Legends of Mt Shasta

17 Sep

Shasta21-e1472681214850In 2014, Tsem Rinpoche, myself along with Pastor Seng Piow, Pastor Jean Ai, JP and William were travelling up North California. We were on the freeway when Rinpoche saw the Mt Shasta signboard and we were all intrigued. Rinpoche decided to delay our travel plans for a few days and we veered off towards Mt Shasta.

We didn’t know anything about it except for the fact that Mt Shasta was famous for its UFO and Bigfoot sightings. Needless to say, Rinpoche was quick to educate us about this. We found the Mt Shasta town a quaint little place with nice vegetarian-friendly restaurants, cafes, new age shops and so forth. During our stay, we drove up to the highest point of the foothill which was above snow level and did a wonderful Dorje Shugden puja (as you can see in the pictures).

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Tsem Rinpoche with Mt. Shasta behind him.



Shasta1In the language of the Karuk natives, Mt Shasta is known as Úytaahkoo or ‘White Mountain’. It is an active volcano


Shasta Indians were one of several indigenous Indian tribes of the area surrounding Mt Shasta

located at the southern tip of the Cascade Range in the Siskiyou County of Northern California. With an elevation of 14,179 feet (4321.8 m), this mountain is the second highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth highest in the State of California.

According to archaeologists, the oldest excavated human habitation in the area dates to about 7,000 years ago. It was roughly 5,000 years ago that the area was significantly inhabited, as shown by the substantial excavation of human habitation in the surrounding area. In the 1820s, the Native American tribes who lived within view of Mt Shasta included the Shasta, Okwanuchu, Modoc, Achomawi, Atsugewi, Karuk, Klamath, Wintu and Yana tribes.

Origins of Mt Shasta’s Name

Shasta3Shasta is a generic Sanskrit term meaning ‘a teacher’. According to early records dated around 1826-27, Peter Skene Ogden referred to a mountain, a tribe, and a river as ‘Sastice’, ‘Castice’, ‘Sistise’ and ‘Sasty’. He also named Mt McLoughlin of Southern Oregon as Sastise. It is also widely believed that the Wilkes Expedition (1838-42) mistakenly thought that Mt Shasta was actually Ogden’s Sastise.

During the time of the Gold Rush (1849), most maps of the time had a variety of names for Mt Shasta, including ‘Shasty’, ‘Shaste’ and ‘Sasty’. It was between 1842 and 1850 a number of journals and maps listed the mountain as Saste, Sasty, Shaste, Shasty, Shatasla, Sastise, Castice, and Sistise. However, the modern standardised spelling of ‘Shasta’ did not appear until 1850 when the California State Legislature gave the name to ‘Shasta’ County. This name derived by having ‘a’ placed at the end to make it similar to many Spanish endings of other counties in California (usually ending with ‘a’ or an ‘o’).


Klamath Indian in his traditional attire.

Native American Lore Surrounding Mt Shasta

According to Klamath Native Indian lore, Mt Shasta played a major role in their mythology. The Klamath people lived in the region of Mt Mazama on the Oregon-side of the Cascade Range as early as 7,700 years ago. This estimate has been made due to artifacts, comprising of obsidian tools, spears, and moccasins, having been excavated beneath the ash layers of Mt Mazama. The Klamath elders describe the catastrophic eruption of Mt Mazama that created Crater Lake in one of their legends. Their lore tells of a raging war waged between the spirits of two great volcanoes, Mt Mazama and Mt Shasta.

The Klamath people believed that the spirits of the earth and sky often appeared and talked with the people. Klamath lore speaks of Llao, who was the spirit of the ‘Below-World’ who lived in the subterranean world beneath Lao-Yaina (Mt Mazama today). On the other hand, Skell was the spirit of the ‘Above-World’. Llao often emerged from his underground world and perched on the peak of Lao-Yaina, and it was said that his head would reach and touch the stars near the home of Skell.

The lake was not even formed at that time; it was just a hole through which Llao emerged from in order to see the outside world. One day while perched high above, Llao beheld Loha, the beautiful daughter of the Klamath Indian chief, and fell in love with her. She spurned him because he was ugly and was from the ‘Below-World’. He was enraged and swore that he would take revenge on her people. He sought to destroy her people with the curse of fire from Lao-Yaina. Fearing for their safety, the Klamath Indian chief sought the assistance of Skell.


The peak of Mt Mazama rises above the waters of Crater Lake, Oregon.

Therefore, Skell descended from the sky to the top of Mt Shasta to confront Llao. Thus began the fiery battle between Skell and Llao. The sky thundered and the earth trembled as both spirits hurled fiery rocks back and forth at each other (from Mount Shasta to Mount Mazama). An ashen darkness hung over the area for days. All the spirits of earth and sky became embroiled in this battle and therefore created intense fear among the people.

In order to appease the ferocious volcano spirits and to make up for the sins of the tribe, two medicine men sacrificed themselves by jumping into the pit of ‘Below-World’. Impressed by their heroic sacrifice, Skell fought even harder. He finally vanquished Llao and drove him deep down into the Below-World. He toppled the peak of Mt Mazama in order to imprison Llao forever beneath the earth. To conclude the battle, Skell, wanting peace and tranquillity to cover up this dark pit, filled it with pristine blue water.

Non-Native Legends Surrounding Mt Shasta

Shasta6Since the turn of the 20th century, Mt Shasta has become the focal point of New Age practitioners from all over the world. This attraction has come about for a variety of reasons, but particularly for the legends of Lemuria.

JC Brown
According to Leland Lovelace in his book Lost Mines and Hidden Treasures, JC Brown was a British prospector employed by the Lord Cowdray Mining Company of London to look for gold in the mountains of Northern California.


JC Brown claimed to have discovered the entrance to Lemuria

It was said that he discovered a lost underground city beneath Mt Shasta in 1904. At that time, he discovered a cave which sloped downwards for 11 miles. At the end of the tunnel, he found an underground village filled with gold, strange hieroglyphics, shields and mummies, some being up to 10 feet tall. It was said that he left everything as it was and left the cave. The next 30 years of his life are shrouded in mystery.

What we do know is that during this time, he had studied literature, philosophy and in particular accounts of the lost continent of Mu and the lost civilisation of Lemuria. After 30 years, he resurfaced and told his story to John C. Root who proceeded to gather an exploration team in Stockton, California. It was said that 80 people joined the team but on the day the team was to set out, Brown did not show up and he was never heard from again. He was said to have died and been buried in Nevada in 1936.


A newspaper clipping from that time reports about the expedition and the disappearance of JC Brown. Click on image to enlarge.

As he never disclosed the location of the entrance to the cave, his secret died with him. However, many people today remain convinced that JC Brown had actually discovered the entrance into Lemuria or what is left of it.

The Lemurian and Atlantean Connection
The Scientific Origins of Lemuria
Lemuria is the name of a hypothetical ‘lost land’ that sunk beneath the ocean somewhere between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In 1864, zoologist and biogeographer Philip Sclater first proposed the theory of a lost continent in an article titled ‘The Mammals of Madagascar’ in The Quarterly Journal of Science.

Shasta9He was writing about lemurs and related primate groups. In the article he states that he found it puzzling that fossilised remains of lemurs were found in both Madagascar and India but not in Africa or in the Middle East. He then proposed the theory that Madagascar and India could have once been part of a larger continent that he called Lemuria. He was right on that account but it was actually the supercontinent Pangaea and not Lemuria. Unfortunately, the modern theory of tectonic plates and continental drift has rendered the theory of Lemuria obsolete by the larger scientific community.

Shasta10According to this new theory, Madagascar and India were part of the same landmass which explains their many geological resemblances. However, tectonic plate movement caused India to break away millions of years ago, and move to its present location. The supercontinent Pangaea over time broke into smaller supercontinents. Madagascar and India were once part of the supercontinent Gondwana. This landmass did not sink beneath the sea but Madagascar and India did separate. Sunken continents do exist such as Zealandia in the Pacific as well as Mauritia and the Kerguelen Plateau in the Indian Ocean, but there is no known sunken continent under the Indian or Pacific Oceans that corresponds to the descriptions of Lemuria.

Legend of Lemuria
Although the theory of Lemuria’s existence has since been rendered obsolete by newer scientific theories, the spiritual and New Age community continue to embrace it. Since the theory was first presented there have been many spiritualists around the world who believe in the legend.

Shasta11In 1931, Wishar S. Cerve published a book titled Lemuria – The Lost Continent of the Pacific. He studied archaeology, geology, meteorology and dedicated 10 years of his life to research. During that time, he gathered many ancient manuscripts and maps as research material. He based his book on the basis of this vast body of texts that he had amassed. In his book he suggests that mankind originated from the Lemurian race. Over the course of time, the environment and climate changed people’s appearance, habits and nature. A cataclysm struck the continent and many believed that Mt Shasta was the last refuge of the Lemurians who survived.

In his book, Cerve explained that 200,000 years ago the world looked radically different than it does today. At that time, North America, Europe, Africa, South America and Asia were joined together in a single landmass. However, much of this land was submerged under water or was swampland and thus uninhabitable. Around 150,000 years ago, these partially submerged lands were mapped out into crude ancient maps.

During that period, an ancient and prehistoric people lived on the continent of Lemuria, which was also called Mu. This continent became the cradle of human civilisation, a sort of Garden of Eden. It seems that most ancient records and tribes have a corresponding myth of the creation of man. This usually takes place in some sort of Garden of Eden. However, thousands of years later, magnetic waves began to move the earth from the east to the west, thus bringing tremendous change to the land. The Lemurians were believed to have kept detailed records.


A map that shows the hypothetical location of the lost continents of Lemuria and Atlantis.

In the book, the landmass that connected Asia with Africa began to sink beneath the sea while the landmass that is now Europe began to rise higher. The landmass that would eventually become the American continent separated and drifted apart. As the American continent drifted westbound, it joined with the mountainous eastern coast of Lemuria while the rest of Lemuria became submerged under water. Thus, Washington, Oregon, California, parts of Nevada, Arizona and Mexico are what remained of the eastern coast of Lemuria.

Therefore, the surviving Lemurians had remained in the area surrounding Mt Shasta, which has the closest weather to that of the old Lemuria. According to Cerve, Lemurians were very much like people today. They even had public schools and medical doctors. They lived in big and airy homes and they cooked their food over fire or in special sun ovens. They had public swimming pools and bathing pavilions, in which both sexes freely mingled as they had no issues about nudity.

Interestingly, they believed in reincarnation and were not afraid of death. Therefore, they did not seek to prolong their lives. It was customary for Lemurians to announce their passing to their loved ones and friends several days ahead of their actual death. Once they had passed on, their bodies were placed on sacred soil and a type of lime-like mineral was used to disintegrate the remains without polluting the soil. Lemurians had very advanced technology, capable of harnessing the forces of nature. For example, they were able to propel their boats by extracting energy from a single stone. They also had airships that were powered using the same technology.

The Lemurians had solar powered technology as well. While we have been gradually expanding the use of this technology, the Lemurians were using it freely and on a large scale throughout all their communities. They were able to store the energy from the sun and use it at night for light, heating and as a source of energy for their equipment. By day, they used it for many things including big machines that moved huge items including megalithic stone and wood pieces.

Lemurians are said to have ventured beyond their land on great ships to Africa and colonised the Nile River. There they became the progenitors of the ancient Egyptian civilisation. They had also travelled to what is modern day Texas, Mexico and Yucatan in order to settle these new lands. Those settlers are commonly known as ‘Maya’ and in fact, Maya was what Lemurians called themselves. Hence, the Lemurians became the progenitors of the Mayan civilisation, one of the most advanced cultures in the world at that time.


The large Mayan pyramid temple at the ancient capital of Chichen Itza.

The Mayans built magnificent pyramid temple structures, one over 200 feet high and two smaller ones. The Mayans had their capital in Chichen Itza when they suddenly disappeared and nobody knows why. From archaeological evidence, they left in a hurry, leaving pots on the hearths and ploughs in the field. What remains of the Mayan structures were unearthed under thick jungle foliage. Archaeologists have since reconstructed their buildings but are unable to conclusively explain what happened to the mighty Mayan civilisation and what led to its disappearance. Perhaps, they were fleeing another cataclysm yet again.


A depiction of a Lemurian lady

Although the presence of Lemurians has never been conclusively proven, since Cerve’s book was published, there have been a number of sightings of strange people around the area of Mt Shasta. They seem to disappear at will, which is an ability possessed by Lemurians. They tend to avoid attention and when they do make the occasional purchase in shops nearby, they pay for the merchandise with gold nuggets.

Lemurians are said to be tall, graceful, slender and with long flowing hair and adorned with white robes and sandals. They look just like any ordinary person except for a walnut-sized protrusion on their large foreheads. This protrusion is actually an organ to facilitate extra sensory perception. Hence, the Lemurians are psychic and possess powers of telepathy. It is said that humans, as descendants of Lemurians do not have this organ. Over time, due to lack of use, the organ disappeared.

The Atlantean Connection

In another book by Dr M Doreal called Mysteries of Mount Shasta, he wrote that the inhabitants of Mt Shasta were originally people from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Northern California, where Mt Shasta stands, is actually one of the most ancient lands on earth. During the cataclysm that destroyed Atlantis and Lemuria, the survivors of Atlantis fled to what is now known as Northern California and formed a colony within Mt Shasta itself. However, over time the population gradually decreased. Dr M Doreal, the author, claimed to have visited this colony in Mt Shasta. On his last visit their population was just 353 Atlanteans.

Shasta15On the other hand, the Lemurians escaped underground and created huge pleasure cities using their advanced technology that harnessed energies from the sun and moon. They were able to light and heat their great subterranean cities with this technology, which is beyond our own technological achievements. They even knew about atomic energy and the technology to harness it.

Apparently, a great war occurred between the Atlanteans and the Lemurians. The Lemurians lost the war and their entire people, consisting of the Lemurian royalty, priesthood, noblemen and ordinary citizens, were forced to retreat down into their subterranean cities and live out their lives in captivity. The Atlanteans sealed the entrance and established a surveillance system that prevented any Lemurians from escaping. The Atlanteans had cigar-shaped ships that sentry guards used to patrol the area of Mt Shasta. This is the theory used to explain the cigar-shaped UFO sightings around Mt Shasta.


The Atlantean colony is in a huge cavern 7 miles beneath Mt Shasta.

According to Dr Doreal, seven miles beneath Mt Shasta is a cavern that is 20 miles wide and 10,000 feet high. This is where the Atlantean colony lived and is illuminated by a single light source from above the cavern that is said to be light collected from sun and moon rays. The Atlanteans built magnificent homes and structures that are said to have been more dazzling than the finest from ancient Greece. They grew vegetables and fruits and had unique animals in the cavern that were originally from Atlantis.

The Atlanteans did not need to eat but they did so purely for pleasure. This is because the same technology that supplied the cavern, homes and structures with light was also used to nourish their bodies. They also lived relatively long lives of around 150 years. Dr Doreal explained that the last stop of his tour with them was at a temple. This was a temple of learning. He was chosen to be brought to this temple in order to awaken mankind to the awareness of mysteries beyond matter – life itself.

The Ascended Masters: Count of St Germain and Phylos the Tibetan


Guy Warren Ballard and his wife Edna claimed to be in contact with the Ascendent Master, Count of St Germain on Mt Shasta.

Guy Warren Ballard (1878 – 1939) was an American mining engineer who together with his wife, Edna Anne Wheeler Ballard became the founder of the “I AM” Activity. Everything began when Guy Ballard visited Mt Shasta, California in 1930, where he met another hiker who mysteriously identified himself as the Ascended Master, Count of St. Germain.

Ballard’s subsequent experiences took place within the larger North American mountain ranges. Ballard explained his encounters in a series of books titled Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence using the pen name ‘Godfré Ray King’. Guy Ballard, his wife Edna, and later his son Edona Eros ‘Donald’ Ballard (1918 – 1973) became the ‘sole Accredited Messengers’ of the Ascended Master St Germain. Their teachings form the core of what are today called the Ascended Master Teachings.


An artist depiction of the Ascendent Master, Count of St Germain

Nola Van Valer, a contemporary of Guy Ballard, visited Mt Shasta in 1930. She visited the mountain with her husband and some friends during the Great Depression. One day, a man dressed in a long robe appeared to her and she said he looked pure. He started talking to her and gave her teachings and explanations.


A depiction of the Ascendent Master, Phylos the Tibetan.

She did not have a recorder with her at that time, so she wrote everything down in shorthand. After that encounter, she continued to visit the mountain every year for next 10 years. She was led to a temple inside a cavern and it was there that Phylos the Tibetan would appear to her. Each time he gave her the ‘real teachings’ of the Bible as how it was originally written. Her teachings became the basis for The Radiant School of Seekers and Servers, which no longer exists today.

Mount Shasta is a favourite destination for mountain climbers, skiers, holidaymakers, spiritualists, New Age practitioners and so forth. The crowd are drawn there not just by its raw beauty but by the many legends and stories of Mt Shasta.

Shasta20Aside from the Lemurians, Altanteans and mysterious Ascended Masters, Mt Shasta is also a hotbed of Bigfoot activity, and UFO sightings (particularly of the cigar-shaped variety). People claim that the lenticular clouds in the area cover huge alien spaceships when they make their landing. And all of this is not mentioned without bearing in mind Indian folklore of the origin of the place and how they regard the mountain to be a sacred ground for their powerful nature spirits. These are just some of the incredible legends surrounding this mountain. The mountain with its lenticular clouds continues to hold people spellbound by her beauty, power and promise of the supernatural.

Frank, Emilie A.; Mt. Shasta: California’s Mystic Mountain; Photographix Publishing; 1998; ISBN-10: 1888740086

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