To be held back from one’s eternal rest is a torture beyond mortal imagining, like being separated from your true love by a pane of glass. To be kept from the great beyond to be a tool for evil is worse still. Thus, when my companions journeyed on to Kyuden Asako, Toku Goku and I resolved to stay behind and attempt an exorcism for the soul of a young village girl, which had been appropriated by Maho cultists and forced to murder several other villagers.
The focal point of the Maho corruption was a cave outside the village where the cultists had performed their rites; there were several corpses in the cave, and while they were too decayed to be positively identified, we could only hope that one belonged to the girl in question. To begin our Harae purification ritual, Toku and I first cleansed ourselves in the running water of a nearby stream, then sprinkled ourselves with salt from the village stores. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance, as even the slightest impurity in the practitioners can sully any ritual.
We then proceeded to the cave, bringing several villagers with us to handle the corpses and assist in chanting the liturgy. After entering, we drew a line of salt at the door, much as wrestlers might place salt around the ring before a match. Upon entering the cave, we set up a funeral pyre and performed simple funerary rites, treating the bodies with salt before burning them, all the while beating a ritual drum. Lastly, I waved a haraegushi, or purification wand, borrowed from the village shrine, while the villagers chanted a misogi purification litany. At this, there was a feeling of relief, like releasing the lid from a steaming cooking pot, and it was clear to all in attendance that the souls so wickedly mistreated by the Maho cultists, could go to their eternal rest unhindered.
I have stored a copy of this account in the village annals, so that posterity may know the dangers of blood magic, and how its corruption may be washed away.