Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est

Damascus Gate



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What does it mean to be a pilgrim, to understand your life as a pilgrimage? Partly it means you’re always open to change. You assume that you haven’t arrived. By nature, pilgrimages are difficult & dangerous.

Some  images that reflect pilgrimage include peacocks & their feathers, dragonflies & pomegranates.

Peacocks are double symbols. Because their beautiful feathers survive them, they’ve come to be associated with resurrection. The beauty of their unfolding tails is also a symbol of epiphany & transfiguration.

Dragonflies are evanescent & fragile. Their protective coloration often makes them invisible except to the trained eye. They appear to lead you further into areas of your life that you may not see clearly or might hesitate to enter. As archetypes, they strip away the mask of the false self, revealing a person’s true (often hidden) nature.

Pomegranates break open to reveal hundreds of tiny fruits clustered together. So they’re both fertility & resurrection symbols. They also represent the interconnectedness of life & of people. It’s difficult to break their seeds apart without causing bleeding, even destruction.

The first slide slow listed below describes the nature of pilgrimage through the example of present-day Israel/Palestine. The Holy Land is a common pilgrim’s destination, but frequently travelers spend their time at archaeological, historical & religious sites. The sights they photograph are stones, rather than humans. This definition takes a different approach.

The second slide show presents images of Jerusalem during Holy Week. From Palm Sunday through Easter Monday, Christian pilgrims from around the world converge on Jerusalem, mingling with Jewish pilgrims celebrating Pesach (Passover) & Muslim pilgrims commemorating the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. Since Christians affiliated with the western (Latin) churches & the eastern (Orthodox) churches assign different dates to Christmas & Easter, those pilgrimage seasons often span weeks, even a month.

Western Christmas is celebrated from December 25th through January 6th (The Feast of the Epiphany), while the Orthodox churches (with the exception of the Armenians) celebrate the Nativity of our Lord on January 7th. The Armenian churches celebrate on January 19th. Easter follows the lunar calendar & varies each year, always falling on a Sunday from late March through late April.

1. On Pilgrimage

2. Holy Week in Jerusalem

Peacock feather

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