Mountains have been revered as sacred places in many cultures. To this day, spiritual retreats and sanctuaries are often placed on mountain tops. They are places in-between the mundane realm and the heavens, and the highest we can climb.
Mountains are places of contemplation and of transition – it is said that the person who climbs a mountain comes back down a different person. Things happen on mountaintops.
Mountains have always been special to me because they represent the union of air and earth. Like an alchemical marriage of opposites, the point where the two elements meet has always felt magical. The mountain top is where the woman spirit is unburdened and liberated, where it can rise unrestrained by the physical body. Just like the woods are nurturing places, the mountains are liberating.
When I sit on a mountain top, undisturbed, I feel my body resting. It has just moved through unfamiliar terrain and been tested. The fact that I am here shows that I passed. I look at my body in awe: bones and muscles, blood and skin all working together with such strength to get me here. Relaxing I can let go and rise up above. As my spirit soars with the eagles, it also rises through time.
I can see the villages below, both as they are now and as they have been before. The distance is a distance of time as well as space. As well as accepting the changes that come with time, I also embrace my place in time right here and now. I can see it all from the mountaintop. It gives me a tremendous sense of peace, knowing that the world turns as she should.
Mountains are also challenging, and climbing can be dangerous and unpredictable. They challenge our skill and determination, but also our ability to accept ourselves the way we are. As the weary woman reaches the mountain top, she is faced with her own vulnerabilities.
She is half-way on a long journey, because she also has to descend the mountain afterwards. She is half-way between heaven and earth, away from everything she knows and alone in the stillness. Mountains are places for women to practice their shamanic or wise-woman skills as these roles are all about being in different worlds at once. Pure magic. Some say the girl ascends the mountain, the woman rests there and the crone descends.
If ever I need to make peace with myself, I head for a hilltop or a mountaintop. There I can think and feel, see myself from unexpected angles and just be in the moment. I can forgive myself and love myself as I come to both an intellectual and an emotional understanding of what has taken place. Feeling, thinking, immersing myself at the same time as I observe from a distance, the mountain becomes the place, my place, of transformation. I change, I choose my direction and I decide my future.
Descending from the mountain, my woman soul feels timeless and experienced. I feel filled with an understanding and compassion I could only have gained from seeing so much from such a distance. Changed, wiser, older, the kinship with all my aspects strengthens me. Pilgrimage to a mountain brings the woman spirit to peace, as well as sanctuary at a sacred space.
Do you have a hilltop or mountaintop that is special to you? I’d love to hear about it.
Vild Prestegard is an anthropologist, holistic therapist, Reiki master and public speaker based in Norway. She is a regular blogger for Cycle Harmony. You’re welcome to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.