There are places in this world that will take your breath away.
Places that stop you in your tracks.
Places that make your heart race.
These are the types of places that awaken a desire…no, not desire.
A necessity to explore more.
Due to distinctive natural features or in being a site where something important happened, some places may be regarded as special or sacred. Being present at these sites can deepen understanding, appreciation, and commitment to ideals that the place represents.
In traditional religions, places with meaning include Jerusalem, Mecca, the Vatican, and the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment in India.
For religious naturalists, they can include the Gallapagos Islands, Yosemite, Walden Pond, Star Island. They can also include places that played roles in developing a naturalist understanding and religious responses to the natural world, such as the homes of insightful authors or places they wrote about, and sites of discovery and places where values were fought for.
In addition to well-known public sites, pilgrimages can also be made to sites that have personal history or meaning, such as former homes, family graves, sites of important life events, and natural places that can prompt reflection.
Considering a pilgrimage points attention toward an ideal. And, as this prompts contemplation or learning, the planning, in itself, can contribute to making the message of a place become more a part of ourselves.
The journey provides a transition.
Physical presence in the place provides a connection –to both the stories and ideas that make the place important, and to other pilgrims (past, present, and future) who revere the place and its meaning.