Mountain Spirituality

There is something about mountains. They are beautiful to behold.  They are challenges to be conquered.  And some even think they have lives of their own.   Moses met God on a mountain. Koreans have prayer mountains. Hanuman lifts up the Dunagiri mountain to save Lakshmana.  Mt. Olympus was a fit home for the Greek Gods.  Mt. Everest inspires the religious imaginations of the Nepalese and Indians.  And of course, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all revere the mountains in and surrounding Jerusalem. What is it about mountains?

Eugenio Avalos in his book on South and Meso-American Native Spirituality describes Tzeltal Maya visions of the mountain:

“for the people of Guaquitepaec all mountains are ‘alive’ in the sense that they are the font of life: they are site of cornfields; firewood comes from their slopes; springs emerge from them…Generally speaking, these sacred mountains are benign toward humans, but they could turn malevolent for no apparent reason.”

I have clawed my way up many a mountain in my day.  And it is true.  There is something alive about them.  When you stand atop a vista peering across a hundred miles, it expands your soul.  It gives you life.  When you delve deep into their winding deer paths you find secrets undiscovered by any other human.  There has never been another ecosystem so complex yet so complete.  If you have ever lost radiance in your life, if you ever need an adventure, if you ever would like healing, I’d say find a mountain and explore it.  But try not to go it alone.

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4 thoughts on “Mountain Spirituality”

  1. Many of the old stories I’m reading of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific northwest start with, “When the mountains once were people.” I’d have to agree with you, mountains are alive. All of God’s creation is magnificent, and mountains are their crowning glory.

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