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Pilgrimage in Practice: Narration, Reclamation and Healing

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Pilgrimage in Practice: Narration, Reclamation and HealingÊprovides an interdisciplinary approach to the topic. It reveals many aspects of the practice of pilgrimage, from its nationalistic facets to its effect on economic development; from the impact of the internet to questions of globalization; from pilgrimage as protest to pilgrimage as creative expression in such media as film, art and literature.ÊPerhaps best understood as a form of heritage tourism or tourism with a conscience, pilgrimage (as with touristic travel) contains a measure of transformation that is often deep and enduring, making it a fascinating area of study. Reviewing social justice in the context of pilgrimage and featuring a diverse collection of interdisciplinary voices from across the globe, this book is a rich collection of papers for researchers of pilgrimage and religious and heritage tourism.

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Matthew R. Anderson is an affiliate professor in theological studies and diversity and ­sustainability at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. Between 2014 and 2017, he co-organized five

­pilgrimages between Old Montreal and Kahnawà:ke Mohawk First Nation. In August of 2015,

­together with Hugh Henry, he walked and filmed the historic 300-km North West Mounted Police

Trail in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, and in 2017 the 350-km Swift Current to Battleford

Trail. He has been invited to teach pilgrimage in the Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver

School of Theology. His documentary on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain, Something Grand, was screened in 2012. E-mail:

Shirley du Plooy is a lecturer at the Anthropology Department, University of the Free State, South

Africa. Her research interests include: (i) healthcare systems; (ii) human immunodeficiency virus

(HIV) vaccine development; (iii) African religions; (iv) rites of passage; and (v) spiritual and religious pilgrimages. E-mail:




Introduction: Pilgrimage in Practice –

­Narration, Reclamation and Healing

Ian S. McIntosh,1* E. Moore Quinn2 and Vivienne Keely3

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


College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA; 3Diocese of

Parramatta, Sydney, Australia


Pilgrimages are some of the most ancient practices of humankind and are associated with a great variety of religious, spiritual and secular traditions. Sacred sites to which pilgrims travel, defined as revered geographical locations anchoring spiritual beliefs, practices and observances, can be found all over the world. Today, the number of visits to sacred sites is increasing: more than 330 million people embark on traditional pilgrimages in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, India,

Japan and Spain. By some estimates, one-third of all international travellers are on some form of pilgrimage or spiritual vacation.

In the face of such a meteoric rise over the last few decades, and with an ever-increasing momentum across the globe, the taken-for-­


1 The Experience of Medieval Pilgrims on the Route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain: Evidence from the 12th-century Pilgrim’s Guide



The Experience of Medieval

Pilgrims on the Route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain: Evidence from the 12th-century Pilgrim’s Guide

Tessa Garton*

College of Charleston, South Carolina, USA

The dramatic rise in popularity of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the 11th and 12th centuries is reflected in the 12th-century Pilgrim’s Guide, which provides information about shrines to visit and the experiences of pilgrims along the four main routes through France and northern Spain – routes which are used by pilgrims to this day. This chapter examines the information provided in the Pilgrim’s Guide with an emphasis on the physical, visual and spiritual experiences of pilgrims along the route. The Guide describes the characteristics of the lands, peoples, local customs and food and drink experienced on the journey, as well as the miraculous qualities of saints whose shrines should be visited on the way, and in some cases the visual imagery of their shrines. Scholars have tended to emphasize the typical ‘pilgrimage church’ plan exemplified by the churches at Santiago, Toulouse or Conques, but a study of both the guide and the surviving churches reveals a rich variety of architectural forms and imagery that would have been experienced by 12th-century pilgrims along the pilgrimage routes. Each shrine emphasized the validity and significance of its relics, and the arrangement of the sacred space and visual imagery was frequently designed to demonstrate the miraculous powers or qualities of the local saint, as well as to encourage, warn and influence the behaviour and beliefs of devotees visiting the shrine. Methods of communication about the experiences of pilgrims have changed in recent times, as well as the religious emphasis; modern pilgrims have easy access to information about the journey and place less emphasis on the power of holy relics and more on the inner spiritual experience, but many aspects of walking the Camino remain the same.


2 Pilgrimage: A Distinctive Practice



Pilgrimage: A Distinctive Practice

Richard LeSueur*

St George’s College, Jerusalem, Israel

Drawing on more than 25 years’ experience facilitating programmes of pilgrimage, the author presents a practical philosophical construct for locating pilgrimage within the spectrum of contemporary travel. A model is presented that consists of horizontal and vertical axes creating four quadrants. The horizontal axis represents a continuum between hardship, risk and privation on the right; and ease, comfort and abundance on the left. The vertical axis represents a continuum between immersion in a local culture at the bottom of the diagram, and the choice of isolation from the local culture at the top. The upper-left quadrant represents the traveller who seeks primarily an experience of comfort and rest. This is the realm of the sun holiday, Club Med and cruise ships. The upper-right quadrant represents the realm of adventure tourism where one primarily seeks experiences of risk and adventure in a particular geography. The lower left represents the realm of cultural tourism where the principle aim is to ‘see sites’, learn history and encounter the local culture, but also be back at a pleasant hotel by 5 o’clock for cocktails. The lower-right quadrant expresses the intent of pilgrimage: one elects to enter an experience of risk, challenge and even hardship over a sustained process of walking, in anticipation of the unknown, but ready to be changed. The lower-right quadrant, the principal focus of this chapter, highlights the nine characteristics that point to the unique domain of pilgrimage.


3 Meshworks, Entanglements and Presencing Absence: Pilgrimages, Eastern Free State-style



Meshworks, Entanglements and Presencing Absence:

Pilgrimages, Eastern Free State-style

Shirley du Plooy*

University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Scholars working from a culturalistic position are adamant that people give meaning and make meaning; they inscribe on to what Ingold (2010b, p. 126) calls hard surfaces the cognitive and symbolic ascriptions needed to construct social reality. Two foundational assumptions underpinning this locality of thinking are: (i) there is a unilinear directionality to impacting, and people do all the impacting, constructing and ascribing; one could say that humans are therefore the only agents of construction; and (ii) arguments are formulated as if the cognitive thought-spark is always the genesis of meaning. I believe, however, that by applying ethnographic evidence gleaned from domestic pilgrimages to sacred sites in the eastern Free State, South Africa, I will demonstrate that landscapes, dreamscapes and personscapes are inextricably entangled and not simply inscribed by human agents as advocates of the culturalistic perspective propose. I am arguing that three incorporated domains, landscapes, dreamscapes and personscapes, in the context of pilgrimages, are non-linear, multi-dimensional and often unpredictably interconnected as they come into existence. Five years of ethnographic fieldwork to and at the sacred sites of Mautse, Motouleng and Mantsopa have left no doubt as to the animacy of the sites, these pilgrimages and occasional and more permanent site users. Landscapes, dreamscapes and personscapes are pilgrimage meshworks.


4 Pilgrim Writers in Dialogue



Pilgrim Writers in Dialogue

Suzanne van der Beek*

Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Since the end of the last century, the Camino to Santiago de Compostela has become one of the most prominent manifestations of contemporary Western pilgrimage. The rapid increase in pilgrim numbers has led to a rapidly increasing number of pilgrim narratives. These stories, both on and by pilgrims, provide an interesting insight into the ideas and experiences of the modern pilgrim, for they touch upon a great variety of different themes that play a role in the making of a pilgrimage. What is more, the popularization of the internet has provided pilgrims with new forms of private and public storytelling. These techniques have not only increased the number of narratives that are produced, but they have also created a platform for a variety of different writers who create their narratives with different objectives in mind. The present chapter aims to structure the fast-growing body of pilgrim narratives by identifying three types of pilgrim writers: (i) the personal; (ii) the institutional; and (iii) the forgotten. This typology will be based upon the different relations that pilgrim writers have with the narratives they produce. However, as the chapter will show, no writer is the complete master of their own stories, and all three types of writer remain in a constant, deliberate dialogue with their fellow writers. The dynamics of this dialogue are lively and creative and form an important element in the construction of contemporary pilgrimage.


5 Medieval Pilgrims in Modern Times: Buñuel’s The Milky Way



Medieval Pilgrims in Modern Times:

Buñuel’s The Milky Way

Alison T. Smith*

The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina,

Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Luis Buñuel’s surrealist film The Milky Way (1969) is posited as a modern pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, and it is most often evaluated according to its thematic content or its filmic structure. The film follows two modern pilgrims, Pierre and Jean, as they make their way from Paris to Santiago. Grounded in surrealist film-making practices, the plot ignores conventions of time and space, and the protagonists inexplicably travel across centuries and continents. The film uses the pilgrimage motif as a means of highlighting and examining the principal heresies of the Catholic faith, and the pilgrims Pierre and Jean at times appear to be of peripheral importance as these weighty themes are explored. Pierre and Jean are far from superfluous, however, and although they appear to be quite average 20th-century men, they are in fact emblematic of the pilgrims of the Middle Ages in certain ways.


6 Richard Burton: Disguise as Journey to the Self and Beyond



Richard Burton: Disguise as Journey to the Self and Beyond

Aateka Khan*

University of Delhi, New Delhi, India

This chapter interrogates the act of pilgrimage as undertaken by the celebrated British Haji, Richard B

­ urton, in

1853, and recounted in the Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, a work he penned shortly after.

What motivated Burton to undertake such an enterprise? Glory? Adventure? Curiosity? Perhaps it was an eagerness to appease imperial authorities to further his career. Probably one can never know the truth (not even of one’s own self), but I attempt this interrogation of pilgrimage from a postcolonial consciousness, which I find deplorably under-represented in studies on B

­ urton. By bringing to bear in this discourse a voice from the other side of the fence, I hope to enrich the understanding of the p

­ ilgrimage a

­ dventure that Burton undertook and to draw attention to anomalies in Burton’s narrative that have been, not surprisingly, glossed over. Most writers on


7 Children’s Processions to Glasnevin: Contestation, Education, Recreation



Children’s Processions to Glasnevin:

Contestation, Education, Recreation

Vivienne Keely*

Diocese of Parramatta, Sydney, Australia

Throughout the ages children participated in processions which were an integrated element of pilgrimage. Some processions included children as part of the general population of participants or spectators while other pilgrimage processions were designed specifically for them. Drawing on insights from the philosophy of place, emotional geography and anthropology, this chapter is a case study of a late 19th-century procession for schoolchildren in

Dublin which reveals a fledging network of schools established to counter proselytism in the inner city. Tickets to a procession in the leafy suburb of Glasnevin were a coveted reward for impoverished inner-city schoolchildren enabling them to have a day out in an area of the city where the natural beauty of the pilgrimage site contrasted sharply with the squalid conditions of the slums of the Coombe. The pilgrimage to Glasnevin represents a temporary exodus from the contested spaces of the Coombe to a place where the Roman Catholic affiliation of the child pilgrims could be celebrated in tranquillity and enjoyment. Indeed enjoyment was an intended outcome rather than an unanticipated result of the procession, which is all the more remarkable given the Jansenist tendencies of the prevailing spirituality of the period. The procession functioned as a medium of socialization, enfolding the children in the relatedness of place, which served to reinforce their Roman Catholic identity in a highly charged climate of proselytism. Ordered in hierarchical ranks, the procession both reflected and imposed order within an ecclesial framework. Dialogue with other contributors in this volume shows the conceptual congruence between certain philosophies of place and the anthropological understanding of meshworks. The pronounced sensory elements of the Glasnevin procession – sight, hearing, smell and touch – were deployed to engage the whole person in the religious experience. Thus we are enabled to expand the notion of dreamscape to include knowledge mediated by sensory experience.


8 ‘Non-Sacred’ No More: The Pilgrimage Path Crucán na bPáiste and the Re-evaluation of Irish Cultural Practices



‘Non-Sacred’ No More: The Pilgrimage

Path Crucán na bPáiste and the

Re-evaluation of Irish Cultural Practices

E. Moore Quinn*

College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA 

In Ireland, cillíní (‘mini cemeteries’ or ‘angel plots’) were designated as ‘non-sacred’ places where infants and young children who had died without baptism were laid to rest. Since Medieval times, these ‘holy angels’ were denied burial in Roman Catholic cemeteries. Not having been properly baptized, the Church insisted they had no rights to sacred burial. Since the mid-1990s, a reconsideration of this position has surfaced, and in certain places, pilgrimages to cillíní have been undertaken in order to restore dignity to those whose familial loss was aggravated by Church fiat. In certain places, ‘non-sacred’ graves have been opened and their remains reinterred in family plots. In County Mayo, a place called Crucán na bPáiste (The Burial Place of the Children) typifies how one community made its cillín sacred. Boundaries were demarcated and a walkway created. A plaque highlighting the site’s significance was erected, and a song by the same name in the Irish language was published on YouTube©.


9 Spain’s Mystical Adventure: Walking in the Footsteps of Teresa of Ávila



Spain’s Mystical Adventure: Walking in the Footsteps of Teresa of Ávila

Mary Farrelly*

University College Dublin (UCD), Dublin, Ireland

While promoting Huellas de Teresa, a new pilgrimage route opening in October 2014 to commemorate the fifth centenary of Teresa of Ávila’s birth, Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernando Díaz remarked that he felt sure the saint, ‘from above, where she has great power’, would ensure the success of the project just as she was interceding for Spain during these ‘tough times’. The minister’s comments sparked controversy concerning Spain’s increasingly blurred lines between church and state and reignited the tension between the country’s dual traditions of mystic spirituality and institutionalized religion. Indeed, Teresa’s journey has always been one that traces the lines of intersection between these planes. The interior voyage mapped out in her literary work and her physical journeys around Spain as a foundress of convents combine to produce a uniquely dynamic sacred geography, equipped to shift between planes of metaphorical, physical and virtual experience. However, for nearly 40 years the Francoist regime laid claim to both her literary work and the Discalced Carmelite convents that will now form the main attractions along this new route, robbing Teresa’s mystical landscape of its polysemic value in order to assimilate it into a more politically useful, monophonic national narrative. Focusing particularly on filmic representations of the Teresian journey, this chapter considers the new Huellas de Teresa tour in the context of the many attempts to restore semantic dynamism and mystic vitality to the Teresian journey since Spain’s transition to democracy.


10 Dreaming of Al-Quds (Jerusalem): Pilgrimage and Visioning



Dreaming of Al-Quds (Jerusalem):

Pilgrimage and Visioning

Ian S. McIntosh*

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

A visioning process pursued by students at Gaza University in a virtual classroom from 2012 to 2014 recognized the potential of pilgrimage to deliver positive outcomes in three critical areas, namely: (i) healing; (ii) marketplace development; and (iii) building a culture of peace. Gaza students were inspired by their shared vision for the future. In 2050 the now forbidden pilgrimage to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) was attracting over 3 million pilgrims from across the Muslim world. This pilgrimage, one of the largest in Islam, was now the cornerstone of a vibrant and sustainable tourist industry in the Gaza Strip, a bridge to interfaith cooperation, and a catalyst for peace in the region. Gaza, in this vision of the future, had itself undergone an astonishing transformation. Its seaport and airport were now among the busiest in the Mediterranean and the gateway for pilgrims and tourists alike. By drawing upon student reflections on the visioning process, and case studies of other pilgrimages – both peacerelated and ‘forbidden’ – this chapter highlights the relationship between this wished-for journey of pilgrims to the sacred centre in Al-Quds and the journey of the Gaza Strip itself from its current state of crisis to its liberation and prosperity.


11 The Future Generations Ride of the Lakota Sioux



The Future Generations

Ride of the Lakota Sioux

George D. Greenia*

The College of William & Mary in Virginia University, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

On 29 December 1890, an unanticipated but malicious massacre of Lakota Sioux took place near Wounded

Knee Creek in South Dakota. In advance of the centenary of this tragedy in 1990, a commemorative midwinter horseback ride was organized by members of the Lakota Nation who are now largely confined to reservations and suffer from a poverty rate of 50% and an unemployment rate of 70%. The modern trek was staged intuitively from the outset as a pilgrimage event, commemorative in nature and as a solemn procession to a site of mourning, much as secular pilgrims visit sites like the Atocha train station in Madrid, Guernica in the north of Spain or Ground Zero in New York. The Big Foot Memorial Ride concluded annually on the anniversary of the tragedy and covered some 200–300 miles, the approximate number of Indian deaths in 1890. The 1990 mourning ritual has been supplanted by a redesigned communal event enlarged and deepened in scope, the Future Generations


12 Pilgrimage and the Challenging of a Canadian Foundational Myth



Pilgrimage and the Challenging of a Canadian Foundational Myth

Matthew R. Anderson*

Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Walking pilgrimage is growing in popularity. Initiatives to create routes on Canadian soil raise an important issue: how should local pilgrimage reflect Indigenous1 history and concerns? As First Nations leaders point out, all Canadians are ‘treaty people’ (i.e. on one side or the other of historical agreements concerning land). They call for Canadian academics and artists to help raise awareness of a suppressed history and of its ongoing, and devastating, consequences. Despite this, First Nations and Métis2 groups are often ignored in Canadian pilgrimage discourse. The North West Mounted Police (NWMP) Trail is a 300-km track across the northern Great Plains. It was roughly parallel to this route that the first recruits of Canada’s military force marched west in 18743 to establish a police presence on Canada’s western frontier. The story of their nearly disastrous trek, while not as well known as it might be, is none the less celebrated (Wilson, 2007, p. 248). What is less well known is that the



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