Pilgrimage: The Sacred Journey explores the role of pilgrimage in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and the religions that developed in India. It was written to coincide with an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (2006), but it is not a catalogue of the display. It is intended to be read independently, as it explores attitudes to pilgrimage in the different religions; it also includes accounts of individual pilgrimage, both historical and contemporary.
Common themes emerge, regardless of religious affiliation. The departure from daily life is part of all pilgrimages. Along the way, the journey may lead past lesser shrines and sacred landscapes. The visit to the central shrine, the final goal of the journey, culminates in an intense spiritual experience. Reliquaries and souvenirs may help to hold on to this moment and transfer its power back into everyday life. Pilgrimage survives as an important aspect of religious awareness and identification to this day.