To be a pilgrim

Today is my last day in London for a few months.  Tomorrow, I take the bus down to Canterbury, the starting point of my pilgrimage.  I planned to spend my last day in stillness, stretched out beneath the trees in Greenwich Park, basking in the sunshine but grey clouds have shrouded the sun and whisper rain.

Over the last few weeks, I have been reading books and contemplating what it means to be a pilgrim. Although I have explained this journey to many people as "walking from Canterbury to Rome," and indeed I will be making my way between these two cities by foot. It is not just a walk.  Nor is it something that I am doing as a personal challenge merely for the achievement of it.

This journey is a pilgrimage. It is a symbolic journey and one that I feel a deep calling to undertake and to undertake alone. I am learning about this archetypal energy, the process and what it means to be a pilgrim.  I have set my intentions for this journey but  the deeper meaning is still unfolding and I may not fully understand until well after it has ended.

Marianne Williamson wrote, "It is is our light not our darkness that most frightens us."  For me, it is my own depth and that depth being seen by others that most frightens me. Whilst I am also afraid of shallow living. For many years I have been living deep and although I express it through my writing I have hidden the extent of my depth in my outward life.  As I am about to embark on this pilgrimage I feel compelled to acknowledge this depth to myself and to declare who I really am.  I am a seeker and I am a pilgrim.

Whilst my own understanding of my pilgrimage comes together, I share with you the words of others who I feel reflect and explain aspects of what my pilgrimage means to me:

"Some go on pilgrimage seeking meaning; some are looking for their heart's desires; others want to heal; and still others hope to find a more authentic home. A pilgrimage is more than a standard trip or journey.  While some embark on pilgrimages with a sense of adventure, it is not a journey intended for relaxation.  It almost always begins with a sense of call or a deep yearning on the part of the pilgrim, sometimes with great urgency, to go forth.  Often the pilgrim is called to undertake physical travel, although for some the pilgrimage is about travelling inward on a "journey of the heart," so to speak.  While some do undertake their journeys in groups, the focus of most of the narratives is on the individual." - Dr Sheryl A Kujawa-Holbrook

"That which you are looking for may be calling you to seek.  Seek patiently and you will find" - traditional advice of the Muses

"Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys" -  Richard R. Niebuhr

"For many women, going on a sacred journey means getting back in touch with what is sacred in the earth" - Joan Marler, dancer and mythologist

"A pilgrim is a wanderer with a purpose" - Peace Pilgrim

"The search for God is a very intimate enterprise.  It is at the core of every longing in the human heart" - Joan Chittister

"The person who is gripped by an archetypal symbol feels as through in contact with some mysterious and irresistible power or overwhelming compulsion, highly charged, luminous , life changing.  The pilgrimage experience is one of those human experiences that continue to be manifested.  Varying very likely with each individual, it is still found, in some sense, meaningful and often has overtones of a "religious" experience" - Jean Dably Clift (psychotherapist) and Wallace B. Clift (theologian).

"Sacred sites exude a sense of "presence" where God, the gods, or the beauty of nature dwell" - Dr Sheryl A Kujawa-Holbrook

If you would like to support me on my pilgrimage, then please support my causeCairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.  Any donation, big or small, is much appreciated and will go directly to helping rehabilitate sick and injured turtles.