Hum/105 World Mythology

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Many volcanoes and mountains stretch across the world; however, all volcanoes and mountains are not considered sacred. Mount Fuji and Mauna Kea function as sacred places rich with mythical elements that have a functional role in culture, and are comparatively similar. Mount Fuji was once a sacred place only accessible to men for spiritual enlightenment, but is no longer strict on visitation. Although ceremonies remain held during climbing season to this day, many people view the ritual as more a cultural experience instead of a religious one. Japan has two other mountains, but neither is as sacred or rich with religious and mythological Japanese culture. Mount Fuji is one of the most sacred places in the Japanese culture. Every year thousands climb to the shrine every summer. Traditionally the climb to the shrine on the peak was a religious movement and women were not allowed to make the journey. This climb usually required the wearing of white robes (O'Meara, 2006). Today thousands come to climb generally during “climbing” season from July 1st to August 26th. Many believe that this place is very sacred and many believe it to be spiritual (O'Meara, 2006). People commonly believe that ascending this mountaintop is to bring luck and the more one climbs the better. The mythic belief retains empowerment because the mountain also serves as a national emblem (Leonard & McClure, 2004, p. 350). Some have climbed at least 100 times. At the start of each climbing season two religious sects hold sacred ceremonies to begin climbing season (O’Meara, 2006). Some have marathons ascending and descending the mountain. Many believe it to be unlucky to ascend any other sacred mountaintop. Climbing Mt. Fuji is one of religious tradition. Tradition states that the mountain is split into three parts from peak to base. The grassy areas represent the mundane world. The forest line represents the transient line between this world and the world of the gods. The burned...
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