Shinto: A celebration of Life

Shinto: A celebration of Life

Introducing a gentle but powerful and enduring spiritual pathway reconnecting humanity with Great Nature and affirming all aspects of life.


Shinto is an ancient faith of forests and snow capped mountains. It sees the divine in rocks and streams communing with spirit worlds through bamboo twigs and the evergreen sakaki tree. Yet it is also the manicured suburban garden and the blades of grass between cracks in city paving stones. Structured around ritual cleansing Shinto contains no concept of sin. It reveres ancestors but thinks little about the afterlife, asking us to live in and improve the present. This book illuminates Shinto as an unbroken indigenous path that now reaches beyond its native Japan and reveals its special relevance to us as we seek a more balanced and fulfilled way of life.


Rankin’s style is highly accessible and his fluent description of the various aspects of Shinto flows freely throughout Shinto: A Celebration of Life. Rather than referring to numerous experts on Shinto by name in the body of the text, Rankin uses endnotes to explain the finer details of some of the points that he wishes to make, as well as to source the most salient writings that he has used in his work. In addition to clearly explaining each Shinto concept to which he refers in the text, he also provides a short explanation of the term in a glossary at the end of the book. The only relatively minor fault that can be found with this introduction to the ancient faith and practice of Shinto is that it is not illustrated—even a border of relevant symbols would have given this work added vibrancy.    

~ Lois Henderson,

Rankin has managed to turn in a very good introduction that conveys the spirit of Shinto and its basic spiritual viewpoint. Key ideas and their relevance to modern environmental- and pagan-minded folk are explained clearly – albeit in a way that few Japanese might choose, but that's no discredit: Shinto, currently being revisioned by the post-war generation, needs a clean break from the path it was directed into by the 19th and 20th-century State.

This is not exactly a book about Shinto – that would need more depth and history. But it is a book about Shinto's message and relevance to the modern world, and I welcome it.  

~ John Billingsley, Northern Earth

This is an excellent book about the indigenous spirituality of the Japanese people

~ Stafford Whiteaker, Editor of The Good Retreat Guide and author of Good Living in Hard Times (O-Books 2012)

A clear and comprehensive introduction to Shinto, with which I imagine few readers are familiar. 

~ David Lorimer, Network Review

This exceptional and timely book brings the primal wisdom of Japan into the global arena. Shinto offers a message of hope to humanity and all life on this planet. ~ Paul de Leeuw, Kannushi Shinto Master and Director of the Japanese Dutch Shinzen Foundation

Aidan Rankin
Aidan Rankin Aidan Rankin has an MA in Modern History from Pembroke College, Oxford and an MSc (Econ.) from the London School of Economics. His postgrad...
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