Mountain and Spirituality

By Hariulf OR

As many of you know I have the chance to live in the beautiful Swiss Alps. It goes without saying that the mountain has always played a great role in my life. These are also these beautiful Alps who inspired me this article. I hope it will be not to confuse, I always have a lot of difficulties to translate my thoughts into words. So I hope this short article will have sense for you.

The mountain seems to have played an important role in the spiritual traditions of the Indo-European people. We find several Sacred Mountains into the different Indo-European mythology: for example the Mount Meru from the Vedic tradition, the Olympus Mount from the Greek tradition. In our mythology we find Himinbjorg. Himinbjorg means “heaven’s castle” or “heaven mountain”.

In many of these traditions, the mountain was considered as the symbol of transcendent inner states. The mountain was also seen allegorically as the seat of divine beings, heroes or transfigured creatures that have risen high above the human condition. If we look more closely in our mythology, Himinbjorg is the home of the god Heimdall. Heimdall is the watchman of the gods, and he sits on the edge of heaven to guard the Bifrost Bridge from the jotuns. Heimdall requires less sleep than a bird, can see at night just as well as if it were day, and for over a hundred leagues. Heimdall’s hearing is also quite keen; he can hear grass as it grows on the earth, wool as it grows on sheep, and anything louder. Heimdall possesses a trumpet, Gjallarhorn, that, when blown, can be heard in all worlds, and “the head is referred to as Heimdall’s sword”. From this description we can see that Heimdall embodies the quality of a “person” who have risen high above the human condition.

For me Heimdall embodies the two major poles of life according to Julius Evola: action and contemplation. Heimdall is in a certain way a god of “contemplation” (his role of watchman, his constant watch) but also a god of “action” (he will sound the Gjallar Horn announcing the Ragnarok). And all this “action” and “contemplation” took place on the Himinbjorg “mountain”.

In our modern world, mountain represents different things for different people. For some people the mountain is a way to satisfy their appetite for risk, for others it can be a way to practice a very demanding sport, for other the mountain is only a touristic curiosity, a place where people of the plains come to admire the idyllic landscape, away from the urban pollution and concrete jungle.

But for me, the mountain is none of this: for me it is a way of liberation, of self-transcendence and of self-fulfilment. The mountain represents as said above the two major poles of life: action and contemplation.
I’m not a good alpinist, far from it. I’m not able to climb a 4000 metres like the Matterhorn or the Monte Rosa. I’m only able to climb some minor summits. But, I think that despite the difference of difficulties, the process is the same

I think that we can make a comparison between the fact to climb a mountain and a spiritual path. When we climb a mountain, we are alone (even if we are part of a roped party). We are alone with our strengths and our weaknesses. We must look inside us and be aware of our capabilities, be ready to make a lot of efforts and sacrifices. When we climb from rock to rock, from crest to crest, we must be aware of the altitude and of the many dangers. Every step, everything we do should be reflected. We must be totally focused on our ascent, our mind only directed towards our goal. It’s hard to explain in words, but when you climb a mountain, your mind is in a certain way “totally empty”. All your being is only focused on action. This is a pure action who help us to transcend our inner state, to rise physically and also “spiritually” high above the human condition. The act of climbing a mountain, an action who ask for a lot of self-discipline, symbolizes a mysterious process of surpassing of oneself, of liberation and of spiritual integration.

And after the action come the contemplation. The moment when we reach the summit, when we sit on it to contemplate the landscape above us, is for me a moment of pure magic. It’s a moment “out of the world” and “out of the time”. After the summit reached, we feel a great liberation, a solar solitude and a great silence. When we look at the landscape below us and at the purity of the sky above us, we feel the possibility of an awakening, the rebirth of something transcendent. When I’m in a summit, after a moment of very intense meditation and contemplation I always feel the urge to rise and to adopt the Algiz stance to deepen my connection with all that surround me both physically and spiritually. Because of its primordial nature, the mountain allows us to look deep inside us, to transcend our little ego to search something higher than us.

The mountain also taught us the silence. We live in a world of constant noise and the mountain can help us to understand that the silence is important for our spiritual advance. By contemplation, we will be able to see more clearly, and by silence, we truly come to hear more clearly, like Heimdall on Himinbjorg.

So mountain can be seen both spiritually and physically as a mean to gain a greater spiritual awareness. If we are able of action and contemplation, we will be able to transcend our little ego and to climb our own spiritual mountain.

Hael the New Awakening!