The Sacred Act of Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage is the act of sacred travel. In Australia, it is ironic that many venture overseas to walk popular pilgrimage routes, unaware of and unconnected to the ancient history of sacred walking that undergirds this entire continent. Yet the violent settlement history of Australia means that deep and soulful connection to place can be a fraught and complex thing.
Maya sought to explore these issues in depth by walking the length of the Yarra River from the sea to the source. She traveled along a Wurundjeri Songline, a sacred path in existence for perhaps 40,000 years, now fractured with fences and private ownership. She traveled with the blessing of Melbourne’s Wurundjeri people and the support of many river lovers, and her 21 day pilgrimage was a powerful experience of reconciliation, surprising in it’s initiatory intensity, resulting in a profoundly deepened experience of place, water, and rivers.
Her understanding that pilgrimage is a doorway into the archetypal nature of walking, precipitated by her embodied immersion in this most ancient way of moving, led to her desire to share her experience. Her book, The Comfort of Water, seeks to build bridges of respect and understanding between indigenous knowledge and European wisdom traditions, including depth psychology. In this talk, Maya will also share her understanding of archetypal experience, enriched through her recent PhD studies of evolutionary biology and neuroscience.
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