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Camino angels - origin?

Camino(s) past & future
'
#1
I am curious about "camino angel". On the way up to the Alto de Perdon, I had already outed myself as a Camino ignoramus when we had to stop to let some cyclists pass and got into chatting with another group. While introducing themselves, a "Jack from Ireland" was mentioned, to great hilarity all around. I had to ask who he was as I had never heard of him nor seen him before.

Not much later, at a stop in the next village, someone said first to me and then to her neighbour that I was their "camino angel". I did not dare to ask where that came from - Shirley MacLaine, Paul Coelho?

BTW, I had not done anything particular that I had not done before many times: trying to teach someone who was obviously unfit and inexperienced to understand that going up a modest hill - or a long flight of stairs for that matter - really slowly slowly was the least exhausting way for him to reach the top.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept 2014)
#3
Hi Katharina. Congratulations on your angelic nature! It is not that angels do such exceptional things, it is that they act with open hearts, for reasons beyond themselves. Reassuring someone that it's ok and often wise to go up hill slowly may be a life lesson in a fast-forward world!

In the spiritual tradition of Christianity 'angels' are God's messengers. Maybe the person you helped was intending to use the word more casually, but it would make a lot of sense to refer to you as a 'Camino angel' if you were doing something that had a strong impact on them, helping them on their Way.

In that ancient pilgrimage tradition, such a messenger who carries guidance, aid or a well-timed gift of something soon to be needed, is one way 'the Camino provides us all that we really need, when we really do need it'. It is another way of saying that you were the answer to their prayer, and that they see you as cooperating with God's desire to be a loving parent in their time of need. Even if the person you helped wasn't Christian and didn't intend to use it that way, that's the best explanation I could give of what 'Camino angel' might have meant over the ages.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#7
I suppose they mean the Irish gentleman from the movie "The Way"
Ah! I see! I saw the movie but think it was on a small screen on an airplane. I clearly didn't commit the details to memory.

Thanks for the answer!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#9
I suppose they mean the Irish gentleman from the movie "The Way"
I think Estevez picked up the "angel" concept from Camino lore. Jack did not invent it in the film, I don't think. The term has been in the Forum almost from its start. Good deeds abound. That may or may not qualify for "angel" status, but it is a nice tradition.

Use more Compeed on others than yourself.
Matthew 15:23
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept 2014)
#10
Good point Katharina. I liked your question because it opened layers. What if the movie or Shirley MacLaine's book did use a catch-phrase about 'Camino angel'? Your question shows how ancient words gain or loose power to express a single meaning, depending on the current cultural reference points of each party.

Would it be correct to say that a good Samaritan can be a messenger of goodness and, on the Camino, more likely to be seen as an angel? If the Bible is even one of many possible cultural references, that leaves it to the recipients to determine if they coincidentally find good, helpful people at key moments, or if they encounter mounting personalized proof of the Creator's attentive love & innovative desire for goodness in their lives.

I'd better stop now, as I sure don't have credentials to guess the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin :D
 

CaminoJohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2006,2008,2011; VDLP, Sanabrias (2018)
#11
"Camino Angel" may come from the very long tradition, here in the states, of being a "Trail Angel" on one of the three long distances trails here; the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. In this tradition a "trail angel" is someone who provides unsolicited support to through hikers on the trail. "Trail Magic" is a special moment/place on the trail where someone is providing support. I earned both titles this year on the CDT by providing food and other support at a spot 2 days distance from any town on a particular weekend for more than 3 years in a row. My sister has earned this title by packing extra sandwiches to pass out as she is hiking on the AT near here home. No biblical references implied on these secular routes.
On the camino, volunteer hospitaleros are the obvious camino angels secular or not. Sounds like you did something nice and noted!
 
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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#12
"Camino Angel" may come from the very long tradition, here in the states, of being a "Trail Angel" on one of the three long distances trails here
The U.S. is 500 years old. The Appalachian Trail was started in 1923, and became nominally a part of the National Park Service in 1968, which is still acquiring parts of it.

The Camino de Santiago goes back to the 9th century.

While it is possible that an American tradition affected a European tradition, I would go with a less U.S.-centric opinion that it is the other way around. ;)
 

CaminoJohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2006,2008,2011; VDLP, Sanabrias (2018)
#13
The U.S. is 500 years old. The Appalachian Trail was started in 1923, and became nominally a part of the National Park Service in 1968, which is still acquiring parts of it.

The Camino de Santiago goes back to the 9th century.

While it is possible that an American tradition affected a European tradition, I would go with a less U.S.-centric opinion that it is the other way around. ;)
Of course. But the revitalization of the camino and its use by a world wide population, including those familiar with the American trails, only dates to the 1980's or so.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#15
Thank you for your link re metanoia. Whatever their past history or present beliefs may all who walk the camino sense such a trancendental 'change of heart and mind'.
 
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