Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • David A. Leeming
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_511-7

Pilgrimages in various cultures are remarkably similar in essential form. The pilgrimage, whether to Lourdes, Jerusalem, Banaras, Ise, or Mecca, involves three essential steps, suggesting a rite of passage and a process of curative renewal. The first step involves a significant separation of the pilgrim from home and ordinary life and the journey to a sacred center. The separation can be signified by particular clothes, by rituals of departure, or by any consciously unusual behavior. It is usually characterized by a deep sense of religious community, a concept suggested by the etymology of the word religion, suggesting a binding back or gathering together under the influence of the numinous. The second and most important step is the interaction with the sacred, the given culture’s spiritual energy source. Typically this aspect involves certain ritual acts, most notably circumambulation, a gathering up of energy in the creation of a living mandala of completeness, a ritual cleansing,...


Religious Activity Sacred Place Holy Water Spiritual Center Hajj Pilgrim 
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  1. Kamal, A. (2000). The sacred journey: The pilgrimage to Mecca. Bloomington: i-Universe.Google Scholar
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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA