‘Best’ conference attracts hundreds who feel called to Mt. Shasta

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta's Andre Morgana at the opening ceremonies for the conference she founded to showcase local people. The five-day event brought hundreds of people to the City Park from as far away as Belgium, Taiwan, Canada and Holland.

Water from the nearby Sacramento River Headwaters was the background sound as Karuk elder Charlie Thom spoke about coming together to heal the earth during an opening ceremony for The Best of Mt. Shasta conference Thursday morning.

“This mountain belongs to you and your grandchildren,” said Thom, who stood at the center of a gathering of about 60 people at the Mount Shasta City Park.

After being cleansed with burning sage to drive away negative energy, Thom encouraged participants to bring positive vibrations into their hearts before singing a traditional Karuk song.

Thom, one of the few remaining people to fluently speak the Karuk language, was among several presenters on the first day of the five-day conference, which concluded Monday, July 30. Also participating in the ceremony was White Buffalo Stands, playing a traditional drum and singing Native American healing songs.

The ceremony took place next to a large teepee-like structure, though a sign informed visitors it was not a teepee at all, but a traditional Karuk bark shelter.

Each of the conference’s five days had a different theme: native healing, the environment, spirit and spirituality, health and wellness, and nature’s gifts.

More than 40 local presenters participated, including new-age experts, scientists, Native Americans, historians and spiritual leaders.

Founder Andree Morgana, who moved to Mount Shasta in 2008, said hundreds of people attended from around the world, including Belgium, Taiwan, Canada and Holland. Her goal, she said, is to showcase the people of Mount Shasta and the things they have to offer.

Called to the mountain

Presenter Sahari Lotus, who recently moved to Mount Shasta from Montana, said she’d like to see the conference continue and grow.

Lotus, who provides intuitive readings that “help the soul understand its long path to the Ascension,” said she was called to live near the mountain and enjoys “feeling the energy... the transformation of the light and people.”

“I love what Andre has done,” said Celeste Mary, who said she has been called to Mt. Shasta nearly every summer since 2002. While here, she camps on and around the mountain.

“I love the richness of being in nature and tuning into the forest,” Mary said. “I love the open sky, the stars at night and the moon, and the wildlife. The deer, the squirrels, all of it.”

Mary said she also enjoys the opportunity to meet people from all around the world who are also called to Mt. Shasta.

“Many of them are brought here by intuition, and it’s fun to get their stories,” Mary said. “Usually, it involves magic,” she said with a grin.

“The majority of people that arrived here recently are all coming because the mountain called us,” said Amore Vera Aida, who moved to Mount Shasta from Sausalito nine months ago. “I’m so in love with the mountain.”

Aida said many people aren’t aware that Mt. Shasta is the holiest place in the world for “lightworkers” – those that believe in angels and light – in the same way the vatican is holy for Catholics and Mecca is holy for Muslims.

She said Mount Shasta should embrace this designation and work to benefit from the pilgrimages.

“Spiritual seekers from all over the world come here to Mt. Shasta,” Aida said. “This isn’t just an ‘airy-fairy’ thing, it’s about building a tourism-based economy.”

Aida said she had been visiting Mount Shasta twice a year – for Wesak each May and in September for the equinox – for 10 years. While visiting last May, it started snowing, and it was the first time she had seen snow falling from the sky.

“It was silent, and I just knew I had to move here,” Aida said. “That was on May 17. On the 29th of June, I left 10 years in Sausalito, a beautiful home, a wonderful community and many wonderful friends to move to Mount Shasta. I only knew one person here, but I decided to move, leave everything and just trust. When the mountain calls, it also supports.”

Elizabeth Coleman told a similar story. She said she has been visiting Mount Shasta since the 1970s. While in town for the Harmonic Convergence in 1987, Coleman said she was at Panther Meadows when something told her to come into town and find a realtor.

“I found my house in 20 minutes,” she laughed.

Not just ‘new age’

Conference volunteer Elijah Waters said the five days was about community, and more than simply “new age” presenters.

“For a lot of people, this was their first exposure to Mount Shasta,” Waters said. “It may influence them for the next five years or the rest of their life... it may bring them back next week.”

Waters, a Catholic, said God sent him over to help, and that he particularly enjoyed hearing Native Shasta presenter Betty Hall.

“Her presentation was amazing. It was just, wow. Thank you,” Waters said.

Morgana said the turnout for this year’s conference was good, and she loved meeting all the people with their own stories about being called to the mountain.

“They all commented on the beauty of Mt. Shasta and many said they were drawn here,” Morgana said. “This year’s conference is about more than just ‘new age.’ There’s something for everyone... I want to provide a way for visitors to meet people that live here and find out what they offer. Once someone has attended the conference, I want them to feel like they know the presenters and feel like they’re a part of the community.”