The Act of Pilgrimage discusses the identifying elements of both religious and secular pilgrimages and how a pilgrimage differs from other travel experiences. The author and 20 respondents to a questionnaire made a pilgrimage to one or more of four sacred sites in France: Buddhist Plum Village, the Christian healing waters of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Goddess-worship-related labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, and the dark pilgrimage site of Drancy Transit Camp where WWII French and refugee Jewish deportees were held. It became apparent to the author that intent and transformation are the core elements of a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is a physical journey that can result in profound spiritual and psychological transformation. In a post-modern, consumer society a pilgrimage is still an effective catalyst for evoking experiences of reverence, defined here as heightened intellectual and emotional responses to the world, tinged with awe.
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