Over the past few years, spiritual pilgrimages, rituals and ceremonies have begun to interest me.
The spectacle of seeing tens of thousands of the faithful marching hundreds of kilometers on foot, through inclement weather, just to worship at a specific spot is truly an amazing spectacle. One of those events is the annual Pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, which takes place in December throughout Mexico and ends at the Basilica in Mexico City.
My journey began on a chilly morning, just outside of Puebla on a winding rutted dirt road leading up between two volcanos (Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl). As evening apprached, the temperature dropped to just above freezing. At the crest of the mountain, hundreds of pilgrims prepared to spend the night—fathers, mothers, children, huddled under blankets, building small fires, getting nourishment, sleeping beneath the stars, and patiently waiting for the approaching dawn so they may continue with their journey. The following day, as I approached Mexico City, the crowds of pilgrims began to swell to tens of thousands. Men, women and children with, pictures and statues of the virgin, strapped to their backs, marching, crawling, and offering prayers, as they walk along the final few kilometers of the Calz de Guadeloupe on their way to the Basilica. By this time, the crowd has swelled to the millions as they camp out in the main Basilica square that evening, so they may worship the at the shrine of the Virgin the following day. It was an unforgettable sight.
About David Saxe
I was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1943, and studied fine art at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal. From 1980-1984 I studied with Canadian photographer John Max. I moved to the United States in 1992, and now send my time equally between Santa Fe, NM and Palm Springs CA. My work has been published in OVO Magazine, Photo Review, B&W Magazine, and Zoom. I have exhibited in group and solo shows in Canada, the United States, and Europe. [Official Website] [Robin Rice Gallery]