In January, travel firm, booking.com, predicted pilgrimages will be one of the top 7 holiday trends for 2023. To quote their research, “Travel is set to take ‘mind, body and soul’ wellness to the next level in 2023 – a fully immersive, no-holds-barred approach to attaining peace.” This coincides with the launch of Spiritual Practices Pilgrimages, a new business to introduce those interested in spirituality to sacred sites in the British Isles.
This new venture will be launched at an online speaker event on the subject of pilgrimage, with published author and academic Dr Nick Mayhew-Smith. Taking place on Tuesday 7th March at 7.30pm, Nick will address the subject of Celtic pilgrimage as a way of connecting to the divine through sacred sites in the landscape. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased at https://sppilgrimages.eventbrite.co.uk
Dr Nick Mayhew-Smith is a researcher and writer specialising in Celtic, outdoor and nature spirituality. His first major book Britain’s Pilgrim Places (2011) was made into a BBC television series called ‘Pagans & Pilgrims’ in 2013, after which he completed a PhD thesis on Celtic nature spirituality, published as The Naked Hermit in 2019. Since then he has written the best-selling guide Britain’s Pilgrim Places with Guy Hayward of the British Pilgrimage Trust, and a compilation of outdoor worship material from 2,000 years of Christian history called Landscape Liturgies (August 2021). He is currently working as deputy head of Southlands College at Roehampton University, London.
Spiritual Practices Pilgrimages first pilgrimage is planned to take place in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland from 1st-4th September 2023. Called, ‘In the footsteps of Columba’, it will begin at the saint’s birthplace in Gartan, journey to Derry (also known as Londonderry) where he established a monastery and end at the beach where Columba was forced to flee in exile from Ireland. This ultimately led him to start a new monastic community on the Scottish island of Iona, from where he later sent Aidan to found a religious community on Lindisfarne, or Holy Island as it came to be known, on the north east coast of England.
Spiritual Practices Pilgrimages is being pioneered by Andrea Campanale. She is the founder of Sacred Space Kingston, and has recently set up the Green Shoots Network for those seeking to catalyse goodness, creativity and justice in their communities, either through social enterprise, charitable initiatives or campaigning.
Andrea said of Spiritual Practices Pilgrimages, “I want to introduce those who are interested in spirituality to a faith native to the British Isles that found connection with divinity in nature, encountered a wild Spirit inspiring miraculous adventures and expressed devotion to the Creator in sacrifice, community, hospitality and beautifully skilled arts and crafts. I think this will resonate with people searching for meaning and spiritual experiences rooted in our own unique history and landscape. Starting with NI and Ireland, I plan to offer manageable, affordable and accessible pilgrimages to Wales and the south west and north east of England in the future. Please visit the website for more information https://spiritpilgrimages.com/“