The Awe of Pilgrimage!
Awe! It’s all about awe!
I am keeping locked deep within me the serene sense of my time and experience during my pilgrimage to Ghost Ranch, in Abiquiu, New Mexico – the final requirement for the Certificate in Spiritual Formation.
Awe is the only word offering itself that even comes close to expressing how I have felt in recounting my journey through the “fierce landscapes” of northern New Mexico – white sandstone cliffs, sculptured red rocks, and flat scrubby fields.
The mountain Pedernal. It’s a magnificent sight.
I understand why Georgia O’Keeffe claimed it for her own: “Pedernal is my private mountain. God told me if I painted it often enough I could have it.”
Oh, and the sunrise!
I don’t think I’ve seen anything so spectacular, so bright, so multi-colored, so multi-striated.
Then it would change: change shape and color again and again. It was like magic!
No wonder New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment.
God is certainly present everywhere, but looking into the night sky with its billions of stars, one can’t mistake where the Creator is.
The splendor of God’s world is beyond words.
When we first arrived, we were told that we would fall in love with the Casa del Sol, that it was truly a special place.
I really didn’t buy into it, but when I returned home, I was asked, “Among all of the places you went, in which one did you meet God?”
There was no hesitation in my response: Casa del Sol!
It was the setting and the worship and the camaraderie.
If I never return to that faraway place, I want to keep it etched in my mind and heart that I might never forget it.
Traveling to New Mexico, to Ghost Ranch itself, presents the opportunity of being in sacred places and spaces.
In this wide-open magnificence, one has the freedom to open oneself up to the inflowing of the Spirit.
It is here you can feel the breath of God.
If you feel called to partake in a pilgrimage experience for spiritual growth and exploration, click here to learn more about the Desert Spiritualities of the Southwest Pilgrimage this fall.
Barbara Gifford – 2016 graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary’s Certificate in Spiritual Formation