- "The Hoshikaeri...it couldn't have worked without you."
Hoshikaeri, roughly translated as "Return to the Stars," is a ceremony that allows the soul of a person to properly pass on.
Those who refuse this ritual or do not have a living connection to carry it out will find their souls lingering in the world of the book.
When a grieving Uruki is left without closure after Soruen's sacrifice in Oroko Valley, he returns to the Odo Tribe along with Takiko and the rest of the Celestial Warriors. To ease his pain, Takiko speaks with Efinluka who then makes plans to perform the sacred ceremony. Uruki is brought down from his room, not knowing of what is to come, and witnesses Soruen's spirit pass on. The ceremony concludes and he is comforted that his friend can now rest peacefully.
After Hikitsu and Tomite’s passing, Taiitsukun offers the two warriors a chance to complete Hoshikaeri. Instead of passing on, they both agree that their place is in the world of the book to protect Takiko’s legacy: Genbu’s Shinzaho.
In Hokkan, Miaka and the remaining Celestial Warriors of Suzaku enter the Genbu Shrine to retrieve the shinzaho. They discover Hikitsu and Tomite's spirits and, after a test of courage, they conclude that Miaka embodies the essence of Takiko: a priestess who will go to great lengths in spite of herself. After granting them access to the shinzaho, the two warriors are able to pass on at last.
The spirits of the Celestial Warriors of Seiryuu and Suzaku who met their end during the series were unable to complete the ceremony and therefore lingered for the remainder of the series.