Ushi no Koru Mairi Shrine Visit at the Hour of the Ox
Ushi no Koru Mairi is an ancient ritual over a thousand years old, enacted when one wishes to place a fateful curse upon someone. To perform the act, one must enter a shrine during the Hour of the Ox (between 1-3AM), armed with a variety of traditional accoutrement that include a headdress of blazing candles and a straw doll representing the person to be cursed. To ensure the curse’s potency, the doll should contain part of the cursed person, be it hair, blood, or other form of DNA. One then nails this doll to a sacred tree, called shinboku, with long iron spikes, inserting the final spike through the doll’s head, a symbol of the cursed person’s ultimate demise.