Gatekeeper Trust Magazine

Pilgrimage as collaboration.

As we pilgrimage we take part in what is one of the purest forms of collaboration. 

My aim with this article is to explore through my own and others experiences how embodying collaboration can really enhance the act of pilgrimage.

To lay good foundations I want to start with a definition, which I put out there for debate and for you to understand where my thoughts come from.

For me pilgrimage is a journey; an act of service to the land, which is matched with my own personal growth, learning and dedication. The two intertwine to create a balance and harmony. In addition, as well as my own individual connection with the land and its learning, I am not always walking alone.

What does the idea of collaboration and pilgrimage raise for you and how does collaboration manifest itself?

The one aspect that was most apparent on the last pilgrimage I did was that the collective energy and power of the group increased the potential of the work. 

Does that connect for you?

For you to begin to think about this though I want to give you another definition; what I feel collaboration is. 

“Its the bringing together of individuals from different disciplines and perspectives on an equal status and with their own voices and working together to deliver an end result. That end result is more valuable with all multiple peoples input than it would have been with one persons.” (1)

Does that definition really cover every partner? 

There is one part that the definition above leaves out. The land itself. With pilgrimage an important collaborative partner in the relationship is the land – it has a voice and must be an equal part of the conversation and an equal part of achieving a balance and harmony and a successful and safe result.

Do you agree? 

With these safely under our belts we can move forward to the action and look at how these ideas might be manifesting in an actual pilgrimage. By way of example and illustration I want to use the Gatekeeper pilgrimage from the Globe to Canonbury (2) that we walked on the weekend of the 14th April. 

I should start by saying that the pilgrimage route is one that I have walked in the past, but never as an organised pilgrimage (3). I have therefore experienced it as a individual and the collaboration between myself and the land but not with a group.

I was really blessed with the people that shared this journey, we did all bring different experience levels and different approaches that could add to the walk itself from which we could explore a collaborative approach and the learning we could take from it. 

The first was the coming together which we formed with a group attunement for the whole pilgrimage and our own personal dedication. This allowed the collaboration to start in a strong way with everyone with equal status, the same level of understanding, information and opportunity to input into the way the journey would be led. 

The universe very explicitly showed us how important this was when one of our group had to meet us at the sacral and struggled there to get sense of the journey or the group, only overcoming this by the time we got to the solar plexus. 

My learning from this was that for the collaboration to start in its best from all parties must be made room for even if they can’t be present. This could be either in naming or holding them in our thoughts or just welcoming them with everyone else by not actively doing this we became unbalanced when a new member joined us and we all struggled until we all worked bring a harmony and momentum.

For the second part, the journey, I had envisioned how this “should” be run. Notice the “should” I was very quickly reminded that in collaborations with all parties have equal status, including the landscape and that discussion and alteration are part of getting to the best result.

This was very clearly reinforced when I tried to exert my leadership role with a focus on timing and the landscape and the group directed that for the best result we needed to go into every church, where possible, that marked a chakras point. The group and the landscape made a strong argument to spend time acknowledging each one. Understanding that we all shared in the same vision it helped to trust that this was what was required. The pilgrimage was the much better for it and the timings took care of themselves!! 

I truly learn’t that, with honest and clear dialogue with all the partners, what’s most important manifests itself in the best way and to trust to this.

The final part is the generosity of insights. A true testement to a successful collaboration, as I said before, is that the end result is better because of the group input and this is undoubtably so from this pilgrimage. 

The wealth of information given through out the whole walk has added into my understanding of its significance and the areas that require more work. We all agreed that walking between the throat and the brow was a difficult experience where a lot more work is required before the energy flows smoothly. 

This now means that for the future the pilgrimage has already changed for the better because allowing those insights and reflections to be feedback into the journey will only make it grow and be stronger for the next group to take forward with more understanding.

For a pilgrimage to be successful we have already said that harmony and balance are key players. By working in a collaborative way this can help to manifest these aims in a strong manner that allows all our goals and dedications to be realised.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford

  1. This idea comes from another collaboration with Gatekeeper member Christina Breene and our joint thoughts and discussions on collaboration.
  2. Further information on the Globe to Canonbury route itself is available by emailing
  3. The route has been developed in as much of a collaboration with Christina Breene, Epoh Beech and Jessica Pointon to whom I extend my grateful thanks for their very valuable input.

In addition information

More information on the pilgrimage skills workshops I attended can be found at or by emailing