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Varieties of Pilgrimage ?

Caminando

Veteran Member
I wonder if anyone has made pilgrimage in a different religious/cultural environment and has any observations to make on the experience? I think of Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu as well as what might be called secular pilgrimage.

e.g., in my case I think of a walk to Mt Everest, or a walk from the Cirque du Gavarnie to the valley of Ordesa, or a long weekend sleeping out alone in the Arabian desert, or a short walk to Darwin's house. Or in a Christian context, a circuit of the Mount Athos peninsula, staying in the monasteries; the Camino. I anticipate a short Hindu pilgrimage soon. And so on......

I'd be interested to know from those who have surely done something like the above - was it of value? In your view, can I really call some of the above events pilgrimage, or are they simply adventures, treks or walks? Are these things paganism in disguise? How essential is the religious element or the spiritual element in defining pilgrimage, eg Mt Athos, or the Camino? It may be absolutely necessary. Can 'spirit' be found outside of religion? Or do they work together?
 
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sillydoll

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Can 'spirit' be found outside of religion?

Buddhism is not a religion.
The 88 temple pilgrimage on the isalnd of Shikoku is older than the camino and is full of spirituality.

Animism is not a religion (although some say that it is the oldest 'religion') and aborigines are extremely spiritual people.

American Indian spirituality is mainly cultural and has never been evangelistic. Is it a religion?
 

TerryB

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Caminando said:
Can 'spirit' be found outside of religion?
There are 5 definitions of 'Religion' in my Concise Oxford Dictionary and I am not sure that any of them are a requirement for 'spirituality'. By definition does 'Religion' have to be 'organised'? :?
A recognition of spirituality seems to be a common link in pilgrims which would open up the definition of 'pilgrimage' to include many other journeys. One of the most profound 'spiritual' experiences of my life before the Camino was sleeping out under the stars in the Argentine Chaco during a journey on horseback. I know exactly what Laurens van der Post meant by the stars 'singing'.
Maybe a pilgrimage could be defined as "a journey to a place of spiritual significance"??

Blessings
Tio Tel
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
We have thousands of 'tourist' (pilgrims?) from Britain who come to visit various battlefields in our province.
Great battles were fought at Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift, Colenso, Spioenkop, Ladysmith, Dundee, and Blood River. Some come to pay homage at the spot where the Prince Imperial of France (Napoleon Eugene Louis Jean Joseph) was killed.
These too are spiritual journeys.
 
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Caminando

Veteran Member
It seems that pilgrimage has a broad definition; thanks to all for the interesting responses - including the rather acid one!

The questions I posed aren't my conclusions;I think that the walks I referred to are just that - walks, no matter how rewarding. On the short Hindu pilgrimage, I think it will be fascinating, but there will surely be much that I won't recognise, not being part of that culture. One interest will be to see how much it has in common with my experience of the camino.

:arrow:
 

sillydoll

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I'd like to share this pilgrim's view with you.

I have often found among people who have walked El Camino or other pilgrimage routes that there is a resistance to accept other ways of approaching pilgrimage that are not by foot, or other aspects that go beyond what is culturally and religiously established. These are obviously touchy subjects because they challenge deep rooted personal convictions and points of view. Most of us feel threatened when what we believe to be totally true, to the point we have created a personal identity around it, has the potential of not being the only “truth”.

I was introduced to El Camino through an ancient lineage of Master Builders in which walking was not important as a part of the teachings because pilgrimage is considered an internal process (also because my French teachers were rather lazy in that sense and didn’t care for so much effort!)
The importance was on understanding the energies of the earth and the architectural development of constructions.
Then, years later I was reintroduced to El Camino by a person who had grown in the pilgrimage tradition of India and had extensively gone on pilgrimage for years through Asia. That added to my experience of how important and useful are the foundations - meaning “all the preparations before you go, your pilgrim vows and attitude, etc...” And one of the key aspects is always remaining open to the possibility of change.

Nowadays most people spend more time looking for a pair of boots than going deeply into the reasons why the want to go to El Camino, which cycles are still open that might prevent them from deepening their experience, reconsidering the relation to transcendence and death that is implied in pilgrimage, etc.

I have spent many months in El Camino. Walking, driving, practicing meditations, studying the shrines… It’s never the same, there’s no one form that we can really say “this is it”. It’s just a structure that we use to point from the form to the formless.
The essence of the journeys I have shared have been to point towards that dimension of internal beauty and inner peace which lies dormant in most of us. El Camino has the ability to awaken that if one responsive. Many pilgrims I have met lack the ability to heighten their awareness because their minds were too busy either with mental chatter or too busy with material details about art, kilometers to walk, albergues to stay, etc…
All those things have a value but if one is not careful they will, from my humble experience, distract the essence of one’s true nature away from manifesting.
 
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The choices presented are:
pilgrimage is considered an internal process
The importance was on understanding the energies of the earth and the architectural development of constructions.
how important and useful are the foundations - meaning “all the preparations before you go, your pilgrim vows and attitude, etc...” And one of the key aspects is always remaining open to the possibility of change.
Walking, driving, practicing meditations, studying the shrines… It’s never the same, there’s no one form that we can really say “this is it”. It’s just a structure that we use to point from the form to the formless.
than going deeply into the reasons why the want to go to El Camino, which cycles are still open that might prevent them from deepening their experience, reconsidering the relation to transcendence and death that is implied in pilgrimage, etc.
The essence of the journeys ... to point towards that dimension of internal beauty and inner peace which lies dormant in most of us. El Camino has the ability to awaken that if one responsive.

or

Nowadays most people spend more time looking for a pair of boots
Many pilgrims I have met lack the ability to heighten their awareness because their minds were too busy either with mental chatter or too busy with material details about art, kilometers to walk, albergues to stay, etc…
All those things have a value but if one is not careful they will, from my humble experience, distract the essence of one’s true nature away from manifesting.

One looks like fun, the other looks like a lot of work to me.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
sillydoll said:
Many pilgrims I have met lack the ability to heighten their awareness because their minds were too busy either with mental chatter or too busy with material details about art, kilometers to walk, albergues to stay, etc…
All those things have a value but if one is not careful they will, from my humble experience, distract the essence of one’s true nature away from manifesting.

Each to our own. To me the very act of putting on boots and walking was the very way I came in touch with the 'transcedent'. The rhythm of walking was what enabled me to be simply in the 'now'. There was a simple rhythm to each day, that I for one could never have gained by driving in between by car.
Margaret
 
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