What is a Pilgrimage?
A pilgrimage is a journey with spiritual significance.
Why Do People Do This?
Certain faiths require it. Some people place high significance on it as they feel it deepens the commitment to faith. For others it is a personal choice.
People go to gain healing, get their spiritual questions answered, strengthen their beliefs, feel closer to God, experience growth, be with people who believe as they do, or perhaps get clear on what it is they believe.
Where Do Pilgrims Go?
Usually the chosen destination is linked to the purpose of the journey. Christians tend to go to sites that are significant to Christians. Jews go to famous Jewish sites. Muslims go to Muslim sites.
Perhaps a miracle was performed there. Or maybe it was the site of a famous sermon. It could be that a significant event happened there. Sometimes it is a tour that follows the travels of a saint or other important person within that faith.
Those who don’t follow a particular religion often choose places of power. These sites can be churches, wells, springs (water often has hearing or other mystical properties) or groves. They may have reputations for being thin places, areas where spirits can slip through from one side to the other. Sometimes they are known for their energy.
You can do an ancestor pilgrimage to find your roots. Just pick a place where your ancestors lived and see if you can connect to the spirits of the land, the plants, or the sky. Maybe you will be lucky and you will find relatives there!
What Makes a Journey a Pilgrimage?
Intention. Just visiting a spiritual place won’t create transformation or inspiration. When you set the intention to go on a pilgrimage, the universe conspires to bring you what you seek.
It takes presence. You can’t see what is there if your mind is on other things. If you are distracted by what you left behind, earthly worries, or other things that make you uncomfortable, you might as well stay home. Your mind needs to be present as well as your body.
It takes open-mindedness. Many come to pilgrimage at a time of crisis.They need answers or healing. If you’re stuck on seeing things in the way you’ve always seen them, the healing may elude you.
How Can I Create My Own Journey?
The easy thing to do is to find an organized pilgrimage online. Lots of churches and companies do this routinely. They know where to go and how to get you where you want to go.
If you prefer to go it alone, consider your goal. Think about the places that are most likely to help you reach your goal. Do some research. Plan an itinerary. Book it. Go!
For example, let’s say that you are in turmoil because you are childless and really want a child. You decide to appeal to Our Lady of Lourdes (in France) for what seems to be a miracle. You do some research to find out things like the best time to go for weather and crowds, figure out transportation, visas, and hotels. Then you use all the information to plan your trip and go.