What is it about mountains that calls to me when I need to sort something out? It seems that a good walk in the hills clears my head and gives me a broader perspective on life. I return to society with a clearer, sharper mind.
I stumbled upon a mountain metaphor from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., author of one of my favorite books, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. She says,
“In mythos, a mountain is sometimes understood as a symbol describing the levels of mastery one must attain before one can ascend to the next level. The lowest part of the mountain, the foothills, often represents the urge toward consciousness. All that occurs in the foothills is thought of in terms of maturing consciousness.
The middle part of the mountain is often thought of as the steeping part of the process, the part that tests the knowledge learned at lower levels.
The higher mountain represents intensified learning: the air is thin there, it takes endurance and determination to stay at the tasks.
The peak of the mountain represents confrontation with the ultimate wisdom.”
After spending the past few years ascending a number of peaks, both real and figurative, I’m enjoying this brief respite near the ocean, where the air is heavy and saturated. It gives me a place to test this new found consciousness. Until the time comes when I must ascend again.