Dawn in the Pilgrim’s Heart

IMG_0101It is time to begin to think about the pilgrimage trail.  I have had quite a hibernation since the Chicago Dream Quest, but something is just beginning to stir in me.  I look out my window at the pale winter sun, and set my mind on dreaming the pilgrimage trail that organizes my life. This is a good moment for setting the course,

I think about Rupert Sheldrake’s dictum that the world would change fundamentally  if every tourist became a pilgrim.  I know that this has been true for me since I began my wanderings early in my life.  I met Chartres when I was 21,on my honeymoon , and with no thought of being a pilgrim,.  The feeling of belonging and homecoming that  I still remember began my lifelong connection with that fount of the Sacred Feminine.  Perhaps I became a pilgrim without even knowing it!   Nothing stirs me, brings me awake and makes me more of service to spirit than travel.  Falling in love with place and culture and people opens my heart.

This year my first opportunity for pilgrimage is the Veriditas sponsored  Women’s Retreat in La Falda, Argentina.  Two years ago I was part of the crew that built the first legacy labyrinth in La Falda’s town square.  Alla Arriba Retreat Center invited us to create this labyrinth, wanting to gift the community that had historically been a haven for Nazi’s after WWII with a path of truth and reconciliation.  The town is sleepy, set in beautiful rollinghills, near the sacred mountain, Uritorco.  Our time will be spent in the circle, participating in the Temescal, the Andean version of the sweat lodge and ultimately a climb up the sacred mountain.  As I write,  I remember the welcoming Argentine culture, the friendly town dogs, the lovely shrine to Mary on the hillside.  Yes, clearly,  visiting this place  will be right and wonderful.   More wonderful yet is sharing my love of this place with others.  I know that each of us will be forever changed by making a personal connection with Fernando and Enrique and Kristin and their friends.  The town people will notice our presence and the distance between cultures will lessen with a common heart space opened.

After Argentina,  I will return to Wales and Poland in April/May, Kauai in July, Avalon, Chartres,and Portugal in September.  Each of these places live in the invisible geography of my psyche.  I visit them in my dreams and believe that the web of connection that grows with each circle formed helps make us all awake to the personal connection we each have with our Earth.  Sheldrake’s comment reminds me of  Martin Buber’s notion of I-Thou.  When we encounter another being as Thou as opposed to It, we know God.  I believe it is the same with place.  Imagine holding our planet with all her cultures and inhabitants as Thou.