Mount Shasta

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California’s Mount Shasta is an important location in Native American creation myths. Since its discovery by white settlers, the mountain has also become a key locale for Lemuria, “I AM,” and even UFO believers. National Geographic/Getty Images.

Mount Shasta (California)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

To the Native Americans of northern California and southern Oregon, Mount Shasta was a dominating presence. A volcanic cone visible for almost a hundred miles, it was the most prominent geological feature in the region and often the locus of some unique meteorological phenomena, such as reticular clouds that would circle the peak. The mountain became the subject of many mythological stories and the site of various religious practices.

An oft-recounted story concerned the grizzly bear and the origin of human life. It seems the Chief of the Great Sky Spirits made a hole in the sky through which he dropped snow and ice. The resulting mound created on Earth is Mount Shasta. He then stepped on the mountain’s top to begin a tour of the world. Where his hands touched, trees sprang up. Where he stepped, the snow melted and became rivers. From his walking sticks he created the animals, the biggest being Grizzly Bear. The Chief made his home inside the mountain, and fires from his lodge could sometimes cause smoke to rise from the mountain’s peak. Humans were the result of the Chief’s daughter marrying Grizzly Bear’s son. From Shasta, Grizzly Bear’s grandchildren scattered across the earth. Because of their kinship, the Native Americans refused to kill grizzlies.

When Europeans discovered Mount Shasta in the nineteenth century, they were equally impressed with it, and by the end of the century a new set of stories began to accumulate around it. In 1899 An Earth Dweller Returns, a channeled book through Phylos the Tibetan (the pseudonym of Frederick William Oliver), integrated Mount Shasta into an emerging occult myth of the lost continent of Lemuria, which is the Pacific Ocean’s equivalent of Atlantis. Writing under the pen name of Wishar Spenie Cerve, H. Spencer Lewis, the founder of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), furthered the Lemuria-Mount Shasta connection in his Rosicrucian text, Lemuria, the Lost Continent of the Pacific (1931).

The significance of Mount Shasta took on a heightened significance in the mid-1930s when Guy Ballard (1878–1939), founder of the “I AM” Religious Activity, published the story of his adventures on the mountain’s slope. Ballard claimed that, while walking around the mountain, he met the Ascended Master Saint Germain. During their encounters, Saint Germain gave Ballard the basic teaching of the “I AM” movement and initiated regular communications from the Masters that would continue through Ballard’s life.

Mount Shasta became a sacred site for the “I AM,” and in the 1950s the members purchased land near its slope. Here they began to have regular summer gatherings and organized an annual outdoor pageant in which they portrayed their understanding of the life of Jesus, with an emphasis on his ascension, rather than his death and resurrection.

More than any other group, the “I AM” put Mount Shasta into the consciousness of Spiritualists and New Agers in North America, and although the UFO era began to the north near Mount Rainier, Shasta soon was integrated into popular flying-saucer lore. Various New Age groups established headquarters in Mount Shasta, the small community at the base of the mountain, including the Radiant School of Seekers and Servers, the Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara, the Essene New Life Church, and the Ascended Master Teaching Foundation. Between them, a vast literature of modern Shasta lore has been published.


King, Godfré Ray [pseudonym of Guy Ballard]. Unveiled Mysteries. Mount Shasta, CA: Ascended Master Teaching Foundation, 1986.
Phylos the Tibetan [pseudonym of Frederick William Oliver]. An Earth Dweller Returns. Los Angeles: Borden Publishing Co., 1899.
Sananda, as recorded by Sister Thedra. I, the Lord God Say unto Them. Mount Shasta, CA: Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara, 1954.
Schroeder, Werner. Man: His Origin, History and Destiny. Mount Shasta, CA: Ascended Master fellowship, 1984.
Van Valer, Nola. My Meeting with the Masters on Mt. Shasta. Mount Shasta, CA: Radiant School, 1982.

Shasta, Mount


an extinct volcano in the southern Cascades, in the USA. Mount Shasta has an elevation of 4,317 m and is composed of andesites. Glaciers line its slopes.

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