Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mt. Tam Mythology

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"By virtue of its hilly landscape, its redwood forests and eucalyptus groves, its wayward coastline, and its liberally bohemianized population, the peninsula of Southern Marin has attracted imaginative people from all over the world.... [I]ts geographical center is a mountain holy to the Indians, and named after their princess Tamalpa. Though not much more than twenty-five hundred feet high, Mount Tamalpais rises almost directly from sea level, and thus looks bigger than it is, and most of it has been set aside as a state park. Seen in the first light of dawn ... the whole mass of hills, valleys, and canyons with their forests, groves, meadows, and giant rocks confers an atmosphere of strange beneficence....



"Extraordinary people live upon it. Occasionally you may come across an order of Western yamabushi or Buddhist mountain-monks, with their rattling pilgrim staffs and conch-shell trumpets. There are a few true hermits, on the northern slopes, which are its most lonely and untraveled parts.... There is a psychiatrist who lives all year in a tent and uses astronomy to cure his patients by letting them see their problems from the perspective of the galaxy. There is a surgeon who heals people by doing nothing. There are also mountain lions, bobcats, and deer galore, and wild goats and eagles and vultures and raccoons and rattlesnakes and gophers....



"All these and many more wizards, yogis, artists, poets, musicians, gardeners, and madmen cluster about this mountain, largely unheeded by the orderly streams of tourists who dutifully inspect the vast redwood cathedral of Muir Woods and attend the annual play given in the enormous amphitheater just below the summit."

--From In My Own Way, An Autobiography
by Alan Watts, 1972

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