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Holy Shit – A Closer Look

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May 9, 2013 by John Crapper

Shit Fountain sculpture

Shit Fountain sculpture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Church of the Holy Shitters is an environmental religion. We believe in ass-forward thinking which requires putting waste-end considerations first. Consequently we believe that our shit is the holiest of substances on Earth. That does not mean that we bow down to our brown excrement. Rather it means that we elevate it in our mind as a constant reminder of the importance of waste-end considerations when striving to live a sustainable life of Soft and Fluffy consumerism. Most people, upon first exposure to our belief in the holiness of poop, think it rather odd to say the least. However, when you look back in history at the connections our excrement has had to deity in various cultures, you realize it isn’t all that odd. Let’s take a closer look.

Rome: In Roman mythology Sterquilinus (or “Poop God”) was the god of manure. The Romans understood why poop made such an effective fertilizer and they intended to keep the poop doing its job by – of course – offering thanks and praise to Poop God. Even when Rome became more urbanized, this sort of deity remained popular. The Cloaca Maxima, built under the Etruscans to drain the swamps between the hills of Rome into the Tiber, was overseen by a goddess named Cloacina (or “Sewer Goddess”). Since the sewer kept the Roman Forum dry, obviously Cloacina had to be kept happy. Unlike major religions of the modern world the Roman’s relationship between their deities was not a spiritual one, but a business contract. In Latin, this was called do ut des or “I give, so that you may give.” If the favor was granted, the Roman was expected to carry out his or her end of the bargain. If the favor was not granted, the Roman was under no obligation to do anything.

Israel: Babylon had a connection with shit as a deity. In the old testament Jeremiah implored Israel to turn from the “worthless idols”.

Jer. 50:2 “Declare and proclaim among the nations.
Proclaim it and lift up a standard.
Do not conceal it but say,
‘Babylon has been captured,
Bel has been put to shame, Marduk has been shattered;
Her images have been put to shame, her idols have been shattered.’

The word he uses translated “idols” is “gillulim” – basically meaning balls of poop! The chief deity of the most powerful kingdom on the planet at that time… a ball of poop! Man, I love the Bible!

China: The Chinese have a long history of connecting shit with deity. First there was Zi-Gu the goddess of toilets. She was a beautiful wife of an actor. A high-ranking minister named Li Jing, fell in love with her, killed her husband and took her to be his mistress. The minister’s wife was insanely jealous and one day killed Zi-Gu while she was on the toilet. From then on Li-Jing’s toilet was haunted by the ghost of his ex-mistress.

When word got out, Empress Wu elevated her to Godly status to protect the kidneys of her top minister. Immediately the haunting ceased.

Than there was Qi-Gu the goddess of the lavatory.

Like ZI-GU, she’s one of the LAVATORY-LADIES; protecting, blessing and disinfecting all who use the smallest room in the house.

The story goes that she was the mistress of Liu-Bang, first Emperor of the Han Dynasty. It was one big unhappy family as QI-GU and the Empress Lu-Huo fought over domestic issues.

Empress Lu hated her so much that when the Emperor died, she stripped away QI-GU’s official title and several of her external body parts.

But worse ignominy was yet to come. Empress Lu grabbed the suffering QI-GU, hauled her off, and threw her into the dirtiest, smelliest, ugliest, foulest latrine in the whole of China.

She then invited the new Emperor and all his ministers of state to come and look. It must have been a very carefully-worded invitation. But come he did, and fainted dead away at the sight.

It wasn’t long before QI-GU’s torment became infamous, and soon she was elevated to the rank of Goddess. With ‘rank’, we fear, being the operative word.

Japan: Then there is the Japanese good luck charm known as Kin no Unko (The Golden Poo) which has been purchased 2.5 million times by the Japanese in the last 7 years. The name plays on the sound of the Japanese word for poop (unko) which sounds the same as “oon” which means luck.

Kin no Unko

Kin no Unko (Golden Poo) (Photo credit: Stéfan)

Professior Takeshi Mitsuhashi gives a more detailed background into the popularity of this product.

Mitsuhashi explained that there are many word plays in Japanese religion because puns make information easier to teach and remember. One example is a talisman in the shape of a frog used to pray for the safe return of a loved one, the pun being that the word for frog (kaeru) is a synonym of the verb “to return.” “This Golden Poo is very much part of that tradition,” Mitsuhashi asserted.

Furthermore, there is a long history of poo-related worship in Japan, according to Mitsuhashi.

“There are more gods in the Shinto religion than it is possible to count, and they reside just about everywhere, inhabiting natural things like trees, rocks and waterfalls,” he said. “Bodily functions are very important — think what a problem it would be if a person couldn’t defecate or urinate properly — so it’s natural that people worshipped deities linked to these functions.”

The earliest recorded example is a god called Haniyasu, who is mentioned in the Nihon Shoki, an eighth-century text that is one of the most important records of ancient beliefs and practices. Haniyasu is still worshipped at Haruna Jinja, a well-known shrine in Gunma Prefecture. And until fairly recently, it was common to worship deities known collectively as benjo-gami (privy gods) by placing religious figures in or under the privy.

Mitsuhashi, who is in his 60s, remembers his parents burying a pair of god figures, one male and one female, under the privy in his childhood home.

` Professor Mitsuhashi commented on the shape of the Kin no Unko, praising it as a worthy abode for a god. “Our Shinto gods cannot be seen with the naked eye, but when they are depicted in art, they are always shown as perfection incarnate.” He paused and motioned to the golden goofy in front of us. “And that,” he proclaimed, “is pretty much the ‘Perfect Poo.’ It simply doesn’t get much better than that!”

Thus you can see that from ancient times all the way to modern day, poop related deities have played and will continue to play a vital role in our religious lives. The fact that we believe in elevating shit to Shit or the holiest substance on Earth is not at all weird.

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