The Omitama, or Divine Pendant, is at the core of Mahikari's practice. It is through this that God's Light flows, and alows members to
radiate Okiyome or "Divine Light" and perform "miracles". Members can only receive an Omitama after attending the 3-day Primary Kenshu (training course).
It is worn around the neck on a chain. Members are told that it is more precious than their own life.
There are three main Omitamas, each bestowed on members after they've
attended the various levels of Kenshu / Training Sessions - Primary,
Intermediate (Secondary) and Advanced (Tertiary). The Primary Omitama is
small and plain gold, while the Intermediate and Advanced Omitamas are
larger, both with an embossed enamelled design on the front, and the Mahikari Goshinmon (Star of David with a cross) embossed on the back.
There are a lot of rituals surrounding the Omitama. It must never be opened, and has to be kept
completely dry and clean at all times. It is wrapped in special
Japanese paper, then several layers of plastic wrap, then a small round
crocheted bag, and finally is put into a small rectangular fabric
pocket, and pinned in place with 2 safety pins. All of these wrappings are "purified" with Light energy.
The Omitama must never be worn back to front, or placed on any
surface upside down, so the crocheted and fabric bags have clearly
defined fronts and backs - through the use of coloured yarn or coloured
fabric strips to mark the fronts.
This sketch shows the different layers of wrappings, in cut-away view. Wrappings are generally changed about
once a month, or more often if the Mahikari member sweats a lot.
A special pocket is made inside a member's undergarment for the
pendant to be placed and secured with a safety pin so it cannot fall
out. Mahikari members must wear the Omitama at all times, apart from
times when it might be damaged or get wet (eg when playing rough sports,
swimming, showering or bathing). Men have to wear an undershirt
(singlet/vest) so the Omitama can be pinned into a pocket which is sewn
onto the undershirt. Women either have pockets sewn into their bras, or
into singlet tops. The Omitama pocket is supposed to be aligned
vertically, too, not placed at an angle.
There are many and varied ways of making mistakes with Omitama. These
are called Omitama accidents, and are a big deal. An accident can be
caused by the Omitama falling out of the pocket in a member's clothing,
and touching bedding, or the floor. If the Omitama isn't being worn, it
must never be placed on a chair, on the floor, or even in a handbag
which is set on the floor. If the Omitama is x-rayed, gets wet, or put on back-to-front, it is an accident.
If a member wears someone else's Omitama, it is an accident. The list goes on.
When an Omitama accident happens, the member has to
report to the Dojo staff. Having an Omitama accident is seen as a major warning from God - in
rare cases (such as getting wet during a natural disaster) it may be
viewed as a sacrifice instead of the member's life, but this is a rare
interpretation. The unfortuntate member also has to 'reflect on their sonen
(innermost attitude)', and accept whatever criticism is levelled at them
by Dojo staff. They have to write a letter of abject apology to the head
of Mahikari. Having an accident is seen as a very serious warning, so
the member will be pressured into changing aspects of their life which
the Dojo doesn't approve of.
The member can keep wearing their Omitama, but they must not give
Light energy until it has been purified. The Omitama has to be purified
by a very senior staff member, generally the Head of the entire region,
or possibly even sent to Japan. The process can take some time, even
months, during which time the member feels very left out of the group,
and criticised. There are also donations to be made, of course.
It is common for members to have nightmares about being thrown into
swimming pools or caught in heavy rain, or other accidental situations. Many develop anxiety about
keeping Omitama safe.
These photos are of the Primary Omitama, which members receive after
completing the Primary Kenshu (Training). It is 22 mm in diameter (just
under an inch).
The Japanese character on the paper found in the pendant is Seio (holy
bird). Many people see a cartoon of a Japanese soldier wearing glasses,
saluting. The black blob in the center is called 'Chon', which Mahikari
claim is the divine mark of their God. Up until now no Mahikari member
has been aware that Yoshikazu Okada's alias Seio is found inside the
pendant. They are forbidden to open it.
The Advanced pendant contains a Japanese character, Sei (holy), with
'Chon' inside a flame image. The Light of God is claimed to flow through
the 'Chon' at the center. The Advanced and Intermediate Omitamas are the same size, both 35 mm in diameter (1.4 inches).
This sketch shows an Advanced Omitama
opened, with the folded paper inside. (We have not seen the contents of a
Secondary / Intermediate pendant as yet, but have been informed that it is the same as
the Tertiary / Advanced one.)
When Mahikari members remove their Omitama (to shower,
for example), they firstly purify their hands with special purified soap
and purified hand towel, or purified hand wipes. Then they say a prayer,
and carefully remove the Omitama (holding the pendant in one hand, and
the neck chain in the other hand, to minimise the chances of dropping
The Omitama is placed in a special purified box, which is kept in a
special place - it shouldn't be on a shelf or surface that is lower than
their wasit height. Generally Omitama boxes are set on a special
purified shelf high in a wardrobe or on a dresser, and in a location where
feet aren't pointing it at (for example, when lying in bed).
After showering (or whatever), the process is repeated, purifying
their hands, saying a prayer, and then carefully putting the Omitama
back on, and pinning it into the pocket in their undergarments.
It is often advised that members should not launder their "top"
clothes (bras, undershirts, shirts, blouses, dresses etc) with "bottom"
clothes (underpants, socks, pants, skirts) because the "bottom" clothes
are "impure". This isn't a strict teaching, but it is general advice
to members who want to 'be the best' they can be.
Looking after the Omitama takes a lot of energy and worry every day.