Update May 28, 2019
While on a job this past week which provided me with a peaceful haven in which to do some gentle soul-searching, I came to the surprising conclusion that I wasn’t yet ready to go on the next leg of my journey after all. This decision was precipitated by my sadness in realizing I would miss the cholla in bloom. When I allowed myself to stop and consider the possibility of postponing the pilgrimage, I felt an inner sigh of relief.
1) I realized it would be too stressful without sufficient funds, and
2) I found myself wanting to establish greater roots in Santa Fe before leaving. I am just now beginning to get acquainted with some wonderful spiritual groups and potential great friends.That said, I still very much hope sometime this year to begin again to cross this continent in search of good people, sacred places, and pockets of profoundly beautiful nature. Meanwhile, I hope to practice the art of pilgrimage while not traveling.
Stay tuned. And peace be with you.
UPDATE! May 17, 2019
After leaving Mt. Shasta last August and traversing through northern California, Oregon, Idaho, and staying in gorgeous northwestern Montana for about a month, I journeyed down to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a talk and ended up settling there. It was a wonderful place to spend the winter. (Northern New Mexico still has four seasons, but the winters are relatively mild because it’s high desert and there is a lot of sun.) Staying in Santa Fe gave me an opportunity to do a lot of writing (while also recovering from a broken ankle!) And I discovered a spiritual community I really resonate with. (They do a lot of singing, praying, dancing, and ritual for the Earth. My kind of people!)
And now Spirit is calling me to be on the road again. I know I need to once again immerse myself in nature, visit sacred sites, meet and visit some friends along the way, and most especially, offer more prayer. There are so many people and places, bodies of water and animals calling out for prayer and love. I also feel the need to share my book—wherever people are caring for loved ones and grieving.
TENTATIVE ITINERARY for 2019:
Beginning of June: Taos, NM; Crestone, CO; Colorado Springs, CO; Sand Creek in Kiowa County, CO (site of sad massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho people–mostly women and children)
Latter half of June: Boulder, CO; Wyoming; western MT; eastern MT (Cheyenne Reservation); Bear Lodge (Devil’s Tower), WY; Bear Butte, SD
July: the Badlands, SD; Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge Reservation, SD (Lakota); Pipestone National Monument, MN; Effigy Mounds (Harpers Ferry, IA); Madison, WI; Upper Peninsula, MI; Serpent Mound (Adams County, OH); Berkeley Springs, WV;
August: Bucks County, PA (my hometown!), etc.
Once again, I am stepping forth in faith, with limited resources. I would be very, very grateful for your prayers. I would also love opportunities to give talks (especially at hospices and hospitals, in places of worship and in private homes), do book signings, and offer prayers and songs at the sacred waters (especially with interested women’s groups.)
Here is a beautiful water song I learned that I would love to share and sing with others: https://www.singthewatersong.com/songlyrics
And if any of you feel called to make a donation to this journey, I would be so very grateful to have your support.
THE HISTORY of how this Pilgrimage began:
When you feel a strong intuitive call, do you answer?
In the late spring of 2018, over the course of several weeks, I felt this extremely persistent message that I was supposed to be traveling the country. I knew it wasn’t meant to be a vacation. I knew it was Spirit calling me and I knew that it had something to do with my soul’s growth and purpose. When it’s Spirit calling, how can I help but say yes?
What was I supposed to do on this journey? (I knew it wasn’t a trip; it was a journey. There is a profound difference.) I decided I would be communing with nature, visiting sacred sites, offering prayers at “the wounded places,” and writing about the experience. I knew it my heart this would be a sacred journey. I began to realize it would be a pilgrimage.
At first I was fantasizing about outfitted vans or motor homes or pick-up trucks towing a tiny house. But as the last day of work approached and I realized I wouldn’t have enough money for these more luxurious items, I started purchasing camping equipment. The important thing was to go. The important thing was to start. I needed to show Spirit that I was willing to answer the call, no matter what.
The journey began August 22, 2018. It turned out to be so much more profound than I expected. There was definitely a strong inner component to the outer journey. And the inner journey has been very rich. (To get a brief glimpse, read The Peace, Power and Challenges of Pilgrimage)
As I traveled, the reasons for the journey continued to unfold. One of the more important things I was being called to do was offer a lot of prayer. I had become very sensitive to the many areas on this continent where there have been massacres of native people. It feels very important to me that those of us with white skin acknowledge these specific atrocities and offer heartfelt prayers for the spirits of those who were killed and the hearts of those who remain. We all suffer from these unhealed wounds of pain, anger, and grief; as well as guilt and shame.
Most of us have heard of Wounded Knee due to Dee Brown’s seminal book, but very few of us have ever heard of the huge massacres of the Tolowa people near Crescent City, CA or the Cheyenne and Arapaho at Sand Creek, Colorado or the Tompiro in the Sandia Mountains, NM or the Pequot in Mystic, Connecticut. All of these massacres resulted in even more deaths than those at Wounded Knee. And yet, most of us were never taught this! The land holds the energy of the suffering, and those descendants who live on hold the heaviness in their hearts.
Occasionally I will stumble upon other things that trigger the empathic part of me, like piles and piles and piles of trees at lumber yards, or tiny “veal” houses at a dairy farm . (The day I saw those little white shelters at the dairy farm was a very, very difficult day. Fortunately there were no calves inside them at the time. I returned to offer prayers nearby the following day. I prayed for the calves and the cows and a change of heart among the farmers. I prayed long. I will be writing about this in more depth, too, you can be sure.)
After “heavy” experiences, I am learning I need to restore my spirit in a place of sublime beauty or power. I think this is something we all have to learn to allow space for. This is a really challenging time on the planet. We have to care for that sensitive part of ourselves which suffers from it all.
The itinerary below reflects the path traveled thus far:
REVISED ITINERARY for the First Few Months (updated 10/1/18)
- Powerful Castle Crags and sacred Mt. Shasta, CA
- North to Ashland, Oregon
- West on Rte. 96 along the Klamath River, through Happy Camp and Orleans (home to Native people and purported home of Bigfoot)
- The redwoods at Humbolt and Del Norte Counties, CA
- Crescent City, CA — Jedediah Smith Redwood Park and site of Tolowa massacre (prayer ceremony)
- North to Bandon, OR (prayer ceremony)
- North along the western coast, stopping at various places to commune with the ocean
- Sand Dunes of Oregon
- East to Christmas Valley, OR
- Northeast to Montana –Polson; Flathead Reservation of the Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreilles; Glacier National Park; Garden of 1000 Buddhas
For most of October, I stayed in the northwestern section of Montana, south of beautiful Flathead Lake in Polson and also in the sweet village of Arlee. I was really blessed to get to know both wonderful, intuitive (non-native) women and, gradually, members of the local tribal people as well, including one elder who is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter. It is such a blessing to begin to feel embraced in a new community. The fact that I so quickly felt loved and welcomed is a testament both to Montana’s people and to the spirits who called me there. (Yes, I had quite an amazing mystical experience and sacred dream while camping in the spectacular Mission Mountains!)
In November, through the beautiful generosity of several friends, I was able to travel down to Santa Fe, NM where I was scheduled to give a talk called “The Guiding Light of Our Inner God Self.”
I am currently on a small hiatus from the “official” pilgrimage. My initial focus after giving the talk was completing my book, Grief and Grace: Essays on Love and Beauty in the Midst of Dying. (Now published through Amazon. Or you can get a signed copy by sending me a message. ( See “Written Work” )
I don’t yet know all the reasons I am being asked to stay here in Santa Fe a while, but I trust that it is all for a higher purpose. (And I also hope to return to Montana at some point. I felt a real heart-spirit connection there.)
I completed a booklet about the part of my pilgrimage which involved serendipitous encounters with native places, people, traditions, and spirits. If you are curious, you can obtain this directly from me. Go to Written Work and look for Pilgrimage through Native Lands: A White Woman’s Journey of Discovery and Remembrance.
The journey continues. One step at a time. One day at a time.
Big bountiful blessings to you as we each work in our way to create a better world.