Background of Holy Mountain Myths

In planet Earth’s distant past, which we casually dismiss as prehistory, the heavens presented a constant awe-inspiring panorama for our ancestors. Prehistory lessons of Creation and life were once given using imagined figures across the skies and these are known to us today primarily from the zodiac. In those ancient lessons the North Pole Star was considered to hold the summary position from which all lessons of cosmology and life-meaning could be observed in their entirety. This gave rise to later notions which linked the Pole Star with the tip of “holy mountains.” Ancient Sumerian inscriptions spoke of a great peak in the north as “the mountain of the word,” which was thought to be the home of the gods and which was regarded as the supporting pillar of heaven. As noted in the book The Celestial Scriptures, the man-made temple “mountains” of Sumer and Babylonia (ziggurats), the pyramids of Egypt, the pyramid temples of Central America, and the “cosmic mountain” temples of India, to mention a few, all have intimate connection to the Pole Star. The Canaanite god, Baal, as another example, was said to have his palace in the “farthest north,” meaning the Pole Star. The Hebrew “God” could not be allowed to have anything less, and so the same was claimed for him.

The North Pole Star was referred to in ancient China as “The Cosmic Mountain,” and as “The Axis of the Universe.” In eastern cultures of the ancient world this concept inspired the understanding of the “Wheel of Life” and the “Wheel of Law.” And this observable rotation of Earth upon the apparent celestial hub inspired belief in karma. The Pole Star thus epitomized the center of creative action from which birth and death was initiated. Because of the Pole Star’s position as a “fixed star,” meaning that it is constant in one fixed point, it has to be ranked as one of the most celebrated stars in our skies. It is the permanence and dependability that the Pole Star presented to travelers that it came to represent to them a divine love that never misleads—if you pay attention.

In every populated region of the world seekers and believers always regarded the loftiest mountain within their locality to be the symbol of God’s abode. Since the North Pole Star seemed to seekers to be the highest advantage, it was regarded in many cultures as being “the throne of the most high.” Thus all the “sacred mountains” of various cultures such as Mt. Parnassus of the Greeks; Mt. Meru (or Sumeru) of Hindu and Buddhist lore; the heavenly mountain of Tien Shan; the Paradise of Taoist immortals; or the Mount Zion of the Hebrews symbolized the throne of God. Consequently all “holy mountains” signified the highest purpose of Creation. Thus in the book of Isaiah 14:13 it refers to “…the mount of congregation, in the uttermost North.” It was also understood by these ancient ones that these sacred “mounts” also symbolized mental acuity, which awakens scholarly seekers to a far deeper meaning as to why scriptural characters such as Moses had to go climb a mountain to receive laws and instruction from God.

There is only one constellation which seems to pivot around the North Pole Star (Polaris) and keeps a tight revolving motion around it–the constellation Ursa Minor, which is erroneously known as the Little Bear. (No bears have ever had long tails.) Only this constellation revolves around the North Pole Star without any apparent shift in its relative position to that star. In addition, there is the curious positioning of constellation Cepheus in connection with the Pole Star. Cepheus has been pictured since extremely ancient times as the Crowned King, and in the star outline of this figure he is shown as standing with his left foot poised above the Pole Star. The brightest star in constellation Cepheus is known to us today as Alderamin, meaning “the right forearm,” and it is this arm which holds aloft the royal scepter. This star is distinguished by its unusually rapid rotation, and it also holds the distinction of being located near the path which is followed by the Earth’s axis in space throughout the precession of the equinox cycles through 25,800 years. There is thus a strong correlation with the Hebrew verses, for the right arm is held toward the grand orbit of Earth’s movement through the universe!

In the New Testament book of Hebrews 12:22 (which was written after Revelation c. 137-140 CE) it states: “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable host of angels..” (a reference to the star cluster of Ursa Minor). This is a sly connection to a verse in Psalms (48:2) which reads, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole Earth is Mount Zion (North Pole Star), on the sides of the north, the city of the great King (as King Cepheus). The mention of Mount Zion in both these accounts, like all other mount myths, represents the highest point from which all activity concerning Earth-life may be viewed by Creation powers (God).

The “heavenly Jerusalem” of the Revelation text is a play upon the meaning of that troublesome city’s name–which means light and peace–but has absolutely nothing to do with the earthly city by that name. As noted, the “innumerable host of angels” of the quoted verse actually refers to the stars of Ursa Minor around the North Pole Star, which to prehistory cultures symbolized the innumerable emanations of Creative Consciousness made manifest with matter-life consciousness. This brushes admirably close to possible spiritual instruction: sadly, however, this was quickly negated in the final chapter 13 where there is then listed various things that concern only the church, and offers nothing for personal enlightenment of seekers. Instead, in the closing verses we are treated with an admonishment about listening to “strange doctrines,” the designated way of worship for Christians, the obedience and sacrifice for the church, and concludes with an uninspiring benediction.

Our long-ago ancestors knew the night skies much more intimately than most of us do today. If we think of the visible heavens at all, it is most likely in terms of science fiction or religiosity, not from any personal familiarity with the awe-inspiring celestial grandeur of which our world is merely a speck of dust. In our pursuit of taking dominion over all Earth life, as is encouraged in priest-written sacred texts, we now dominate the planet through human indulgence in over breeding and industrial pollution. Today, eight billion persons strong, we humans congregate mainly in cities and suck the vital essences of nature into them and exercise our “dominion” through the habit of commercial greed. Unfortunately, greed always pollutes. We rarely see any holy mountains clearly anymore through the heavy veils of greenhouse gasses. And within the cities we have obscured the night skies with heavy pollution of artificial light. So there are few persons any longer who could find the North Pole Star even if they tried. They might, however, know the “revealed truth” about some perfect Heavenly “kingdom” from their faith system texts, but their only awareness with the actual patterns of the dimly seen stars of the heavens is from glancing at their horoscope.

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