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Matters of the Spirit, People and Life, The Camino de Santiago 2013

The Camino de Santiago: Journey of the Soul

AAAAAAhappypilgrimsAs May begins, I will be leaving for France, where I will start the Camino de Santiago, the renowned 800 km spiritual pilgrimage across the Pyrenees to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain. Well over a thousand years old, in medieval times it was one of three important Christian pilgrimages undertaken by devout followers of the religion. Today, it calls to people of all faiths and spiritual inclinations, and many pilgrims from all over the world find themselves doing this arduous, yet beautiful journey into the soul.

MapaCamino

7th and 8th century documents suggest that James the Apostle spent time preaching on the Iberian peninsula and legend has it that after his death at the hands of Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem, his disciples carried his body to the coast and put it into a stone boat. Guided by angels, it landed near Finisterre at Padrón, in northern Spain. The reigning Queen ordered the body to be taken from Padrón to the site of a marble tomb on which the city of Santiago de Compostela was eventually built. 800 years later, a 9th century hermit had a vision of a large bright star surrounded by a circle of smaller stars indicating an important location in the Libradón mountains. The hermit reported his vision to the Bishop of Iria Flavia, who after some investigation, discovered the tomb containing the body of Saint James and two of his disciples. Word spread, and the Road to Santiago de Compostela became an important Catholic pilgrimage.

pilgrims

I’ve longed to do this trip since I learned about it in 2000, when I first read Shirley MacLaine’s book The Camino.  With her words, she painted a strange and beautiful picture of her pilgrimage and the deep spiritual impact that it had upon her. Following the publications of similar accounts written by Carlos Castaneda and Paolo Coelho, the ancient route was brought into contemporary public awareness, and the Camino has become a popular journey for tens of thousands of spiritual pilgrims every year. Many walk, others travel by bicycle, and a few travel on horse-back, recapturing the nostalgia of medieval times.

Camino Walk 2

In May, the journey begins for me in St. Jean Pied de Port, near the Spanish border. Following tradition, I will begin by purchasing my Credencial, or Pilgrim’s Passport, which identifies my status as a pilgrim, and allows me entry to the Albergues (or Refugios) along The Way. These are dormitories which are spread out along the route, providing overnight accommodation at a nominal fee for pilgrims. At each overnight stop, my pilgrim’s passport is stamped, so that when I reach Santiago de Compostela, I can obtain my Pilgrim’s Certificate (a compostela) which attests to my spiritual journey. Once this is received, I attend the noon Pilgrim’s Mass, which is held in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela each day. At Mass, the pilgrims who have received the compostela have their countries of origin and the starting point of their pilgrimage announced. The choir sings The Hymn to Santiago as the huge Botafumeiro, a metal censor filled with incense, swings with great splendour throughout the cathedral, marking the end of an important inner journey.

A Roncesvalles-01-albergue-01

The Camino for me holds the promise of a quiet space in which I can refocus my awareness, and witness my world and my personal circumstances through the eyes of my True Self. I have reached a moment in my existence when critical decisions must be made, decisions that can only arise within my smaller self through this quietude. The Way of St. James has called for me for a long time, telling me that when the time is right, I will find myself walking the road where my own inner Truth will be revealed. In St. Jean Pied de Port, I will obtain my scallop shell, which will hang from my rucksack, marking me as a pilgrim to the locals that we pass along the way. The scallop shell is a spiritual metaphor, the grooves in the shell all arriving at a single point, symbolizing the fact that though we all take different paths in life, the journey back to the True Self ends in union of all souls.

Scallop

I will try to blog a little along the way, sharing some thoughts and insights, and of course some lovely photos. I’ll be on the road for about six to eight weeks. Please wish me the inner fortitude to complete the pilgrimage. The locals, when they come upon the pilgrims as they struggle along the pathway, call ‘Ultreya!’ to them. It means ‘Onward! Keep going!’ It is spoken as encouragement, a way to boost tired and discouraged pilgrims. It is my heartfelt dream to complete this journey, and I know that I am going to have to draw on as much inner strength as I can, as I do this journey alone.

So, my friends, it is goodbye for now, and HOPEFULLY, I’ll see you on the better side of this journey! Lots of love to you all.

aaaaa Buen

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About Yaz

Hi Everyone! Please check out my site. There you'll find a range of subjects on which I've expressed my world view. I always challenge myself and others to move out of their point of view and try seeing things from another perspective. Your point of view will always be there if you don't like mine! And I'd love to hear from you. Perhaps you'll shift something in me. This is the journey to the True Self and I love it. Lots of love to you all!

Discussion

52 thoughts on “The Camino de Santiago: Journey of the Soul

  1. Have a fruitful pilgrimage!

    Posted by Symbol Reader | April 28, 2013, 8:21 pm
  2. If, by your side, you feel someone is with you, it will be me. I will think of you every day and send you a fairy to push you along. You’ll know it’s me by the faint odour of wine and the laugh. Be safe and enjoy your journey. Xxxxxx

    Posted by Jools | April 28, 2013, 8:37 pm
  3. Have an awesome trip! 🙂

    Posted by andy1076 | April 28, 2013, 8:37 pm
  4. Oh Yaz! You make me want to fill my journey with more …..love and light. I wish you well and am in love with your spirit. Safe travels!!!

    Posted by Chatter Master | April 28, 2013, 9:23 pm
    • Lots of love to you Colleen! You sound much like an exciting person to me with that bike of yours, so I wouldn’t worry too much!

      Posted by Yaz | April 29, 2013, 10:08 am
      • Thank you Yaz. What a great way to start a week, being sent much love by someone with so much light. 🙂 I don’t know how ‘exciting’ I am, but I will feel like I am now. Much love returned and positive thoughts being sent to travel along with you.

        Posted by Chatter Master | April 29, 2013, 12:55 pm
  5. Have a wonderful time mommy. We will be waiting for you at the cathedral to hear your name. I love you, i love you, i love you.

    Posted by Annie | April 28, 2013, 11:02 pm
  6. The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.

    I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light, and pursued my
    voyage through the wildernesses of worlds leaving my track on many a star and planet.

    It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself,
    and that training is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune.

    The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own,
    and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.

    My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said `Here art thou!’

    The question and the cry `Oh, where?’ melt into tears of a thousand
    streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance `I am!’

    Posted by Annie | April 28, 2013, 11:20 pm
  7. Oh Yaz!!! I am soooo excited for you! This has been on my Bucket List since I saw the movie “The Way.” You will be on my mind and in my prayers until you return safely and newly refreshed.
    I look forward to reading about your travels and introspect.
    Many hugs and “Ultreya” !!!!
    xoxo

    Posted by Denise Hisey | April 29, 2013, 12:26 am
  8. Oh Yaz I am so excited for you to be setting off on this journey of the soul that you have been longing to take! May it be all that you are hoping it will be. I will be thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers over these next several weeks, and as you come to mind I will say aloud “ultreya Yaz!” ♥

    Posted by Jewels | April 29, 2013, 4:58 am
  9. Already?? I hope you will manage to blog about your journey along the way?

    Posted by Joy is now | April 29, 2013, 3:23 pm
    • I’m certainly going to try, Emma! I’ve got one of those Blackberry note pads, which are a pain when it comes to typing out a text, but I’m going to give blogging the journey a shot. Love to you!

      Posted by Yaz | April 29, 2013, 3:46 pm
  10. Wow! I’m so excited for you, Yaz. This is something I’d like to do, as well. Maybe next year for me. I think I am at the same transitional point that you are. I love all the symbolism, especially the shell.
    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Good luck, my friend. I’m sure you’ll meet many wonderful people along the way. 🙂
    Blessings to you!
    Lisa

    PS – I look forward to hearing the outcome – everything that you felt and experienced along the way.

    Posted by A Gripping Life | April 29, 2013, 4:09 pm
    • Thanks so much Lisa! I’ll definitely let you know how it all goes. Let’s hope you get to do the trip too. And I’ve heard it on all the Camino forums, that its a wonderful bonding experience for people from all walks of life. Lots of love to you.

      Posted by Yaz | April 29, 2013, 10:50 pm
  11. May the light of love be your guide. Happy journey Yaz

    Posted by Eddie Two Hawks | April 29, 2013, 5:22 pm
  12. Yaz, what an amazing adventure you have before you. A life-changing event sure to open up deep, rich insights into your already empathetic and large soul. I know from the brief exchanges we have had, your presence on the Camino, will influence others, your fortitude strengthening theirs. You have that special gift. I am totally thrilled you have manifested this incredible dream. We will all be thinking of you, sending you big hugs of love.

    Posted by Candia Sanders | April 30, 2013, 3:19 am
    • Thank you for your confidence and for such lovely words, Candia. I can only HOPE to complete the journey. I will certainly do my best, and I will happily carry your blessings within me.

      Posted by Yaz | April 30, 2013, 11:29 am
    • Thanks Candia♡ for your words that echo my feelings about wonderful Yaz♡
      Thanks ♡Yaz for posting about it on our 30 Day Being-♥LOVE Campaign page – as we go through the month I will feel you with us and send you daily blessings through May and after….I look forward to your updates…
      ‘Ultreya!’ – you definitely have what it takes to live your dreams. May all ♡LOVE surround you, Susie♡

      Posted by susiesheartpathblog | May 1, 2013, 8:35 pm
      • Thank you so much for your love and blessings Susie! Have a lovely Love Campaign this month, and I’ll rejoin you when I get back. Lots of love!

        Posted by Yaz | May 1, 2013, 8:56 pm
  13. I wish you a safe and beautiful journey! I never thought I would be reading about this journey from a blogger friend as I also read the book years ago. 🙂 I have a friend who is walking around the United States promoting a message of peace. Hugs and love, Marie

    Posted by sufilight | April 30, 2013, 4:38 am
  14. I really wish this pilgrimage will be all you are hoping for and more. And if it isn’t what you are hoping for, I know it will be exactly what it needs to be… Cause when you walk with the spirit things always work out!
    Much love, strengths and courage on your way. Walk in beauty shaman sister 🙂 xox

    Posted by shamanictracker | April 30, 2013, 2:02 pm
  15. Have a brilliant time, Yaz… What a great journey it is..! I’ve only seen documentaries on tele however, there are so many journeys within the journey, so to speak.. This will make for some very interesting posts, I’m sure…
    xoxoxo 🙂

    Posted by carolynpageabc | May 2, 2013, 4:38 am
    • Thanks Carolyn! I’ll try to blog with my Blackberry playbook, but don’t know how efficient it will be… Lots of love to you in the meantime. And don’t forget, I am so waiting for more of your dancing videos and your lovely gowns! I catch up when I get back.

      Posted by Yaz | May 2, 2013, 6:17 pm
  16. A great post as usual my angel. I know your spiritual journey means so much to you and for that reason I know you’ll complete all 780km. I’ll be counting the days until I can kiss your beautiful face again and have you back with me. Love you to the end of the Universe and back again xxxx

    Posted by nbktraininginnovations | May 2, 2013, 9:06 am
    • It’s only because of you that I can do this journey, my angel. When I started out I was lost and horribly afraid, but because of how you’ve loved me, I have more confidence in myself to take on these spiritual challenges. Everything I do is infused with your energy. It can never be separated. Me, you, Annie and Zak will benefit from the effort. I’ll do everything I can to complete this for the four of us. I’ll always, always love you, and will move heaven on earth to get the four of us together again.

      Posted by Yaz | May 2, 2013, 6:22 pm
  17. May you journey deeply on every level!

    Posted by mommymystic | May 2, 2013, 7:45 pm
  18. Goodbye for now, Yaz – may it be only temporary. Yet, I wish you great travels. Thank you for this post explaining what you’ll be up to. I really appreciated it 🙂

    Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes | May 4, 2013, 1:10 pm
  19. Praying that you have a wonderful adventure, and that you share lots about it either during and or after the fact 🙂

    Thank you for sharing!

    Posted by Louella | May 11, 2013, 1:03 pm
  20. Yaz you have been in my thoughts, since I knew you would be leaving for the Camino this spring sometime. Wishing you a wonderful experience. I have a cousin who left around the same time as you did to walk the Camino, unfortunately she injured herself and had to return home before the 200 km mark. I pray that all will go smoothly for you. I look forward to learning about your spiritual journey upon your return. xoxo

    Posted by Suzanne McRae (@SuzMcRae) | May 16, 2013, 12:15 am
  21. I cant wait to hear how it’s going. I got the movie ‘The Way’ out again and am in the middle of it, to remind myself of what you are doing! (I just paused it. Martin is on his first night, talking to the Dutch guy outside). Are you travelling alone? Those hills look really steep and the monasteries look crowded and noisy. Don’t forget to blog or post a picture if it is too hard to type on your blackberry. Thinking of you Yaz and hoping the trip is bringing you closer to your answers 🙂

    Posted by Joy is now | May 19, 2013, 7:19 am
  22. Looking forward to your posts along the way. I know you will enjoy every step.

    Posted by jacksjottings | May 23, 2013, 12:50 pm
  23. Ultreya, Yaz! Just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you. I’ve been reading “The Camino” and just finished watching “The Way” and have been thinking so much about you as you’re on your journey right now. Hope all is well, I can’t wait to hear how it went. Sending love and prayers you’re way! ♥

    Posted by Jewels | May 26, 2013, 2:32 am
  24. Thinking of you all month, Yaz!! I’m on pins and needles to find out how you liked your trip! 😉

    Posted by Denise Hisey | May 27, 2013, 5:02 pm
  25. I am not really good at these things and I know they are time consuming but I couldn’t leave YOU out since I was taking the time to give the AWARD… so just know it is because you havve touched me… Don’t fret if you don’t have time… I just wanted to recognize you as one of my friends!
    xoxo
    Diane
    http://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/?p=4067&preview=true

    Posted by coastalmom | June 3, 2013, 4:13 am
  26. Yaz, are you back yet? This is in my bucket list. I want to hear it all, blow by blow from you!

    Posted by likeitiz | July 7, 2013, 5:53 pm
    • Hi there! I’m almost back! I finished the camino, but am in Italy on vacation, and will be home in another week or so. Thank you for caring about my journey, and I promise to blog soon!

      Posted by Yaz | July 7, 2013, 8:22 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: I made it! Camino de Santiago 2013 | FreeYourMind - July 7, 2013

  2. Pingback: Reblogged Post: "I Made It! Camino de Santiago 2013" by Yaz Rooney | Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom - July 9, 2013

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