Stonehenge may be one of the United Kingdom’s most popular attractions, but that doesn’t take away its importance as a site for pagan and Druidic culture. The true purpose and origin of Stonehenge is still a mystery: some see the stones as a model for female fertility or a structure built for seasonal rituals and astronomical predictions. Whatever its true purpose, seeing Stonehenge will fill you with spiritual mystery as you connect with the ancient Druids of pre-Christian Britain. Make sure to time your visit to celebrate the equinoxes and solstices! It’s a solid day trip from London, two and a half hours by bus.
Uluru is an iconic Australian landmark that once went by the name Ayer’s Rock, and this giant sandstone formation is sacred to the Anangu Aboriginals. They believe their ancestors created Uluru and the land surrounding it, and that their spirits continue to inhabit the land. In 2017, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management banned visitors from climbing on it. Don’t even try to sneak a piece home – tradition has it that those who take pieces from Uluru will suffer misfortune.
Jingū (Ise Grande Shrine), Japan
Practitioners of Shintoism find spirituality in all things, but their Shrines create a harmonious environment suitable for meditation and contemplation. The most significant of these is the Ise Grand Shrine; dedicated to Amaterasu, the sun goddess, this complex is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for followers of Shintoism, one that everyone should visit at least once in their life. Tourists and pilgrims alike feel a peacefulness and tranquillity that fills the entire site.
S’Gang Gwaay, British Columbia, Canada
B.C.’s Haida Gwaii archipelago has been the home of the Haida people for roughly 8,000 years. S’Gang Gwaay is an abandoned community in the archipelago’s south-west, and the famous mortuary and memorial poles are returning to the land from which they were made. The village is only accessible by boat, and the local authorities allow no more than a dozen visitors at a time. Take a tour of S’Gang Gwaay lead by Haida Watchmen and hear the stories of the poles – you’ll learn how one of Canada’s oldest cultures is intricately linked to the land and sea.
BONUS #6 Manitoulin Island
Manitoulin Island is unique in many ways – it is the world’s largest sweet water or freshwater Island. It has more than a hundred inland lakes between its shores, and many of those lakes have Islands on them! Also referred to as “Spirit” Island, Manitoulin boasts many magical and sacred spaces. Host to a great deal of indigenous festivals and home to Canada’s only unceded reserve, Wikwemikong. Tucked into Northern Ontario and built of quartz and limestone. There are lots of “firsts” that make Manitoulin appealing. First, it is the largest freshwater island lake on the planet. It’s also home to Canada’s first European settlement, the town Manitowaning, and the historic Anishinaabe settlement. There are six Indigenous reserves on the island. The area is incredibly rich in archaeology stretching back as far as 2000 BC. But really, you want to go to have an authentic experience with Indigenous people, learn about their culture and heritage, and get far away from it all on classic outdoor adventures where the only one on the trail or lake or river might be you. Come to Manitoulin!
Yes, I said come! Manitoulin is also my home and where my family and I live our best life!