The Flowing Source
Today, less than twenty percent of English people claim they are religious. The remaining eighty percent may find the Medieval associations of pilgrimage instinctively condemn it as irrelevant to their modern lives. To revive English pilgrimage, it must belong to all/no religions.
This is perfectly natural. Pilgrimage transcends boundaries and beliefs, a human tradition unlimited by the precepts of any single faith system. But this does not render it secular. Along with music, pilgrimage is a core pillar of spiritual experience, the raw stuff from which religion is made. Without it, our spirituality relies on dogma and intellectualism. With it, we journey through the glory and mystery of creation. Pilgrimage is the desert, the sacred tree, the holy mountain and the eternal spring. It lets you feel God in your bones.
The root of pilgrimage as a holy journey is simple. If you believe in omnipresent creative forces, by whichever name, the natural creation is their expression. Walking slowly through nature is a way to become closer to such a God. Improving the health of your body is a way to become closer to such a God. Meeting and helping strangers on the path is a way to become closer to such a God. Pilgrimage is a full access route to such a closeness, whatever your belief scheme. It is simply sacred, a holistically holy holiday.