Human beings have been drawn to sacred places on this lovely Earth for generations. To make a journey to where the soul calls is a deep-rooted tradition still followed by many. These places of raw power remind us of our true nature, of the wild and untamed parts of ourselves that don’t often get much expression because of the responsibilities we carry in our daily life.
Sometimes our life can become a prison to our soul if we don’t take the time to let go of who we think we are. Who we are usually is very different of who we think we are and who we are becoming. A pilgrimage is a way for us to let go of the “known” in order to discover what is true and whole. It is a dismantling of what is not necessary. Who wants to have heavy baggage climbing a mountain or on a long journey?
Mountains teach us to tread lightly and with full attention in the present moment. Even one sideways glance can cause a deathly tumble. Many of the revered mountain sites are at high altitudes, and this fact alone helps to focus on the breath – especially those of us who make their home at or near sea level. The lungs look for oxygen like the spring seed needs warmth and sunshine. The entire trek is humbling.
Each step counts. Every movement matters. There is no competition, only self-knowledge and the support of the mountain itself. There is no rush. You become the base and heart and crown of the mountain. And it is uncertain that one will make it to the top. You never take that fact for granted. The Mountain has a mind of its own, and it will decide if you will make it or not. It is good to pay attention to the subtle nuances that come from the body of the mountain, and to listen to its messengers. Because all that lives on the mountain become its Body. The plants, the insects, the animals and the sparse humans, the wind and the rain and the sun, are all part of its Body and Being. A sacred mountain is a world of its own. It is sentient and really really old. It has seen the rise and fall of many generations, been taken over by new life over and over again. Those mountains who have been revered by generations of Earth-honoring rituals have a palpable power and essence to them. They command respect. They are the caretakers of ancient knowledge, and they remind you of your place in the universe and on the Earth.
Images above by Yola Dunne
At the top of the mountain one is the closest to heaven. Birds are the sacred carriers of prayers because they fly closest to the sun and the stars. A sacred mountain has a counterpart in the stars. Many pilgrims go to these places to release their burdens and to connect with their Shining Star. How beautiful is it to think that each mountain has a guiding star assigned to it? No wonder so many find their way “home” when they climb a mountain. The mountain is wise beyond the imagination. It is wise in the ways of the earth and the ways of humanity. The Watchers look at you constantly, the Sacred Ones that make you comply with the humility and reverence that is needed as a form of respect and payment to the mountain and to life. No one can be on such a mountain without being moved to a gentle simplicity that stirs the heart and beckons the soul to come forth.
When you become part of the body of a mountain, you have a much better perspective on your life. Not one creature is more important than another. Light manifests differently and more boldly the higher you get. Each step reveals a different landscape that could take an eternity to know. The beauty is beyond what one could ever imagine. Each life form has adapted itself perfectly, sometimes so fragile, sometimes so tough it has survived for centuries. There is a sense of deep silence. Mountains don’t like loud noises. The call of thunder in the distance and the light of the stars are enough symphony for them. They have wisdom that has lasted millennia. Each step brings us closer to heaven. We forget what was down below in the valley. It looks different from high above. The struggles and problems are placed within a perspective that belongs more to realm of the liberated soul than the territory of human whims.
The higher you get, the more focus is placed on the breath. With the thinning oxygen thoughts seem to be lighter and less important. The body becomes part of the flesh of the mountain and the spirit is set free. It now flies with the birds and the wind and the dancing rays of light.
One must never forget to give thanks. All prayers are answered with and from a generous “thank you”. Taking the time to commune with the spirit of the ancestors, the Watchers, the plants, the trees, the mountain itself, and giving thanks is the foundation of the pilgrimage. One so ancient remembers. All of life is ancient. It is in constant and eternal flux. Here, on the mountain top, one sees clearly their place, or lack of it, in the world. One finds out that the endless desire to make an impact perhaps may not be what the soul wants. Perhaps to be gentle and walk as softly as possible on this good Earth is exactly what the soul has beckoned. Perhaps the best impact we can have in this world is no impact at all. Perhaps love is enough, the transference of beauty into each and every moment of our lives, and the eternal knowing that we are but a strand in the great cosmic web of life.
This, my friends, is a glimpse into the Wisdom of the Mountain. May these words freshen your mind and lift the burdens that no longer need to be in your care.
With Infinite Love,
About the Author
Yola Dunne is an author, martial artist, and sanctioned teacher of the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition of Cross-Cultural Shamanism. She is well versed in offering earth-honoring ceremonies as taught by don Oscar Miro-Quesada, a respected altomesayoq (medicine man) from Peru. She lives in Chelsea, Québec, where she serves her community by writing, teaching, and managing a private healing practice.
Yola has a profound love for writing. She is the author of a poetry book Hymns to the Beloved, A Call for Sacred Love (2011), Remember Me – A Novel (2017), and the proud mama of Loving Mother Earth Press.
For more information about Yola and her work please visit yoladunne.com