A Guide to Spiritual Tourism in Mount Shasta

Flickr/Harold Litwiler

If you’ve been lucky enough to walk through the quaint downtown area of Mount Shasta, you’ve probably noticed a good number shops that you usually don’t see in other towns. Boutique stores lined with crystals and sage bundles donning names like “Crystal Room” and “Soul Connection” tap into the biggest tourism attraction in the Mt. Shasta area.

Contrary to popular belief, the biggest tourism attraction in the Shasta area isn’t the pristine wilderness we’ve come to know and love. It’s something you can’t necessarily see, but people travel from all over the world to feel.

Mt. Shasta has become known to many as a portal, or vortex, between the outer and inner world. The phenomenon has become an international sensation, as people travel to the mountain to experience its strong metaphysical powers. In fact, spiritual tourism has become one of the driving forces of the Mount Shasta economy and some estimate half of all tourists visit the area for a spiritual experience.

That Special Shasta Feeling

So what is “spiritual tourism?” Just like anything that can’t be seen or heard, it is difficult to describe, but many associate the feelings of the mountain as a connection to the soul.

“There is an inner and outer world,” describes Andrew Oser, Founder of Mount Shasta Retreats, a spiritual retreat center in the area. “Spiritual goes directly to the inner.”

Oser began coming to the Shasta area in the 1980’s and is now helping others feel the spiritual powers of the mountain.

“Mt. Shasta definitely has an energy,” said Oser. “You can feel it. It’s like a big mirror that reflects the biggest truths of your life.”

Andrew Oser of Mount Shasta Retreats

Spiritual retreats in the area typically tour a group “sacred spots” on the mountain, which include places like Panther Meadows and Ascension Rock. For Oser, the practice of spirituality on Mt. Shasta does not discriminate against any religions or beliefs, and can be used for any goal like an inner cleansing or to reenergize the mind and body.

“It’s about cleaning out your past and looking to the next steps of your future,” described Oser.

Spiritual tourism in the area also includes places where you can simply relax enjoy the healing powers of the mountain. Destinations like the Stewart Mineral Springs offer a wide variety of services like detoxification, balneotherapy and massage treatments. Located in Weed, the wellness center allows visitors to complete an array of spiritual and physical cleansings including mineral water baths, wood-fired sauna and creek plunges in rustic forest accommodations.

A History in the Metaphysical

Flickr/David Seibold

The power of Mount Shasta has been felt by Native Americans for thousands of years. The mountain straddles the past territories of the Shasta, Wintu, Achumawi, Atsugewi and Modoc tribes. They believed the mountain was inhabited by the spirit chief Skell, who descended from heaven to the mountain’s summit.

Starting in the 1800’s, Mount Shasta became a hub for logging on the west coast, but the industry left the area in the 1960’s and the mountain town had to look for a new identity. Without any prompt, spiritual tourism took that mantle and continues to thrive today.

For an astonishing number of people, the history and significance of this mountain community was forever altered when the Ascended Master St. Germain first appeared to Guy Ballard on the flanks of Mt. Shasta in 1934. Certain “truths” were revealed to Ballard over the course of approximately 3,000 sessions. Jesus is regarded as another Ascended Master, and since 1950, the “I Am Come!” pageant, a presentation of Beloved Jesus’ miracles of truth and healing has been held every summer, most recently in Mt. Shasta’s new G. W. Ballard Amphitheater.

In 1931 Wishar Spenle Cerve published the book “Lemuria, The Lost Continent of the Pacific” through the Rosecrucian Society. His account claims there is an ancient, advanced civilization called Telos beneath Mt. Shasta. The surviving Lemurians travel through high-speed underground tunnels to visit other colonies around the world, and sometimes reveal themselves to humans.

There is no central governing body for the spiritual tourism in the area, and is instead fractured into small groups that may have different goals or purposes, but all use the spiritual powers of the mountain to get there. People will likely cite groups like “I Am” and Lemurian enthusiasts, but many of the spiritual guides in Mount Shasta don’t have central beliefs and are simply using the mountain for spiritual harmony.

Come One, Come All

Soul Connection in downtown Mount Shasta

While it’s difficult to peg down a central belief system for the spiritual enthusiasts in Mount Shasta, there is no doubt the mountain carries a special feeling when anyone is in the presence of the mighty mountain. Mt. Shasta is universally beloved, with the headwaters of Mount Shasta feeds much of California, so that many people in the state have a little bit of Shasta in them.

Mount Shasta is many things to many people. For some, it can be a hub for outdoor adventures and beauty. For others, it’s a volcano that’s due for a significant geological event. But for most, Mount Shasta is the center of the spiritual universe.

No matter what the mountain is to you, there is one consensus we can all agree on – Mount Shasta is pretty amazing.

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