Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

The Indy Spiritual Trail may not be Camino, but it’s still great

Unitarians, IVY Tech international students, and enthusiasts of Camino de Santiago came together April 27 to walk and talk the Spiritual Trail.
Spiritual Trail pilgrims posing at Butler’s peace pole.

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The Indiana Interchurch Center is where the Spiritual Trail starts

April 27th saw another walking of the Indy Spiritual Trail. The Spiritual Trail is inspired by Prof. Ian McIntosh of IUPUI, at the same time one of the word’s leading academic experts on pilgrimages and a pilgrimage groupie. Indianapolis has gained national acclaim for its Cultural Trail downtown. Think of the Spiritual Trail as being the 175 degree opposite to the Cultural Trail. Rather than the Cultural Trail’s $77+ million price tag, the Spiritual Trail has been all but free. Unlike the Cultural Trail’s commissioning of famous local and national artists to design installations, the spots on the Spiritual Trail for meditation and dialogue have been installed by grassroots and often anonymous contributors. It extends from the Interchurch Center’s labyrinth to the Holcomb Gardens at Butler University.

The many paths of the Camino de Santiago

In many ways, the Spiritual Trail in Indianapolis is inspired by the Camino de Santiago in Spain, for centuries perhaps the most important pilgrimage in Christianity. Not surprisingly, one group that has been a fan of the Indy Spiritual Trail has been Hoosiers on the Camino, a group in Indianapolis that has waked the Camino or hopes to walk in the future. They were a big part of the walk April 27: the couple of miles of walking the Spiritual Trail are a good warm up for the 700 miles in Spain.

The stark beauty of the Indy Spiritual Trail
What's it like, walking the Camino de Santiago?

“Camino de Santiago: A Journey for the Body, Mind, and Soul”

Read more here

Most people who join Ian and IVY Tech professor Jim Duncan on the Indy Spiritual Trail will never walk the Camino de Santiago in Europe. They can for the dialogue, for the education in pilgrimages … and for the beauty of the Spiritual Trail. We sometimes forget how striking is nature in Indianapolis, despite our lack of mountains or seas.

This is important. In the “virtual” age in which we live, it’s easy for some to imagine that we can substitute the reality of nature with images on our devices, or conversations with real people in all their physicality with texts or YouTube videos.

“Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.” 

Neal Stephenson, Anathem

This is the essence of the Indy Spiritual Trail: be in real nature in the real world with real people with whom you can dialogue.

Stay tuned, we’ll keep you informed of future walks of the Indy Spiitual Trail. Or email Ian McIntosh at if you want to suggest topics for the next Spiritual Trail pilgrimage.

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