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by Austin Repath

Why These Cards/
How They Were Created

The Pilgrim Cards are the outcome of a long fruitful process of journaling.  Several years ago, I read about the ancient pilgrim route, El Camino de Santiago, in Spain.  Almost immediately something in me said to walk this trail.  The experience proved a pivotal experience in my life.  I returned home with a sense of pilgrimage, an awareness of the hardships and joys of the way and the knowing that if a person remained true to their inner path they would eventually arrive at the sacred city.  At the time I had no idea what my sacred city would be, but I trusted that it would prove worth the journey. 
      In the days that followed my return home, I found myself journaling, in the hope of finding where I was in my life and to map out a new direction for myself.  I should tell you that the second half of my life’s journey has not been in the light.  Raised a devout Catholic and by temperament an idealist, by my mid thirties, I found myself faced with the painful realities of the other side of life. 
     What followed was a journey into the dark places of meaninglessness, hopelessness, doubt and disbelief.  In truth it was a lonely way, and not one I would have chosen, but now realize was the one I had embraced and needed to be true to if I was to grow spiritual.  What walking the Camino taught me was to simply keep on going and to trust the way. 
      Then one day I found that instead of writing my own thoughts, the words on the page seemed to be coming from another voice.  The writings began with the pronoun “you”  What had begun as personal reflections took on a new perspective.  It was as if I had been joined by a fellow pilgrim who know the way better than I did.  One who wasn’t so much a guide, as simply a wise companion who when I was walking through a dark valley in my life offered solace, gave me a vision of what was possible if didn’t give up.  
     At times, I thought the words were simply flights of fantasy or the wishful thinking of a lost soul.  But the fork in the road did come up, the place of power did appear.  And much to my surprise and joy, the moment came when I put down my pen, knowing that I had reached, my sacred city: the open heart.  I knew then that I was ready to returned home.  The pilgrim’s journal was finished.  
     And so the outcome of this inner journey of some eight years, was a body of personal wisdom that I wanted to share with others.  I showed the writings to my friends and found that they too could identify with the words of this “fellow pilgrim.”  Encouraged by their response I decided to find a venue that would allow the voice of this “other” to be there for the reader.  The idea of cards, each containing a reflection that could be chosen by the reader or randomly selected, seemed to work.  
    The format, I believe, offers the reader a mirror of their own inner pilgrimage as they walk the journey of their life and puts them in touch with their wisdom voice. 

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