Pilgrimages – is it so strange to be plural?

Most of us have heard of religious pilgrimage.  For some there are also professional pilgrimages: in the old days – writers and actors and actresses would go to New York City or Los Angelos.  There are other places of course, but the reality is that these are two great places for people seeking to advance in those professions.  For advanced education people could consider wherever they go to university to be a sort of pilgrimage.

For religious pilgrimages, there are a variety of places and events, depending to some degree on what you are like.   For Jews and Christians and Muslims there is Jerusalem in Israel, but for Christians and Muslims that is not the only place – this is probably fortunate if only for the sake of convenience.

Having grown up Unitarian Universalist – General Assembly is also an official place of pilgrimage.  In another sense, for Unitarians and Universalists, Boston, Massachusetts is also a sort of ‘Mecca’.  That is because the oldest and first American congregation is based there in Boston and the majority of families for whom there really are generations of Unitarians and/or Universalists may well be in or near Boston.

Of course there is Mecca, for Muslims.  Being very ignorant about Islam but knowing slightly more than nothing, like most of you I realize that the 5 prayers every day are supposed to be done facing in the direction of the city of Mecca.

Pilgrimages can be deeply personal and may not make sense to the wider public.  Some are ‘niche’ places, such as Lothlorien in Indiana.  As in the case with many initiations, either this means something to you or else it does not.  If it does, then you know what it means.  If you have an intuition about it, but not a logical reason, there is a good chance you are correct about your intuition.

Well, in general I am in favor of people conducting pilgrimages.  The effort and the experience of it are meaningful.  Some of it is simply the effect of ritual and part of it is the pure influence of experience.  Whether it is main stream or not, I would tend to advocate pilgrimage.

Feel free to give your point of view through posting a comment.


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