The Call to Pilgrimage

Woman heeling with hat down to mountain spring

Last week the fall winds arrived. They came in a great gust on the equinox, turning the leaves upside down and silver. By nightfall the humidity of summer had dropped away, and the first truly cold evening of the season made the stars sharpen. Every year the winds of autumn usher in the same longing in me (maybe you feel it too?)— the call to pilgrimage.

Pilgrimage is at the heart of who we are as species, it’s how we moved throughout the world. Though journeys can be taken in any season, autumn is a traditional time for inner-reorientation and movement. In fall our nomadic ancestors would have been traveling to rich hunting grounds or sheltered valleys to set up their cozy winter camps.

Even though many of us are more settled these days, every autumn the living world is in motion. Great flocks move across the earth, migrating to their winter grounds, and the land is criss-crossed by the pathways of creatures busily gathering and preparing.

Are you feeling the heart-urge to travel, move, or simply encounter an uncharted aspect of yourself this fall? My new video will help you recognize the signs that you’re being called to pilgrimage— and what to expect once you step into that journey.

Normally, autumn is the time of the year when I get out my passport and undertake big journeys. During the pandemic a lot of my travel plans have been put on pause— but that doesn’t mean my pilgrimages have ended.

Being a pilgrim is a state of mind, an inner experience of deepening self-knowledge that comes from an encounter with a landscape. You don’t need to travel across the world to go on pilgrimage. Sometimes the most profound spiritual journeys are right outside our front door.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve taken pilgrimages much closer to home. Simply by visiting holy places around the corner, I’ve learned so much about myself, arriving deeper into my place on this earth. You don’t have to visit a foreign country to experience the power of pilgrimage, sometimes all you need is a local hilltop or a spring in a silent spruce-filled forest.

Pilgrimage feels like a call because that’s exactly what it is. The earth is calling you to connect again, to remember your gifts and create more wholeness in your wake. These sacred places long for you, just as you long for them, because at their heart, all pilgrimages are simply a chance to bless the world… and be blessed in return.