images “We call upon the earth, our planet home, with its beautiful depths and soaring heights, its vitality and abundance of life, and together we ask that it teach us and show us the way.”  Chinook Blessing This morning I joined 25 upbeat people as they began the first of five days walking on a Pilgrimage to Celilo Falls.  Rivaling Niagara Falls, Celilo was once one of  history’s great market places with 5,000 Native Americans from as far as Alaska visiting.  Now, the falls lies under the still waters created by The Dalles Dam. Many religious traditions have their piligrimage locales with Mecca being the best known holy journey.  An environmentally-based pilgrimage is something new for me. The Pilgrimage in the Gorge was inspired by the Catholic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Northern Spain, Here in the Gorge, a group of friends have developed a uniquely Northwest version of a spiritual pilgrimage that welcomes people of all faiths to explore a deeper connection with our beautiful landscape. In so doing,  the walkers will open themselves to the inner and outer journey of walking more gently on our planet. Compassion and Justice are the hopeful outcomes of this journey.  To deepen a “sense of place,” the pilgrims will be inspired by many different spiritual traditions as they allow the land, mountains, and rivers to transform them into more compassionate and responsible beings.  This is not merely a walk with friends, but an inner and outer meditation that hopefully will become a tradition. The group was urged to begin their pilgrimage by remaining quiet for 20 minutes, then a designated “howler” will break the silence.

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