Some science behind the scenes
Sacred geography - mountain
All mountains take on the symbolism of the Mountain. Given that the mountain is representative of an Intelligence, symbolically the larger the mountain the more important the Intelligence being represented.
This is why, in the scheme of sacred geography, high mountains are extremely sacred and rarely 'climbed'. To climb some high mountains is thus a sacrilegious act, even though within the understanding of sacred geography, everyone knows that no gods actually exist 'in' a physical mountain. If they have come to represent a god - an Intelligence, this is enough.
The mountains chosen to become part of a sacred geography tend to be very similar in appearance and symbolically 'accurate'. Most rise from a plain or an area of surrounding flat ground and stand alone. Most are extremely high often several thousand feet high. A large number are the source of some exceptionally important river systems [givers of life]. Most are very striking in appearance, some are volcanic in origin. All are supremely beautiful.
At one time, it is clear that the symbolism was understood – the mountain was not a 'god', but represented the concept. Over time, however, it is clear that the symbolism got lost and some groups started to believe the mountain itself was the god. Thus the ‘literalism’ or the ‘infantilism’ described by Mircea Eliade, where the simplicity of the people and their naivety results in the original concepts being lost, took over and real mountains were venerated as being the home of the gods.
I have provided some more examples in the observations, but the following provide other examples:
Vaishno Devi Mandir - Vaishno Devi Mandir is located on the hill of Vaishno Devi, Jammu and Kashmir, India. In Hinduism, Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. It is one of the most revered places of worship in Northern India. The shrine is at an altitude of 5,200 feet. Millions of pilgrims visit the temple every year and is the second most visited religious shrine in India, after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.
Kunlun Goddess - The Kunlun Goddess (7,167 m) lies in the Kunlun Mountains, one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending more than 3,000 km. The Kunlun runs westwards along the northern part of the Tibetan plateau to form the border range of northern Tibet. A number of important rivers flow from it including the Karakash River ('Black Jade River') and the Yurungkash River ('White Jade River').
The Kunlun mountains are, in terms of a sacred geography, representative of Taoist paradise. The first to visit this paradise was, according to the legends, King Mu (976-922 BCE) of the Zhou Dynasty. He supposedly discovered there the Jade Palace of Huang-Di, the mythical Yellow Emperor and originator of Chinese culture, and met Hsi Wang Mu (Xi Wang Mu) , the 'Spirit Mother of the West' or 'Queen Mother of the West'. Jesuit missionaries, the noted American Sinologist Charles Hucker, and London University’s Dr Bernard Leeman (2005) have suggested that Xiwangmu and the legendary/mythical Queen of Sheba were one and the same person.
Mt. Croagh Patrick - Mt. Croagh Patrick (also spelled Croach Patrick) is a mountain near the town of Westport in County Mayo, Ireland. Known in Irish Celtic as Cruach Phádraig and colloquially as "the Reek," Mt. Croagh Patrick has been a sacred site since ancient times. Before the arrival of Christianity, the Celtic people regarded the mountain as the dwelling place of the deity Crom Dubh. Crom Dubh or Crum-dubh means "crooked and black" in Scottish and Irish Gaelic, but the ‘black’ part does not have the meaning we may associate with the colour today. The Celtic god is described in the The Voyage of Bran, Book II, p49. and has a creative role and is particularly associated with all aspects of fertility. The mountain, for example, was the focus of the harvest festival of Lughnasa, traditionally held around August 1. It was also especially important for women, who would sleep on the summit during Lughnasa to encourage fertility. It attracts as many as one million pilgrims in a year, but this is largely because of its Christian associations not these early connections.
Mount Juktas - A mountain in north-central Crete, Mount Juktas (also spelled Iuktas, Iouktas, and a variety of others due to irregular transliteration from Greek) was an important religious site for the Minoan Civilization. Located a few kilometers from the palaces of Knossos and Fourni and the "megaron" at Vathypetro, Mount Juktas was the site of an important peak sanctuary in the Minoan world. It is one of 25 known Minoan sanctuaries or sacred mountains all of which were chosen for their shape and location
Harney Peak - Black Hills National Forest is located in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. Within the forest is Harney Peak which is the tallest mountain in South Dakota and the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States. It was regarded as a sacred peak by the Ogliaga Sioux. The Sioux holy man Black Elk was ‘transported’ during his Great Vision whilst on the peak. It is the centre of a creation myth.
Avikwa’Ame [Spirit Mountain] - Located in Grapevine Canyon Nevada this mountain is sacred to the Yuman people because of a shamanic myth which explains the creation. The Yuman shamans would also travel to the mountain to ‘dream’ – that is enter a trance state and experience visions.
Mount Tlaloc - Mount Tlaloc is a mountain in central Mexico, located east of Mexico City. Its height is 13,615 ft. (4,151 metres). It was a sacred mountain of the Aztecs who worshipped the raingod ‘Tlaloc’ here – Tlaloc was a creator god in Aztec mythology. On the summit there are remains of an Aztec shrine and a processional way
Popocatépetl - Popocatépetl is one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico. The name Popocatépetl comes from the Nahuatl words popōca 'it smokes' and tepētl 'mountain', thus Smoking Mountain. It is 5,426 metres high, the second highest peak in Mexico, and linked to the Iztaccíhuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés.
It is a primary source of rain clouds and water for the surrounding region and has been sacred for thousands of years back as far as the Olmec civilisation. The Aztec god Xochipailli is found on engravings at its base showing a range of mind altering plants, including a mushroom that grows only on the slopes of the volcano.
Simloki - Known as ‘Soldier Mountain’, Simloki is these days a ski resort, but to the Ajumawi Native American Indians it was a sacred mountain - the home of ancestors. Located in south central Idaho in the Sawtooth National Forest, it is 12 miles (19 km) north of Fairfield in Camas County. The summit is 7,177 feet (2187 m) above sea level
The following is not an exhaustive list, but provides brief details of some of the more interesting mountains which share the common attributes of sacred mountains symbolically representing Intelligences.
Emei Shan - Buddhist sacred mountain of the west, Sichuan province, China. Sacred to Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.
Mt. Jiu Hua (Jiu Hua Shan), China - Buddhist sacred mountain of the south, Anhui province, China. Sacred to Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha.
Mt. Pu Tuo (Pu Tuo Shan), China - Buddhist sacred mountain of the east, Zhejiang province, China. Sacred to Bodhisattva Kuan-Yin.
Mt. Wu Tai (Wu Tai Shan), China - Buddhist sacred mountain of the north, Shanxi province, China. Sacred to Bodhisattva
Mount Tai (Tai Shan), China - Taoist sacred mountain of the east, Shandong province, China.
Mt. Heng Bei (Heng Shan Bei) - Taoist sacred mountain of the north, Shanxi province, China.
Mt. Heng Nan (Heng Shan Nan) - Taoist sacred mountain of the south, Hunan province, China.
Mt. Hua (Hua Shan) - Taoist sacred mountain of the west, Shanxi province, China.
Mt. Song (Song Shan), China - Taoist sacred mountain of the center, Henan province, China.
Mt. Blanca (Tsisnaasjini', Dawn or White Shell Mountain), USA - Native American sacred mountain of the east, near Alamosa in San Luis Valley, Colorado.
Mt. Hesperus/Obsidian Mountain (Dibé Nitsaa - Big Mountain Sheep), USA - Native American sacred mountain of the north, La Plata Mountains, Colorado.
Mt. Taylor (Tsoodzil - Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain), USA
Native American sacred mountain of the south, north of Laguna, New Mexico.
Manjushri. - San Francisco Peaks (Doko'oosliid - Abalone Shell Mountain), USA Native American sacred mountain of the west, near Flagstaff, Arizona.
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