For many people pilgrimage is an antiquated idea, not relevant to modern life, where we can go everywhere by car, and be tourists rather than pilgrims. However, travelling to a sacred, uplifting place that you have chosen, can increase your psychic powers and your spirituality.
Find out about:
- Recapturing the spirit of pilgrimage
- The benefits of pilgrimage
- Making the most of your visit
RECAPTURE THE SPIRIT OF PILGRIMAGE
Much of the wonder and mystery is taken out of special sites these days. Many places have been excavated and explained by modern methods, their spiritual meaning reduced to superstition. But whatever archaeologists and historians may say, our truest connection with ancient people is through our hearts and intuition, and these may tell a different story.
In many ancient sites the sacred spirit of the Earth herself is amplified and honoured. Many – if not all – such sites were centres for meditation and healing. In addition, there are plenty of places that feel sacred without ever being identified as such. You may have felt this when you’re somewhere you love, such as a peaceful woodland grove or beside a spring or lake. All such are worthy of pilgrimage.
Connect with the love you feel for Mother Earth, with the gentle feelings you experience out in Nature, or with the awe places like Stonehenge or a panoramic hilltop can engender. Remember how uplifting it can be to visit such places and let a spirit of reverence and exploration lead you onwards.
THE BENEFITS OF PILGRIMAGE
Pilgrimage can enrich your life in several ways. It connects you with the earth and with a spirit of ‘place’ – this brings you into the ‘now’. Being in the ‘now’ is a very spiritual experience, because, paradoxically, it connects you with deeper consciousness. You can also benefit from the uplifting atmosphere of sacred sites – something which is hard to define but very real. Certain points on the earth’s surface have a special quality – they are not called ‘sacred’ for nothing.
The actual act of pilgrimage is a powerful message to your subconscious. It says that you are going on an inward journey, symbolized by this outward journey and while you are having physical experiences you are opening yourself to spiritual experience. As you travel, the challenges you come across absorb your mind, taking you away from everyday anxieties and changing your perspective.
In addition, when you visit sacred sites that humans have journeyed to for centuries, you are connected to ancestral experience and wisdom, which can be uplifting and mind-expanding. Pilgrimage can truly change you in small ways and sometimes even in large ones.
CHOOSE YOUR SITE
There are plenty of well-known pilgrimage sites, for instance Lourdes and Compostella. But there is also a host of more ‘pagan’ places such as Stonehenge, the Uffington White Horse, Castlerigg and hundreds of stone circles, barrow mounds, sacred springs and ancient woodland that also beckon.
Be guided firstly by your instincts. Is there a place that you have always been fascinated by? Take into account also how hard or easy it will be to get to your site. A challenge is a good thing – it can make you value your pilgrimage all the more. However, if you are short of time or money, or aren’t in the best of health, be realistic. Much better to have a successful journey to a more modest location than a frustrated one to somewhere exotic.
Places near home aren’t to be excluded, or sites that have little significance to anyone else. Your inclinations are what count. Sometimes a site may appeal because you were there in a former life. Experiences earlier in your present life may also be important. Follow where you are called – this won’t have to be the only pilgrimage of your life – you can always go to other places later.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT
Probably you will have to take a car or other forms of transport for a lot of the way there, but try to make the final mile or two of the journey on foot. Take your time, savouring how it must have been to be there in days gone by.
Although you may naturally want to take photos, when you have done this put your camera or smartphone away. It is most important that you do not let technology come between you and your experience. Wait till later to tell your friends – for now it’s just you and the location.
Spend as much time as you can exploring the site. Even if it’s quite a simple place, such as a spring or single tree, there will be details to observe. Have time to sit and just ‘be’ in stillness, for that’s when the essence of the place can come through. Don’t try to force this – just enjoy being there.
As far as possible, leave your daily schemes and concerns to one side. Forget your shopping list or plans for your job. At this point in time you are connecting with something deeper and more long-lasting even than the most pressing concerns of ordinary life.
Treat your site with respect. If you have come to a healing well, such as Madron’s Well in Cornwall, then it’s fine to leave a shred of cloth attached to the tree. But mostly the rule should be to leave nothing and take nothing. You may allow yourself a pebble or a twig, but never damage the site in any way. By all means have your own little ritual of respect, so you may want to light candles or joss-sticks, but never do any damage and use common sense and safety precautions.
KEEP A RECORD
Record your experience in a personal journal and/or scrap book. It’s important to keep track of your thoughts because even the most uplifting encounter can get watered down in daily life. You may want to write poetry or draw pictures.
You could also create an altar to your pilgrimage, maybe connecting a deity or angel with it, choosing candles and images that harmonise with your feelings and decorating it with stones, twigs, shells etc. that you have found there. In a hectic world your sacred site can be a practical way to keep you connected to Spirit and your own mystical journey.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We’ve examined recapturing the spirit of pilgrimage, its benefits, choosing a site, making the most of your visit and keeping a record. Pilgrimage can make a big difference to you if your life is fraught and anxious. For an immediate boost, however, our skilled and inspiring Readers are only a phone call away. Make contact to day and see life from a new and wider perspective.
PUBLISHED: 12 July 2017