Explore the many dimensions of the pilgrimage experience and change your orientation to the world.
“Pilgrimage is an opportunity for pilgrims to cultivate their inner life (or inner voice) in a way that leads to a greater sense of peace and compassion—a sense that pervades all of life.”
—From Chapter 6, “Preparing to Practice”
Pilgrimage is a spiritual practice of nearly every major religion of the world. If you are a Christian you may travel to sites associated with the life of Jesus; Jews might visit the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem and other sacred places in the Holy Land of Israel; Muslims participate in the Hajj, the journey to Mecca; Buddhists visit the sacred sites related to the life of Buddha. Even if you practice no religion at all you will still find that you most likely participate in this practice—the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, and Lenin’s tomb in Moscow are considered national pilgrimage sites. As a spiritual practice, pilgrimage transcends religious, national, cultural and linguistic boundaries.
This fascinating look at the sacred art of pilgrimage integrates spirituality, practice, spiritual formation, psychology, world religions and historical resources. It examines how the world’s religious pilgrimages evolved as central spiritual practices and the relationship between pilgrimage and transformation. It explains what makes a place holy, and why and how some sites are so compelling that they attract thousands, even millions of pilgrims each year.
“A deeply satisfying—and oftentimes rollicking—account of one of the most important religious practices on earth.... You’ll love this book!”
—Mark Massa, SJ, dean, School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College
“Beautifully written ... will take the reader to the center of the heart as it did to me.”
—Deepak Shimkhada, PhD, president, Indic Foundation; professor of Hindu studies, Claremont Lincoln University
“Helping us claim our deepest heart’s desires and find our way ... a trove of insight, both ancient and new.”
—The Rev. Curtis Almquist, SSJE, The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, Cambridge, Massachusetts
“A timely and compelling invitation to both the secular and religious seeker.... Interreligiously aware, grounded in deep expertise and accessible.”
—Elena Procario-Foley, Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies, Iona College
“Stunningly insightful.... Should be sewn inside backpacks the spiritual world over.”
“A reflective journey through the liminal spaces of life where the need for meaning encounters the challenges and violence of contemporary experience.... Provides illustrative examples to structure the ways and means of spiritual homecoming.”
—Rodney L. Petersen, PhD, executive director, Boston Theological Institute
“Beautiful and sensitive.... Blend[s] the lines between theory and practice such that the religious scholar and the thoughtful practitioner might each learn from the other.”
—The Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, dean and associate professor of theology, Barrytown College; American Baptist chaplain, Harvard University
“A treasure trove of guidance and inspiration for that which Sufis say can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find.”
—Imam Jamal Rahman, author, Spiritual Gems of Islam: Insights & Practices from the Qur’an, Hadith, Rumi & Muslim Teaching Stories to Enlighten the Heart & Mind
“A true feast for both mind and spirit.... To students, scholars, activists, artists, spiritual seekers young and old, I can only say: Take, read, savor, and embark!”
—Alexander Levering Kern, executive director, Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service, Northeastern University; poet and editor, Becoming Fire: Spiritual Writing from Rising Generations