Can Camino pilgrimage jewelry help mental health and wellbeing?
Part of our SHOP sells jewelry keepsakes and gifts to encourage belief in physical and mental health or wellbeing especially for someone when travelling, starting something new (on a new “journey” or phase of their life) or when on a pilgrimage (like El Camino). This jewelry is said to help with inspiration and motivation, and possibly help combat depression, fatigue and even illness along the way. How can this be?
The answer lies in faith: Studies have shown that symbolic tokens and charms can boost people’s confidence, with many admitting there’s power in a thought made positive by a meaningful keepsake - being a constant reminder of purpose and desires.
Jewellery for mental health and wellbeing
And, because the jewelry on our website features symbolic charms that people have put their faith in for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, travellers are more likely to trust it to help keep them motivated, fit and healthy, and focussed on their journey.
We believe that these necklaces, bracelets and rings with their amulets and charms, symbols and gems have an almost magical power to impart inspiration and belief, and make people feel that they are resilient and strong and up to the task.
What is a pilgrim? What is a pilgrimage?
Jewelry for pilgrims
Our jewelry is not spurious - it possesses real provenance and genuine character that actually means something to millions of people around the world - icons and symbols, talismans and charms (both religious and secular) with real meaning dating back centuries.
This is especially true when linked to pilgrimages and pilgrims travelling on a journey who are perhaps seeking improved mental health and wellbeing. Many travellers choose to do the Camino de Santiago trail, for example, for personal, rather than any religious reasons - taking time out from their busy modern lives and perhaps finding inspiration along the way, whilst reflecting on their life in a supportive environment.
The modern pilgrimage
A modern phenomenon is the so-called cultural pilgrimage which is more secular in nature: Destinations for such pilgrimages can include historic sites of national or cultural importance, and can be defined as places of cultural significance - for example, to visit the home of a famous author or painter or, more darkly, to travel to the remnants of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Of course, cultural pilgrimages also include religious pilgrimage routes, such as the Way of St. James. The distinction between religious, cultural or political pilgrimage . . and tourism is not always clear.
Although the word “pilgrimage” implies a traveller making a journey to a particular place - often in a foreign country, it can also refer to a more spiritual journey in life such as personal growth and development, and exploration of new ideas.
Either way, many people find themselves searching for a new or expanded understanding of themselves, other people, nature, or a spiritual being, and this can lead to a personal transformation. It doesn’t have to be religious per se, indeed many people take part in pilgrimages to get away from the stresses of daily life and perhaps experience the thrill of adventure. In fact, a simple holiday can itself turn into a pilgrimage - and many pilgrimages involve both religious and secular motives and experiences. El Camino de Santiago / Jakobsweg is no different in this respect.
Pilgrimages for better mental health
As noted in National Geographic magazine, many who walk the Camino de Santiago have no obvious religious motivation, and choose to do the trip so as to be immersed in nature along the route - and this has always been the case, with some people’s aims of the journey being spiritual whatever the final destination or ultimate conclusion.
Commentating in this National Geographic article, a Guide for the Celtic Way along the coast of Wales, UK, noted that “On these coasts, you can feel the spiritual connection with the living landscape. It’s what the Celts called a “thin place” where the gap between heaven and earth is small. After several days of walking, when the mind calms, you observe your surroundings more keenly, seeing simple things like rocks, flowers, and birds as if for the first time. The outer journey from place to place becomes an inner journey from head to heart.” He goes on to suggest that the slow pace of a coastal pilgrimage lets us re-encounter a rhythm that we have lost . . where the tides and seasons, not the clock, become our reference points, possibly helping us to heal in a post-pandemic world.
“A modern-day pilgrimage lets you explore your spiritual side without necessarily being religious,” the Guide concludes. “We enter into a union with nature as we walk.”
So, you do not have to end up in a so-called ‘Holy” place on one of these adventures (although most of the world’s most famous pilgrimages do indeed culminate in some shrine to a particular Saint or other virtuous person).
One of the founders of the British Pilgrimage Trust is quoted in National Geographic as saying: There’s nothing intrinsically religious or secular about connecting with your deepest needs. The word “Holy” comes from the Old English word “Halig” meaning “bringing health”. So, a Holy place can even be an ancient yew tree or a hilltop, as well as a synagogue or church, or a stone circle. Since time immemorial, pilgrimages have offered a physical path with a clear destination, enabling us to structure our search for inner direction in times of change and crisis.
How appropriate in these modern times! Indeed, as the article concludes, pilgrimage walking is increasingly sought as self-therapy for different mental, physical and spiritual ailments, sudden life changes, and for help when we encounter a crossroads.
These so-called “Life pilgrimages” are journeys taken with spiritual experiences in mind. Through them, we can open ourselves up to the mystery and the magic of just being in the moment, and develop a new consciousness of wonder and faith and belief in our own strength in any venture we take on.
Jewellery for New Beginnings or a New Start
Pilgrimages are important to us as human beings because they provide insight into our struggles and the decisions we may face in life. As someone once said: All journeys are stepping stones on the pilgrimage of life. Travelling (as a religious pilgrim or not) can deepen belief and transform lives, impacting people's minds, bodies and souls, and making us stronger.
In our SHOP we offer meaningful jewelry for both physical and mental wellbeing along the journey of life. It is hoped that these travellers keepsakes can give people strength and belief on their travels. May you be blessed with good health and wellness on all your journeys. ¡Buen Camino!