1 Chapter 1. The Mountain is God


In this chapter (which is a discussion of Stage 1 mountain projections), I begin our study of what has been called mountain belief. Japanese scholars use the term Sangaku shinko which means mountain belief or mountain creed or mountain worship (Earhart, 1970, p. 7). The reader will remember, however, that I am not interested in the beliefs as passed on from generation to generation unless they contain kernels of an original mountain experience. Still less am I interested in empty lip-service paid to these beliefs. I am interested in the original mountain experience that led to these beliefs. To emphasize this orientation I will use the words mountain experience rather than mountain belief.

In the Introduction I compared projection onto a mountain with projection onto people. If the mechanism is the same, the content of what is projected in these two cases, is quite different. What we project onto people has a more personal overtone and often involves the heart and sexuality. What we project onto mountains is somehow bigger, more mental, grander, and more inclusive. The mountain rises high up into the sky and is far bigger and more solid than a single human being or group of human beings. It’s light is seen with our eyes but touches our hearts and souls also. This light touches individuals, but it shines on all of us as it is connected with the sun in the heavens. The mountain is the source of many of the world’s rivers, and so it can be seen, objectively, as necessary for life and for the well-being of all life around it. It is relevant to personal survival but also to the survival and well-being of countries and peoples and, by a little leap of the imagination, it is necessary for the existence and survival of the whole world and even the whole universe. There is a danger of “losing ourselves” in another person or in a car or a house for that matter. But none of these are like the “losing oneself” in the mountain. The mountain lifts us out of ourselves and gives us a perspective of the whole. In so far as a person does this too, it is appropriate to refer to the person as “a mountain,” like the chiefs of some African tribes.

I pause for two last introductory comments before moving into the work of this book. The book is long, because the mountain is a very powerful image. I did not make this up. Even when organized, the material is bulky, complex, confusing, and non-linear. A different way of thinking is necessary to penetrate into it. It is necessary to work at understanding, but this is not enough. It is also necessary to be willing to play ball with the psyche and see things, at least a little, from within its point of view, from within the point of view of the unconscious. To do this we must slow down, relax, and drop some of the worries that characterize our ordinary state of consciousness. Doing this, if one is willing and able, can allow the mountain within to appear and can allow a contact with, as I argue in this chapter, what many people in many times and places, have called god.

This leads to the last introductory remark: In the early stages of consciousness, it seems to me, that mountains were not only looked at with a certain respect and awe but were also treated as taboo (see Chapter 7, “The Mountain Taboo”). This attitude is clearly expressed in God’s order to Moses in Exodus 19:12-15.

You shall set bounds for the people round about, saying, “Beware of going up the mountain or touching the border of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death.”[1]

I can say in advance that this is not a view held only by a small Jewish sect in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. Further, it cannot be the physical danger of the mountain that is being referred to, because the mountains of the Sinai desert cannot be considered physically dangerous. It is easy for us to pass this view off as the superstition of a primitive mentality, but, if we decide to take the pronouncements of the psyche seriously, then it seems to me that it would be wise for us to be very careful in approaching not only physical mountains, but also of entering the boundaries of the mountain within. We are warned in the above quote that even the priests may perish. What would it mean for the Lord of the mountain to “break out against” us? In psychological terms it could mean a psychosis where a factor in the unconscious breaks out and the ego is “put to death.”

Because of this possibility, and because in this book we are, in a real sense, breaking an ancient and venerable (though projected) taboo, it might be well for the reader to consider just how close to this mountain he or she wants to come, to this mountain that is god. I hope I will be forgiven the solemn tone, but, as a practicing psychologist, I am cautious of the danger of confronting the psyche. We must be on guard against falling into the mental quicksand that is the unconscious. We must be aware of the charms of the unconscious, and we are entitled to be appreciative of them, but we must be on guard against being seduced and swept away.

For those who wish to proceed in spite of this danger, it is interesting to note the analysis of the Kabbalist Moshe Narboni who, in his Perus ha-Moreh, interprets what I am calling the mountain taboo as a limitation of the intellect.

And the limitation … which exists to the human intellect alluded to that which God commanded Moses, “you shall fence about the mountain.” (Idea, 1988, p. 157, n. 133)

This limitation to the intellect, this “fence about the mountain,” does not necessarily prevent us from approaching the mountain; it only means that we must approach it with more of ourselves than our conscious rationality. We must be available for an experience involving our feelings, our intuition, and our senses as well. In other words, we must be ready for an experience of our whole selves. — It is from this perspective, and with the utmost respect for the boundaries around sacred mountains, that we approach our subject.

The mountain is god

I will remind the reader that it is not always easy to tell from a written description of a mountain belief whether or not it is referring to a genuine mountain experience. There can be so much lost or changed between the original phenomenon, which often took place many years ago, in a strange land with people of incommensurable culture and language, and the written version the researcher has in front of him or her.

Another problem is that individuals from the same culture who are asked to tell their mountain beliefs and mountain experiences often give different versions. In some cases the versions differ only in a few words, but these words may throw a completely different slant on the story. And then there is always the question of whether the informant is using words carefully and thoughtfully, that is, is the individual informant reliable by our standards?

{An example of the confusion can be seen if we look at the Arunachala-live website (http://arunachala-live.com) mentioned in the Introduction. The reader will remember that a camera is aimed at the hill, and the camera takes a picture every minute. A viewer can go to the website and see the mountain live and see it change minute by minute.

Image 1. Mount Arunachala, Tiruvannamalai, South India. (title by author) With kind permission, Photo from Arunachala-live camera (http://arunachala-live.com/), May 25, 201?).
Image 1. Mount Arunachala, Tiruvannamalai, South India. With kind permission. Photo from Arunachala-live camera (http://arunachala-live.com/). May 25, 20??). (title by author)

It will be remembered that Sri Ramana Maharshi, the great 20th century mystic who lived on the mountain said that the mountain is the god Shiva. Whatever he meant by this, it seems he himself had a very deep and profound relationship with the mountain. But what should we say about those who have set up the camera. Have they all had a similar deep experience? Are they trying to create one for themselves, because they believe that Sri Ramana Maharshi knew something? Or what? It may be a subtle combination of all of these or something different. This is an example of how difficult it can be for a researcher to decide if there is a living experience or not.}

In spite of these and other problems, there is such an overwhelming testimony on our subject that something of the original experience is bound to shine through, even if we are wrong in some of the details.

Perhaps the most unconscious and primitive mountain experience is that of a mountain as a person with the attributes of a person {as we saw in the last chapter with Fujiyama}. This attitude is called Personification. Closely connected to Personification and often impossible to distinguish from it is the Deification of a mountain. Deification occurs when a mountain is experienced as a god and not just as a person.

It is hard if not impossible for the civilized, rational person in us to believe, let alone understand, that a man might talk to a mountain, call it by a name, feel intimate with it, treat it with respect identically with how he would treat a highly respected person. This attitude would appear quirky or even psychotic to the modern mind in us. Yet it is probably not far fetched to say that a large number of people alive today have this very attitude (not only towards mountains, but towards everything in nature).

Image 1. Panoramic image of Navajo Mountain [= Naatsisʼáán] [and Lake Powell], looking southeast from Navajo Point on the Kaiparowits Plateau [USA]. Photo by G. Thomas.
Image 2. Panoramic image of Navajo Mountain [= Naatsisʼáán] [and Lake Powell], looking southeast from Navajo Point on the Kaiparowits Plateau [USA]. Photo by G. Thomas.

A contemporary Navajo Indian, for example, prays to Navajo Mountain:

The One Alive, who cannot be shot by an arrow,/
The One who inside him has what cannot be harmed,/
Arise to protect me. (Luckert, 1977, p. 73 — this version of a Protectionway prayer was given by a man named Floyd Laughter)

Whether this One Alive referred to in this prayer should be called a person or a god is a question more of interest to our scientific intellects than to the psyche of the Indian. As researchers we must, in the beginning, leave the desire to understand and label aside in order to let the psyche speak for itself in its own words. What is clear, though it may be hard to believe, is that the Indian sees the mountain as alive and calls out to it for protection.

Another Navajo, a respected ninety year old “singer” (holy man) named Long Salt, called this same mountain, Head of Earth. Just before he died he told a prayer to the anthropologist Karl W. Luckert. In the prayer he would call out to Head of Earth,

The One who sits blanketed with darkness./
The One who sits with the Small Rain Moisture./
The One who sits with the Black Cloud One/

Long Salt adds, “This is the way my prayer goes. It continues until it covers all of him (the Mountain), starting from his feet (moving) upwards” (pp. 42-43).

In another place, Floyd Laughter says that corn pollen offerings are left at, above, and across “the crown of the Head … where the tower [radio tower] is now” (p. 49). The mountain is the head; the rest of the earth is the body. It is someone sitting with a blanket. The mountain is “He.” He has feet. The descriptions might contradict themselves, but, the psyche, as is well known from the study of dreams, is not afraid of contradictions. The psyche goes from one image to another, one at a time, each one either fitting or missing, with no memory for anything but the immediate vividness and “correctness” of the individual image. The intellect, which is jarred by a contradiction, feels confused by the psyche, irritated by it. It tends to retreat from the psyche altogether and wishes to outlaw it and relegate it to the region of “childish fantasy.” And yet not even the intellect can deny that there is at least something compelling and fascinating about the genuine images from the psyche and must at least find them worthy of study. And yet to study them, even from a distance, it is necessary to get close enough to them to realize that those who experienced these things really did believe that the mountains were living people of some power and importance.

Image 2. The San Francisco Peaks as viewed from Elden Mountain in Winter. [White-Shell-Sitting-tunneled-through (Christian name: San Francisco Peaks), USA]. Photo by Tyler Finvold.
Image 3. The San Francisco Peaks as viewed from Elden Mountain in Winter. [White-Shell-Sitting-tunneled-through (Christian name: San Francisco Peaks), USA]. Photo by Tyler Finvold.

Another Navajo, Ernest Nelson, describes a prayer given to a mountain called the San Francisco Peaks. This is the Christian name. For a man who believes a mountain is alive, the name is just as important as his own name or the name of a best friend. To get the name right is a sign of respect. {Also, according to Blake (2001), “The Navajo enjoy using the names for places since speaking them brings goodness,” p. 36.} Ernest Nelson says that San Francisco Peaks is not the real name of the mountain. Its real or “sacred” name is White-Shell-Sitting-tunnelled-through. He tells of a prayer that describes

the ways of White-Shell-Sitting, from its foot, up its leg, up its body, up to the face, up to its mind, up to the crown of its head, and finally up to the end of its feather

and he says that the “plain name” of the mountain is San Francisco Peak (Luckert, p. 116).

Again, it is almost impossible for the civilized person in us to conceive that a man could really experience a mountain, not only as having a foot, a leg, a face, a crown of the head — a whole body — but also a feather, and, even more impossibly, a mind. And yet Ernest Nelson seems to be speaking in all seriousness, with complete sincerity, and with measured words. This taxes the civilized imagination. To imagine a mountain having a mind requires work of a kind for which we modern men and women received no training.

The occasion of this last prayer was to ward off an attempt of developers to build a ski village on the western slope of the mountain. The reason for the Indian’s concern is easy to understand as long as it is remembered that the Indian sees the mountain as a person, as a god. Ernest Nelson says that the light reflected off the mountain is so intense that no one can endure it. He believed that this light could protect the mountain. “We have come only to request that you invoke the power which is already within yourself” (Luckert, p. 116).[2]

The conflict of the two points of view, the secular interests of the developers and the religious interest of the Navajo, is very intense. It is a highly symbolic episode. It corresponds to the destruction of the Second Temple of the Jews (also on a mountain, Mount Zion) by the Romans which precipitated important changes in the psyche of the Jews and eventually, perhaps even more, in the psyche of the Romans. What effect the ski resort on the San Francisco Peaks will have on the psyches of the Navajo and the developers remains to be seen.

Image 4. Arizona Snowbowl ski lift [Arizona, USA]. Photo by Frederick Dennstedt.
Image 4. Arizona Snowbowl ski lift [Arizona, USA]. Photo by Frederick Dennstedt.

{We will return to the subject of the development of sacred mountains for secular purposes in Chapter 8, “Why they Went and Why we Continue to Go.” For now, I will mention that, in my mind, the feelings of the Navajo Indians just discussed must be similar to what the ancient Israelites would have felt if someone had tried to build a resort on Mount Sinai and to what the Tibetans must feel when they look at how the Chinese have used a part of Tibet as a nuclear waste dump. The legal battle between thirteen Indian nations and the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort (along with the U.S. Forest Department) over San Francisco Peaks can be understood on this level. The chairman of the Hopi Indian tribe argued against the use as a ski resort: “If the ski resort remains or is expanded, our people will not accept the view that this is the sacred home of the Kachinas. The basis of our existence will become a mere fairy tale.” In spite of such arguments, the Supreme Court of the United States, in 2009, ruled in favor of the Snowbowl.[3]

This is probably as good a point as any to mention that, for the Navajo, and probably for most of the people we will look at in this book, it is not the mountain alone that is sacred. The mountain (or, as in the world view of the Navajo, the mountains) is part of a larger sacred landscape or sacred geography as it is now called. This geography, as Blake (2001) points out for the Navajo, does not respect legal geographical lines, as none of the six recognized sacred mountains of the Navajo are on the modern reservation, and they are in three different of the United States (Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado). Diné Bikéyah, “the land of the Navajo,” includes four mountains at the outskirts (corresponding to the four cardinal directions) and two toward the center. The whole land has meaning to the psyche though mountains — which were “the first places created in this world” (p. 32) — are especially powerful and meaningful with respect to their intimacy with the origin of both the world and the Navajo people and to their ability to protect the Navajo people. Even the sky is part of Diné Bikéyah, and, it is understood as being supported by the mountains (p. 33). — From the point of view of this author, all people, wherever we live, are living within a sacred geography, at least from the point of view of the psyche, though we are usually unconscious of the importance of the landscape to us. How many in Los Angeles are aware of the Santa Monica Mountain Range and even think of it as a mountain?

Relevant to the idea we are discussing of the sacred mountains being people and/or gods, I think it is worth presenting to the reader the following powerful statement.

Mountain soil symbolizes the Earth’s flesh … and the mountain soil bundle (nah nÍdiilyééh) carried by traditional Navajos represents the medicine bundle of First Man, out of which came all life …. Mountain products are collected by Navajo singers (medicine men) for ceremonial and healing use …; the spiritual power of stones from the sacred mountains was recognized in their use for the altar in the Crownpoint, New Mexico Catholic Mission …. (p. 33)}

Staying a little longer with the Navajo, whose descriptions are among the most vivid and intimate that I have found, I will mention that some mountains are also experienced as being male, and some as female. Blanca Peak, the San Francisco Peaks, and Carrizo Mountain are men. Mount Taylor and Hesperus Peak are women. (Luckert, p. 51 — from Floyd Laughter’s testimony)

Navajo Mountain, this time called Head of Earth Woman, is also conceived of as having given birth to Monster Slayer (p. 5), a figure to whom we will return in a later chapter.[4]

Image 5. Gobernador Knob [Navajo = Chʼóolʼį́ʼí] (7,585 feet) on Laguna Seca Mesa in a southeasterly view from near U.S. highway 64. Natural gas wellhead facilities are visible in the right foreground [New Mexico, USA]. Permission from the author/photographer, Kevin Blake (http://www.k-state.edu/geography/kblake/), September 2000.
Image 5. Gobernador Knob [Navajo = Chʼóolʼį́ʼí] (7,585 feet) on Laguna Seca Mesa in a southeasterly view from near U.S. highway 64. Natural gas wellhead facilities are visible in the right foreground [New Mexico, USA], September 2000. Permission from the author/photographer, Kevin Blake (http://www.k-state.edu/geography/kblake/).

Connected to this is the tradition that the creation of the First Man and First Woman took place on Gobernador Knob (Navajo: Chʼóolʼį́ʼí) (Luckert, p. 51).

Later on I will return to the persistent, world-wide belief, documented by Eliade, that creation itself took place on a mountain. Again, this is not just some abstract theory but, at least at times, an actual mountain experience. I can document this and refer the reader to three accounts (which will be presented below) of people who say they witnessed the creation on a mountain. It may be relevant to mention that when I was in the Sierras I began to feel I had entered an Edenic world. As mentioned, it is my goal in this book to put such experiences in an historical context and then to try to understand them from a psychological angle.

Image 3. Mexican volcanoes; Popocatepetl and Ixtlacihuatl, 2010 [Mexico]. Photo by Joaquín Martinez Rosado.
Image 6. Mexican volcanoes; Popocatepetl and Ixtlacihuatl, 2010 [Mexico]. Photo by Joaquín Martinez Rosado.

According to MacCulloch (1915, p. 863), the Aztecs saw the two volcanic mountains, Mount Popocatépetl and Mount Iztaccihuati as not only man and woman, but also as husband and wife.

In various sources, mountains are also said to stand; to walk (Dōgen, ca. 1235/1985, p. 97); to have sex[5] and to bear and raise children; to listen and talk and take interest[6]; to teach serious truths[7]; to have a heart[8]; and to protect[9]. People sacrifice to mountains[10], worship mountains[11], pray to mountains, and even invoke them as witnesses to treaties[12].

Image 6. Mission Mountains, Ducharme Lake [Montana, USA]. Photo by Brent Shultz.
Image 7. Mission Mountains, Ducharme Lake [Montana, USA]. Photo by Brent Shultz.

To sum up so far, people have felt mountains as alive, as being people, as being men and women — with bodies and minds, thoughts, powers, and souls. Mountains have hearts that can be filled with love. Mountains may be interested in each other, and they also may be interested in us and our problems. One last quote along these lines might be helpful. It is from Thomas “Bearhead” Swaney, director of health services on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana, USA:

We look at those mountains [the Mission Mountains] as something alive. It’s something that has a soul and it has a life. It feels all the things that you and I feel. … We can’t communicate with that mountain because we never really listen to it, never really talk to it. (Critique of America, April/May, 1988, p. 38)

Image 5. Mount Fujiyama from Mount Tanjo on a clear day in mid October [Honshu Island, Japan]. Photo by Amarpreet Singh.
Image 8. Mount Fujiyama from Mount Tanjo on a clear day in mid October [Honshu Island, Japan]. Photo by Amarpreet Singh.

On an even grander level, Fujiyama was called the soul of the world (Starr, p. 120).

Image 6. Mount Arunachala, Tiruvannamalai, South India. (title by author) With kind permission, Photo from Arunachala-live camera (http:/arunachala-live.com).
Image 9. Mount Arunachala, Tiruvannamalai, South India. With kind permission. Photo from Arunachala-live camera (http/:arunachala-live.com). June 17, 20??. (title by author)

And Arunachala was called “the mountain of love … who art Love itself”[13], and also “the heart of the world! … the secret and sacred heart-centre of Shiva!” (Evans-Wentz, p. 59 quoting from the Skanda Purana with Shiva’s foremost devotee, Nandi, speaking). (Cf. Gobernador Knob which, as one of the two mountains at the center of the Navajo sacred land, is understood as the heart of the land.)

{The East Indian mystic, Sri Ramana Maharshi (like other mystics before him), lived in a cave on the mountain from 1899 to 1916. In response to a question by Paul Brunton (a British theosophist) who visited him on the mountain, Ramana Maharshi said, “Kailas is on the Himalayas: it is the abode of S[h]iva. Whereas this Hill [Arunachala] is S[h]iva Himself” (January 23, 1936). Whether Sri Ramana Maharshi was speaking literally is hard to determine. Later on, in the same question and answer session, he said,

Everything is within one’s Self. To see the world, there must be a spectator. There could be no world without the Self. The Self is all-comprising. In fact Self is all. There is nothing besides the Self. (Ramana, 1955/2006, pp. 127-128)

This last comment seems to come from the approach we are calling pre-psychological, as it suggests mountain, Shiva, and everything else are within. Perhaps Ramana Maharshi saw it one way sometimes and the other way sometimes, or maybe he didn’t see a contradiction.}

These and other descriptions clearly move into the area we called Deification of mountains. I remind the reader that, in Japan,

mountains were considered the most divine of all natural phenomena. It is scarcely necessary to recall that Mount Fuji, then an active volcano, was worshipped as the tutelary god of Japan.(Earhart, p. 9 quoting from the 8th century Man’yōshū, the “earliest anthology of Japanese poems”)

Image 10. A Hindu sculpture of ... Linga [= Lingam] (with traditional flower offering) in Varanasi [Uttar Pradesh, India, but this one is in a city and not part of any mountain worship]. [Though the Lingam has symbolic meaning, this photo reminds us that the ceremony is not just an abstract, mental exercise and that the lingam is not merely a symbol — it has a physical, sensual presence and reality.] Photo by Yosarian.
Image 10. A Hindu sculpture of … Linga [= Lingam] (with traditional flower offering) in Varanasi [Uttar Pradesh, India, but this one is in a city and not part of any mountain worship]. [Though the Lingam has symbolic meaning, this photo reminds us that the ceremony is not just an abstract, mental exercise and that the lingam is not merely a symbol — it has a physical, sensual presence and reality.] Photo by Yosarian.

Both Mount Kailash and Arunachala Hill (Evans-Wentz, p. 59) have been seen as the Shiva lingam, that is, the penis of the god ShivaMount Ida of Greece was said to be a nymph (MacCulloch, p. 863). Mount Omei (Mount Emei) is said to have a cosmic spirit that gives off a precious glow (Evans-Wentz, p. 44 — from the abbot Sheng Ch’in’s description of the Buddha Glory). These examples can be multiplied (see, for example, MacCulloch, p. 863).

The last example I will give in this chapter is an often described example of a terra cotta relief from a 2nd millennium BCE temple at Assur, in Mesopotamia. There is a human figure whose bottom half looks like a full skirt the pattern of which is “the conventional rendering of a mountainside.” The artist apparently wanted to convey the idea that the mountain was alive and was a human being or a human-like god. From the upper and lower halves, plants grow, both from the hands of the human figure and from the mountain itself. Goats are eating these plants. (Frankfort, n.d., p. 52)

This image can be compared to the one presented by Long Salt: “Head of Earth, vegetation that grows on top of you” (Luckert, p. 41). Four thousand years and six thousand miles separate these two, almost identical images. It is an archetypal idea in the psyche of man.

There seems to be a dual temptation in people. On the one hand there is a tendency to reject the creations of the psyche as silly, childish, mere fantasy. But there is another tendency to fall under its spell and take its productions as literally true. As a psychologist I am not allowed to do either. To see mountains as people is not silly or childish or crazy. Nor is it literally true. It is a projection. It is not a projection of a small, personal, petty vanity onto an object. It is the projection of something important, living, loving, soulful, massive, and grand. To see that the experiences are not silly, childish, and mere fantasy — once one has been tempted to ignore the testimonies of those who speak from the psyche — one need only look at the character of the speakers. To see that the projections are not literally true — once one has been tempted to fall under their spells — it is necessary to see more deeply into the history and stages of the psyche. These men, though speaking with dignity, solemnity, honor, and depth of feeling, were nevertheless, according to the psychological point of view, mistaken in some fundamental way {see, by way of support, the comment above by the Hopi Indian tribal chairman about the San Francisco Peaks}. Nonetheless, the mistakes were not silly or childish but a deadly serious attempt to get at something so deep that it makes us civilized people shudder when we get hints of it in the dreams of our sleep.

  1. Cf. Exodus 19:20-5 where
    the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. The Lord said to Moses, "Go down, warn the people not to break through to the Lord to gaze, lest many of them perish. The priests also, who come near the Lord, must stay pure, lest the Lord break out against them." But Moses said to the Lord, "The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us saying, `Set bounds about the mountain and sanctify it.'"
  2. It will not escape the attentive reader that in this description we find another reference to the mountain-light described in the introduction. Here too the light is seen as having a special sort of almost god-like power that, in this case, can be invoked to thwart the designs of the developers.
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Snowbowl
  4. Cf. the words of the giant Humbaba who rules the mountain of cedars in the Gilgamesh epic: "I have never known a mother, no, nor a father who reared me. I was born of the mountain, he reared me, and Enlil made me the keeper of this forest" (Sandars, 1979, p. 82).
  5. In an Hittite myth of Canaanite origin, a Mount Piŝaiŝa rapes Ishtar who becomes angry. The mountain falls down in front of her and begs for mercy. (Clifford, 1972, p. 30)
  6. Luckert, p. 53. It is said of Talking Rock that "there are personal beings who exist in rocks, in mountains, and in the depths." The editor adds in a note: "These are not mere `spirits' in rocks; rather, they are concrete `inner forms' of people who happen to wear stone clothing — which can be photographed."
  7. Evans-Wentz (1981) quotes Sri Ramana Maharshi regarding Arunachala Hill: "Shine thou as my Guru. ... Vouchsafe me knowledge of Eternal Life, that I may attain the glorious Primal Wisdom, and transcend the illusoriness of the world" (p. 53).
  8. Giddings (1959), regarding the Yaquis. The Yaquis are a tribe of Indians from the Sonora region of Mexico. A Yaqui Indian named Lucas Chavez told Ruth Giddings in 1942 that a wise Yaqui chief, to escape the attack of Columbus, "descended into the heart of the mountain" (p. 30). Another Yaqui, Ambrosio A. Castro, told her that when the Spaniards attacked the Yaqui, the guns "echoed in the heart of the hills" (p. 41).
  9. Mullikin & Hotchkiss, 1973, p. 15 where, regarding the Heng-shan range in North Shansi, China, the 14th century Ming emperors, by Imperial decree, named Heng-shan "the `Northern Guardian'... of the Empire, to which sacrifices were to be made annually."
  10. Clifford, pp. 61-62: In the ancient semitic kingdom of Ugarit we find that, "Among the liturgical texts ... the deified mountain spn [Zaphon] occurs frequently. A typical example is ... `a sheep for Baal Zaphon [the god] and a dqt `small cattle' for Zaphon [the mountain].'"
  11. Starr, 1924, p. 141: "Yamato-takeru-no-mikoto (80 to 113 A. D.), Japan's famous and early hero, is constantly asserted to have worshipped the mountain on his way back from his successful campaign against the eastern barbarians."
  12. Clifford, p. 32: "... such as the treaty between Mursilis and Duppi-Tessub of Amurru ..." MacCulloch, p. 863: one Celtic inscription reads, "To the Mountains," and the Irish frequently invoked mountains in their spells and prayers.
  13. Evans-Wentz, p. 61. Arunachala is from Aruna meaning light and chala meaning hill. So Arunachala means Hill of Light. I do not mean to insult the reader by noting the obvious fact that here we have another example of the mountain light motif.


The Mountain Archetype Copyright © 1988 by Thomas R. Hersh. All Rights Reserved.

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