This is the first daily email for our final week of Walking the Ways of the Summer Light focused on Pilgrimage.
Words to Inspire
Pilgrimage is an imaginary road with real stones in it.
Phil Cousineau,The Art of Pilgrimage
From The Shining Tribe Tarot by Rachel Pollack
Prompts for Practice
Today we begin our Pilgrimage week, which for Walking the Ways, we’ll define as a journey with a focus (the question you crafted yesterday out of all questions you gathered during the the Wisdom Wander weeks) and a destination (that you’ll be contemplating today). The Pilgrimage’s general purpose is to create a container for tending your soul.
Your Pilgrimage week might be very like a Wisdom Wander week with you using the daily e-mail prompts to prepare for a weekend sacred outing. Or you might use this week to plan a longer trip that you take at a later time. You could try out infusing your regular work week with the awareness of Pilgrimage and see if that gives it a different quality. You are invited to shape this Pilgrimage to fit into the contours of your life.
Today you are invited to select a Pilgrimage destination.
With clear intention any place can be a place of pilgrimage, but the pilgrimage tradition invites you to go somewhere that others have also approached with reverence and have sought solace, counsel, and wisdom. I offer these examples to spark your imagination (not to limit your thinking):
A site of longstanding and traditional pilgrimage: Santiago de Campostela in Spain, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the pyramids in Egypt, Newgrange in Ireland, the Serpent Mounds of Ohio. Members of the Tarot Tribe might visit northern Italy, the birth place of the cards. To do some dreaming and research about such places can be an adventure in and of itself. You might also think of places closer to you that are echoes of these sites: a local basilica, retreat center, or site sacred to local native peoples. If selecting a site outside of your tradition, be sure to check if guests are welcomed.
A site where the wild is preserved. In North America, our national and provincial parks contain the natural cathedrals and shrines that have drawn people out of their everyday lives for an experience of wilderness. To hike to the end of the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton, find the Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park, or glimpse the Grand Prismatic in Yellowstone inspire awe and invite devotion. (Yes, there are all trips that I have taken and later realized I’d been on pilgrimage.) A state park, local land trust, or even a large urban park can offer a similar experience.
A site where an ancestor from your profession or vocation lived. Writers and artist take journeys to soak in the landscape and objects of their heroes. Travel to Emily Dickenson’s house in Amherst, Massachusetts or visit the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site during the bicentennial anniversary of his birth in 2018, for example.
A place significant to your family or their country of origin. Descendants of 19th century immigrants to the United States can visit Ellis Island to see where their ancestors first arrived in the United States, for example. A journey of discovery back to your ancestors country of origin leads you even further back into your ancestral roots.
Looking for support in making your selection? Always feel free to pull a Tarot or Oracle card and see if the image inspires a location.