What was once simple, has become a more complex, in depth experience for an author. At one point going to see what held a unique, or special meaning to the author was what defined a literary pilgrimage. What is a pilgrimage? By definition is is a journey or search for moral or spiritual significance. Often it is a physical journey, yet there are ones which take place withing a person’s heart. Each must decide for themselves what they are seeking, where they are meant to be.
For some authors, their journey may not even mean leaving the comfort of their home. For me, its about rediscovering the link between the love of reading and the love of writing Its a journey of renewal, of spiritual, creative, and emotional growth. Its not always an easy thing to do. Personal commitments, family, day jobs, and obstacles put in place by the author can derail their journey.
Understanding the need for the pilgrimages, I believe is the first step. Why would one need to take that first step? I can’t answer the question beyond my own experience. My pilgrimage started because I felt compelled to reconnect with my writing. I had lost touch with it due to events and stresses which were beyond my control, and like most people I focused on my family, on the well being of others before myself. This lead me to turn from the part of my soul which is fed by writing. I needed to recharge my spiritual batteries by allowing myself to rekindle my love of writing.
The first difficult step in the journey makes each following step more powerful, more empowering. You have to understand and accept you are meant to be challenged, to put your energy into your search for what is significant. Its designed to make you look beyond the lies we tell ourselves, the masks we wear, and the ruts we live within to dig down to the truth in our souls.
As an experience, a literary pilgrimage is both painful and exhilarating. It makes you really look at what you feel, what your heart is telling you. It is a complex and lengthy process designed to break through the barriers we erect. Pilgrimages, are something we as authors, as humans, need in our lives. They are inherently challenging, and yet they are spiritual, empowering, and really as a means of self-awareness are an invaluable journey.