forefathers of Japan. When Izanami died in childbirth, Izanagi tried (but failed) to retrieve her from Yomi (the underworld). In the cleansing rite after his return, he begot Amaterasu (the sun goddess) from his left eye, Tsukuyomi (the moon god) from his right eye, and Susanoo (tempest or storm god) from his nose. The story of Izanagi and Izanami has close parallels to the Greek Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, but it also has a major difference. When Izanagi looks prematurely at his wife, he beholds her monstrous and hellish state and she is shamed and enraged. She pursues him in order to kill him. She fails to do so, but promises to kill a thousand of his people every day. Izanagi retorts that a thousand and five hundred will be born every day.

There are similarities also between Izanami and Izanagi on the one hand, and the Mayan deities Itzamna and Ix Chel on the other. Among the Maya as among the Yamato, the male god is a gentle deity, creator of the sun and moon, while the female goddess (Ix Chel in Central America) is only benevolent while in company of her husband. If isolated from him, she becomes a malevolent goddess of floods, destruction and death. She has a serpent growing from her head, much like Izanami in Yomi.


Izanami (“she who invites”) is a goddess of both creation and death, as well as the former wife of the god Izanagi. She is also referred to as Izana-mi, Izanami-no-mikoto or Izanami-no-kami.

Goddess of Creation

The first gods summoned two divine beings into existence, the male Izanagi and the female Izanami, and charged them with creating the first land. To help them do this, Izanagi and Izanami were given a spear decorated with jewels, named Ame-no-nuboko (heavenly spear). The two deities then went to the bridge between heaven and earth, Ame-no-ukihashi (“floating bridge of heaven”), and churned the sea below with the spear. When drops of salty water fell from the spear, Onogoroshima (“self-forming island”) was created. They descended from the bridge of heaven and made their home on the island. Eventually they wished to be mated, so they built a pillar called Ame-no-mihashira (“pillar of heaven”; the mi- is an honorific prefix) and around it they built a palace called Yahiro-dono (one hiro is approximately 182 cm, so the “eight-hiro-palace” would have been 14.56 m¬≤). Izanagi and Izanami circled the pillar in opposite directions, and when they met on the other side, Izanami spoke first in greeting. Izanagi didn’t think that this was the proper thing to do, but they mated anyhow. They had two children, Hiruko (“leech-child”) and Awashima (“faint island”), but they were born deformed and are not considered deities.

They put the children into a boat and set them out to sea, then petitioned the other gods for an answer as to what they did wrong. They were told that the male deity should have spoken first in greeting during the marriage ceremony. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, this time Izanagi speaking first when they meet, and their marriage was then successful.

From their union were born the o-yashima, or the “great eight islands” of the Japanese chain:

* Awazi
* Iyo (later Shikoku)
* Ogi
* Tsukusi (later Kyu-shu-)
* Iki
* Tsushima
* Sado
* Yamato (later Honshu-)

Note that Hokkaido-, Chishima, and Okinawa were not part of Japan in ancient times.

They bore six more islands and many deities. Izanami died giving birth to the child Kagu-Tsuchi (incarnation of fire) or Ho-Masubi (causer of fire). She was then buried on Mt. Hiba, at the border of the old provinces of Izumo and Hoki, near modern-day Yasugi of Shimane Prefecture. So angry was Izanagi at the death of his wife that he killed the newborn child, thereby creating dozens of deities.

Goddess of Death

Izanagi lamented the death of Izanami and undertook a journey to Yomi (“the shadowy land of the dead”). Quickly, he searched for Izanami and found her. At first, Izanagi could not see her at all for the shadows hid her appearance well. Nevertheless, he asked her to return with him. Izanami spat out at him, informing Izanagi that he was too late. She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the living.

Izanagi was shocked at this news but he refused to give in to her wishes of being left to the dark embrace of Yomi. While Izanami was sleeping, he took the comb that bound his long hair and set it alight as a torch. Under the sudden burst of light, he saw the horrid form of the once beautiful and graceful Izanami. She was now a rotting form of flesh with maggots and foul creatures running over her ravaged body.

Crying out loud, Izanagi could no longer control his fear and started to run, intending to return to the living and abandon his death-ridden wife. Izanami woke up shrieking and indignant and chased after him. Wild shikome (foul women) also hunted for the frightened Izanagi, instructed by Izanami to bring him back.

Izanagi burst out of the entrance and quickly pushed a boulder in the mouth of the cavern that was the entrance of Yomi. Izanami screamed from behind this impenetrable barricade and told Izanagi that if he left her she would destroy 1,000 residents of the living every day. He furiously replied he would give life to 1,500.

The story has strong parallels with the Greek Myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, as well as to the myth of Persephone and Demeter, the Maya Myth of Itzamna and Ix Chel, and the Akkadian/Sumerian myth of Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld. The Shikome, for instance, are parallel to the Maenads who tore Orpheus to pieces.

Originally Posted by
Green Giant of the Wizards Community forums.
On this Thread

Izangi and Izanami

He Who Invites, She Who Invites
Greater Deity
Home Plane:
Creation, life and death cycle
Worshipers: Nobles, rulers, samurai
Cleric Alignments: LN, LG, LE
Domains: Balance, Celestial, Creation, Grave, Healing, Law, Life
Favored Weapon: lance

Izanami and Izanagi are the seventh generation descendants of the three divinities that came into being with the heavens and the earth. Of these early deities, they are the most important for men, for they were assigned the task of solidifying the earth. Izanagi, the male god, stood on the floating bridge of heaven and stirred the ocean with his lance until the water began to congeal and the island of Onokoro was formed.

Here, Izanagi and his wife, Izanami, made their home and went about the business of populating the world. At first, they produced a monster, then an island. Finally, however, they began producing more gods. Unfortunately, Izanami died while giving birth to the god of fire. The morose Izanagi went to the Land of Darkness to visit her, but was bitterly chased away after Izanami grew angry at him for seeing her in a state of decay. Back on earth, Izanagi produced several more deities, including the sun goddess Amaterasu, as he washed away the residue of the underworld.

Working together, Izanagi and Izanami have the power to create anything. In their true forms, they appear to be a statuesque man and woman of great beauty (though Izanami will appear dead and decayed if caught unawares).


Clergy and Temples

Priests of Izanagi and/or Izanami dedicate themselves to the caretaking of the beautiful land their deities created.

Shaman 20/sorcerer 20
Medium outsider (Law, Spirit)
Divine Rank 19
Hit Dice20d8+200 (outsider) plus 20d6+200 (Shaman) plus 20d4+200 (sorcerer) (960 hp)
Initiative+12 (+8 Dexterity, +4 Improved Iniative)
Speed60 ft.
AC80 (+8 Dexterity, +19 divine, +32 natural, +11 deflection) touch 48, flat-footed 72
Base  Attack/Grapple+40/+74
Attack+5 keen soul of honor wounding lance +80 melee [Izangi only]; or +5 disruption impact soul of honor unarmed strike +80 melee [Izanami only]; or spell +74 melee touch or +67 ranged touch
Full Attack+5 keen soul of honor wounding lance +80/+75/+70/+65 melee [Izangi only]; or +5 disruption impact soul of honor unarmed strike +80/+75/+70/+65 melee [Izanami only]; or spell +74 melee touch or +67 ranged touch
Damage*+5 keen soul of honor wounding lance [Izangi only] 1d8+20/19-20/x3; or +5 disruption impact soul of honor unarmed strike [Izanami only] 2d6+20/19-20; or by spell *Always does maximum damage (lance 28, unarmed strike 32)
Face/Reach5 ft./5 ft.
Special AttacksTurn undead (+6 to turn checks) 14/day [Izangi only] and rebuke undead (+6 to rebuke checks) 14/day [Izanami only], Domain powers, salient divine abilities, spell-like abilities, bypass damage reduction (law).
Special QualitiesDivine immunities, DR 30/epic, fire resistance 24, spontaneous casting of divine spells, understand, speak, and read all languages and speak directly to all beings within 19 miles, remote communication, godly realm, greater teleport at will, plane shift at will, animal companion as druid, spirit sight, spirits¬í favor, SR 51, divine aura (19 miles, DC 40).
SavesFort +72, Ref +70, Will +75
AbilitiesStrength 40, Dexterity 26, Constitution 30, Intelligence 30, Wisdom 32, Charisma 32
Skills*Bluff +55, Climb +59, Concentration +74 (+78 when casting defensively), Craft (alchemy) +54, Craft (calligraphy) +54, Diplomacy +89, Handle Animal +55, Heal +55, Iaijutsu Focus +55, Jump +59, Knowledge (arcana) +89, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) +54, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +54, Knowledge (geography) +54, Knowledge (history) +54, Knowledge (local) +54, Knowledge (nature) +64, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +89, Knowledge (religion) +89, Knowledge (spirits) +89, Listen +57, Perform (oratory) +55, Ride (horse) +56, Search +54 (+58 with hidden or secret doors), Sense Motive +60, Spellcraft +95, Spot +57, Swim +59. *Always receives a 20 on checks.
FeatsBlind-Fight, Combat Casting , Combat Expertise, Combat ReflexesCraft Rod, Craft Wondrous Item, Dodge, Divine Might, Empower Spell, Eschew Materials, Great Ki Shout, Heighten Spell, Improved Heighten SpellImproved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike, Iron Will, Ki Shout, Mounted CombatNegotiator, Power Attack, Profane Boost [Izanami only], Quicken Spell, Ride-By Attack, Sacred Boost [Izangi only], Scribe Scroll, Spirited ChargeStunning Fist, Weapon Focus (lance) [Izangi only], Weapon Focus (unarmed strike) [Izanami only]
Divine ImmunitiesAbility damage, ability drain, acid, cold, death effects, disease, disintegration, electricity, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, Paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning, transmutation, imprisonment, banishment.
Divine Abilities
Alter Reality, Alter Size, Area Divine Shield, Avatar, Clearsight, Create Greater ObjectCreate Object, Divine Blast, Divine Creation, Divine Fast Healing [Izangi only], Divine Shield, Divine Spellcasting, Divine Splendor [Izangi only], Divine StormEnergy Storm (positive) [Izangi only], Energy Storm (negative) [Izanami], Extra Domain (Balance), Extra Domain (Grave), Extra Domain (Healing), Extra Domain (Life), Frightful Presence [Izanami only], Gift of Life [Izangi only], Hand of Death [Izanami only], Lay Quest, Life and Death, Know Death [Izanami only], Mass Life and DeathPower of Truth [Izangi only], Undead Qualities [Izanami only]
Domain Powers19/day gain +11 to AC for 20 rounds; 14/day rebuke spirits; cast conjuration (creation) spells at +1 caster level; 19/day death touch (if subject touched does not have at least 120 hp, it dies); cast healing spells at +1 caster level; cast law spells at +1 caster level; 19/day grant 1d6+20 temporary hit points, maximum duration 20 hours.
Spell-like AbilitiesIzangi and Izanami uses these abilities as a 29th-level caster, except conjuration (creation), healing, and law spells, which they use as a 30th-level caster. The save DCs are 40 + spell level. Animate dead, animate objects, animate plants, banishment, bless, calm emotions, clarity of mind, commune with greater spirit, commune with lesser spirit, create food and watercreate greater undead, create undead, create water, cure critical wounds, cure light woundscure moderate wounds, cure serious wounds, death knell, death ward, destruction, dictum, dismissal, dispel chaos, disrupting weapon, gate, ghost light, greater spirit ally, heal, heroes’ feast, hide from undead, hold monster, lesser restoration, lesser spirit ally, magic circle against chaos, major creation, make whole, mass cure critical wounds, mass cure light wounds, mass heal, mass sanctuary, minor creation, minor image, pavilion of grandeur, permanent image, plant growth, protection from chaos, protection from spells, regenerate, shield of law, slay living, spirit ally, substitution, summon monster IX (as law spell only), true creation, wail of the banshee, wall of bones, weighed in the balance, word of balance.

Shaman Spells/Day (0-11): 6/9/9/9/8/8/7/7/6/6/2/2; base DC = 22 + spell level.

sorcerer Spells Known (Levels 0-11; 6/9/9/9/8/8/8/8/7/7/2/2; base DC = 22 + spell level):

Possessions: Izangi uses a +5 lance with the keen, soul of honor, and wounding special abilities. Izanami uses her unarmed strikes which have a +5 enhancement as well as the disruption, impact, and soul of honor special abilities.

Other Divine Powers

As greater deities, Izangi and Izanami automatically receives the best possible result on any die roll they makes (including attack rolls, damage, checks and saves). They are immortal.

Senses: Izangi and Izanami can see, hear, touch, and smell at a distance of nineteen miles. As a standard action, they can perceive anything within nineteen miles of their worshipers, holy sites, objects, or any location where one of their titles or names was spoken in the last hour. They can extend their senses to up to twenty locations at once. They can block the sensing power of deities of their rank or lower at up to two remote locations at once for 19 hours.

Portfolio sense: Izangi and Izanami sense any birth or death nineteen weeks before it happens and retain the sensation for nineteen weeks after the event occurs.

Automatic actions: Izangi and Izanami can use Concentration, Diplomacy, Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (spirits), and Spellcraft as a free action if the DC for the task is 30 or lower. They can perform up to twenty such free actions each round.

Create Magic Items: Izangi and Izanami can create any magic item.


The avatars appear to be a handsome man and beautiful woman of great size. These two rarely involve themselves in the affairs of men.
Avatar of Izangi and Izanami: As Izangi and Izanami except divine rank 9; Spd 60 ft.; AC 60 (touch 38, flat-footed 52); Atk +42; Grp +64; Atk +70 melee (1d8+20/19-20/x3, +5 keen soul of honor wounding lance [Izangi only]); or +70 melee (2d6+20/19-20, +5 disruption impact soul of honor unarmed strike [Izanami only]); or spell +64 melee touch or +57 ranged touch; Full Atk +70/+65/+60/+55 melee (1d8+20/19-20/x3, +5 keen soul of honor wounding lance [Izangi only]); or +70/+65/+60/+55 melee (2d6+20/19-20, +5 disruption impact soul of honor unarmed strike [Izanami only]); or spell +64 melee touch or +57 ranged touch; SQ DR 20/epic, fire resistance 14, SR 41, divine aura (900 ft., DC 30); SV Fort +62, Ref +60, Will +65; all skill modifiers reduced by 10.

Salient Divine Abilities: Alter Reality, Alter Size, Clearsight, Create Object, Divine Blast, Divine Fast Healing [Izangi only], Divine Shield, Extra Domain (Grave), Extra Domain (Healing), Gift of Life [Izangi only], Hand of Death [Izanami only], Know Death [Izanami only], Power of Truth [Izangi only], Undead Qualities [Izanami only]

Spell-like Abilities: Caster level 19th; saving throw DC 30 + spell level.

Sources: Legends and Lore (2E), On Hallowed Ground (2E), PHB 3.5, DMG 3.5, MM 3.5, Player’s Guide to Faerun (3.5E), Oriental Adventures (3E), Eberron Campaign Setting (3.5E), Deities and Demigods (3E), Epic Level Handbook (3E), Complete Warrior (3.5E), Complete Divine (3.5E), and Dragon Magazine #318.

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