Urban Pilgrimage

Inspiration, discovery and
connection in the heart
of the city.

Urban Pilgrimage

The unexpected always
awaits in the city, giving
food for the soul."

Urban Pilgrimage

Openness, trust and walking
with fellow pilgrims bring the
meaning of pilgrimage alive.

What is Urban Pilgrimage?

Urban pilgrimage swaps the countryside for city streets as a backdrop for personal exploration and discovery. Rather than travelling for many miles over many days in the way of Camino adventurers and pilgrims of old, pilgrimage in the city often involves detaching from the every day for just a matter of hours. Usually involving walking, the practice is purposeful, involving openness to inspiration, insight, challenge and wonder through what we encounter in an urban neighbourhood.

Like any pilgrimage, walking in the city with a deliberate intention to detach from the everyday connects us with our hearts, and exposes us to the energies of place. Urban pilgrims are 'psychographers' (folks who go out to notice the felt experience of being in a particular place) as well as adventurers in search of their higher selves. We recognise that everywhere is a site for pilgrimage, not just the long winding paths en route to some distant place, while anything and anywhere has potential to offer food for the soul. Not surprisingly, cities are very rich domains for reflection, gaining new insights and finding fresh perspectives.

Forthcoming Pilgrimages

If you are London-based or are planning to be in the city in the near future, you may like to join me and others on a forthcoming walk. Current scheduled pilgrimages are listed below. See also our FAQ's, giving information about what to expect on a pilgrimage.

Our next planned pilgrimages are as follows:

Meridians on the Meridian

When: Saturday 16 September 2023, 1030-1430
Where: Central/East London (TfL Zone 3)
What: Reflecting on and opening up to the energies of the chakras as we follow a path the Prime (Greenwich) Meridian Line.
More info/booking: Click here for more information and to BOOK

By Bromley, By Bow

When: Saturday 13 January 2024, 1030-1430
Where: East London (TfL Zone 3)
What: Regenerated tenemants…Classic Georgian terraces…A 24-mile green lung…Tidal mills and wild woodland…Labyrinths and locks – the area around Bromley-by-Bow in East London offers a remarkable variety of contrasts to stir the soul. Being largely flat and easy to navigate on foot, it's perfect territory waiting for urban pilgrims to explore. Step outside from the busy tube station into a world where multiple cultures and faiths find a crossroads to venture over bridges and under bridges, through neatly manicured gardens, following river tow paths, and hopping over the old island. Plenty of stops along the way offer opportunities for reflecting and responding. By Bromley, By Bow is a guided pilgrimage that’s guaranteed to inspire wonder, raise many questions and help us find spiritual meaning in the city
More info/booking: Click here for more information and to BOOK

Labyrinths Out West

When: Saturday 27 January 2024, 1030-1430
Where: Central/West London (TfL Zone 3)
What: Following a revealing pilgrimage to visit many of central London's tube station labyrinths, this new pilgrimage set its sights on stations to the west of the centre, reaching out in a giant embrace from the West End well into TfL’s Zone 3. Starting in Hammersmith and ending in the glorious Kyoto Garden in Holland Park, the journey introduces labyrinths of many kinds, while offering an experience of camaraderie, wonder, and intrigue as we follow a labyrinth path by train. Mark Wallinger’s wall labyrinths appear at virtually every London Underground station, having been commissioned to celebrate the system’s 150th anniversary in 2013. Many are overlooked by the millions of Londoners who pass them every day, yet each tells its own story. We will take occasional steps outside of the passageways, platforms, and concourses of the tube to breathe in and take note of the contrasting scenes that lie outside. While some stations involve travelling up and down lifts and escalators, most of the stations we visit are on or close to the surface, meaning that relatively little walking is involved.
More info/booking: Click here for more information and to BOOK

Green Belt

When: Saturday 17 February 2024, 1030-1430
Where: East/Central/West London (TfL Zone 2)
What: Join our "love train” as we travel from east to west across London, visiting a variety of green spaces that form part of the city’s “green lung.” At each site we will offer blessings and receive blessings, and – for those who wish to – carry an offering from Nature from place to place (with the permission of the gifts we choose). Along the way, we’ll reflect upon the relationship between Mother Nature and those who live and work in the city, giving our thanks for the often unnoticed guardianship and care that Nature’s wise ambassadors provide.
More info/booking: Click here for more information and to BOOK

Intended future pilgrimages that I've not yet scheduled dates for are:

The Shadow Line
A journey underground and overground, considering the hidden and the important in our inner lives.

Flow River, Flow
Connecting with the flow of London’s tidal River Thames, crossing bridges, and following its meandering path. We consider the spiritual significance of flow, and how the river serves as a metaphor for connection with The All.

The Sacred City
Considering what sacredness means, and how we can connect with it in the city – both what is consecrated or dedicated to be sacred, and what is more of a secular kind.

The Bland, the Beautiful, and the Ugly
Considering our responses to beauty, blandness and ugliness–and how different people perceive these in different ways. Appreciating the importance of beauty for our spiritual nourishment. Coming to love what we might first regard as being ugly.

Labyrinth Walks
Pilgrimages to visit labyrinths in east, north and central London, and a return visit to the centre.

Please email me at clive@clivejohnsonministry.com if you'd like to be kept informed when dates for these are scheduled.


Who is the host? Clive Johnson: I am a city lover and a lifelong spiritual seeker. I usually host pilgrimages alone, although am always open to co-hosting with others and discussing others' ideas for possible events. My appreciation of the power of urban pilgrimage stems from an event that I co-hosted for a group of open-hearted folks to visit labyrinths sited at London Underground stations. I realised that many of the elements common to longer cross-country pilgrimages were present in our brief city adventure–encountering the unexpected, crossing a threshold, entering into a liminal space and time, meeting strangers on the path, enjoying both private contemplation and supportive camaraderie, and needing to trust that we would find our way. For myself and others, the experience was very revealing and transformative. As a result, I have continued to host guided pilgrimages in London, usually focusing on a particular theme. Encounters with the unexpected can be guaranteed! See my About me page for more information about my background and interests.

What is your role as the host? As host, I guide the route and offer suggested points for reflection along the way. Often, I also mention points of interest about some of the places we pass or visit. In this sense, the pilgrimage can serve as a guided sightseeing walk for those who prefer to approach it in this way. I also aim to "hold space" for everyone on the route, seeing it as my duty to care for the safety and spiritual well-being of everyone in the group while we are together.

Is there a charge involved? There's usually a small charge for these events. However, I do offer free concessions for those who are unable or less able to pay (please email me for details). Booking via Eventbrite allows for payment via PayPal, credit or debit card (click on Book where shown to book against each pilgrimage listed above). I will email you ahead of the event with a reminder and instructions on where to meet.

Do I need to be spiritual or religious to benefit from a pilgrimage? It's not necessary to follow a faith tradition, consider yourself spiritual or be focused in any way on self-development to enjoy the pilgrimages. The only pre-requisites are having an open mind and heart, a readiness to explore, and an openness to believing that anywhere and everything can be a source of inspiration, insight, and learning.

Are the pilgrimages only held in London? Currently, yes.

What will I need to bring? Most events involve hopping on and off tube trains and buses, sometimes multiple times. You'll need a Travelcard or other pass allowing you to travel on such pilgrimages. This isn't included in the price of the event. Tapping in and out with a debit card when passing through ticket barriers and boarding buses is another option, usually guaranteeing that you won't pay more than the maximum price for all journeys you make in a single day.

Will the event still go ahead if rain is forecast? Once you've registered for an event, I will email joining instructions to you just ahead of the day of our walk. In the rare situations when an event will need be cancelled, I will ensure that you have the best possible notice for this. Generally, we will go ahead if only light rain is planned forecast. If considerable walking is involved and prolonged poor weather is forecast, the pilgrimage will typically be postponed for another date. Again, I will email you if this need arises.

How much walking is involved? The amount of walking involved varies from pilgrimage to pilgrimage. The actual amount involved is indicated in each event's listing. Generally, between 1 and 5 miles walking may be involved. Steps and hills may also need to be negotiated. As such, unfortunately, most of the pilgrimages are not be suitable for folks who are unable to walk very far. However, pilgrimages focused on visiting Underground station labyrinths are generally more accessible for those who are less able to walk. On these walks, I aim to choose stopping points at stations that offer lift access, making them accessible for wheelchair users.

Will there be any breaks? One or two refreshment stops are usually planned as a part of each pilgrimage. On longer pilgrimages of four hours or more, this usually includes allowing time for lunch. Refreshments aren't included in the cost of the event, so you may wish to plan to buy or bring your own food and drink. In hot weather especially, you may want to be sure to carry water. Please rejoin the group promptly at the given meeting time and place to help avoid us becoming delayed.

Are toilet facilities available en route? Toilet facilities are often available close to most places we visit, although not always. I research available facilities ahead of each event, and typically point out when guiding a pilgrimage where good opportunities exist for making a break to attend to nature's calling. Note that some public toilets charge for their use.

Are dogs allowed? Well-behaved dogs that are kept on the lead are welcome on walks, unless the event description indicates otherwise (typically, this will be when our route involves passing through sites where dogs are not allowed). If you plan to bring a dog, please ensure that you respect the wishes of any other pilgrims who may feel uncomfortable being close to our canine friends. Guide dogs are of course always welcome.

Are the pilgrimages suitable for children? The pilgrimages are designed for adults. However, children who are not likely to become too distracted or distracting to others during a walk are welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult, and may join the walk for free.

Can I join for just a part of the pilgrimage? It's usually the case that most benefit from the pilgrimage comes if you're able to participate in the whole walk. However, if you can only spare a little time, you are welcome to join us at the starting point and break away when you need to. If this is the case, please inform me during the walk, so we don't spend unnecessary time waiting for you after you've left. Unfortunately, joining a walk at a point other than the starting point isn't possible, owing to the logistics that would be involved to accommodate this.

Please email me at clive@clivejohnsonministry.com if you have any questions about the pilgrimages that aren't answered here.

Clive Johnson
Email:   clive@clivejohnsonministry.com
Phone:  +44 (0)7956 942980
Skype:  cliverj2

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