Catrien Ross on Hidden Truths in Needles and Tofu from Hari Kuyo in Yamanashi, Japan

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 - 4 Comments

Has someone or something needled you lately?

What hidden truths about yourself did your reaction reveal?

Inner sensitivities can be powerfully provoked by the jab of an unwelcome goad.

Feeling needled can trigger painful reflexes.

That’s because what needles you the most is often what you most need to learn.

The person or issue causing you the greatest discomfort is time and again the essential pinprick that stimulates your deeper self-growth.

You hamper your own growth by hostility towards to the very needling that can teach you more about yourself.

Well, an annual celebration in Japan today offers some unusual encouragement.

Translated into English as the Festival of Broken Needles, Hari Kuyo is a memorial service for broken, rusty, and otherwise worn-out needles held on February 8 (or December 8, depending on the region).

Discarded needles and pins are brought to shrines and temples where they are blessed for the years of usefulness they provided.

They are then stuck into a slab of tofu and released from service.

Hari Kuyo traditionally celebrates the day when seamstresses in Japan were permitted to enjoy a rare holiday from their daily duties.

The softness of tofu absorbs, not only the sharpness of needles, but also the pent-up sorrows of a life spent sewing for survival.

Hari Kuyo presents the opportunity for a moment of relaxation and gratitude:

A welcome awareness that a life filled with needles might not be so hard after all.

Sticking needles into tofu symbolizes a shift in perception that transforms your habitual reaction to the provocations that needle you.

Whenever you take what needles you personally, you amplify your pain.

Your life lesson becomes that much more difficult.

But habits are simply energetic responses that have settled into fixed patterns.

Changing the vibrational frequency changes the pattern.

This change in frequency starts with a shift in your perception.

How would it be if you stick what needles you into soft tofu?

Rather than be goaded yet again into your habitual response, you choose instead the softness of acceptance.

As the needling finds its mark within, you bless it for the hidden truth it triggers.

You thank the pinprick that stirs an unresolved issue into your conscious awareness.


I am not a seamstress, but Japanese acupuncture is part of the energy medicine and spiritual healing services at Energy Doorways.

The two photos show used acupuncture needles in tofu, along with some colorful Japanese pins.

Receiving acupuncture treatment is another way of transmuting the stab of needles into a positive experience that redefines the flow of your energy patterns.


By accepting and thanking what needles you, you free yourself from the perspectives that confine you.

Your hidden truths can surface to transform your pain.

Like the participants in Hari Kuyo today, you hold the power to release the fixed patterns and worn-out needles that no longer serve you.

So next time someone or something needles you, why not have some inner tofu ready?

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4 Responses to “Catrien Ross on Hidden Truths in Needles and Tofu from Hari Kuyo in Yamanashi, Japan”

  1. How adorable: “stuck into a slab of tofu and released from service”.

    And gorgeous photos from Kohdoh, too.

    I love this blog, Catrien.

  2. Catrien Ross says:

    Dear Rose:

    Thank you for expressing your delighted appreciation.

    The Japanese pins are just so joyful in their colors, I could not resist sticking them into the little slab of tofu, along with used acupuncture needles.

    The pins are still quite serviceable.

    Much love from the foot of Mount Fuji in Yamanashi, Japan. Catrien

  3. Bernie says:

    Its as if the needle then stabs at some sort of tension locked up in the energy body. This is then an opportunity either to react to what is stored in such a past or future location, or transform its contents by responding in a totally new and unique way. For instance, anything that grabs one’s attention is then some sort of tension….which is neither bad nor good. Therefore, what one is attracted to is holding tension asking to be resolved and reincorporated into being.

    One’s attention can then be locked into what is seemingly physical, mental, emotional, or even spiritual. Then through awareness to what is being delivered at any given moment, one then can bless the offering or send love to it. If it is a vision or reoccurring dream being released, then with such energy in mind and attended to with respect, it can be repackaged and reinvented to tell another story. Anything then can be reinserted turning one into a moment by moment artist. One then enjoys being needled, because each needle then represents a spirit wanting to play with one’s soul so that something new can be birthed into the world, or where something old can be released back to where it originally came from. Ongoing Completion then becomes a way of life instead of the rigors of ongoing competition.

    I love the metaphor of needles going into Tofu Catrien. That which is soft within therefore holds no resistance. That which is inserted is then fully accepted without complaint, pain, or injury.

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Dear Bernie:

      Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful insights here again.

      I love your words: “One then enjoys being needled, because each needle then represents a spirit wanting to play with one’s soul so that something new can be birthed into the world, or where something old can be released back to where it originally came from.”

      And you describe it perfectly “It’s as if the needle then stabs at some sort of tension locked up in the energy body.”

      It is the tightening of this tension that deepens constriction and pain. But the tension exists because the habitual response has become hardened. As you say, “That which is soft within …holds no resistance.”

      As we become more deeply aware of how we help create our own constrictions, we can begin to appreciate tension as a signal or stimulation of possible release.

      Bern, morning greetings from the foot of Mount Fuji to you – Catrien.

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