I'm still working out a couple of things around here, but I thought I would take a moment to mention a charming discovery I made last night. Apparently, at some point, and seemingly independent of one another, some fans on the web have decided to invent their own spiritual path based on Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon, the popular series for girls. It's a series I've discussed here before, but if you are unfamiliar with the premise, it is basically a story about several young women who battle the forces of chaos and entropy, in the name of the nine planetary kingdoms. There is a Sailor Senshi (soldier) representing each heavenly body. The senshi from the inner planets are entrusted to guard and fight beside Sailor Moon, who is the royal heir to the lost Moon Kingdom. It's her destiny to erect a new utopia on Earth.
The practice based on this mythos is called Serenitism - named so for Queen Serenity, the spiritual mother to the eponymous heroine - and it's an ethical system with a light sprinkling of magic. From their section on "What Is Serenitism?":
What Serenitism IS:On the question of "What Serenitism IS NOT," the answer is basically that it is not an encouragement for people to become weeaboo astral warriors. Darn! I was almost looking forward to that.
-Following a code of ethics inspired by Sailor Moon.
-Viewing Queen Serenity, the Silver Millennium, and perhaps the Sailor Senshi an an embodiment of an ideal or a way to visualize the divine.
-Visualizing other aspects of the series as metaphors for the real world, EG, the Galaxy Cauldron could be the Big Bang or the Source. Starseeds could be a way to visualize the spark of the divine.
-A potential paradigm for magical workings, if you're into that sort of thing. For example, you might use a senshi attack to perform a banishing ritual, ask Queen Serenity to bless and empower your wand, or make yourself a studying charm using Sailor Mercury's colors.
In what appears to be the brainchild of the Sailor Failures blog, the practice of Serenitism has been expanded to include celebrations of the characters' birthdays, on which dates followers attempt to emulate their virtues. As it happens, June 30th is the birthday of Sailor Moon herself, and this day has been graced with the name of Nova Luna. Here's some "
-Make it your resolution to have made a new friend by the end of the day. Approach someone you know vaguely at work or school, but never really spoke to; sign up to a new internet forum and find some people who have the same interests as you. Similarly, if there’s someone you admire or look up to or always wanted to talk to, today is the day to do it. Send them a message, introduce yourself, just take the plunge. If they’re mean or rude then they’re assholes, and it’s as simple as that!Sailor Moon is known in her everyday life as Usagi ("rabbit"), and her daughter, with whom she shares her birthday, is Chibi-Usa ("little rabbit.") While we English-speakers have our "Man in the Moon," Eastern cultures like to speak of there being a rabbit on the moon. There are different stories from nation to nation about why it's up there - I would suggest familiarizing yourself with those tales as well. I think they illustrate very nicely some of the lessons I've recently learned about the rabbit, as a spirit. A repeated element to these stories is self-sacrifice, as well as immortality. (Or, in the case of a Cree legend, pure silliness.) Kenneth Anger also made a short film based on these myths, called Rabbit's Moon, and you can watch it here. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon, if you ask me.
-Organise a “Blind Bunny” event (essentially a Secret Santa, but not for Christmas). [Alternatively, "Give small presents or, more helpfully, do people small favours as a way of gift-giving."]
-Spread the word about Sailor Moon to others. This doesn’t have to be direct; it can be as simple as wearing a Sailor Moon T-shirt when you go out, humming the theme tune at the bus stop, printing out posters and putting them up (where they are permitted). Don’t force it on people, just act genuinely passionate about it and respect that they may not be interested.
-Make, or go out, for a meal with friends/family.
-Watch as much Sailor Moon as humanly possible.
Celebrating Sailor Moon & Chibi Moon:
-Eat Usagi + Chibi-Usa’s favourite foods: Cake and ice cream!
-If you have the money, buy something rabbit-themed today. If you don’t, make something rabbit-like yourself; here are some suggestions!
-Write a letter to your ‘future partner’.
In any event, I wish you all a Nova Luna, and I look forward to the day when the followers of Serenity are as ubiquitous as the Lovecraftians among you.