October 19, 2021 at 9:07 pm #73019Stephen GerringerKeymaster
Over the years I have travelled to several sacred sites in the United States, most related to Native American traditions.
Of course, as Joseph Campbell notes, sacred places like Jerusalem, Mecca, Harney Peak in South Dakota, and elsewhere are metaphors, and not necessarily to be taken literally . . . and yet, at the same time, an act of pilgrimage can be a powerful ritual that enacts the hero quest and serves to midwife transformation.
I’m curious about your experiences of sacred sites. Who has been to the prehistoric caves in France, or sites sacred to the Goddess in Turkey, or the pyramids, the vortexes in Sedona, Macchu Pichu, and so on?
Did you consciously set out on a pilgrimage (like Jean Shinoda Bolen in “Crossing to Avalon,” or pilgrims walking El Camino de Santiago in Spain)? What prompted your journey: what were you hoping to accomplish, and did you succeed? Was this a life-changing experience for you?
Of course, you don’t need to have set out on an exclusive pilgrimage to visit hallowed places in order to have a life-changing experience; a side-trip as part of a leisure vacation can be just as powerful.
Please feel free to share your stories of places that moved you, whether natural (sacred springs, sacred mountains), or manmade (pyramids, cathedrals, etc.)October 20, 2021 at 9:29 pm #73022MarsParticipant
It ultimately converged to Frazer’s The Golden Bough, explaining the customs of long ago, and the worship of Diana (the prime hunting goddess) and this remarkable priesthood of the king of the wood, and being there, under the little city of Nemi, on the other rim of the craterlake the old and new towns of Arricia, a complete ruin of a temple complex, excavated with toothbrushes to preserved what had left, but circling around, on the west side the mirroring lake, blues and blushes, on the steep eastern slope the remnants of a forest green and shady and no one was there, and everything was there, as if one was peering through the looking glass throughout all forgotten history.
And a year later, suddenly abundently surrounded by these golden branches falling from a tree I briefly paused under. Yet one other pelgrimage awaits me, as an antipode in the underworld.October 22, 2021 at 5:02 pm #73021
What an amazing pilgrimage in an ancient place, where you came across the city of Nemi, and across the crater-lake was Diana’s temple complex, “excavated with toothbrushes …… but circling around, on the west side the mirroring lake, blues and blushes, on the steep eastern slope the remnants of a forest green and shady and no one was there, and everything was there …” The key phrase here, for me, what sort of describes my experience too is, ” and no one was there, and everything was there“. Personally, I wish I could visit my sacred pilgrimage site and maybe just for a minute embrace that same feeling of fullness and awe, as if “no one was there, and everything was there.”
My question to you is, did you intentionally take this trip as a pilgrimage or you experienced a sacred-pilgrimage-feeling while touring this ancient complex? Did you have the same reaction on your second visit? Would you visit again, as a sacred site?
“I’m curious about your experiences of sacred sites. Who has been to the prehistoric caves in France, or sites sacred to the Goddess in Turkey, or the pyramids, the vortexes in Sedona, Macchu Pichu, and so on?”
I have visited some ancient religious-sites in Norway, Turkey, Pakistan and India — ancient churches in Norway, Oslo and Bergen in particular; a Viking site; Sophia church-mosque-museum in Turkey, Ottoman mosques in Istanbul, and quite a few ancient temples in India. I have also visited ancient Native American burial mounds near Salt Lake City. Have I had a feeling of awe and wonder, of a sacred pilgrimage, of being there, and not being there, “no one was there, and everything was there?” Alas, no.
But I did have many moments of awe, many moments of wonder and moments that I wished could last forever and ever, where I and the place were one, where no one but I and the place existed, and I do wish I could be in that sacred place once again. My sacred place is the fjords between Oslo and Bergen. The trip was intended as a sight-seeing trip, but ended as a Pilgrimage to Norway’s silent blue lakes, clean sparkling waterways, smooth gentle waves along the fjords, where the fog from above and the mist from below met and danced. I am ruining this by describing that which can not be described, really. As you said, Stephen, “Of course, you don’t need to have set out on an exclusive pilgrimage to visit hallowed places in order to have a life-changing experience; a side-trip as part of a leisure vacation can be just as powerful.”
Thank you Mars for your words that do capture that sacred feeling, “no one was there, and everything was there“.
Love and gratitude
NB: “Fjord, from the norse “fjörðr”, means “der man ferder over” (English “where you travel across”) or “å sette over på den andre siden” (english “put across to the other side”).”October 22, 2021 at 8:23 pm #73020MarsParticipant
…did you intentionally take this trip as a pilgrimage…
It coincided with my wife’s preverence to visit Italy (again) and my closing in of Frazer Golden Bough, then, so there we ended up, below Nemi’s hazy rim.
Being dutch, I’m able to read it (på is difficult yet projective):
“der man ferder over” – the man ford/further over
“å sette over på den andre siden” – a site over go/pass the other side
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