|Sculpture on the trail of the Camino de Santiago. Click for photo credit.|
Pilgrimages are to sites we consider holy
To make us feel liberating and more fully.
They may take us to a religions shrine
Where we hope our inner self will shine.
That experience may be to a religious site
Where lead us to do what’s right.
But “spiritual experiences” may take us many places
That may be “religious” with many faces.
Let’s not only consider Jerusalem and the Holy Land
Or healing places in France, Italy and rural Ireland.
But also sites and shrines in Tibet, Qum and Mecca
And those in Italy, Mexico and India.
Also Opryland, Cannes and Disneyland
And sites in Japan, Iran and Scotland.
Those who travel for eclipses and solstices
As healing and miracle places.
How about the pilgrimage to Elvis’s birthplace
As a “holy” destination many fans annually race?
Is the weekend visit to your favorite shopping mall
Really a capitalist pilgrimage enjoyed by all?
Or attending of a major sporting event in glory
That surpasses religious fervor with fun and fury.
Or a marathon swimming, jogging or bike race
Which requires stamina but brings spiritual solace.
Pilgrimages for many are a mix of fun and the serious
Spending money, releasing hormones and feeling delirious.
Some cities and countries generate much monies
By promoting pilgrimage tourist economies.
Which are far from anything considered religious
But instead reward the secular unrighteous.
Stan Brunn, June 14, 2015