The Eleusinian Mysteries centred around initiation into an ancient agrarian cult founded on an early myth about the origins of agriculture and why the seed lays dormant underground through the winter months. The myth describes how Hades opened up a chasm in the earth through which he abducted Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, goddess … Continue reading Hope springs eternal
Pilgrimage to a shrine or a place of significant spiritual or cultural meaning brings with it the promise of feeling ourselves to be part of something much bigger than our family, our immediate community of friends and colleagues, or even fellow worshippers. Pilgrimage offers a somehow reassuring sense of our own insignificance: a speck of dust … Continue reading Why we are pilgrims – Reason #2
The migratory instinct to travel to thrive and survive is something humans share many other species, from butterflies to whales, birds to herds of wildebeest. As far as we can tell, from the Neolithic period onwards, early pilgrimage rituals grew out of seasonal gatherings where through larger collective action, small bands of hunter gatherers were … Continue reading Why we are Pilgrims – Reason #1
Polish photographer Michal Iwanowski recently walked from his home in the UK to his family home of Mokrzeszow in Poland: a journey of over 1000 miles. His journey was prompted by graffiti saying 'Go home Polish' scrawled on a wall in Cardiff. Is this a pilgrimage? There is certainly a tradition of ritually returning to … Continue reading Does pilgrimage have to be religious?