Three years ago I went on a spiritual pilgrimage to see the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. It was a profound experience that changed my life in countless ways. This past year Mary once again planted a seed in my heart and I heard the call to go. However, Mary’s call was not the only one I felt, I could also hear my mother whispering in my ear. My mom went on pilgrimage a few years before I did and we always thought our next trip would be together. I yearned for her companionship however, her presence was strongly felt as I prepared to go. Pilgrimage is always more than just about ourselves. The first time I went I was five months pregnant with my second son and I have been fascinated with his affinity for Our Lady of Guadalupe ever since. This time I journey with my mother in spirit knowing that we are both seeking something through one another.
I prepared myself for my first pilgrimage by reading an incredible book called “The Art of Pilgrimage” that my Mom suggested. This year I was drawn to read more about Our Lady’s story and the significance of her appearance, not so much for the religious significance as for spiritual reasons. I thought the more I understood about her and the events that occurred the closer I would come to her. I have always been drawn to our Our Lady of Guadalupe and shortly before my first pilgrimage my house slowly began filling with kitsch and images of her. I have spent much time meditating on her Divine qualities in hopes of embodying her essence.
I went the first time not sure what to expect, unaware of how the journey would move me. I did not fully understanding what it meant to pilgrimage to a sacred site until I stood before her image and in her “house.” Nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming sense of love, compassion, and forgiveness. It is something astonishing. I tried to absorb as much of the experience as my heart would allow. This time I better understood what it meant to be on pilgrimage and I was bringing so much more to Mary. I was being pulled toward Our Lady, preparing to kneel before her and offer up my grief, my tears, my compassion, my brokenness, my love, my limitations, my soul’s yearning to be held; to allow my heart to be pierced and broken open then filled with her love.
BRINGING MARY HOME.
I returned from pilgrimage after another extraordinary experience and I have not been able to sit down to finish this post until now. Reintegrating back into normalcy after such a profound experience has its challenges. I find it takes courage to hold the experience and not allow it to dissipate as soon as my feet hit home ground. It takes extra patience and persistence with my spiritual practices and a constant return to love to stay on course. There is so much sacredness offered and it takes efforting to guard that sacredness in the heart. Coming home means constantly remembering what it was like to breath in the essence before it becomes lost in time and space.
In addition, I am never sure how those in my life will react to the changes that occur within me on pilgrimage. It is an experience that touches everyone differently. My pilgrimages have been a journey of healing and refuge however, that does not mean that it was or is an easy process. Sometimes there aren’t words to relate my experience but rather it is seen in my eyes, felt it in my presence or radiating from my heart.
My inner and outer life these past few years, and in particular 2015, have seemed to be marked by turbulence. I have had such a longing for fluidity but have felt as if I were a cork in rough waters. Looking back there was so much I was not ready or willing to look at. I was not prepared to go into my own depth and harvest the light. I was still grieving my mom and unconsciously going through the motions of life. However, while on pilgrimage a turning point occurred that created an opportunity to reevaluate my entire life. It was like watching a movie of the past thirty plus years and it was in this journeying back that I finally understood how interconnected everything is and how blinded I have been.
VIVA LA MADRE
On this sacred pilgrimage I felt an immense amount of love and protection from the Divine Mother and from that I was able to returned with the courage and willingness to stand for truth. I am more prepared to go deeply into the darkness knowing that is where I will find my greatest gifts. I would not have been witness to my life in the same way or been able to stand with the same amount of strength and courage if I had not gone to Mexico. I am abundantly grateful for all those who helped make this trip a reality and even more thankful for what Our Lady of Guadalupe has shown me.