Courage and Magic of Pilgrimage | Thomas K Shor and Satish Kumar

14:00 - 16:00
Mar 8th 2024

Join us with Satish Kumar and Thomas K Shor to explore what the courage, magic, and mysteries of pilgrimage can offer during a time of breakdown and transition. What would it mean to undertake the great transition of our time as a pilgrimage from one era to another? This is an event in our Faith and Moral Courage series.

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Join us with peace-pilgrim, life-long activist and former monk Satish Kumar and author, photographer, and lifelong wandering pilgrim Thomas K Shor to explore what the mysteries and gifts of pilgrimage can offer during a time of transition. 

Pilgrimage is walking in an attitude of reverence toward the sacred. It is rooted in the understanding that the Earth is sacred, and our life within her is a sacred pilgrimage itself. 

When in 1962 Satish undertook his 8,000 mile anti-nuclear peace-pilgrimage from India to Washington DC, his pilgrimage had a destination and his every step was like passing a prayer bead on a mala, the completion of which completes a prayer. When at the age of 21 Thomas undertook a mysterious pilgrimage with a brilliant seventy-year-old ex-Harvard professor, turned wandering holy man, there was no destination. Or rather the destination was the elusive present, and each next step was guided by the flow of the present. 

Satish Kumar embodied a deeply devotional relationship to pilgrimage dedicated to Earth and peace. While Thomas K Shor, almost like an old Daoist, undertook pilgrimage guided by the magic and potency of the present moment, in surrender to the way of not knowing. Both approaches belong to the experience of deep sacred encounter with landscape. One of devotion and love, the other of presence and mystery. Both required a commitment of extraordinary courage from Satish and Thomas to give themselves to pilgrimage as a sacred practice. We will be hearing from Satish and Thomas what pilgrimage taught them, and what the courage and magic of pilgrimage can offer us and the Earth during this time of great need. 

What does it mean to pilgrimage through the end of an era? And what does it mean to pilgrimage into the dawn of another? What attitude of heart and attention of step is required of us in this liminal time? 

If human beings have engaged in pilgrimage since time immemorial, then what is it in us that this pilgrimaging is ever evolving and what is it in us that never changes? What does it mean to be an Earth pilgrim? Join us with Satish Kumar and Thomas K Shor to explore how we may all become conscious Earth pilgrims. 

About the Speakers

Thomas K Shor is a writer and photographer. Shor was born in Boston, USA, and studied comparative religion and literature in Vermont. With an ear for unusual stories, the fortune to attract them and an eye for detail, he has traveled the planet’s mountainous realms—from the Mayan Highlands of southern Mexico in the midst of insurrection to the mountains of Greece and, more recently to the Indian Himalayas—to collect, illustrate and write stories, with a uniquely personal character often having the flavor of fable.

Shor has lectured widely on his writings and has had solo exhibits of his photographs in Europe and in India. He can often be found in the most obscure locales, immersed in a compelling story touching upon fundamental human themes. Thomas K Shor shared his experience with pilgrimage in the book, Into the Hands of the Unknown.

Satish Kumar is a peace-pilgrim, life-long activist, and former monk. Satish Kumar has been inspiring global change for over 50 years. Aged 9, Satish renounced the world and became a wandering Jain monk. Then in his 20s, he undertook a pilgrimage for peace, walking for two years without money from India to America for the cause of nuclear disarmament. Satish Kumar shared his experience with pilgrimage in the book, Earth Pilgrim. Now in his 80s, Satish has devoted his life to campaigning for ecological regeneration, social justice, and spiritual fulfilment.

A world-renown author and international speaker, Satish founded The Resurgence Trust, an educational charity that seeks to inform and inspire a just future for all. He was the Editor of the charity’s change-making magazine, Resurgence & Ecologist, for over 40 years, making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine. He continues to serve this publication as Editor Emeritus and by writing for each and every trailblazing issue. (Find out more about Satish and join him in protecting people and planet.)

Why faith and moral courage?  

This event forms part of a longer event series exploring what faith and moral courage look like in an age of polycrisis. Where does extraordinary courage come from? What can we learn from people who’ve risked everything to live up to their values? What forms of courage are especially needed in our age of unravelling, uncertainty and risk? How can we inspire ourselves and each other to grow our capacity to brave our limits? Are there insights from the world’s spiritual and faith traditions that can help us grow our courage?

This event will be facilitated by Mishal Baig

Mishal is the Communications and Research Co-ordinator at St Ethelburga’s. She helps with visioning and designing conferences and events coalescing from the themes of spiritual ecology, faith and moral courage, viewpoint diversity and bridging divides. She also helps with designing language and imagery for communications put out by the Centre. Her interest is especially attuned to Spiritual Ecology research and uses it as a guide and reference for her creative approach in work. She has been at the Centre since 2018, first as an intern for a year and a bit, and then as a staff member since 2020.









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14:00 - 16:00
Mar 8th 2024