Linda's Reviews > The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred

The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau
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's review
Dec 28, 10

Read in December, 2010

If I think about the criteria for a sacred journey as outlined in The Art of Pilgrimage, I have been applying Cousineau’s suggestions for the past decade or so. (1) Ask yourself what would constitute a sacred destination for you. (2) Read deeply on the desired goal. (3) When you get there try to absorb the mystery of the place and the spirits that have preceded you. As a travel writer that is what I do. What he does not emphasize is how important it is to go by yourself so that you may sink into the experience without the distraction of others. Possibly this is because he leads cultural tours and acts as a guide for groups seeking a more intense travel experience.
My most sacred journey was a trip to Waipio Valley on the Big Island of Hawai’i. This verdant valley framed by 3,000-foot cliffs has been the resting place of chiefs for centuries. The bones of ancestors are hidden in caves in the walls of the cliffs. The gateway to Milu the underwater spirit world of Po is on the edge of the crescent shore at the mouth of the valley. It was imperative that I make this pilgrimage alone so that I might commune with the ancients.
Reading one of Cousineau’s books is like a refresher course in art history and English literature rolled into the new age. There are enough quotable quotes to get you through the most erudite gathering with flying colors. Always well written, and thought provoking, I find his books a welcome respite from the ordinary.

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