Friday, November 5, 2010

Being on a Pilgrimage Versus Being a Traveler on a Trip

Found this fascinating comparison between pilgrimage and traveling on "Zero News." There is a difference between the two, though travel and pilgrimage overlap:

Of the three archaic reasons for travel - call them «war», «trade», and «pilgrimage» - which one gave birth to tourism? Some would automatically answer that it must be pilgrimage. The pilgrim goes «there» to see, the pilgrim normally brings back some souvenir; the pilgrim takes «time off» from daily life; the pilgrim has non-material goals. In this way, the pilgrim foreshadows the tourist.

But the pilgrim undergoes a shift of consciousness, and for the pilgrim that shift is real. Pilgrimage is a form of initiation, and initiation is an opening to other forms of cognition.

We can detect something of the real difference between pilgrim and tourist, however, by comparing their effects on the places they visit. Changes in a place-a city, a shrine, a forest-may be subtle, but at least they can be observed. The state of the soul may be a matter for conjecture, but perhaps we can say something about the state of the social.

As I get ready to go on a pilgrimage with School of the Pilgrim, these are good words to remember.


Buen Camino!


No comments: