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The Many Voices of Pilgrimage and Reconciliation. CABI Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage Series

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Reviewing peace and reconciliation, secular pilgrimages, and international perspectives on sacred journeys, this book offers the reader an opportunity to encounter multiple voices and viewpoints on one of the most ancient practices of humankind. With an estimated third of all international travellers now undertaking journeys anticipating an aspect of transformation (the hallmark of pilgrimage), this book includes both spiritual and non-spiritual voyages, such as journeys of self-therapy, mindfulness and personal growth. An innovative and engaging addition to the pilgrimage literature, this book provides an important resource for researchers of religious tourism and related subjects.

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15 Chapters

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1: Pilgrimages and Peace-building on the Global Stage



Pilgrimages and Peace-building on the Global Stage

Ian S. McIntosh*

Indiana University Purdue–University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indiana, USA


The idea that pilgrimages generate the least violent gatherings that humanity has designed for itself inspired the central question of an internet-based live-to-air class that I delivered at Gaza

University from 2012 to 2014. In a world in conflict over race, religion and finite resources,

I  asked students whether there was a place for

­pilgrimage in the peace-builder’s toolkit. While acknowledging that many pilgrimages have a political dimension and that political leaders can manipulate pilgrims in ways detrimental to peace,

I asked my students whether certain categories of pilgrimages could help address deep-seated conflict, historical injustice and social inequality, all of which are prevalent on the global stage today. While the links between pilgrimage and personal healing have been explored in the literature, those between pilgrimage and peace-building have often been ignored. This chapter presents a survey of pilgrimages in which peace is specifically mentioned as a desired outcome or where the greater common good is prioritized. It focuses on world religions, inter-faith pilgrimages, civil and cultural religion pilgrimages in


2: Pilgrimages of Transformation and Reconciliation: Māori and Pākehā Walking Together in Aotearoa New Zealand



Pilgrimages of Transformation and Reconciliation: Māori and Pākehā

Walking Together in Aotearoa New Zealand

John Hornblow* and Jenny Boyack*

All Saints’ Anglican Church, Palmerston North, Aotearoa, New Zealand


The role that pilgrimage plays in unifying the two founding peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand –

Māori (Indigenous) and Pākehā (European) – is explored in this chapter. In 2014, Māori and

Pākehā celebrated the bicentenary of the first

Christian service held in New Zealand on Christmas Day 1814, the site marked by the Marsden

Cross (Fig. 2.1). The celebrations marked two centuries of complex history, and pilgrimage has become a significant contributor to the ongoing kōrero (conversation) on the relationship between our two peoples. We describe local and regional pilgrimages that we have organized or led. These hı̄koi (literally, ‘walks’) involve collective sacred journeys in which individuals and


3: ‘Sheaves of Corn in an Autumn Field’: The ‘Hungry’ Walk to Delphi Lodge



‘Sheaves of Corn in an Autumn Field’:

The ‘Hungry’ Walk to Delphi Lodge

E. Moore Quinn*

College of Charleston, Charleston, USA


In late March 1849, hundreds of starving County

Mayo residents walked over 10 miles (16 km) to be inspected for the right to warrant food relief. Despite their compliance and appearance at Delphi

Lodge, the place where they had been told to report, the inspection never occurred and no relief ensued. As a result, having become hungrier and more destitute, many were said to have perished on their return journey. In 1988, as communities prepared for the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Great Irish Famine (1845–1852), a

Famine Walk was organized to retrace the steps of the victims of what became known as the

Doolough Tragedy. Since that time, this human rights pilgrimage has involved songs, speeches, tree and seed plantings, and the carrying of plaques with the names of those who perished at that fateful time. In 2013, a reversal of practice took place when the gates at Delphi Lodge were opened to re-enactors and the world was made aware of attempts to remember. This chapter examines the meaning of the ‘hungry’ walk to Delphi


4: (Re)Walking Stories: Pilgrimage, Pedagogy and Peace



(Re)Walking Stories: Pilgrimage,

Pedagogy and Peace

Sara Terreault*

Concordia University, Montréal, Canada


The subject of this chapter is the methodological and pedagogical journey taken by my colleague

Matthew Anderson and me as we develop and teach an undergraduate course in pilgrimage studies. We maintain that deep understanding of pilgrimage is inextricably linked to the existential integration of the practice of pilgrimage: that as researchers, teachers and students of pilgrimage, we are called to become pilgrims. I explore the theoretical genesis and practical implications of this choice for us and for our students. First, I parse the notion of pilgrimage and explain the transdisciplinary, embodied, performative pedagogical philosophy underlying the course. In order to concretize the theory, I offer my own narrative of a particular pilgrimage undertaken with our students, and make space for some of their voices. The pilgrimage recounted runs 32 km between two 17th-century sites: the Chapelle de Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, founded by Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620–


5: Pilgrimage, Bhaktı̄ and Identity: A Study of Maharashtrian Vārı̄



Pilgrimage, Bhaktı ̄ and Identity:

A Study of Maharashtrian Vārı ̄

Varada Sambhus*

Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai, India


Pilgrimage is a pervasive feature of Hinduism, and most of this religion’s various sects prescribe some kind of pilgrimage to their followers. This chapter examines a walking pilgrimage in the state of Maharashtra in the western part of India, known as the ‘Vārı ̄’ or ‘pālkhı ̄’ palanquin. This pilgrimage is an essential feature of the prominent Vaiśna

̧ va bhaktı ̄ sect known as the Vārkarı ̄.

Bhaktı ̄ can be roughly translated as ‘devotion’. In the Indian month of Ā śādha (June–July) hundreds of thousands of people, followers as well as non-followers of the sect, participate. The largest pilgrimage in Maharashtra, the Vārı ̄ has deeply impacted regional social, political, religious and cultural life. The institution of pilgrimage provides a platform for social interactions, and it will be demonstrated that these have a bearing on the population at large. Generally speaking, pilgrims go on pilgrimage with certain specific goals in mind, such as mokśa (salvation) or worldly well-­ being, but the significance of the Vārı ̄ pilgrimage goes well beyond isolated individuals. One of the major outcomes of this centuries-old pilgrimage is that, to a very considerable extent, it has democratized religion in Maharashtra. It has broken down the traditional caste system within the religious domain, paving a way for future social and political equality. This chapter shows how the


6: Circling Centre, Finding Our Way Home: Circumambulation Pilgrimages around Iona, Mount Tamalpais and Labyrinths



Circling Centre, Finding Our Way Home:

Circumambulation Pilgrimages around

Iona, Mount Tamalpais and Labyrinths

Cindy Pavlinac*

Independent Scholar and Photographer, San Rafael, California, USA


Pilgrimage requires a journey. Humans are walkers, traversing the landscape seeking adventure and home. Walking pilgrimages along historic routes and concentrated journeys in a labyrinth all involve circling a centre. Places of natural grandeur have long attracted those undertaking journeys to sites of magic, prophecy, safety, hope and the supernatural. The landscape informs the journey and pilgrims notice things that can only be revealed by walking through that specific landscape. The boundaries between inner and outer landscape become blurred as the pilgrim enters an expanded relationship to the self. Walking engages the body while freeing the mind for deep contemplation and potential transformation.

Following a labyrinth, a nature trail or a saint’s footsteps requires surrendering control and trusting the journey. Walking in a state of focused contemplation while holding a question or an intention of quiet attentiveness is a core pilgrimage practice. A heightened state of receptive self-­ observation can evoke an almost visceral recognition of one’s own truth, a profound surprise of the potential for reimagining one’s life as a coherent story of meaningful events and cohesive purpose. From the first step across the threshold of the familiar to the last step returning home to where the pilgrim began, we are


7: Pilgrimage and Reconciliation: Crossing Boundaries to Transcend Them



Pilgrimage and Reconciliation:

Crossing Boundaries to Transcend Them

Daniel J. Simons*

Trinity Church, New York City, USA


Pilgrimage, by definition, involves boundary crossing and also dislocation, leading to new discoveries and often whole-life transformation.

This chapter discusses the concept of ‘accidental pilgrimage’ and how it may become more intentional. To do this, it explores the correspondence between the outer and inner journey through the lens of three pairs of related concepts often used in discussions of pilgrimage, namely tourist/ pilgrim, secular/religious and sacred/holy. Several pilgrimage contexts, including the Camino de

Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrimage to Palestine/Israel, the new pilgrimage shrine of St. Paul’s

Chapel in New York City and the Burning Man festival in Gerlach, Nevada, are in focus. These settings provide an opportunity to examine the function of pilgrimage as an organizing principle for greater psychological and spiritual integration within the individual, between individuals and among estranged groups, which is the peace-­ building work that I call reconciliation.


8: Sacred Journeys on the Path of Yoga: An Exploration of Yoga Practice and Philosophy



Sacred Journeys on the Path of Yoga:

An Exploration of Yoga Practice and Philosophy

Sonika Jain*

Independent Scholar, Delhi, India


A teacher’s deep commitment to the path of yoga and a compassionate relationship with the student can lead to an unexpected inner transformation. The sacred journey from being a

­beginner to an independent yoga practitioner begins as a physical practice but can assume deeper meaning with time. This chapter delves into the various aspects of yoga that I continuously deliberate as I progress along this pathway, and introduces the definitions and interpretations of yoga from the perspectives of scholars and practitioners in Indian and western traditions, thereby challenging any singular interpretation of yoga. It also highlights the learnings from the sacred journeys of selected Indian teachers who belong to the tradition of householder yogis.  Special attention is directed to the rampant misconceptions about yoga in the contemporary urban Indian environment. I share my own journey of healing as a student of yoga, a practice that taps into my latent  source of expression and well-being. I examine my learning of the basic principles of postural yoga (a ̄sanas), breathing exercises (prāṇa ̄ya ̄ma) and  the lesser-­ known aspects including  chanting, niyāmas


9: Pilgrimage Walking as Green Prescription Self-therapy?



Pilgrimage Walking as Green

Prescription Self-therapy?

Nanna Natalia Karpinska Dam Jørgensen*

Volda University College, Volda, Norway


Pilgrimage walking has potential as therapy on

‘green prescription’ – meaning rehabilitation with salutary outdoor activities – to relieve minor mental and physical ailments. It may also reduce reliance on expensive therapies and medications that often have unpleasant side effects. In this chapter I argue how pilgrimage walking – if prescribed as an outdoor therapy alongside/

­ instead of medicines – could reduce Norway’s hospitalizations, medication use, health queues and spending, and also help people obtain relief by using their own personal health assets. To support this view, the chapter shows how present-day pilgrimages, like walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela1 can be used as a self-therapeutic tool. According to cross-cultural pilgrim reports, people walk the Camino for religious, spiritual, personal and relational reasons. They seek exis­ tential meaning, silence or company, to process and restore themselves after various life ordeals.


10: The Social Self on Pilgrimage: Intercession and Mediation



The Social Self on Pilgrimage:

Intercession and Mediation

Steven Muir*

Concordia University of Edmonton, Canada


Scholars of pilgrimage often define the practice according to personal aspects. This chapter examines a less discussed aspect of pilgrimage: its interpersonal side. An example is when someone undertakes a pilgrimage on behalf of another person, and receives a benefit for that person. This sort of pilgrimage suggests an important issue: persons do not exist in isolation or act only for personal gain. The life of the individual is woven into the fabric of their family, friends and community. People are in social networks, they may be familiar with mediators and go-betweens interacting on their behalf and thus one person’s intervention benefits others. I use ancient Greece and

Rome as a case study of this issue. In that setting, we see highly developed cases of social networks and social identity in pilgrimage to healing sites.


11: Let Us Be Human: Wittgenstein and Philosophical Pilgrimage



Let Us Be Human: Wittgenstein and Philosophical Pilgrimage

Patricia A. Sayre*

Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, USA


Should you happen to visit Ludwig Wittgenstein’s grave in Cambridge, UK, you may well wonder if this is a site of pilgrimage. People leave things there: flowers, moss, bits of masonry, a miniature ladder to represent a famous metaphor from the end of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Or, should you make your way to the remote Norwegian village of Skjolden, you will learn that many visitors have preceded you in trekking around the lake, across the fields and up the wooded slope, to stand on what remains of the foundations of the hut where Wittgenstein drafted the core of his

Philosophical Investigations. And, should you find yourself in the isolated Austrian village of Trattenbach, you will surely notice the well-marked trailhead of the path on which Wittgenstein, during his stint there as an elementary school teacher, took his students on nature walks – a path that has since been transformed into a veritable way of the cross, with carved signposts quoting from his writings marking the way. As is the case, perhaps, with most sites associated with the life of a well-known personage, many of those who visit these will do so as mere tourists. Is it possible, though, to visit these sites as a genuine pilgrim? And, if so, what sort of pilgrimage would this be: sacred or secular? Neither option seems quite right, yet neither seems entirely


12: The Pilgrimage to the Mausoleum of Sidi Shaykh



The Pilgrimage to the Mausoleum of Sidi Shaykh

Tahar Abbou*

University of Adrar, Adrar, Algeria


The pilgrimage to the Mausoleum of Sidi Shaykh is a yearly celebration in a town located in the

Algerian West Saharan Atlas region. The festivities take place under the auspices of descendants of the prominent Sufi figure Sidi Abdul Qadir ben

Mohamed. This sacred journey, known as er-Rakb, lasts 5 days and goes through five stations, covering about 95 miles (150 km). During their stay, pilgrims and visitors are offered free food and accommodation. Pilgrimages, except the one to

Mecca, are not entirely approved by Muslim scholars, and in particular by the Salafists, who argue that contact between the people and Allah should be directly undertaken, that is intercession is forbidden and considered as a great sin. This chapter discusses the various theories of the origin of Sufism, and why Salafists oppose this branch of Islam. It also discusses the recent classification by UNESO of the pilgrimage to the Mausoleum of Sidi Shaykh as part of the intangible cultural heritage, and of worldwide significance.


13: Travel and/or Pilgrimage – both Sacred Journeys: An Atheist’s Attempt at Inquiry and Introspection



Travel and/or Pilgrimage – both

Sacred Journeys: An Atheist’s Attempt at Inquiry and Introspection

Chadwick Co Sy Su*

University of the Philippines Manila, Republic of the Philippines


The definition of pilgrimage has been challenged and revised such that it can no longer be considered the exclusive province of the religious.

Pilgrimage for the non-religious, specifically atheists, continues to be reformulated. This chapter begins by recognizing the many modes of pilgrimage and then discusses how religious and non-religious pilgrimage may have been (incorrectly) pitted against each other, and ends by proposing the creation of synonymy: of pilgrimage and travel being one and the same. While the religious may prefer using the term pilgrimage, atheists may prefer travel, if only because the latter does not have any religious undertones.

Is this nothing more than an issue of diction?

I discuss travel and/or pilgrimage as a source of inquiry and introspection and present questions on a wide range of related topics, from the abstract to the practical. The potential for peacemaking and interdisciplinary collaboration among the fields of pilgrimage studies, tourism, anthropology and theology is also briefly discussed.


14: The Pilgrim’s Two Economies: Greek Convent Pilgrimage and Economic Crisis



The Pilgrim’s Two Economies:

Greek Convent Pilgrimage and Economic Crisis

Mari-Johanna Rahkala-Simberg*

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland


Together with the Church of Greece, convents and monasteries have played a significant role in the Greek welfare system for centuries. In the Orthodox tradition, however, these institutions have emphasized spiritual forms of support over material help. For example, prayer and discussion have been considered essential ways to help the pilgrims who visit Greek convents. Since 2008, when the Greek economic crisis erupted, the convent’s role as a support for pilgrims from the local community has

­become increasingly important, and the crisis has also affected the ways in which convents help people. Convents have been forced to increase their level of material assistance, and they now support more people than they used to. The pilgrims who visit convents face economic issues on two levels. On one hand, they are forced to consider their personal financial situation and their future in Greece. On the other, they are also likely to think about questions related to their personal salvation, their


15: ‘My Heart Wouldn’t Accept the Advice’: Paths to Self and Community in Alevi Poetry



‘My Heart Wouldn’t Accept the

Advice’: Paths to Self and Community in Alevi Poetry

Lucinda Carspecken* and Zülfükar Özdoğan

Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA


The Alevi are Turkey’s largest religious minority, with roots that go back to the 11th century. They are a heterodox and largely working class group whose ideas and practices overlap with Sufis, humanists, shamanists and Shias, and who have been marginalized, persecuted and even massacred within their own country. This chapter will take a historical, social and cultural journey through the works of three of the poets with the strongest influence on current Alevi culture –

Shah Ismail, Pir Sultan Abdal and Kul Himmet.

All were associated with Anatolia and all of them wrote in Turkish. Their poems are still sung during Alevi gatherings, serving both to recall the pain and loss of their shared history and to enable participants to journey to the heart of the sacred in the varied ways that they understand this. We will explore the three poets’ narratives of their own lives, their perceptions of self, and the ways they explained their existence, consciousness and embodiment. This interpretation is based on a definition of pilgrimage as self-development and return – a circular movement from singularity to community, from placement to displacement, from being in time to timelessness. We will explore these trajectories in their poems to understand the movements of selves as collective media.



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