木魂 (木 ; ko; tree – 魂 ; dama; soul)
木魅 (木 ; ko; tree – 魅 ; dama; soul)
木霊 (木 ; ko; tree) – 霊 ; dama; spirit)
The word Kodama is based on an ancient Japanese belief. A belief that certain trees in the forest were inhabited by spirits, or gods.
Some believed that Kodama were natural spirits that could move freely throughout the forest. While others believed the Kodama were rooted in the trees themselves.
They were also a sound. It was believed the echoes that reverberated through mountains and valleys were said to be kodama. The sound of a tree crashing in the woods was also said to be the plaintive cry of a kodama.
Whatever form they took, kodama were said to be possessed of supernatural power, that could either be a blessing or a curse. Kodama that were properly worshipped and honored would protect houses and villages. Kodama that were mistreated or disrespected brought down powerful curses.