Meditazioni delle Vette (translated as Meditations on the Peaks: Mountain Climbing as Metaphor for the Spiritual Quest) is a work by Italian esoteric writer Julius Evola. A collection of articles from between 1930 and 1955 as assembled by Renato del Ponte. Published in 1974 by La Spezia: Ed. del Tridente; English translation by Inner Traditions, 1998. The excerpt is from pages 22-23. Images are from a walk I did around Dovesone Reservoir in April this year. The descent was treacherous; partly though white rapid river, partly through ravine. I had to hang at full stretch in places just to get down through the slippery rocks. The words of Evola echoed through my mind. If they are the last words to go through my mind before falling to my death I thought, they are good words and worthy of an heroic end.
“In this way, beyond the natural symbol of the mountain, which is directly perceived by the senses, we can access its doctrinal and traditional symbolism, namely, the deeper content of all the previously mentioned ancient myths in which the mountain appears as the seat of divine natures, immortalizing substances, forces of solar and supernatural regality (for example, the solar mountain referred to in the traditions of the Hellenized Roman Empire and the mountain as the seat of Mazdean glory), as spiritual center (Mount Meru and the other symbolic mountains conceived as poles), and so forth. In fact, in all this we see the various depictions, personifications, and projections of transcendent states of consciousness, or inner awakening and enlightenment. These projects are said to be real when they no longer represent something vague, mystical or fantastic, but rather when they are perceived according to the evidence and normalcy of a superior order that regards as abnormal everything that was previously regarded as familiar and habitual.
“It is possible that the ancients, who ignored mountain climbing or only knew some rudimentary techniques (and therefore knew the mountain as an inaccessible and inviolable entity), were consequently lead to experience it as a symbol and as a transcendent spirituality. Considering that today the mountain has been physically conquered and that there are few peaks that man has not yet reached, it is important to keep the conquest from being debased and from losing its higher meaning. Thus, it is necessary that the younger generation gradually come to appreciate action at the level of ritual and that they slowly succeed in finding again a transcendent reference point. It is through this reference point that the feats of audacity, risk, and conquest as well as the disciplines of the body, the senses, and the will that are practiced in the immovable, great, and symbolic mountain peaks, lead men to the realization that all in man is beyond himself. In this way these feats will be justified in the context of the spiritual revolutionary movement that is currently emerging among our people.”