I see here the figure of a pilgrim putting one foot in front of the other, heading westwards perhaps, a low-lying hill in the background, carrying a backpack, which may be protected by a waterproof. There is a paradox here: the only way we bear fruit is by staying in one place, literally or metaphorically. If we keep moving about, we will not achieve many things, we will flit from one place or activity to another. And yet, at the same time, as humans we are obliged to make progress, to learn from our mistakes, we cannot stay still or rest on our laurels, it seems the ups and downs of life, the blessings and temptations, force us ever onwards. So we work away at our surface. Perhaps this is where the two things meet: in the act of pilgrimage, we are wearing away the ground, polishing the surface, there is a constancy, one foot in front of the other. The journey is not so much about arriving – that will come later – as about finding company and fulfilment on the way.


Meanwhile, in language, the act of walking involves placing the heel on the ground and rolling forward on the sole. The sole is like a cradle or a blotter. We cannot walk without making this movement, heel-sole, and this may tell us something about the purpose of walking, of moving forward, of staying alive: to heal our soul.

3 thoughts on “Pilgrim

  1. Dear Jonathan, I like reading your blogs. I think of the stones as revealing to you just what you need to consider at the time you find them. Inner – Outer symbiosis. As though they are stepping stones on your journey. As I read through, it is as though I am following your spiritual journey (which may or may not feed into my pilgrimage). Finding them on a beach (if I interpret this correctly) is consistent for me with the symbolism of the beach being a place of connection between consciousness and unconsciousness, the place of revelation. Hence, my blog space name “spirit of the beach”.


    1. Thank you for your comment! I find your remark about the symbolism of the beach being a place of connection between consciousness and unconsciousness, the place of revelation, very interesting. Yes, I searched for these stones during various summer holidays on the Greek island of Ithaca. Of course, a beach is covered in thousands of stones – not quite as many as the grains of sand on a sandy beach – and so one sees only what is there to be seen, but some of the stones (all of which seem to have faces) are quite remarkable, especially those which seem to contain scenes (for example, from the life of Christ – I think of one stone that seemed to depict the entry into Jerusalem). Why should we be surprised to find meaning in language and the environment? I think the two, language and the environment, are very connected and both contain a deeper meaning, one that might serve to teach us something. This is the aim of my work, to reveal the hidden meaning of language and what it might tell us about God, human life, our behaviour. We have to change from viewing language and the environment as there for us to use and discard at our whim and cleanse our spiritual vision. Of course, it is God who does this, and, in my experience, participation in the sacraments of the Church (most notably, confession and communion). But if language and the environment (stones, for example) contain meaning, it is not meaning we have put there ourselves, and this should make us think! I send you my best wishes! (I didn’t mention the obvious symbolism of Ithaca and the return journey, and the sense that a journey, as Cavafy pointed out in his poem Ithaka – https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/51296/ithaka-56d22eef917ec – is perhaps not about arriving at a destination, but about what we learn along the way!)


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