Pilgrimage: The Soul in Search of Itself

Just this week I got a flyer in the mail from the New York Center for Jungian Studies, advertising their 2013 Jung in Ireland program. One program was titled "Pilgrimage: The Soul in Search of Itself," and the copy gets to the heart of much of what I have tried to evoke in my writings on Babalú-Ayé and pilgrimage.

"Pilgrimage, an archetype representing the search for spiritual centeredness and wholeness, compels us to separate ourselves from ordinary life and place, and to embark on a meaningful encounter with what C.G. Jung calls the “Self.” Throughout the ages, people from all walks of life and every religious tradition have embarked on pilgrimages, explorations that mirror a spiritual journey inward to reflect on our life’s meaning and purpose.

Just as no two people are the same, no two pilgrimages are the same. Some necessitate a concrete and literal destination, while others consist of an inner, self-directed goal. But all pilgrimages have in common a restless human longing for depth, transcendence, and, ultimately, an authentic sense of being at home with ourselves in an ever-changing world. These are found in the soul’s search for itself. And, as such, we are all pilgrims.

"...We...come to understand how the often perilous journey and difficult inner work of the pilgrim is not so much of discovery but of rediscovery, not attainment but a reinstatement of the original human condition and even, as some would have it, a way back to a world of meaning and spirit."

(The image is a pilgrim on the way to Rincón, Cuba, as part of the annual festival of San Lázaro.)


  1. "...not attainment but a reinstatement..." I find comfort in that.

  2. Seeking the original human condition is part of that same human condition.


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