It’s been said that the books we read often shape our world view. I am sure I am no exception. Books such as the Canterbury Tales, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and Gulliver’s travels – all speak to the theme of Journeying through life and how life isn’t about the destination.
“The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can.” J.R.R Tolkien
The definition of a pilgrimage is:
a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion
A pilgrimage doesn’t have to be tied to a Religion, although the ones below and others around the world are. I think a pilgrimage is a way for us to journey back to our selves. The pilgrimages below allow for each pilgrim to renew themselves in mind, body and spirit. If you were unaware about these pilgrimages, I hope the five pilgrimages below inspire you to find a pilgrimage of your own, one that will renew your self.
St. Paul Trail, Turkey
- 500km 27-day way-marked footpath from Perge, 10 km E of Antalya, to Yalvac, NE of Lake Egirdir.
- The second branch starts at Beşkonak, the entrance to the Köprülü Kanyon National Park 80km NE of Antalya and joining the first route at the Roman site of Adada.
- The trail is over Roman roads, footpaths and forest tracks – which are great for mountain bikes.
- This route offers walkers insight into the countryside that Paul traveled through on his first journey through Asia Minor.
- Trekking is best in spring and autumn – July-August is hot.
- Many nights you can find accommodation in village houses or small hostels, but on longer sections you can camp – some great places to camp are the KURŞUNLU WATERFALL & the CANDIR CANYON.
Pilgrims’ way, Canterbury
- The historical route is supposed to have been taken by pilgrims from Winchester in Hampshire, England, to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury in Kent.
- One hundred and twenty miles in length.
- This name, of comparatively recent coinage, is applied to a pre-existing ancient trackway dated by archaeological finds to 500–450 BC, but probably in existence since the stone age.
- The prehistoric route followed the “natural causeway” east to west on the southern slopes of the North Downs.
- Two thirds of the track is still identifiable.
- Best time to go is late April to October.
Kumaano Kodo, Japan
- Dates back to prehistoric times
- Consists of four pilgrimage routes: Nakahechi, the Imperial Route; Kohechi, the Mountainous Route; Ohechi, the Coastal Route; and Iseji, the Eastern Route.
- These routes go to the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hongū Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha.
- With time and with rise of transportation and deforestation, the trails were vastly altered. Large portions of the mountain route became overgrown. Rediscovery of the trails started in the 90’s and attention grew with the registration of the trails as a UNESCO heritage site.
- Best time to go is during the spring and summer.
Lagoons of Huaringas, Peru
- Huaringas is a circuit of 14 lagoons, located in the Huamaní Mountain Range at 3,950.- m., that belongs to the Province of Huancabamba (1,929 m.), in the Piura region in Northwestern Peru
- One of the most magnetic places in the country, according to thousands of visitors and knowledgeable people of Andean mysticism.
- Area said to have powerful energy healing and magical powers
- Two lagoons are preferred by the healers and shamans to do healing work:
- The Shimbe Lagoon, in which flourishing baths are performed, and
- the Black lagoon or Sacred Lagoon, where all kinds of healing and magic happen.
- Best time to go is May to September.
Easter in the Holy Land, Jerusalem
Events to attend during Holy Week:
- Palm Sunday procession on the Mount of Olives from where Jesus entered the City
- a procession through the Old City to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives
- celebration of the Passion of Christ on Calvary in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre
- Procession of the Way of the Cross or a meditation service at the Garden Tomb
- Vigils, Holy Fire Ceremony, and Resurrection services.