I spent this past weekend convening a women's retreat around themes of pilgrimage and Celtic Christian Spirituality. We spoke at length about the inherent blessing of all creation and practiced seeing the sacred in all we encountered. As this tradition relates to pilgrimage, we also learned about the hope-filled practice of the Celtic peregrines who would make pilgrim-voyages in their tiny coracles, which were often sailless and rudderless, so that God might allow ebb and flow to take these early pilgrims to wherever God wished them to go. My surprise was slight then, when upon taking our family prayer walk yesterday evening along Seattle's Alki Beach, I came upon these two inscriptions in the walk way. Indeed, the sacred is always around us and often more pronounced when we are outside...walking...as the earliest pilgrimage traditions would have us do. There is something to be said for this ancient practice that gets us moving up and away from our homes, from our center-places, and challenges us to find the Sacred in and around us.
While this image is of a seafaring vessel from the Coast Salish people, I can't help but believe they employed a faith and trust in Creator as they set sail, very similar to the Celtic people as they set off for the land of their resurrection. They too had an inherent way of seeing the strength of the sacred all around them in the created world as evidenced by these words of blessing by Chief Dan George:
My Heart Soars, by Chief Dan George
The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass, speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky, the rhythm of the sea, speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning, the dew drop on the flower, speaks to me.
The strength of fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun, And the life that never goes away, They speak to me.
And my heart soars.