A pilgrimage is a journey of both body and spirit, most often to unfamiliar and sacred lands seeking new or enhanced insights about oneself, others or the world through lived experience. Going on a pilgrimage rarely leaves the pilgrim unchanged as a pilgrimage is not simply a holiday or guided tour. A pilgrim engages with sacred or significant sites on an existential, spiritual level. While on the way, the pilgrim asks big questions, reflects on their own lives and place in the world, challenging what might be otherwise accepted wisdom or personal norms. Being a genuine pilgrim is a spiritual experience leading often to personal transformation and, sometimes, in so doing, a little discomfort.
A pilgrimage might be to a sacred site within one’s own country or continent, but is most often an international experience guided by spiritual teachers. For example, one might go on pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy, to explore the life and ministry of St Francis or to the Scottish island of Iona in search of Celtic inspiration.
The duration, location and nature of retreats varies depending upon the needs of those seeking retreat and retreat leaders. Some retreats are silent, some involve much conversation. A retreat can be one day at a local site of cultural or spiritual significance, or two weeks at a residential Retreat Centre or Monastery.
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