In pilgrimage, one’s inner journey reflects the outer journey. There are as many ways to make a pilgrimage as there are pilgrims, but a thread of sacred intent weaves through them all. Author Sally Welch says it thus: The essence of pilgrimage is made in a spirit of searching, with an openness to what the journey can teach.
We will be walking a traditional pilgrim route, an early stage of the famed Camino de Santiago de Compostela which winds its way from various points in Europe, gathering momentum as it crosses from France into Spain, and onwards to Santiago de Compostela. The road of St James, or the Milky Way as it is often known. The symbol of this pilgrimage is the scallop shell. Today, as in the Middle Ages, thousands of people walk the route each year, guided by a series of emblems which mark the route and point the way. Our feet will be joining their footprints.
The Paris to Chartres route is an early stage of the Camino, chosen because of its personal significance to us. We will be walking from Notre Dame de Paris to Notre Dame de Chartres, culminating with a walk on the labyrinth before we make our way to the High Altar. It is a pilgrimage to the Divine Mother.
Before leaving Paris, we will visit three places, the Basilica of Sacre Coeur on Montmartre, the Tower of St. James, and Notre Dame,, where we will light candles to set our intention and dedicate our journey to Mother Mary, who represents the Divine Feminine. Very early Tuesday morning, we will set out from the heart of Paris, walking towards the Porte d’Orleans, and out into the countryside.
We will walk for three days, hoping to arrive in Chartres on Thursday afternnon, where we will be met by a dear friend and spiritual mentor, Rebecca Rodriguez. We have been invited by Veriditas to join them in their special evening labyrinth walk that evening. We’ll spend Friday in the spectacular cathedral, enjoying and appreciating its treasures and beauty before heading back to London via Paris on Saturday aftenoon.
We are honored and blessed to be supported on this pilgrimage by many friends in various way. Some are lighting candles, some have given small tokens to carry, others are holding us in prayer. Our altar tonight, as we prepare to leave at dawn tomorrow, reflects the love and support of dear friends.
We ask you to keep us in your hearts as we journey….