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28th May - 2nd Jun AND 3rd Sept - 8th Sept

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Avebury

The Art of Pilgrimage: Avebury

An incredible 5 day journey to the spiritual heart of England - Avebury. Stonehenge on steroids, this temple never ceases to awe and inspire, and this is just one of the neolithic sights we will see on this energy filled, community based, spiritual journey.

The Art of Pilgrimage: Avebury
The Art of Pilgrimage: Avebury

Time & Location

28th May - 2nd Jun AND 3rd Sept - 8th Sept

Avebury, Avebury, Marlborough SN8 1RF, UK

About the event

If you are anything like me, you might not have even considered going on a Pilgrimage before. Religious practices such as these were not remotely on my radar for most of my life. I was not raised religious, the most exposure I had to religion and spirituality was my C of E primary school where we sang a few hymns at morning assembly.

It wasn't until I found myself in Thailand that I took a deep dive into Buddhism, and was presented with the opportunity to attend a Buddhist Pilgrimage.

It was one of the most transformational experiences of my life 

I have now been on two formal Pilgrimages (and several of my own making) and I find myself being directed to guide them for others.

My goal is to create a transformative, connecting, and spiritual experience for those who choose to come along. As an inclusive event, this Pilgrimage is open to anyone of any gender, any age (over 18), and any faith/no faith. Come as you are.

Tickets

  • September Pilgrimage

    Sale ends: 26 Aug, 23:50

    Tuesday 3rd Sept - Sunday 8th Sept

    From £100.00 to £499.00
    • £100.00
      +£2.50 service fee
    • £450.00
      +£11.25 service fee
    • £499.00
      +£12.48 service fee

Total

£0.00

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Avebury

What to say about Avebury. It is a magical place with palpable energy, inhabited by the most incredible community, and visited by spirit seekers from across the globe. It is a fascinating site that many of our Ancestors would have chosen as their Pilgrimage location.

Here are 8 facts about Avebury that you might not know!...

 

1. It is the largest stone circle in Europe: Avebury boasts the largest stone circle in Europe, with a circumference of about 1.3 kilometres (0.8 miles). Walking among these ancient stones is an awe-inspiring experience, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives of our prehistoric ancestors.

 

2. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: In 1986, Avebury was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognising its outstanding cultural and historical significance. It's one of the best-preserved Neolithic sites in the world.

 

3. It has Neolithic origins: The construction of Avebury dates back over 4,500 years to the Neolithic period, making it older than Stonehenge. The exact purpose of the site remains a mystery, adding an air of intrigue and wonder.

 

4. Beyond the stone circle, Avebury features a massive circular earthwork enclosure known as a henge, which encircles the village. The purpose of these earthworks continues to be a subject of speculation and archaeological investigation.

 

5. Unlike many ancient sites, Avebury is unique as it has a charming village nestled within the stone circle. Walking through the village lanes and seeing these monumental stones all around creates a magical atmosphere.

 

6. Some believe that Avebury holds mystical and healing energies, making it a destination for those interested in spiritual pursuits and alternative beliefs.

 

7. The Avebury site is part of a broader archaeological landscape, featuring numerous ancient burial mounds and historic monuments, providing a deeper understanding of the region's rich history.

 

8. Unlike some other ancient sites, Avebury encourages visitors to get up close to the stones, touch them, and feel their mysterious presence. This accessibility, along with its stunning natural surroundings, makes Avebury a fantastic destination for anyone wanting to connect to history, their ancestry, spiritality, nature, and themselves.

History of Pilgrimage in the UK

Pilgrimage has been an important aspect of human religious and spiritual practices for thousands of years. The earliest recorded pilgrimage dates back to the 2nd millennium BCE in ancient Mesopotamia, where people would travel to the city of Nippur to pay homage to the goddess Inanna.

 

Pilgrimage has a long history in the United Kingdom, dating back to ancient times. In pre-Christian times, pagan tribes would make journeys to sacred sites to offer sacrifices and seek blessings from their gods. With the arrival of Christianity in the UK, pilgrimage took on a new significance, with people making journeys to holy sites associated with saints and martyrs. 

 

The Reformation in the 16th century brought an end to many of the traditional pilgrimage sites in the UK, as Protestantism rejected the veneration of saints and relics. However, in recent years, there has been a revival of interest in pilgrimage, with many people making journeys to traditional sites as well as new destinations such as the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and the ancient sites of Stonehenge and Avebury, the latter being our destination as well.

Pilgrimage itinerary (16.3 miles total)

Day 1 - Tuesday (0 miles)

We gather in the afternoon at the beautiful church of St Katherine and St Peter in the village of Winterbourne Bassett. This church has been welcoming pilgrims for over a thousand years and was once a dormitory church where people slept before gathering at St James at Avebury (the same route that we will be taking).

 

After introductions and a formal welcome to the Pilgrimage, we will go for dinner at The Winterbourne pub, before cosying up for the night between the pews at the church.

 

Day 2 - Wednesday (5.8 mies)

After a morning meditation session and breakfast, we will walk south towards Avebury, taking in the views and the energy of this ancient landscape. En route to Avebury, we will visit Windmill Hill - the largest of all known causewayed enclosure sites in Britain - and our first truly ancient landmark.

 

Following on from Windmill Hill, we venture further south to Adam and Eve, our first glimpse of the Avebury stones, then we head back north towards our home for the night - St James church. St James Avebury was a departure point for pilgrims on their way to the port of Bristol for embarkation for Compostela, Rome and Jerusalem.

 

We will have an afternoon of free time in the village where you can visit the National Trust sites, do some shopping, or relax with the stones, before we gather at the church for a community share meal with the locals - a pilgrim tradition.

 

Day 3 - Thursday (4.1 miles)

After meditation and breakfast, we venture into the Avebury landscape and some of it's more famous monuments - Silbury Hill, Swallowhead Springs, and West Kennet Long Barrow. There is plenty of time built into the day to really feel into the energies of these places.

 

When we have had our fill of this ancient landscape, we make our way to Christchurch at East Kennett, where we will have lunch, followed by some free time before we sit down for our evening meal in the church hall.

 

Day 4 - Friday (2.6 miles)

We continue our pattern of morning meditation followed by breakfast, then head out into the Avebury landscape once more, to visit the Sanctuary, the Ridgeway, 6 barrows, and West Kennett Avenue. All sites not to be missed!

By day 4, our muscles might feel a bit weary from our travels. What better way to unwind than a relaxing Yin Yoga session taught by the amazing Stef of Yoga By The Stone. After a quick change, it's on to the Red Lion for our evening meal. We will spend a second night in St James' church.

Day 5 - Saturday (3.8 miles)

Meditation and breakfast are provided at the church, and we pack our things ready to head out for our final day of walking. We are privileged to be welcomed onto a guided tour of the Avebury Stone Circle by a local Pagan Priest (Gordon), who will bring the story of the stones to life so we can truly understand the significance of where we are.

 

Following on from our tour, we make our way back north towards Winterbourne Bassett to complete our journey with a beautiful closing ceremony.

 

We will have dinner at The Winterbourne once more, then bring the Pilgrimage to a close with an evening circle.

Day 6 - Sunday (0 miles)

Breakfast is provided once more, then we say our goodbyes and head back into our everyday lives, having strengthened our connection with self, with nature, with each other, and with spirit.

Pilgrimage Highlights!

Pilgrimage difficulty - easy/moderate

Our total distance on the Pilgrimage is 16.3 miles. This is spread over 4 walking days, meaning that we will average about 4 miles per day of walking - the longest day being day 2 when we walk from Winterbourne Bassett to Avebury. On day 2 we cover 5.8 miles.

 

Overall, the terrain is relatively flat, with a slight incline up to Windmill Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow.

Having a second guide as part of the team means that we are able to do shuttle runs each day - meaning that we can transport all of your overnight bags from church to church. This saves us from carrying a lot of weight, and ensures we only need to walk with a day pack each day.

 

Please be injury free and have a good basic level of fitness.

What makes this Pilgrimage unique?

1 - It's one of the very few Pilgrimages in the UK that SLEEPS IN CHURCHES!!

 

This is a massive deal! Spending the night in sacred spaces like this is a rare privilege. I am very excited that both of these churches have welcomed us with open arms - something that other churches I approached were less open to. I have tested out the sleeping experience in both churches now, and can report that it was a beautiful and sacred experience. 

 

2 - This Pilgrimage is open to all. It is an any faith/no faith event, so please don't think that you need to be Christian, or Pagan, or even Spiritual to take part.

 

While there will be several religious or spiritual elements to the event, everything is optional, and everything is done in the spirit of inclusion.

 

3 - We will call upon the practices of many religions and spiritual traditions including Christianity, Buddhism, Paganism, and Hinduism. As mentioned above, everything is done in the spirit of inclusivity, so please feel free to take part in all aspects, regardless of your chosen faith.

 

I'd also like to open up the space for you to offer a practice from your personal tradition to share with the group.

 

4 - We will be walking through some of the most beautiful countryside in England. The Wiltshire countryside, especially around Avebury, is stunningly beautiful, and we get to spend 5 days wandering through nature, immersing ourselves in the unique and powerful energies of this sacred landscape.

 

5 - The Pilgrimage is designed to reconnect you to nature, remind you of long forgotten heritage and ancestry, and rekindle that connection with spirit and the divine that can sometimes dwindle in modern day life. 

 

6 - This is a community event. We will be interacting and spending time with those who live in and around the area. We will not be an isolated group, which can be quite a common experience on some walking events. On the Wednesday evening, we will be welcomed into Avebury by the friendly locals who are organising a community share meal in our honour. This will be a wonderful opportunity to get to know people, and to make new connections with those who have supported us on our journey. 

What's included?

What's not included?

  • Donations to all three churches for allowing us to stay

  • Breakfast for 5 days

  • Pilgrimage guides x 2

  • Meditation sessions each morning

  • Pagan tour of the Avebury stones

  • Yoga class

  • Lunch x 1

  • Dinner x 1

  • Lunch x 4

  • Dinner x 4

  • Contribution to the community meal on Wednesday evening (there is a shop in the village to purchase food items)

  • Transport to and from Winterbourne Bassett

  • Sleeping and walking equipment

Meet your guide...

I'm Jo and I will be the main guide as we follow in the footsteps of the ancients.

 

I have a background in adventure tourism and activity instruction ranging from horse trekking, and white water rafting, to zip lining, climbing, and kayaking. I am experienced in leading groups through various activities. 

 

I have a personal love of hiking. I travelled the world for 6 years, and hiking was how I saw the country I was in. My favourite being New Zealand where I could go on a three day hike and not see another soul. 

 

My travels also opened my eyes to a wide variety of cultural and spiritual practices that had not been part of my reality before. They say that people travel to find themselves, I believe this was true for me. I explored and experimented with many different religions and spiritual traditions, and found what worked for me.

 

It is from those experiences that I draw inspiration for this trip. 

 

I am firm believer that all faiths and spiritual traditions are simply different paths towards the same destination. Which is why this is an interfaith event - including practices from several different origins that might seem to be counterintuitive, but in the end guide us in the same way.

 

Supporting me in this event are several other incredible people...

 

Claire - Church Warden (Winterbourne Bassett)

Sandra - Church Warden (Avebury)

Graham - Church Warden (East Kennett)

TBC - Second in command

Stef - Yoga teacher

Gordon - Pagan Priest

 

And many others that you and I have yet to meet.

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What previous participants want you know...

An excellent experience to think and live as a pilgrim for this time with wonderful likeminded people has been an inspiration. The locations of the pilgrim churches, thinking how they set off hundreds of years ago in the setting of amazing Avebury has been a transformational experience.

Take a few days out of your routine, leave all your worries behind, and when you pick them up at the end of the Pilgrimage, you will have a totally different perspective on them.

Do it! It is a gentle and beautiful introduction to pilgrimage.

Just do it! It is a wonderful experience

Do it! It's a life changing experience!

Frequently Asked Questions...

We have been generously given the three churches as our shelter for the 5 nights, but it will be a lot like camping.

You will need to bring with you a sleeping bag, and inflatable roll mat or something similar to sleep on (and something to inflate it with if necessary), and any other personal items you would need for a camping trip (except for the tent!).

 

You will also need your daytime walking gear - best to pack for multiple seasons - your nighttime stuff as above, a bag to put it all in, and some money.

 

I will send out a more detailed kit list closer to the time when we know more about what the weather might have in store! 

If you have any questions that have not been covered here, please email me at jo@wisdomwellness.co.uk and I will add your question to this page.

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