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jordym84's avatar

Ever thought about doing a pilgrimage?

Asked by jordym84 (4737 points ) November 19th, 2012

Last year I saw the movie The Way and it had such a calming effect on me, despite its subject matter, that ever since I’ve been thinking about making the trek to Santiago de Compostela. Though I was raised Roman Catholic, I’m not very religious, but for a while now (after having gone through some pretty major life events this past year) I’ve been feeling a bit spiritual and more in touch with my inner self. I wouldn’t be doing it any time soon for financial reasons, but I do hope to some day be able to. I’m not exactly sure for what reason(s) other than I think it would be a great way to take a break from the hectic, everyday life of the US as well as a great way to “cleanse” my mind and also see new places on foot and meet people from all walks of life.

Have you ever done or thought about doing a pilgrimage? If so, to where and for what reasons – religious, spiritual, personal, just because, etc? If you’ve thought about but never done it, do you think you ever will? And if you’ve done one, what did you take away from it and what advice do you have for people who are thinking about it?

Thanks in advance, everyone :)

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12 Answers

bookish1's avatar

I’ve never done one myself. It is something I would like to be able to do, but I cannot really envision making a pilgrimage in India in the near future for financial as well as safety reasons. Maybe some day.

I met a cool old Frenchman this summer who told me about his Saint Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage. You really would meet people from all walks of life, all around the world, who feel similarly impelled. It sounds like a wonderful experience if you can do it one day.

rooeytoo's avatar

For me every hike down a new trail is a pilgrimage of sorts. I find most religions to be disingenuous so following a trail for that reason doesn’t intrigue me. So for me, just find an amazing 3 day hike and do it. The Applachian trail is beautiful and in Australia just about any dirt track takes you somewhere fantastic!

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Whenever one of my friends dies who lives far away I make a point to visit their family and drive by myself. It always feels like a mini-pilgrimage. I get a lot of time to think about life and what I will miss about the person, and the people we leave behind.

Unbroken's avatar

Great question.
Since I was very young, I have wanted to visit Stonehenge, I still like the idea but I now have a bigger desire to see Taj Mahal.
There is no explainable reason for that tug to go there. I don’t know if I would gain anything. Maybe I would only gain the knowledge that I didn’t have to go there after all.

Then I think about the physicalness of a mind body spiritual experience and wonder if maybe hiking the chilkoot trail would do as much or more for me in that respect, I always find satisfaction in nature.

wundayatta's avatar

I made a pilgrimage to the Carlton factory in 1972. I made a pilgrimage to a trumpet store in NYC in 1971.

Rarebear's avatar

I do. Every year. To the Portland Holiday Ale Festival.

Coloma's avatar

I have not undertaken an actual Pilgrimage but I did take a 2 year spiritual sabbatical in 2006–7 during a major transitional phase in my life. It was the best thing I ever did. I quit working, moved to my new home in the hills and spent the better part of that time in a sate of spiritual solitude.
I also traveled in asia in 2010 and visited some amazing Buddhist temples in the mountains of Taiwan. Amazing experience. Now I am broke again,haha, but… wouldn’t trade that time for anything, it was incredibly enlightening.

wildpotato's avatar

I’d like to go see the Aurora Borealis someday. The only religion I ever wanted to believe in is Philip Pullman’s Republic of Heaven, and a pilgrimage to the Aurora would be like seeing Dust.

Coloma's avatar

@jordym84 You might like the works of Paul Brunton, one of my favorite old time spiritual gurus. Good stuff and I love finding archaic old time metaphysical/spiritual teachers. :-)
www.paulbrunton.org You can read his “Notebooks” at the bottom of the page. Good stuff.

Unbroken's avatar

@wildpotato The Northern lights are great, the Japanese come here and have sex in our hot springs or out side and hope to conceive on the night they come out. They believe it will bless the baby with luck.

They appear to dance when you whistle most of the time, once I remember they didn’t. But where I am at we most frequently see the the green, yellow, every now and again red. Though I am told if you went to the observatories here you would see a greater variation.

It warms my heart and makes me appreciate them afresh when you said that.

Cupcake's avatar

As a member of the Baha’i Faith, I have been on a pilgrimage to the Baha’i Holy sites. It was really amazing, for both me and my pre-teen son.

Shippy's avatar

For me the pilgrimage is inside. I am currently on it. Some might need to travel it’s up to the person. I do feel spirituality is important to me. Both in myself and my choice of friends and life partners. I just feel those lacking in it, whichever form it may take, are void of something. I cannot explain it.

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