Beltane Pilgrimage – After the Event

It seemed the gods were looking kindly on our venture, ensuring that Dartmoor which has been pretty soggy underfoot for most of the last year had a couple of weeks drying weather before we started out.

Along with good weather we had a group of people (17 of us in all) participating who proved their resilience in what is probably the most physically challenging part of the whole pilgrimage route. The unfamiliarity of wild camping, loo pits and no showers was taken in people’s stride. I hope I’m not making it sound too much like hard work!

Although physically quite demanding the pilgrimage was not designed as a feat of endurance, rather an opportunity for each of us to step out of the comfort zone of our day to day lives, to walk through some of the most beautiful landscapes in England and visit a number of places of spiritual significance along the way. In these places we co- created ceremony and opportunities for sharing that felt potent and sacred.

In slowing down for these few days, walking in silence for much of the time, we were able to attune more deeply with ourselves and the earth.

Thomas Merton said: “The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.”

Crossing Dartmoor at Beltane we experienced both.

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