I’d never seen the word shichifukujin until I read author Dan Brown’s thriller Digital Fortress. Granted, there are many words I haven’t seen or read, but this one intrigued me. Brown simply revealed the shichifukujin were the seven deities of good luck, although perhaps not for one of his characters named Numataka. Curious, I wanted to find out about the seven deities. I looked them up at this site: www.ancient.eu. They seem pretty happy in the picture below. Good luck is evidently good for the soul.
Just what kind of luck do these gods oversee? If these happy fellows are on your horizon, here’s what you can expect, by name:
Ebisu will bring you luck in your work. He’s depicted with a fish, suggesting bounty in the fisherman’s work. Let’s add success in a writer’s work.
Daikoku will bring you wealth and prosperity. He’s a patron of farmers, sitting atop bags of bountiful rice. Works for me.
Benten, playing a lute and the only female, is the goddess of love and reasoning.
Bishamon is the god of happiness and war, an odd combination. You can identify him easily.
Hotei is the patron of thrift and philanthropy although his big belly and laid back look are deceiving. I guess the moral is save and share.
Fukurokuju is the god of wisdom and longevity as signified by his very high forehead.
Jurojin is also a god of wisdom and longevity. He has a long white beard and wears a scholarly hat.
Having two gods of wisdom and longevity, suggesting both common sense and scholarly learning, hints at the idea that the longer we live, the wiser we become and that we can’t have or be blessed with too much wisdom. I’ll take a double dose of wisdom on any day of the week and consider myself very lucky. And I hope it carries over into my ability as a writer.
And then we have the seven dwarfs from the fairy tale Snow White. When the Grimm Brothers wrote this story, they didn’t give the dwarfs names. It wasn’t until 1912 and a Broadway play of Snow White by Winthrop Ames that the little fellas were given names: Blick, Flick, Glick, Plick, Snick, Whick and Quee. Oxford Dictionaries.
Clever, yes, but it took Disney with his film Snow White to immortalize them with the names Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful, and Sneezy. The number seven coming to life as seven little characters brought great luck to a couple of authors, a playwright, and a filmmaker.
Let’s give these seven deities a chance to usher in good luck in the writing department as we put story on the page, and let these seven little people remind us to create characters that readers enjoy, love (or maybe hate), remember, and care about.
As a final touch, let’s add a rainbow, a classic symbol of good luck and hope, which happens to have seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. A pot of gold at the end certainly helps.
It’s up to us to add the work and perseverance we know it takes. Happy writing!