|Epilogue: People in the Middle Ages went on special
journeys called pilgrimages to atone for past sins. Forgiveness from individuals
was not always possible, for various reasons (such as from heartless, unforgiving
people), but by going on a pilgrimage a person could still find absolution:
the forgiveness of guilt and the removal of eternal punishment. It was
the trials and physical hardships of the journey that compensated for the
sins of the past. Through such a journey, a person could redeem, or
reclaim control of, his soul. A pilgrimage is never just a physical journey,
however-- it's a spiritual one, as well. In the medieval mind, the
physical and spiritual worlds were one and the same. Heaven and Hell were
very real places. In the modern mind, the labels might be different, but
the mistakes we make can just as easily put us in a terrible place.
all human. We all make mistakes... and those of us with a conscience feel
bad about those mistakes. We look back at past mistakes and wish there
was a way to make things right again. Deep down, we all know some kind
of action needs to be taken to make life better. The hardest
part of that journey is, as always, getting started. Facing our fears
and taking that first step anyway can be a scary thing. Fear can
move you, but not always in the right direction. Hope can carry you, but
only so far. It takes more than just hope or fear; it takes a conscious,
determined commitment, a decision fueled by the sum of hope and
fear -- courage -- to take that first, cautious step towards
a better life.
I knew when I started out that this would be my last Burning
Man, at least for a while. The fact made this a special journey for me.
It was a milestone year for me in many ways, a time of introspection and
new beginnings. I think I was wanting this trip to be a pilgrimage of my
own: a journey of absolution to redeem my soul and purge the negative energy
from within me. --And in many ways, I was successful. The physical and
spiritual worlds merged, if only briefly, and issues that had been bothering
me for a long time faded away. What some may call delerium others see as
enlightenment. Apples and oranges. I left on this journey with a deep feeling
of apprehension, that something awful awaited me. Indeed, it wasn't all
fun and games. Yet, I took that first step, and when I returned, it was
with a glad heart, recharged batteries and refocused perspective. I felt
...redeemed. I left full of fear, but returned full of hope.
And with a taste for bacon...