Spiritual Tourism

Spiritual Tourism

Making a journey to visit a spiritual site is nothing new, people have been doing that since the dawn of time.  One of the oldest spiritual pilgrimage sites is Mount Kailash in Tibet, people have been making the journey there for 15,000 years and Buddhist believe that the month long trek up the mountain can wash away all of your sins.  Today, Spiritual Tourism is turning into a lucrative mainstream business.

Spiritual Journeys in the West

When we think of pilgrimages we automatically think of the churches in Europe or the holy land in the Middle East, but they aren’t the only places where a spiritual journey can take place.  Natives in North and South America all have their own holy site.  First Nations people in British Columbia believe that the Stein Valley holds their sacred sites and tribe members go on vision quests here.

Celebrities and Spiritual Quests

Celebrities not only take it upon themselves to visit sacred sites around the world but their presence there attracts other visitors as well.  Back in the 80’s movie actress Shirley MacLaine wrote a book about her spiritual journey in Peru.  In 2006 the best-selling book Eat Pray Love was turned into a movie and it featured treks to India and Bali to find balance.  After that tourism boomed for women looking to live out the journey featured in the book and the movie.

The Rise in Spirituality

The rise in spirituality came with the hippie movement in the 60’s with the baby boomer generation.  Spiritual journeys are as much about exploring your psyche as it is about the physical journey.  These journeys are about reinforcing your faith or communing with Mother Earth.  Many of the baby boomers of the west are heading to places that are outside their traditional faith.  They aren’t heading to the Vatican to see the birthplace of Christianity but to Macchu Picchu or to India to see other places of faith.

Travel companies are seeing these spiritual journeys as a new market to explore.  Many of the tourists come back from these places with a new perspective and glowing recommendations from their trip.  Travel to visit a sacred site or to go on a pilgrimage is nothing new, however today there is a much different demographic taking the trip.

 

Why People Come to Sacred Sites

Why People Come to Sacred Sites

In every culture across the world there are destinations that are considered power centers and places of healing, sacred places where people go to find healing or restore their faith.  These can be anywhere from Stonehenge to Macchu Picchu, there are thousands of place that are considered sacred for one reason or another.  The leads us to explore why people come to sacred sites and what they expect to get from the experience.  Let’s look at some of them and why people travel there.

Healing Places

When it comes to healing places there are three in particular that jump out where people to flock to every year to get healed.  The first is El Santuario de Chimayo just outside of Santa Fe where pilgrims come here for healing.  Cornwall in England is another place where there are holy wells and the water is meant to heal the sick.  Perhaps the most famous is Lourdes, located in France where a number of miracles have been reported throughout history.  Here is a look at Lourdes.

Seeking a Vision

Vision quests are common in Native North American traditions as well as Pagan traditions in Western Europe.  To go on a vision quest you bring yourself to an isolated area, preferably somewhere in nature in order to receive guidance about your life.  In Native American tradition you can have a vision quest almost anywhere that is up to the individual.  However in Western Europe there are a couple of sites where Pagans go to visit, one is in Iona, Scotland to a holy called Tobar na h’oige.  The other is the burial ground of the ancient Scottish Kings.  This place was important to pre-Christian Celts and Druids.

Places of Energy

There are places throughout the world where people flock to because they are considered “energy vortexes” the most famous being Macchu Picchu but there are others.  One of the most popular is Sedona in Arizona, it is considered an energy vortex because of the four energy vortexes that can be found here.  Considered to be the center of the New Age movement in the US the city started out as an artist’s colony and was home to Kahlil Gibran and Max Ernst.  To this day it still has a vibrant arts community.

People travel from all over the world to come to these sites and dozens of others while on a spiritual journey.  If you want to experience these places for yourself then come with an open mind and see what you can get from them.