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An Opportunity to Bond

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

In Walking the Camino:  Six Ways to Santiago one person noted that pilgrimages were a great way to bond with people in his life who were still alive.  He recently lost his wife.  The previous year he partnered with his son on another walk.  He headed for Santiago with a lifelong friend.  While I have expressed my interest in pilgrimages to sacred sites I hadn’t yet connected to the idea of doing more than one pilgrimage let alone having it serve the purpose of reconnecting you to the people that matter in your life.  In this way pilgrimages can serve the purpose of the basic molecules of narrative ecopsychology by connecting us not only to people but to places that matter either for natural or spiritual purposes.  Those connections help us to tell or to rewrite the stories of our lives.

In my exploration of pilgrimages outside this blog I have found an argument around whether or not a pilgrim had to walk to the sacred site.  The idea is the true intention of how to experience the site could only be had by those who walked.  Walking allows for the breaking down of defenses that opens you up to the spiritual.  This does not mean you cannot allow access to the sacred site for non-walkers.  The academic question is whether or not you can still call the journey a pilgrimage.  The personal question is does it matter?

Think about the pilgrimages of your life.  How would the experience be different if you had not walked?

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