Sacred Moments by Sandra Bates

Dare I to tell you of Sacred Mount Sana in Finland?  Tell you things you may scoff at, criticize, or  disdain? I hope you’ve had these experiences too; if you haven’t, you may say my words are ghosts and untrue. I dare to spill my feelings and let the story unfold. A tale of possibilities, a story to be told.

Our party of 24 embarked a climb to the top of sacred Mount Sana above the Arctic Circle at the most northern part of Finland on the 6th of 2012 when the sun shines a long day of 20 hours and gives only four hours of night. The exact time of the full moon of Gemini when the Christ offers his blessing to humanity takes place during daylight hours. On this sacred mountain, at this most sacred time, we were inwardly connected as we outwardly trudged our solitary way up this three-part mountain. The lowest part was warm with lots of vegetation. The second part was steep with 600 wooden steps to offer assistance in the climb. The last part was less steep as the mountain rounded to the top. Here the challenge was the bitter cold and incessant wind.

The group gathered at the lower part at the trailhead for easy walking. The path wound through the woods along a gentle brook. Bright, happy buttercups and white healing Michael’s Sword grew in the shady meadows under the canopy of arctic aspen. Reindeer wandered with no worries in dappled shadows and splattered sunlight.

The ascent began with 600 wooden steps. Our group spread out single-file. Each went at their own pace.  I was passed by a swift stepping girl from Haiti, who wore a bright orange down jacket.  On this sacred walk, my thoughts wandered from the beauty of nature to criticism of her aggressive stride and her loud jacket. I judged her by her clothes and envied her athletic prowess. Then, I judged myself for judging her. I criticized myself for not completely and unconditionally accepting whatever is just as it is.

The six hundredth step, the last wooden step, offered a bench to rest and view the panorama. The lake below, still floating with ice, bordered Sweden. With no more steps, we were put to the test to climb the rest and do our best. There were no more friendly trees or clear-cut trails. The way was unmarked with boulders, loose rocks and snow covering hazardous.  Trudging in the wind, with the sound of our clothes swishing, our boots crunching, and our hearts pumping, we went our separate ways. Ascending the mountain, stumbling when the path disappeared in lovely blankets of snow which hid the sharp edges of rocks beneath the frozen tundra. Be careful. Things are not what they appear. Step around them. Don’t trip. Each step is perilous communication with the earth. The slippery rocks were wedged with melting winter’s snow, here in June above the Arctic Circle.

Wind-stripped eyes a blur, the pronounced cold deterred any celebration when a fragile figure make it to the top. No signpost, no monument, no place to sit and rest. Too cold to take in the view of Norway and Finland joining together at this very spot.

Had the time for the blessing come and gone? Did I miss it?  Not sure, I looked around, many hadn’t made it.  I squatted on the edge of a rock and covered my jacket over my head making a tiny tent. I inhaled the scent of lovely, resinous propolis, thick like honey. How could this be? There were no flowers or bees? The scent was distinct, rich and lovely. Then, I heard clearly a voice say, “We have been waiting for you.” I assumed it was the Great Ones and silently replied, “We have been waiting for you, too.”  I uncovered my head and looked up. There on the mountainside were two figures dressed in long robes. The Christ held his arms out in the gesture of blessing and the other one stood to His side.

Profound stillness pervaded all space, the wind stopped, a touch of eternity. Love filled all space, the air and the ground.  A love so strong, you could reach up and touch it like a silken gown. The earth stood still. Time stood still, transformed in wondrous Love. Transfixed, I didn’t move. But when I did move it was gone; the cold and wind filled my thoughts. I looked around; no one was there. I left walking to ponder this silent moment.

Afraid to ask and even more afraid to tell, I slowly, descended the mountain. At the bottom, the struggle had ended; we were together but remained silent, that moment had left its mark. We departed and went our separate ways; the treasure was there in our hearts.

Years went by; life’s journey took me through many surprises. When I could not sleep, I wondered, Where am I going and what am I doing? I asked what did it mean, “We are waiting for you.” Were the Great Ones waiting for us, as a group? Were they waiting just for me?  Those words could be a signpost to encourage our spiritual journey. Words cannot convey the depth of life’s essence. But words can point the way. What have I learned from this deep inner experience? What did I take away?  I learned not to live for more acquisitions but live to expand the heart. Compassionately listen when someone speaks, learn with an open heart.