The Mysterious and Spiritual Mt. Shasta

mount shasta

There is no doubt that California is home to breathtaking natural beauty from Yosemite, to Big Sur, to Joshua Tree, to the Vineyards in Napa Valley. The homebody that I am is happy to drive up Pacific Coast Highway and simply breathe in the beauty that is Malibu. But there is one special place that holds not only majestic beauty but mystery, magic, legend, and spirituality rolled into one and that Mt. Shasta. 

Mt. Shasta is an ice topped potentially active volcano in Siskiyou County about 60 miles south of the Oregon border and easily seen from the I-5 freeway. It is part of the Cascade mountain range and is the second highest peak in the range at 14,161 feet and the fifth highest peak in the state. The last known eruption was around 1250AD making it one of the largest dormant volcanoes in the country. Mt. Shasta also has a story to tell. 

“Mount Shasta’s traditional spirituality draws its roots from the Native American tribes who trace their ancestry to its slopes: the Achumawi, Shasta, Modoc, Atsugewi, and Winnemem Wintu tribes. According to the legends of the native Shasta tribe, the mountain is their birthplace, for they are descendants of the grizzly bear people and the Great Spirit of the mountain. The Shasta tribe regards the slopes above the tree line of the mountain as incredibly sacred. Only shamans and spirits of the dead venture there.”

According to local legend and indigenous tribes, such as the Klamath people, Mt. Shasta is inhabited by the spirit chief Skell. Chief Skell descended from the heavens to the mountain’s summit and has his own legacy of fighting the “below-world” spirit Llao. 

“Skell fought with Spirit of the Below-World, Llao, who resided at Mount Mazama by throwing hot rocks and lava, probably representing the volcanic eruptions at both mountains.”

Another legend of Mt. Shasta is that somewhere beneath the deep mountain lies an  underground series of tunnels and the hidden city of Telos, the ancient “City of Light” for the Lemurians. Like the lost continent of Atlantis which was lost in the Atlantic Ocean, the Lemurians were the residents of the lost continent of Lemuria which was lost under the Pacific. 

“There’s a well-known legend that says that somewhere deep beneath Northern California’s 14,179-foot-tall Mount Shasta is a complex of tunnels and a hidden city called Telos, the ancient “City of Light” for the Lemurians. They were the residents of the mythical lost continent of Lemuria, which met its demise under the waves of the Pacific (or the Indian Ocean, depending on who you ask) thousands of years ago. Lemurians believed to have survived the catastrophe are said to have settled in Telos, and over the years their offspring have been sporadically reported wandering around the area: seven-feet-tall, with long flowy hair, often clad in sandals and white robes.”

Did this lost continent ever exist? And how did the Lemurians end up under Mt. Shasta? There has been research. 

“In 1864, zoologist Philip Sclater published an article about a classification of species called lemurs in which he was puzzled by the presence of their fossils in both Madagascar and India but not in Africa or the Middle East. He hypothesized that Madagascar and India had once been a part of a larger continent, which was the first theory leading to the discovery of the ancient supercontinent Pangea.”

“Following this scientific discovery, the concept of Lemuria began to appear in the works of other scholars. Ernst Haeckel looked for the “missing link” in this area, proposing that the fossils of the first humans sunk under the sea. But some propose the lost land went somewhere else.”

“Fast forward to 1899, when Frederick Spencer Oliver published A Dweller on Two Planets, a book which claimed that survivors from a sunken continent called Lemuria were living in Mount Shasta. In the book, Lemurians lived in a series of complex tunnels beneath the mountain. Locals would sometimes see the creatures wandering outside the mountain in white robes.”

“Then in 1931, Harvey Spencer Lewis, using the pseudonym Wisar Spenle Cerve, wrote a book about the hidden Lemurians of Mount Shasta. This book is widely regarded as the reason for the popularity for the legends of Lemurians in Mt. Shasta.”

There have been many accounts of ‘run-ins’ with Lemurians -who either “look like highly evolved humans or have more animalistics qualities” – but none have been substantiated. Although, spiritual seekers to this day still flock to Mt. Shasta with the belief they can make contact with spirits from this ancient civilization which dates back to ”4,500,000BC when the civilization ruled the earth”, through various spiritual practices and crystal communication. 

The Lemurians are not the only spirits or beings that may be “hanging around”  around this great land mass. Mt. Shasta has become known as the “new Roswell” with UFO sightings and stories galore. There was one sighting on February 12, 2020 that went viral but simply turned out to be a lenticular cloud but it was very convincing and caused quite a stir. 

“Upon closer look, this was not an alien spaceship but a beautiful lenticular cloud, the kind that is often shaped like lentils or UFOs, depending on your perspective. It was so convincing, however, that the U.S. Forest Service had to deny its extraterrestrial origins in a statement.”

“The flying saucer or lens shape of these clouds is caused by their development along the downwind sides of mountains. When moist and stable air goes over a mountain, oscillating waves are created. The crest of the waves causes condensation of vapor, which evaporates through the troughs, explains Weather Underground. These evaporations take the form of lenses and spaceships, looking layered.”

Today Mt. Shasta’s vibrant beauty is a draw for nature lovers, adventurers,  pilgrims, spiritual seekers, “crystal people”, “New Agers”, Buddhists, the, Taoists, yogis, and others who are trying to raise their vibration and who consider the mountain sacred. Tourism is the largest contributor to the local economy and spirituality contributes to tourism. 

In a study on “spiritual tourism” the community gave spirituality its own definition.

“Although it is located near an exit on the I-5 freeway, Mt. Shasta remains sufficiently distant from major California population centers to retain its aura of mystery and pristine remoteness. This insularity means that spiritual activities of both residents and tourists tend to conform to local norms of spiritual identity and sense of place.”

“This local meaning of spiritual is: a natural human connection with the wonder and energy of nature, cosmos, and all existence, and an attempt to understand its meaning; an emotional response to self, divine, others and the world that inspires unity, awe, joy, acceptance, peace and consolation; an experience that brings one into contact with and connection to the divine or sacred. (Duntley 2013)” 

“The story of Guy Ballard meeting the Ascended Master Saint Germain on Mount Shasta in 1930, provides the impetus for the annual gathering of the I AM worldwide diaspora, where over 2,000 pilgrims visit Mt. Shasta City for the I AM COME! outdoor pageant held each August. Like Ballard, many other one-time pilgrims also experienced intense spiritual encounters on the mountain and formed new twentieth century spiritual communities: groups not limited to, but including Astara, the Eureka Society, the Radiant School of Seekers and Servers, and the Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara (Frank 2010; Avenell 1999; Chaney 2009). In this small town, esoteric communities and their pilgrims share a larger social network that includes channelers, mystics, and healers who are part of Mt. Shasta city’s business community. “

Mt. Shasta today may not have wandered very far from its historical roots. Mt. Shasta’s City history began as a trading outpost for trappers and explorers. When one thinks of pioneers in American history they were their own kind of seeker.   

“Mount Shasta as a symbol of pioneer hope and frontier abundance was instantly communicated to the public in visual shorthand by imprinting an image of Mount Shasta on the covers of many nineteenth century “Golden State” tourist and promotional pamphlets.” 

Today Mt. Shasta’s spiritual pilgrims are seeking that sense of nirvana and peace only this great body of mountain and the aura of the surrounding area can provide: something you can’t touch but something you can feel. Maybe it’s the spirit world talking to you through the mountain, maybe it’s your higher power finally unwinding from the daily stress, maybe it’s god consciousness, whatever it is the magic of the Mt. Shasta is real and like a magnet draws those believers to it. 

“Mt. Shasta has become known to many as a portal, or vortex, between the outer and inner world. The phenomenon has become an international sensation, as people travel to the mountain to experience its strong metaphysical powers. In fact, spiritual tourism has become one of the driving forces of the Mount Shasta economy and some estimate half of all tourists visit the area for a spiritual experience.”

I think Mt. Shasta may be calling to me as well. 

Author: Sherri Margolin (Dark Matters)

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