By Sammy Conde
When most people think of pilgrimages they think of ancient or historic peoples like the pilgrimage of the Puritans to North America (something I’d describe more as conquest) or the pilgrimage of the Greeks to Eleusis. Sometimes people think of distant pilgrimages in the modern era like the pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca in observance of the Hajj, which observes a ritual performed by the prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). Yet, we often forget how common and how human a pilgrimage is and the ways in which it reflects the very essence of human nature. I know this firsthand from my experience of heeding the call of Goddess to relocate from perpetually sunny Central Florida to cool and breezy Western Washington.
During a sacred journey to the Underworld at a festival in which I participated I heard the call of the Goddess to move. I was made to feel the urgency that I find a better situation in which to live and work. The situation I was in was not healthy and it wouldn’t help me achieve my goals. I was to do the work needed to move. So, I began talking to people and manifesting a new life for myself. As with any pilgrimage, this began with a call of deeply religious motivation.
I started with focusing on my goal and talking to others about wanting to move. I worked to make that a possibility, engaging in magic, speaking my goals into existence, and talking through the possibilities with those whom I felt closest. I eventually got signs, an offer of an opening, and ideas for how to get to that opening. Focusing over a year of magic to manifest a stable living situation and strong career for myself added to the strength of my work. My pilgrimage began to form before my eyes. A scary mysterious, and necessary journey became manifest.
I set up a Go Fund Me at the suggestion of a close friend and asked those closest to me, those who want to see me succeed to help me take a train from Florida to the Puget Sound. Through this fundraising effort I gained new insight into how much others want me to succeed and believe in me and how capable I am of making a difference if I put my mind to it. This fed new understandings of myself, my relationships with others, and of others. The pilgrimage was changing how I saw myself and the world around me.
I boarded a train. With all my belongings in five bags and a box, others waiting behind to be shipped, I put my life into the hands of the Gods, Goddesses, and Goddexes. I spent four days on a train viewing the beauty of the land which this country occupies. I spent this time giving gratitude for the beauty of the Earth, those who protect and fought for this land–––those to whom it is sacred and home, the Divine and human support that helped me to get to that point, and to myself and those who encouraged me to take a risk. I spent those days in awe and wonder to then arrive in Seattle to open arms and the love of those waiting for me in Western Washington. I made a pilgrimage that took me on a spiral journey home.
Sammy is one of the newest members that we have welcomed to The Ever Green Hearth this past year, and a student at Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary. Stay tuned to our website for more stories and blog posts from our coven members!