Mt Monadnock, one of the Seven Sacred Mountains of the U.S.

Mt Monadnock, one of the Seven Sacred Mountains of the U.S.

On my way out of town on the way to Austria, I felt a previous lesson rising within me.  This was a teaching, a lesson, that I had learned about going on a journey.  One time I learned the hard way, ignoring this feeling, and all of my bags disappeared out of the back of the car, but that’s another story.

“I think we should stop and offer prayers before this incredible journey to Austria and back”, I said to Aji, my adopted 17 yr old nephew.  “Good idea, Uncle Mark”.  (I should note he was with me when we discovered the mysterious disappearing bag trick.)

We pulled over and walked to the side of the gas station parking lot.  There in the distance was Mt. Monadnock.  Now this was special because it’s a rare place that one can see Mt. Monadnock from these parts.  As well, it’s one of the Seven Sacred Mountains, according to Gilbert Walking Bull, an elder of mine, who has “changed addresses” so to speak.  Each time he came to visit us from the Black Hills, he would tell us about this mountain and others like it around the country that rise up out of the land.  “People have quested on these mountains and received visions from the creator, these are sacred places”.

“Perfect”, I said to myself, regarding the synchronicity.  I pulled out my ceremonial tobacco pouch that I use when tending a Sacred Fire.  “I would like to make an offering to this Sacred Mountain here in New England, to watch over us until we reach the high mountains of Austria”.  “And back”, said Aji.  Bless us with a grounded and safe journey so that we may return and tell the story of the day, sharing the blessings and teachings from the Alps Nature community to our own”.  Aji and his mother, who was kindly driving us to the airport, also joined in.

We had a natural moment of quiet when we were done.  I think it was peace.  The feeling was, ‘We’ve done what we can, it’s the creators turn.  Let’s continue and live our mission to the fullest’.

And so we did.

When we arrived in Tyrol by plane, the descent into the high valley was spectacular.  The scale of the mountain peaks to the valley floor was ridiculous.  We were alive and impossibly in some Magical Land.

tryol landscape

Our host, Ron Bachman, co founder of the Alpen Wildnis Schule, gave us a greeting of local lore and legend on the drive through town.

The first story he told us was about this cave, which we could see, on the side of this mountain, rising steeply from the valley floor.  “ This is one of the Seven Sacred Mountains of Tyrol” he began.  My jaw dropped.  I shot a glance to Aji in the back seat that said “No way !”.   I looked up at this great mountain and reflected back on that moment, 24 hours earlier, when we left New England.  An unspeakable gratitude came over me.  I feel blessed.  This is unexplainable, but I feel protected and supported by the mountains, by these Sacred Mountains.

Inside, I expressed my appreciation and dedicated my journey to the highest purpose I could fulfill, an international network of peace.

3 replies
  1. Little Amy
    Little Amy says:

    But we have only begun to love the Earth.

    We have only begun
    to imagine the fullness of life.

    How could we tire of hope?
    — so much is in bud.

    How can desire fail?
    — we have only begun

    To imagine justice and mercy
    only begun to envision
    how it might be
    to live ass siblings with beast and flower,
    not as oppressors.

    We have only begun to know
    the power that in us if we would join
    our solitudes in the communion of struggle.

    So much is unfolding that must complete its gesture,
    so much is in bud.
    And we have only just begun to love the Earth.

  2. Patrick Schank
    Patrick Schank says:

    there is something magical to journeys one does when they are not only for ourselfes but for a higher purpose. Here comes one of mine:

    When I went to NJ for Tracker School, I was one day earlier and decided to eat in a restaurant and spent the night on the beach. So I finished my meal asking the waitress for a taxi to take me to the beach. She called and said I should wait beside the road, it will be there in 20 minutes. That sounded strange but since I was not familiar with the customs here I followed the advice. So I stood for 5 minutes already in dusk when a huge blue bus stopped right in front of me. The door opend and I asked friendly “taxi?” The man replied “yes” and in I was with my huge bag. He drove on and we began to chat. I found out that this wasn´t a taxi but a bus serving the homeless people in the woods. There was a washing mashine, a dryer, a shower and the possibility to watch movies. And my driver was a minister. We spent the whole evening together, I could sleep in the bus and the next morning he drove me directly to BoyScout Camp for course. When I went off bus I suddenly became aware of the big sign right in front which said: “God is Love”. So my taxi came directly from God – that gave me chicken skin for a while….

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