Mountains as teachers

Nature is a powerful teacher, especially if we pay close attention andĀ use our full range of senses. In the UN International Year of Soils (2015) I wrote about the soil as teacher. In 2018 I pay homage to mountains as teachers by sharing a recent and remarkable experience in Japan. Led by three Shugendo masters, the two day pilgrimage I joined on Mt Ontake in January 2018 was extraordinary. The energy of the mountain, forests, snow and waterfalls was palpable. First published on my sister blog ‘‘, here is the link to ‘Shugendo now – a winter pilgrimage on Mt Ontake, Japan.’

Kiyotaki, Mt Ontake, Japan. January 2018. These sacred falls have been worshipped for centuries and have a great presence.

Fire up, Water down

On July 7th, 2016 I had the great fortune to experience the name of my blog, ‘Fire up, Water down’ in real life. It came as a pleasant surprise. The location was at Kinpusen-ji Temple in Yoshino, Japan (near Nara). The occasion, a Shugendo festival that included a remarkable fire ceremony where flames and purifying smoke reached for the sky. Fire up. Down a flight of several hundred steps from the main Temple hall there is a small shrine called Noten-o-kami, where one can drink from a small spring said to promote health. Water down. I have written about fire and water beingĀ complementary and opposite. Here, they are part of a long and shared history of respect of and engagement with the elements to gain spiritual power. I will let the pictures tell the story.

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