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Offering a university course, suggestions for topics to include?

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(
I have been asked to conduct a series of six , 1.5 hour long sessions in a course on pilgrimage. I've had numerous opportunities to speak to groups of all sizes, ages, with different purposes/topics. My question to the forum readers is " if you needed to present a broad overview of pilgrimage, what would be most important to include? "

I'm thrilled to have " more time", than the usual single presentation, and find I want to make the perfect use of that time. The class of 25 is already filled for a Spring course! Excited that the interest is so great, so want to do the topic justice.

Thank you for any input you may have to offer.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
1) Pilgrimage as a universal human phenomenon-- the Eighty Temples, the Hajj, the three pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Benares, Lac Sainte Anne, etc. 2) Pilgrimage in Christianity, beginning with the Patristic period and leading up to Fatima-- this could be broken into two sessions. 3) Contemporary pilgrimage-- Jerusalem, Fatima, Hill of Cumorah (Mormons) 4) Revival of pilgrimage- Walsingham, Santiago, Rome via the Francigena. 5) The practice of Pilgrimage, and pilgrimage in literature and film. Or something like that-- these areas are not water-tight and can likely be shuffled.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
Thank you for any input ...
To add an interdisciplinary flavor to an otherwise solid history course, consider adding "Hospitality - to receive the pilgrim" ranging from the initial CF route infrastructure built by Cluny (and the politics and finances thereof) to the economic impact of modern hospitality industry on CF.

Another angle to add might be the religious context of the Middle Ages: how did the theology of the afterlife drive pilgrimage?

Still a third might be the journalism approach: go interview modern pilgrims about their experiences. What's common? What's unique?

Wonderful project you have there. Enjoy the journey!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/?/Invierno ('19)
All sorts of wonderful possibilities, @KJFSophie !
A few ideas....
Inner (psychological and spiritual) aspects:
  • The inner experience of pilgrimage
  • Transformation and purification: pilgrimage as a healing and life-changing practice.
  • The social value of international pilgrimage: recovery of common humanity and the radical culture of kindness
Outer (Historical and cultural) aspects:
  • The revival of pilgrimage in the West (It has never flagged in the East).
  • Pilgrimage East and West (Interfaith perspectives of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Islamic pilgrimage)
  • The politics of pilgrimage: pilgrimage sites and geopolitics (ancient and modern)
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Boots or sandals. Poles or not. Must-stop-at albergues. Best pack transfer service. Nah, just kidding. Fascinating project. All the best.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
There is also "Pilgrimage in Literature" - Chaucer, Pilgrim's Progress, etc - could also be combined with "Pilgrimage in Art".

If this is for a university course, partly it will depend on the department offering the course (History? Geography? Religious Studies?) and the level of the course (first year degree course? graduate course? continuing studies course not part of a degree program?).
 

JohnandDeborah

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Burgos-Astorga (Sep-Oct 2015),
CP, Porto-Santiago & Finisterre (Sep-Oct 2019)
This sounds fascinating. A fan of incorporating practicality into university level courses, we'd suggest something about walking and health - motivation to improve both physical and mental health. And, walking as slow travel - opportunity to connect with local life and culture.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
1) Pilgrimage as a universal human phenomenon-- the Eighty Temples, the Hajj, the three pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Benares, Lac Sainte Anne, etc. 2) Pilgrimage in Christianity, beginning with the Patristic period and leading up to Fatima-- this could be broken into two sessions. 3) Contemporary pilgrimage-- Jerusalem, Fatima, Hill of Cumorah (Mormons) 4) Revival of pilgrimage- Walsingham, Santiago, Rome via the Francigena. 5) The practice of Pilgrimage, and pilgrimage in literature and film. Or something like that-- these areas are not water-tight and can likely be shuffled.
@oursonpolaire,

You have the outline for a good book there.

If you write it, they will read it.

Buen (food for thought) Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
@oursonpolaire,

You have the outline for a good book there.

If you write it, they will read it.

Buen (food for thought) Camino
I'll send you a signed copy should it ever transpire (*alert procrastinatory behaviour alert*)
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(
There is also "Pilgrimage in Literature" - Chaucer, Pilgrim's Progress, etc - could also be combined with "Pilgrimage in Art".

If this is for a university course, partly it will depend on the department offering the course (History? Geography? Religious Studies?) and the level of the course (first year degree course? graduate course? continuing studies course not part of a degree program?).
Ahhh...the course mentioned is not part of a degree program, but largely made up of seniors 55+/retired lifelong learners who have the wonderful opportunity to enroll in 5-6 sessions/semester to learn about something fascinating on the university campus. The courses fill up fast and in my experience, most 'students' are indeed vibrant life-long learners, highly educated and welcoming of everything and anything new. This will certainly not be a debate on boots vs sneakers...lol ( though the final class may be one of details and prep for those would be walkers, many of my audiences were quite interested in the gear, guidebooks, clothing, etc )
As for my degrees...they are in Special Education MS, Nursing BSN, Forensics BS, and Mental Health Counseling MS. I have minors in Literature, Psychology, Women's Studies, Architecture and Art History...
Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions so far...keep them coming !
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
As for my degrees...they are in Special Education MS, Nursing BSN, Forensics BS, and Mental Health Counseling MS. I have minors in Literature, Psychology, Women's Studies, Architecture and Art History...
Would you like to update your avatar picture? It MUST be old. You can't possibly be as young as you look with all those degrees behind you;-)
 

Northern Laurie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
Depending on the course description, it might be interesting to frame it as “create your own pilgrimage “, and explore what makes a walk or a trip into a pilgrimage.

You’d be able to capture the history, psychology, religious, and spiritual practice of pilgrimage.

The idea is not my own: “the art of pilgrimage” by Phil cousineau was very influential in how I prepared for the Camino. And it changed the way I travel anywhere, including through my hometown.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/144951.The_Art_of_Pilgrimage
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Since your students are high-middle-aged focus on that demographic.

Why do seniors walk?

You can explore numbers of seniors on pilgrimage versus younger folk.

How come so many folk seem to choose 50TH or 60TH birthdays to undertake this journey.

How many seniors become recitivists: walking camino over and over.

You can juxtapose films like The Way, a film about a late 60’s fellow walking camino, against books written by the senior crowd who’ve walked the Way.

And, ask them why interested now and not decades ago: time, career, lack of camino knowledge, etc.

Buen camino.
 

Morning Waters

Celtic Lass
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues May 2019
You might also discuss walking a labyrinth as a form of pilgrimage. It is thought that the labyrinth at Chartre cathredral was built to provide a "pilgrimage" when it was too dangerous to the actual pilgrimage walk to Jerusalem. Students can google "World Wide labyrinth locator" to find a labyrinth near to them to walk.
https://labyrinthlocator.com/
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(
Would you like to update your avatar picture? It MUST be old. You can't possibly be as young as you look with all those degrees behind you;-)

Well You are kind. I just updated my avatar , taken a few weeks ago in November...I'm 61 :)
Age aside, I can't remember much of my adult life when I wasn't attending classes ( maybe when I was delivering my children? ) I'm awaiting the day I turn 65, and I will be able to attend for free...I've got my eye on another degree :)
Keep moving or rust.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
There is also "Pilgrimage in Literature" - Chaucer, Pilgrim's Progress, etc - could also be combined with "Pilgrimage in Art".

If this is for a university course, partly it will depend on the department offering the course (History? Geography? Religious Studies?) and the level of the course (first year degree course? graduate course? continuing studies course not part of a degree program?).
The Celtic traditions and dolmen along the modern Caminos are overlooked.
 

Attachments

Bill Krueger

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Portugues (June-2018)
the physical side and the spiritual side...be sure to include the physical demands of such a walk. It is more physically challenging than people realize. Also, what to expect in the day to day. The food, the accommodations, meeting the people.
 

PeconicBill

New Member
If you devote time to the medieval period, condider a half hour or longer to discussing pilgrim badges, the most important popular art form of the Middle Ages. Millions and millions were sold, and every pilgrim bought and wore one or more. They were the medieval equivalent of the modern “I visited Disneyland” T-shirt.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
I have been asked to conduct a series of six , 1.5 hour long sessions in a course on pilgrimage. I've had numerous opportunities to speak to groups of all sizes, ages, with different purposes/topics. My question to the forum readers is " if you needed to present a broad overview of pilgrimage, what would be most important to include? "

I'm thrilled to have " more time", than the usual single presentation, and find I want to make the perfect use of that time. The class of 25 is already filled for a Spring course! Excited that the interest is so great, so want to do the topic justice.

Thank you for any input you may have to offer.
This is more a question than a suggestion. It would appear every great world religion and their various offshoots have traditions and places of pilgrimage. All bar the Protestant variants of Christianity - or at least so it seems to me. If my assumption is correct, then I wonder why this is the case?
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
Since the Hajj is now absolutely huge in the muslim world - far more important than pilgrimage for Christians today - spend some time looking at what they do and compare what goes on in Lourdes etc.

I only know about the importance of Hajj because I spent many years living in the Middle East. Most people I know have absolutely no idea about what a big deal it is. Probably similar with regard to other faiths.
 

austinpilgrim

Austinpilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014), Camino Portugues (2015), Camino Primitivo (2016), Lucca to Rome (2017)
I have been asked to conduct a series of six , 1.5 hour long sessions in a course on pilgrimage. I've had numerous opportunities to speak to groups of all sizes, ages, with different purposes/topics. My question to the forum readers is " if you needed to present a broad overview of pilgrimage, what would be most important to include? "

I'm thrilled to have " more time", than the usual single presentation, and find I want to make the perfect use of that time. The class of 25 is already filled for a Spring course! Excited that the interest is so great, so want to do the topic justice.

Thank you for any input you may have to offer.
I'm a member of a similar program at the University of Texas and our curriculum committee and have been thinking about developing a course on pilgrimage for our group for 2020. I'll be very interested to see your course outline and hear how it's received by your members. Perhaps you'll be interested in bringing your course on the road to Austin.
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
This is more a question than a suggestion. It would appear every great world religion and their various offshoots have traditions and places of pilgrimage. All bar the Protestant variants of Christianity - or at least so it seems to me. If my assumption is correct, then I wonder why this is the case?
Slightly off topic, but a few years back I mused that modern day music festivals have taken the place of pilgrimage in the UK. I'd just returned from the Camino, with all its wonderful social interactions, and the small festival I went to bore a number of similarities. No doubt due to the sense of common purpose/interest.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
First, as several early posters mentioned - try to be universal and not too Euro-centric.

Secondly, I personally am pretty much of an agnostic and cannot embrace myself as a "pilgrim". After about 1200 miles of walking on a couple of these Camino routes, it has been my experience that few of the walkers considered themselves to be walking for religious reasons. I am not saying that the majority were not religious, I am just saying that the motivations shared with me by the people I conversed with were almost never a "pilgrimage" in the historic meaning of that word. So the point I am leading to is that the growth in popularity of the Camino routes is not, based on my personal experience, attributable to people wanting to go on a "pilgrimage" (again, in the historic meaning of that word).

"Pilgrimage" carries cachet, given its historical significance, and gravitas. "Adventure" does not. Same for "pilgrim" vs. "hiker". But the two should not be conflated when you are educating your lifelong learners.

Just my thoughts.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way + voie de Tours + CF + Gulf of Biscay + English Channel)
All bar the Protestant variants of Christianity - or at least so it seems to me. If my assumption is correct, then I wonder why this is the case?
On a personal level, I regard medieval pilgrimages in Europe as a part of Protestant heritage. Catholics and Protestants share this common past.

As to your question: Unlike today, pilgrimages in the Middle Ages were intrinsically linked to the cult of relics and the concept of indulgences. The option of buying indulgences, and also their spiritual value, became a controversial theological issue. While this lead eventually to reforms within the Catholic Church, it was above all a major contributing factor for the emergence of Protestant movements at the end of the Middle Ages (= the decades around the year 1500). So by that time, relics/pilgrimage/sale of indulgences were strongly opposed or criticised by many, not only but in particular by those who shaped the young Protestant Churches. All this accelerated the decline of pilgrimages in Europe in general. The majority of medieval pilgrimage destinations are today forgotten.

For these reasons, Protestants never adopted or developed a pilgrimage tradition during the past 500 years. Also note that today's major Christian pilgrimage sites, other than Jerusalem and Rome, are mainly sites of Marian devotion (Fatima, Lourdes, numerous others), and Marian devotion is again something that is not part of Protestant theology and practice. However, following the recent revival of walking to Santiago in a way that looks similar to medieval pilgrimages, the Protestant Churches jumped on the "pilgrimage-on-foot" bandwagon as they can identify with the objectives of contemporary foot pilgrims such as slowing down, taking time out, fostering spiritual, mental, and physical well-being, "praying with your feet", dealing with loss, having transformative experiences to change one's outlook or become a better person.

As others have said, it should be clarified whether the course wants to cover pilgrimage as such or mainly Camino walking pilgrimage of the 21st century.
 
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Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
1) Pilgrimage as a universal human phenomenon-- the Eighty Temples, the Hajj, the three pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Benares, Lac Sainte Anne, etc. 2) Pilgrimage in Christianity, beginning with the Patristic period and leading up to Fatima-- this could be broken into two sessions. 3) Contemporary pilgrimage-- Jerusalem, Fatima, Hill of Cumorah (Mormons) 4) Revival of pilgrimage- Walsingham, Santiago, Rome via the Francigena. 5) The practice of Pilgrimage, and pilgrimage in literature and film. Or something like that-- these areas are not water-tight and can likely be shuffled.
And the largest pilgrimage in the world - Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India - about 8 million Hindu pilgrims and assorted tourists attend. The Haj gets about 2,5 million muslims. Of course, as with Rome and Camino and all the major Christian pilgrimages, so in the Hindu ones, there are people from outside of the faith. But non-Muslims are no permitted on the Haj.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Ahhh...the course mentioned is not part of a degree program, but largely made up of seniors 55+/retired lifelong learners who have the wonderful opportunity to enroll in 5-6 sessions/semester to learn about something fascinating on the university campus. The courses fill up fast and in my experience, most 'students' are indeed vibrant life-long learners, highly educated and welcoming of everything and anything new. This will certainly not be a debate on boots vs sneakers...lol ( though the final class may be one of details and prep for those would be walkers, many of my audiences were quite interested in the gear, guidebooks, clothing, etc )
As for my degrees...they are in Special Education MS, Nursing BSN, Forensics BS, and Mental Health Counseling MS. I have minors in Literature, Psychology, Women's Studies, Architecture and Art History...
Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions so far...keep them coming !
I recommend first teaching about the Camino, how it developed and why, describe its effects on Spain, western Europe and all of western civilization, and then end by how to prepare and actually do it. The last lecture can be tailored to the age and ability of the group.

You might include a showing of "The Way" followed by a debunking session to point out the literary license taken in making the film. This would dispel misimpressions and frustration if some folks actually do a Camino.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
And the largest pilgrimage in the world - Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India - about 8 million Hindu pilgrims and assorted tourists attend. The Haj gets about 2,5 million muslims. Of course, as with Rome and Camino and all the major Christian pilgrimages, so in the Hindu ones, there are people from outside of the faith. But non-Muslims are no permitted on the Haj.
Quite right to point this out. I had Benares mentioned in my draft but for some reason it did not make it into what I posted! And it is not the largest or the most relevant site for this discussion. One interesting aspect of the pilgrimage to Sainte Anne de Beaupré in Québec is that a very large cohort of pilgrims is South Asian Christians, and the Malankarese and Malabarese rites have been celebrated there of late.

As far as the Protestant/Catholic divide mentioned above, I have occasionally thought that the Camino is perhaps the only serious remnant of pre-Reformation Christianity around, where the division is not part of how it operates. I have been involved in a few discussions about Anglican pilgrimage in Canada, and have noted how the focus on the journey, when there is no destination, takes much of the fuel out of it. But that's for another thread, perhaps.

These postings have been very interesting, and greatly improve on my own initial contribution. I would be interested in KFJSophie's reading list for the course. I would imagine that Gitlitz and Davidson, and Nancy Frey's pioneering but still unsurpassed sociological study, would feature. I would mischievously include Jane Christmas' What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim as a study of what happens when North American expectations hit the pilgrimage fan, but others will have their own notions!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked CF September/October 2015
It might be helpful to look into some of the anthropological literature out there on pilgrimage. Victor Turner, Eade & Sallnow, Nancy Frey are all foundational. If you’d like to reach out to me directly, feel free! This was what I studied for my PhD and the topic of my dissertation, and I would be happy to share material if you’d like.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
You might include a showing of "The Way" followed by a debunking session to point out the literary license taken in making the film. This would dispel misimpressions and frustration if some folks actually do a Camino.
Hmm. Estevez used The Wizard of Oz for plot points. Was Dorothy of the book/movie on a pilgrimage? Can you use this? What about journeys undertaken with no intention of being a pilgrimage but could be seen, at least at the end, to have the effect of one?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Hmm. Estevez used The Wizard of Oz for plot points. Was Dorothy of the book/movie on a pilgrimage? Can you use this? What about journeys undertaken with no intention of being a pilgrimage but could be seen, at least at the end, to have the effect of one?
The Québec film, Les Doigts Croches (Sticky Fingers) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1305796/ , perhaps one of the best Camino films, does exactly this.
 

Easel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francese Summer 2018
Not all "long walks" are pilgrimages but all long walks have value. People do a Camino for thousands of different reasons. Every reason is valid, it just is likely different that the next persons. I did my first Camino at 64. Doing the miles was actually easier than dealing with the question of "You walked HOW FAR?" & "WHY?". The Camino starts the day you decide to go do it.
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(
First, as several early posters mentioned - try to be universal and not too Euro-centric.

Secondly, I personally am pretty much of an agnostic and cannot embrace myself as a "pilgrim". After about 1200 miles of walking on a couple of these Camino routes, it has been my experience that few of the walkers considered themselves to be walking for religious reasons. I am not saying that the majority were not religious, I am just saying that the motivations shared with me by the people I conversed with were almost never a "pilgrimage" in the historic meaning of that word. So the point I am leading to is that the growth in popularity of the Camino routes is not, based on my personal experience, attributable to people wanting to go on a "pilgrimage" (again, in the historic meaning of that word).

"Pilgrimage" carries cachet, given its historical significance, and gravitas. "Adventure" does not. Same for "pilgrim" vs. "hiker". But the two should not be conflated when you are educating your lifelong learners.

Just my thoughts.
The two will not be conflated...but, I was asked specifically to speak on "pilgrimage". I hope to include information for walks other than Europe, but wise speakers speak to what they know, so the bulk of what I will discuss will be the Camino de Santiago. It's interesting that in your surveys along the routes very few were walking for spiritual reasons ( or traditional pilgrimage ), as I have had the exact opposite result in my survey of the walkers. It's all timing and who you are exposed to in any given moment in time along The Way. I wish I had the opportunity to include lots of the broader concepts, but it's a 5-6 session course....maybe Part II, Part III? It would be wonderful to really explore all angles.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way + voie de Tours + CF + Gulf of Biscay + English Channel)
It's interesting that in your surveys along the routes very few were walking for spiritual reasons ( or traditional pilgrimage ), as I have had the exact opposite result in my survey of the walkers.
It's a question of definitions and I'm curious to know what you will use as a definition of pilgrimage for your lessons. For many here, it means long term, long distance and on foot, on your own, perhaps with some more or less vague spiritual elements thrown in. I have no issues with such a definition - it's fine for me when someone self-defines as pilgrim. But for me, and perhaps for @TMcA whose observations on the Spanish caminos I share, traditional pilgrimage means that the religious element is the main ingredient and the main reason for the pilgrimage.

There is a kind of Catholic pilgrimage still alive in Europe, also on foot only and also becoming more popular again these days, that illustrates a traditional pilgrimage for me. Often lasting only a few days, perhaps not more than a week or 10 days there and back, in a group, accompanied by a priest or not, regularly praying and singing while walking or entering a village, staying with the villagers, stopping at the old crosses along the way for prayers and religious songs, carrying a small crucifix in front of the group. They walk centuries old paths to centuries old pilgrimage sites, without the need for yellow arrows 😉. For me, it's a world of difference from what I observe on the Caminos.
 
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KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(
It's a question of definitions and I'm curious to know what you will use as a definition of pilgrimage for your lessons. For many here, it means long term, long distance and on foot, on your own, perhaps with some more or less vague spiritual elements thrown in. I have no issues with such a definition - it's fine for me when someone self-defines as pilgrim. But for me, and perhaps for @TMcA whose observations on the Spanish caminos I share, traditional pilgrimage means that the religious element is the main ingredient and the main reason for the pilgrimage.

There is a kind of Catholic pilgrimage still alive in Europe, also on foot only and also becoming more popular again these days, that illustrates a traditional pilgrimage for me. Often lasting only a few days, perhaps not more than a week or 10 days there and back, in a group, accompanied by a priest or not, regularly praying and singing while walking or entering a village, staying with the villagers, stopping at the old crosses along the way for prayers and religious songs, carrying a small crucifix in front of the group. They walk centuries old paths to centuries old pilgrimage sites, without the need for yellow arrows 😉. For me, it's a world of difference from what I observe on the Caminos.

Your point is well taken. Indeed I plan my very first session to include trying to define pilgrimage. I'm sure it will be interesting to hear why students signed up and what their own definition of pilgrimage means.

Just a little note: Not all that is going on on the camino is 'observable'...continuous prayer, silent songs, crosses close to the heart can and do happen without following a priest or making a public display for journeys longer than 10 days...all while following yellow arrows :)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
All that everyone else has suggested just for starters, though what most have posted is (excellent) content rather than structure.

As always --

1) What ? 2) Who ? 3) Why ? 4) How ? 5) When ? (not necessarily in that order)

I'd delve into the anthropology a bit, including into the deeper roots of the fundamental nomadism of our species of humans (the earlier human species were a LOT more sedentary, with a significant degree of exception in the Neanderthals).

Probably the more fertile dynamic lies between the religious pilgrimages in general, the Christian (Catholic/Orthodox) pilgrimages, the Muslim one, and the historic rise of secular pilgrimages since the Renaissance, including the emergence of the tourist desire and then the related industry. Certainly to be related to the current superficial opposition on the Camino de Santiago in particular, between the religious foot pilgrimage and the more frequent rather secular & non-religious practice of it, but also to our deep-set human desires towards a special journey that could take us into that perfect place of Utopia, where our deepest needs will be given their worldly satisfaction.

But what is it that we (or indeed I) seek in pilgrimage ?

That should be the sort of start to things which could get the students thinking, and especially contributing, shouldn't it ?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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On a personal level, I regard medieval pilgrimages in Europe as a part of Protestant heritage. Catholics and Protestants share this common past.
A very surprising suggestion, given that 16th to 19th Century Protestantism was rather virulently opposed to this particular manner of religious devotion -- but I do warmly thank you personally for your own positivist personal interpretations of these things.

Probably veering far too close here to being a religious discussion, something to be generally avoided in this place, but to try and get back more on track into the generalities, I'd say, in Europe anyway, a Christian cultural heritage.

And then, I'd say that the cultural heritage aspect has a good chance of being true as well on the non-Christian pilgrimages ... and to no mean extent, on the present-day modern Camino
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
Speaking for myself, it seems that what many contemporary "pilgrims" are really just spiritual tourists whose goal is simply to visit sites that are significant to their particular beliefs. At least that was true for me until I made my first "real" pilgrimage on the Camino, where I had a definite purpose rather than a desire to be able to brag that I had "been there, done that." It is amazing, however, that so many of these spiritual tourists find themselves becoming pilgrims over the course of walking 500 miles. It all revolves around opening one's heart.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Hmm. Estevez used The Wizard of Oz for plot points. Was Dorothy of the book/movie on a pilgrimage? Can you use this? What about journeys undertaken with no intention of being a pilgrimage but could be seen, at least at the end, to have the effect of one?
The film was developed after Emilio Estevez read and discussed with his father Ramon Estevez (aka Martin Sheen) the Jack Hitt Book "Off the Road." They were on a family group trip to discover the Estevez family 'roots' in Navarre province during 2007 or 2008. The Wizard of Oz plot points and character montage were indeed used when the screenplay was written. It was a brilliant adaptation, at least IMHO.

I recognized the Wizard roots the second, or maybe the third time I watched the film... it was the characters that first got me... Dorothy, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow...and even Toto... You need to think a bit about about that last character...

I have had discussions with many pilgrims at Santiago and have asked, even my European acquaintances if they have seen the classic American film "The Wizard of Oz?" When they respond in the affirmative, I usually ask them if they realized the plot and character similarities between that film and "The Way?" Typically, they think for a moment then the 'lightbulb' over their head flips on. You can see the eyes get big and a smile come to their face.

While the film have any number of deficiencies, from a strict Camino perspective, this parallel made the movie so much more watchable. I have a DVD copy and still view it from time to time.

Hope this helps.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
"The Wizard of Oz"
... cannot lay claim to being the originator of this plot structure. Rather, credit goes to Homer and his tale, the Odyssey. But it's an interesting frame of reference for this new pilgrimage course @KJFSophie is designing. I once (long ago and far away) took a literature course organized on the Odyssey theme, starting with Homer and ending with James Joyce's Ulysses. (Unfortunately can't recall the titles in the middle.) Organizing a new course around the literature angle would have great appeal, I think.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
It might be helpful to look into some of the anthropological literature out there on pilgrimage. Victor Turner, Eade & Sallnow, Nancy Frey are all foundational. If you’d like to reach out to me directly, feel free! This was what I studied for my PhD and the topic of my dissertation, and I would be happy to share material if you’d like.
Was your PhD on pilgrimage more generally or the Camino in particular? Is it available on line? Would love to take a look :)
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Changes that you might experience during walking/ camino:

change in perception of time/ distance/ purpose / time.

Effects of walking;
risking injury due to new physical pressure but
reaping rewards of physical improvement of your body/ posture/ stamina..

As you get older, you might lose some of your dreams and aspirations of adventure into the unknown as your body deteriorates,
but you might find out you are gaining new capabilities as your persistence will take take you to levels you had not expected once you are on the trail...
 

Scott Fraser

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018
Le Puy - SJPdP 2019
Boston College offers a course that culminates in walking parts of the CF. See

https://www.bc.edu/offices/formation/programs/pilgrimage-course.html

I met them last summer in several albergues. It was obvious that they needed a lecture and lab on blister prevention, as one afternoon I spent several hours tending to young feet. (They treated me to dinner that night😀).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino francés from Roncesvalles and from Astorga, Camino portugués, hospitalero numerous times
Hi KJFSophie- You need to have the two-volume set "Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland : An Encyclopedia" by Davidson and Gitlitz. The subtitle tells all about their approach - pilgrimage can be religious or not. My example is a journey to visit the cemetery where your great-grandparents are buried is a pilgrimage. A trip for reflecting and reconnecting. My annual backpack trip into Utah's Canyon Country is a pilgrimage. A trip for removing myself from the everyday (no wi-fi or the like for the duration!) and a time of renewal.
 

David Fletcher

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Autumn, 2015
I have been asked to conduct a series of six , 1.5 hour long sessions in a course on pilgrimage. I've had numerous opportunities to speak to groups of all sizes, ages, with different purposes/topics. My question to the forum readers is " if you needed to present a broad overview of pilgrimage, what would be most important to include? "
/QUOTE]

A Pilgrimage always includes a return, whether by the same route or (as is usually the case with the Camino) by transportation. But if there is no return, it is a journey, not a pilgrimage. Also, try and take a moment to look backwards to remember where you've come from -- even from five km the look backwards is different than the look forwards. But for me, my real learning was about the nature of hospitality, which I had never seen as normalized, ever in my life, as when I was walking the Frances...and always say hello/bonjour/hola to everyone you meet, since you are never alone on the Camino.

David (elperegrinodave.blogspot.ca)
 

GinaMarie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010, 2017
I have been asked to conduct a series of six , 1.5 hour long sessions in a course on pilgrimage.
Once you get your course designed (so many good ideas mentioned here!) please consider adapting it for online delivery, either through your university's online continuing education offerings or through something like Coursera. I would SOOOO take it & I'm sure many others would too!
 
Camino(s) past & future
French route (04,05,06) Portugues (07) VDLP (09,10,11) Aragon (0413) Levante (16) French (18)
I have been asked to conduct a series of six , 1.5 hour long sessions in a course on pilgrimage. I've had numerous opportunities to speak to groups of all sizes, ages, with different purposes/topics. My question to the forum readers is " if you needed to present a broad overview of pilgrimage, what would be most important to include? "

I'm thrilled to have " more time", than the usual single presentation, and find I want to make the perfect use of that time. The class of 25 is already filled for a Spring course! Excited that the interest is so great, so want to do the topic justice.

Thank you for any input you may have to offer.
Lots of great pilgrimage suggestions. Don’t forget The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the number one Catholic pilgrimage (more than the Vatican or Jerusalem) and the 3rd most visited sacred site in the world. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
. It's interesting that in your surveys along the routes very few were walking for spiritual reasons ( or traditional pilgrimage ), as I have had the exact opposite result in my survey of the walkers. It's all timing and who you are exposed to in any given moment in time along The Way.
Did you take 2 years to complete the Camino 14/15 ?
or
Did you walk 2 seperate Camino's and did they end @ Muxia?

vibrant life-long learners, highly educated a
The one thing The Camino teaches us all is that if you ignore this ONE simple component then all the degree's in the world are null and void
COMMON SENSE
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(
Did you take 2 years to complete the Camino 14/15 ?
or
Did you walk 2 seperate Camino's and did they end @ Muxia?


The one thing The Camino teaches us all is that if you ignore this ONE simple component then all the degree's in the world are null and void
COMMON SENSE



@Thornley , I walked the CF in it's entirety from SJPP to Santiago twice. In 2014 I walked all the way to Muxia, not in 2015. In 2016 had major surgery and my son's wedding, so my camino was that of dreams. In 2017 I walked The Way of St Francis, Florence to Assisi to Rome, and this past September 2018 I walked the Portuguese Way from Porto to Santiago.

Godwilling I will walk St Olav's Way, Norway this coming July/August. I'm waiting for a few of my friends to retire so we can walk the CF together...It never grows old. You can start and stop in the same place, but it isn't possible to have the same camino twice.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
. In 2014 I walked all the way to Muxia,
The "Spanish" will now allow you to talk on their journey ;)
It's where they regard the finish Sophie , glad you walked there.
We did Porto this year [ again ] but followed the coast , unfortunately in some cases as it was the wilderness and dunes......but lovely.
Safe and happy Christmas with the love ones
 

Audax

New Member
My advice is: Start from your own scientific field and develop from this the subjects of your course of lectures.

Greetings

Christoph
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
There is also "Pilgrimage in Literature" - Chaucer, Pilgrim's Progress, etc - could also be combined with "Pilgrimage in Art".

If this is for a university course, partly it will depend on the department offering the course (History? Geography? Religious Studies?) and the level of the course (first year degree course? graduate course? continuing studies course not part of a degree program?).
For pilgrimage in art, please check out Katherine Barush's Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain.
 

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