Shamanic Vision: Living Life through the Eyes of the Heart Issue #5: September, 2017 - Page 11

Historically, a pilgrimage involved travel to destinations considered holy, such as to temples, churches, and shrines, or a physical journey to natural settings that is considered sacred for a special reason. Natural destinations, such as springs or wells, might be places where miraculous healing occurs, or a place where an important event happened, such as the site noted where one can discover enlightenment or perhaps a noted Deity or Saint died. For the Shamanic Practitioner, the pilgrimage to a sacred place in nature can be as easy as a few hours’ hike to a waterfall or grove of trees where you have ongoing relationships with the spirits or where you go to perform simple rituals. We should not dismiss the one-day hike as a form of spiritual practice. Even a hike along an unfamiliar woodland trail or through a state park you have never yet explored can be done in the spirit of pilgrimage, to spend time closer to nature than you ordinarily do in your daily life, to seek instruction and wisdom from the spirits of that place or from your own spirits who accompany you on the trek. Physical activities such as hiking, camping, rock climbing, or canoeing takes us outdoors into the natural world. Through our physical exertion, We show Spirit that how serious we take our practice, and the “little” sufferings that may occur along the way— fatigue, thirst, sweat, blisters, scratches, and bites—are signs of our commitment to know nature and her forces in a physical way. Shaman Igjugarjuk of the Inuit people says: “True wisdom can only to be found far away from people, out in the great solitude. It is through suffering that wisdom comes.”