An American Pilgrimage

Update September 19 and 29, 2019

After some lovely time in Pennsylvania this month sharing the badly needed message of Hope, organizing some women for water blessing ceremonies, talking about my “nomadic life,” and offering my most recent book at a couple book signings, travel plans continue to unfold for the month of October.  I will definitely be going to the Jim Thorpe area before heading up to Vermont.  Then, if the “finance fairy” sheds her grace on me, I would like to stop at a couple places in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York on the way back.  This is still up in the air.

After the jaunt up to New England and back, I will settle in Bucks County for an as-yet-undetermined amount of time.  There are several things in varying stages of planning, including but not limited to:

  • Several women’s water blessing ceremonies (If you’re interested in participating, please contact me.)
  • A trip to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to offer prayers for those native children who were forced to attend the infamous “Indian boarding school”
  • A trip to Gettysburg to offer prayers for the land and the more than 6000 soldiers who are buried there
  • Networking with area hospices, sharing my book, and hopefully offering some in-services

As always, I wish you peace and continue to pray for our beloved planet.

 

Update August 22, 2019

This commitment to Pilgrimage requires a lot of flexibility.  Like my good friend who recently walked the famous Camino de Santiago in Spain then injured her knee on the second day and had to take an unexpected two weeks off to recover, I often have to change my plans based on availability of funds.  I had planned a long journey this summer, but now I will instead be doing a small trip to Southeastern Colorado next week so that I can honor the spirits of the people who were so brutally slain and desecrated in a massacre that occurred a little over 150 years ago.  I’ll spend a couple days camping in the area and settling into the sense of place before doing some prayer ceremonies for the Cheyenne and Arapaho people–mostly innocent women, children, and elders.
 
I am going to ask several friends in various parts of the country to help hold sacred space with me.  I welcome also your prayers for the good people whose lives were taken so unexpectedly, as well as for the descendants who live with this horror in the cells of their bodies.  May all find peace in the realms of their ancestors and in this good Earth who holds us all in her motherly embrace.
 

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)

August:  Bucks County, PA (my hometown!)

Autumn: Vermont, then hopefully Maine and Massachusetts

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.”

UPDATE  1/8/19

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.)

Update 3/20/19

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.