I had hoped to journey to the Orkneys last year to see the Ring of Brodgar, the Bronze Age standing stones not far from Stromness, but it was not to be. I wanted to get a better sense of this ritual site and experience at first-hand how it feels and imagine how it might have felt … Continue reading Thankfully!
Trees and pilgrimage have been linked since ancient times, not least in the autumn
During the research for my book We are Pilgrims I encountered many pilgrim travellers but none quite like Martin Gray. Over the course of 38 years, this photographer and anthropologist has visited thousands of pilgrim sites and sacred places in 160 countries across the globe. His web-site World Pilgrimage Guide is an essential source of information for anyone contemplating … Continue reading A Life of Pilgrimage
Where shall we go this weekend? Where shall we go this summer? Until recently the answer depended on how itchy your feet, how expansive your wallet, how much time you could take away from work, school or family. It has been something of a shock to lose the liberty we once took so much for … Continue reading Lockdown Loopholes
The atmosphere of many grand or old buildings can be cold and austere, but Wakefield Cathedral, which is both old and grand, embraces the visitor as soon as they step through the door. A labyrinth set into the recently re-laid stone floor is an invitation to enter a different frame of mind: the act of … Continue reading City Centre Sanctuary
Driving from London to Lausanne over new year, Jack Kerouac's exuberant 'On the Road' kept me immersed each night in the question of why we are pilgrims. Whether or not you have read the book, you will no doubt know that 'On the Road' is a relentless quest by the narrator - Sal Paradise and … Continue reading Search for enlightenment – On the Road
“At the call of an idea they had left their forests, their clearings, the protection of their rulers, their prosperity, their poverty, the surroundings of their youth and the graves of their fathers” (Joseph Conrad - Lord Jim) In recent years, there has been a significant expansion of non-religious pilgrimage, especially in Europe where many … Continue reading Reason #3 – Faith
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?