Here in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, the mountains command your attention. They are so omnipresent. What is it about mountains that feels so spiritual? Is it because they are so close to the heavens? Whatever the reason, mountains do certainly hold a powerful spiritual energy. When I pray here, I face the mountains. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. The mountains are our Mecca.
Multiple spiritual communities have made their homes here in these mountains. They feel the energy, too. These mountains are filled with not only whatever sacred energy the native peoples of this land felt, but they are also fed with the prayers and meditations of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people, thereby accruing even more spiritual energy.
How many stories have we heard about people climbing mountains in order to pose a question to an old wise one? I find it interesting that the both the climber and the wise one are on a spiritual path. The wise one seems to be imbued with wisdom partly because he or she chose to sit up there on a mountain top, not just closer to the heavens but far above the mundane affairs of humankind. The one who climbs the mountain is also spiritual because there is such a yearning for wisdom that he or she is willing to engage in an arduous long climb to get answers.
Mountains were often considered to be home to divinity. Consider Mt. Olympus in Greece – home to a whole pantheon of gods. And there is Mt. Ida on Crete which was considered home to the Goddess. Mt. Everest was called Mother of the Universe by indigenous people of the area and worshipped as such. Mt. Kilauea in Hawaii is considered the birthplace of Pele. Moses climbed Mt. Sinai because he wanted to speak with God.
The Andes mountains are sacred to the Inca and Quechua Indians. Mount Taranaki is sacred to the Taranaki people of New Zealand. Mount Fuji is sacred in Japan. There are oodles of mountains sacred to native people scattered all over the United States. Among the many are Mt. Shasta in northern California, the Black Hills in South Dakota, and mountains throughout the Southwest such as Shiprock in New Mexico, Black Mesa in Arizona, and Mount Blanca in Colorado.
Even smaller mountains or hills are often considered holy if they rise starkly above the surrounding environment. Consider Uluru, sacred to the aboriginal people of Australia. While only a little over 1000 feet in elevation, it is still undoubtedly the tallest feature in their vast landscape and vastly sacred. Likewise the mountain commonly known as Devils Tower in Wyoming – while only a little over 1000 feet in elevation, it towers over the surrounding landscape. It is called Bear Lodge by the Lakota people and is sacred to many tribal people. Once I traveled to Anglesey, Wales because I was attracted to Holytown, next to Holy Mountain. It is only 486 meters high, but it is the tallest mountain in the area and was once a holy place to the Druids. Glastonbury Tor is a mere hill by most people’s standards, but it is certainly considered sacred. It was thought to be home of the Lord of the Underworld and a place where the fairy folk live.
So, if you need a spiritual boost, perhaps you might consider climbing a mountain. (It doesn’t have to be a big one and you don’t have to climb all the way to the top.) If there are no tall mountains in your area, don’t worry, chances are even a small mountain or a large hill in your corner of the world was sacred to the people who once lived there. You might also choose to sit near a mountain and gaze at it as you pray or meditate. After all, some mountains, like Uluru or Bear Lodge, are not meant to be climbed.
If you choose to climb a sacred mountain, you not only honor it, you help to imbue it with even more sacredness. Let your footsteps be prayers and when you get to your destination, let yourself be washed clean with the energy of the place. Look out over the world from your new vantage point and realize that everything is in divine order. Sometimes all we need is a different perspective.