In previous posts I’ve mentioned “A Pilgrim” several times. This post is to take a look at pilgrim and how or why that affected me, or if indeed there was an aspect that fitted me. Webster’s Dictionary has two definitions. First is one who travels in foreign lands, wayfarer and the definition for wayfarer is a traveler especially on foot. Second is one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee. While the Camino de Santiago has a long history that dates back many years before Christ. It has become known as the “Way of St James” for the past two thousand years, for many it has been and will be a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St James at The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
While traveling the Camino, I categorized the travelers into three groups, religious, spiritual and for others it was a holiday with some religious and or spiritual added in, but everyone was known as pilgrims. I fitted both Webster definitions but not necessarily in the context that is understood. For me France and Spain were foreign lands and I was traveling on foot. I was traveling to a shrine or holy place and was more of a devotee than I realized at the time. I have found from experience in traveling my Camino in respect to life, some of the most profound things I’ve learned has come after the fact. This confirmed to me that I could know things without having to study, therefore I could not give credit to myself or my outer self or anyone else for that matter, and further confirmed there was more to me than met the eye.
Traditionally a pilgrim carried all their earthly belongings with them, I carried everything I needed for that journey in my backpack, so it involved laundry if I wanted something clean to wear each day. I had a reservation at Orisson in France, which was my first stop after Pied St Jean, after that there were no reservations. It allowed me the freedom to decide each day when and where I would stop. Life is like that, when we take freedoms, there is a cost, there were many times I did not count the cost or even consider it, most of the time that was to my detriment. The cost on this trip, which I learned after the third day on the trail, was not too difficult and did give me rewards. If I got on the trail between five and six a.m., I was ahead of many and I could stop between one and two p.m., this assured me a bed and usually a hot shower and gave me the afternoon in the town I was staying, to take in the sights and rest, not too difficult of a cost.
The foreign land I was traveling too, was myself. My knowledge of myself was what other people had to say about me, things I learned, which in most cases were other people’s truth, and while it may have been a companion to my knowing myself, it could not take the place of my journey. Most of the things along my life journey were without and when there was direction from within, I attributed it to someone or something. I could not accept the inner voice as being reliable and for the most part was a stranger, now looking back, I indeed was a stranger to myself. Some of that changed before going on the Camino, more changed on the Camino and continues since returning.
The second definition of traveling to a holy place, was again similar to the foreign land. Traveling to my inner self was and is my holy place. It was foreign to me because for most of my life, I was taught and believed the outer self was responsible for the Inner Self. It has been slow in coming but I recognize now, it is a time of growth carried out by the Inner Self. The journey is allowing the Inner Self to direct the outer self. The Inner Self is the Devine of each and every human being and that included me. Hopefully, you can see the purpose of what I said, “I don’t have the answer, but you do.” In the beginning of the blog I mentioned no one has your fingerprint or DNA, you are unique and special but like me you are a pilgrim. Next post-A Friend