I am thinking of mountains because tomorrow I climb Scafell Pike in Lakeland. Once again I’ve under-estimated Nature. I thought, “2 hours to get there, 4 hours up and down, 2 hours back = 8 hours. Still daylight when we get back!” The review of the routes I’ve just read says 5.5 hours just to get up the mountain and back. Two hours to get to the mountain from the motorway. I make that an additional 5 and a half hours on top of my estimate. Let’s hope that’s an outside estimate, or it’s a long quiet tired drive back home in a day!
It takes many a year’s training to undo the modern obsession with self, and to properly scale oneself into the landscape. I am small. The mountain is vast. Mentally, I am preparing myself to meet this grandeur with an open heart as I breathe in Nature’s cleanest breath, and refreshing my soul in the process.
As I write this I am hearing that lovely Kate Bush song ‘King of the Mountain’ from her recent ‘Ariel‘ double album. Many of you will know of her from her 1980s success, but her later concept albums (if indeed that’s what they were) are stunningly stocked with conscientious, beautiful and challenging music. I strongly recommend ‘Ariel’ for evening time relaxation and inspiration, and also ‘The Ninth Wave’, the second half of the ‘Hounds of Love‘ album. This makes wonderful night-time listening, especially on headphones. No self-respecting pagan should be without that particular music! There’s even a homage to Wilhelm Reich in there, with the track ‘Cloudbusting’. Well ahead of the game, this lady!
I climb with a friend from work called Paulo. Paulo is a former rugby player and leapt like a goat up Ben Nevis when we tackled that peak in persistent rain a few months ago. His stamina makes me feel every aching and damaged joint and tendon, but there are many things to make the journey worthwhile:-
- the freedom of the wilds
- the clean air
- the awe-inspiring views
- the phsical challenge
- to feel the energies of Scafell as I find their paths
- to dowse on top for energetic places
- to see if cairns of rocks placed by walkers have energy
- the taste of a home-made sandwich on the top
I wasn’t ready for Ben Nevis. Its snow-clad peak, mist, sheer exhaustion….I couldn’t rouse enough energy to tune into anything but myself. My test tomorrow will be to see if I can tune into Nature early on, to try the ascent together, to learn something by the time I descend back to roads, shops and noise.
Such a shamanic journey should involve an opening up, and a returning with something. I’ll be singing as I climb,
“Hey ho, and up we go! Up into the hills where the four winds blow.
Hey ho, and up we go! Up into the hills with the ice and snow.
Hey ho and up we go! None of us know which way to go.
We”ll all be lost by the morning!“
Should cheer everyone up a little, yeah? 😉
Follow your true path.