Spiritual 1

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Pilgrims Supplies raises funds to support our free First Aid and pastoral care for pilgrims on the Caminos to Santiago de Compostela

We have an Ebay shop with various pilgrim items for sale

Clicking any image on the right of the page opens the shop in a new window

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Life can be hectic, stressful, time-consuming, and perhaps the nearest you will come to the contemplative existence of the religious is when you undertake pilgrimage. Everyone undertakes pilgrimage at their own level of course and I have seen both deeply engaged solitaries as well as chattering groups of pals who seem to be characters straight from a television soap opera. All well and good, our paths all eventually end at the same place.

However, if your purpose is one of inner contemplation, introspection, and desire for connection with other, the inner mystery hidden within all true religions, and your tradition is Christian/Western, then I cannot suggest a better book to carry with you than The Imitation of Christ written by the 15th century Augustine Monk, Thomas a Kempis.

For five hundred years, this gentle book has brought understanding and comfort to millions of readers in over fifty languages, and provided them with a source of heart-felt personal meditations. These meditations on the inner life are aimed directly at the heart and correctly read can lead us deep into the meaning of existence and our place within it - gnosis, that ineffable knowledge.

 If you prefer the Eastern traditions then the Bhagavad Gita  - the Song of the Lord - is marvellous and has the same ability to lead one to the centre.

And if you feel you are atheist rather than religious then The Prophet  by Kahlil Gibran

This  is 15th century of course, as it is from Thomas - but is still as true today

Ah, foolish man, why do you plan to live long when you are not sure of living even a day? How many have been deceived and suddenly snatched away! How often have you heard of persons being killed by drownings, by fatal falls from high places, of persons dying at meals, at play, in fires, by the sword, in pestilence, or at the hands of robbers! Death is the end of everyone and the life of man quickly passes away like a shadow.

Who will remember you when you are dead? Who will pray for you? Do now, beloved, what you can, because you do not know when you will die, nor what your fate will be after death. Gather for yourself the riches of immortality while you have time. Think of nothing but your salvation. Care only for the things of God. Make friends for yourself now by honouring the saints of God, by imitating their actions, so that when you depart this life they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

Keep yourself as a stranger here on earth, a pilgrim whom its affairs do not concern at all. Keep your heart free and raise it up to your God, for you have not here a lasting home.

A folding umbrella?

Why not?

It doesn’t weigh much

or take up much space

but is a brilliant sunshade

it does get really hot out there

(they are good in the rain too!)

And if you tie a stick to it to elongate it you can stuff it down the back of your backpack and you won’t have to hold it!