Every year on the last day of the new year holiday, I go to this place…
My first visit of this year to a shrine in a neighbouring district
… to pray for a healthy and safe and peaceful year, and obtain this amulet:
An arrow blessed by the Gods enshrined at this shrine
It is commonly called the “arrow that vanquishes evil,” and is said to ward off wicked thoughts and intentions and deeds directed at you, whether from without or within. (The one in the above photo is additionally blessed, with the dangles, to bring in fortune and happiness.)
Maybe I get one every year because I am superstitious.
Maybe I find comfort in having one in my possession – I would be scared of the possibility of things getting worse if I do not have one.
But maybe I do not actually believe that it can vanquish evil for me.
Maybe I have doubts about its said powers because I get one every year yet I am still afraid to find evil wherever I turn to, including in my mind.
So, it seems I am dominated by fear either way. But is not fear at the root of many evils that we think and intend and do? Then, I must try to conquer fear, or at least try not to give in to it, so I can vanquish evil before it materializes.
Then, maybe the real reason I get this “arrow that vanquishes evil“ every year is to help me remind myself of my continuous battle against fear.
So far, I have not been too successful – I have had to add it to my new year’s resolution every year, this year being no exception – but the arrow gives me hope. Every time I lay my eyes on it, I am inspired by it… its tip is not sharp because it is not a weapon to harm someone or something, but rather a charm to save us from harm by shattering evilness in and around us.
Maybe I look harder in me to find confidence that I can do the same when I have one in my possession.
And maybe while I am busy searching for hope within me, I will forget about my fears, thereby vanquishing any evil that may have grown out of them.
Maybe there are no amulets that can ward off evil on their own, even if they are blessed by Gods.
Maybe there must also be our desire and determination… maybe the “arrow to vanquish evil” must exist within each of us for its powers to manifest.