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Is there a Place in the Modern World for "Pilgrimages"?

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Kathy, as you will know from recent and historic debate on this forum what exactly makes a Pilgrim is ill-defined and sorely debated. Debates on the exact nature of the act of Pilgrimage tend to go the same way.

"Pilgrimage route"? What's one of those? OK, in Spain there are defined routes of passage with established supporting infrastructures that constitute the Caminos de Santiago, the "Ways" to Santiago, followed by Pilgrims, Adventurers, Tourists and the lost. Who walks those paths, follows the flechas amarillos, doesn't change the path or the destination. Anymore that the intentions of a passenger, be they Pilgrim, Tourist or Businessperson, on BA165 from Heathrow to Tel Aviv changes the flight path or Jerusalem. The only circumstances in which the trail is the "destination" that I am aware of (though as always I seek enlightenment) is in the Tibetan practice of Kora, the circumambulation of a holy site or sites and, perhaps the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan.

The roads to Canterbury, Rome, Santiago, Mecca, Mazar Al-Sharif, Lourdes or Fatima and the rest are means not ends. While one Pilgrim still walks, cycles, flies or drives there will be a place for them.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I find it interesting that there has been a huge growth in interest in walking pilgrimage routes in recent years. Perhaps more so than for walking routes with no claims to religious or spiritual significance. If we define 'pilgrimage' in fairly broad terms then it seems the demand is still there.
 

Shinobi42

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de la Costa from Irun to Nueva 2018
Camino de la Costa from Nueva to Muxia (2020)
For me, doing a pilgrimage is both religous/spiritual, physical and also personal/psychological. Like the "mens sana in corpore sano" of the Greek or the japanese "Shin-Gi-Waza", the harmony of spirit, body and technique.

I refer here to the Novel of Herman Hesse "Journey to the East" that inspired Robert K. Greenleaf to write his book about "Servant Leadership". For me as a Scrum Master it is an important aspect of my professional life, being a servant leader to a team of developers. In Hesse's novel the servant is the true leader that inspires the other pilgrims to self-organize to move on to the right aim and purpose of the journey.

On a pilgrimage you come into the situation of being served and you serve yourself and others (hopefully) over and over again. Ideally we as fellow pilgrims lead ourselfs to the right place, although every pilgrimage is individual, without giving commands but by advice, sharing of things, drying tears, giving hugs, ... all driven by respect, love and acceptance of personal dignity. This is not bound to a certain track in Spain, marked with yellow arrows and shells. Pilgrimage later on means walking a truely natural human way through life.

Like it is discribed in the Shu-Ha-Ri lifecycle to mastery, that is the basis of asian martial and fine arts. We start sticking to the techniques of pilgrimage. Reading and following instructions (Shu). Later on with the first experiences we figure out, that we should alter some things to make it personal fit. (Ha) Finally we cannot even tell what pilgrimage is all about, it is through and through interwoven with our personality and spirit. (Ri) This is the state where we should go back to the basics and teach them others. This helps us to fully understand and reach the true heart (Kokoro) of it.

"If you can't get any further, return to your basic techniques" (Toshitsugu Takamatsu, 33rd Grandmaster of Togakure-ryu Ninjutsu).

The answer to the question is: Pack your backpack and go.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
For me it is a trip of healing in the way of self-discovery.
I began walking to chelate the chemicals that make me so sick.

I quickly discovered the Camino presents me with personality "challenges" about myself that also need "chelating." 🤣 Every year, new challenges, sometimes in the form of other pilgrims or clients, and every year I learn more about myself. What I find out about myself is not always pretty, but the Camino gives me time to ruminate, to think things over, to try to make changes, and hopefully grow. I'm hard-headed, so sometimes I have to repeat and repeat the lesson until I learn, but I DO learn. Then just about the time I think I have it licked, a NEW challenge raises its head.

I used to say, "I prayed for patience and got a son. I begged God for patience, and I'll be danged if he didn't give me a second son. After the 3d son, I stopped praying for patience!"

This year, I prayed for faith, and got cancer.
I think God has a weird sense of humor.

What I learned this year is to be careful what I pray for!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Thank you for your question. It led me to do a search on our ubiquitous friend, google. Here is what I found. I have only just discovered it, so cannot comment. I hope to gain enlightenment. Perhaps you might, also. Now, to more mundane matters.
go to http://www.oapen.org. and then, Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World. It is a free pdf.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
If you are looking for statistical information, I think the increasing long lines at the Pilgrim office give you your answer. As numbers walking have increased so have the number of Compostelas issued.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Most pilgrimages are very local, and purely religious, as are typically even the longer ones -- the Camino is one of the major exceptions to this norm, as it has since the Middle Ages been open to those who aren't Catholics, nor perhaps even Christians.

As such, the Camino is many things simultaneously ; but Pilgrimage is most very definitely in the centre of them.
 

MhaelK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
"A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about the self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life."


I personally prefer the this type definition of a pilgrimage and on that definition yes there are still a need for routes like CDS, where you can meet and walk with people on the same "path" , even if a majority of people might walk for slightly different reasons. Honestly, I feel most of debate about what is a pilgrimage stems from the fact that some people can't accept that people walk for a different reason than their own - the "you are doing it wrong" mentality.
 

DLJ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(4/2012) St.Jean to Santiago; (9/2013) Geneva to Le Puy-en-Velay and beyond
The world leaders, need to take up backpacks and walk the Camino. Now, more than ever, the pilgrimage has value.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Honestly, I feel most of debate about what is a pilgrimage stems from the fact that some people can't accept that people walk for a different reason than their own - the "you are doing it wrong" mentality.
This is straightforwardly true. Good insight.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
As other mentioned - cannot speak for someone but to me - it is both Religious and Spiritual (I guess to an extend I might ponder if they are mutually exclusive on inclusive 😳)
 

GraemeHall

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017/18; Portugués 2019
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
I'm sure I've seen this post recently?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
In "The Art of Pilgrimage" it is suggested that baseball fans going to Cooperstown are on pilgrimage. The surface, country, purpose, religion will always be different.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Pilgrimage will always be here I hope. As the world continues to spiral out of control hopefully more people will be drawn to be a Pilgrim. With the quality of so many of our world leaders, pilgrimage should be a prerequisite to rule.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
In a world which increasingly values little except the flash of momentary social media prominence (and I get the irony of that statement while I am responding on a forum), the Camino and similar offer the ability to show no one but yourself a side of you and others that represents truth in humanity. Granted, it still is an experience that many who do not have the time or money to share in, but there will always be a need for some place to go to that removes you from your normal existence and allows you to just think, perhaps pray (if you are a believer in some god), and remember that humanity is not defined by screen time.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I guess for me the deal breaker in the whole discussion is the fact that there is a Catholic cathedral at the end of the walk. The cathedral is the actual end goal. The finish line if you will. I know not everyone these days sets that as their goal, but I my point is that the cathedral was/is the entire reason the pilgrimage exists. That is really not in question. So let's say for argument's sake the cathedral for whatever reason suddenly disappears due to man made or natural occurrence. All that is left is the plaza. A big, flat empty concrete lot in a sense. Suddenly that is all that is left to walk to. If that happened would as many people want to still walk the Camino? Personally I think not. I think that there would be an enormous decrease in pilgrims walking to Santiago from wherever. A decrease to the point there would no longer be a pilgrimage, even if they built a brand new cathedral or let's say they decide to go secular and build a shiny new tourist center as the goal instead. You walk in, get a number and are issued a mass produced "everybody is a winner" certificate, lol. Complete with a bar or QR code, lol.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
No, no, no. If the edifice disappeared, the meaning would also? No, no no! Too many hearts have been led to that spot. Too much Meaning has been invested in that space that has no measurements!
 

PlutseligPilegrim

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Camino(s) past & future
St Olav’s way Novgorod - Åbo
- Stiklestad - Nidaros (2019)
Via del a plata from Cadiz (2019)
Why the question..?...like it will ever matter....the biology that run down hundreds of generations both enables and motivates on very different subliminal levels....the best part....it never will bee fully «understood» as a driving force in our life....no need...it’s all within the human nature...loving it!21439DA0-B175-476E-8D9B-745772CD28D7.jpeg
 

Mike Putman

Pilgrim_Traveler
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept 2018, hopefully Camino Portuguese 2021
I don't understand why we spend so much time on such questions. The assumption behind questions like this for me seem to indicate that there is some 'modern' norm that we all must follow. Pilgrimages will exist I believe as long as people need time to meet their higher power even if that is there own self. We are all different and thank God we are.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked CF September/October 2015; Scheduled to walk April/May 2020
1 in 3 modern travelers is a pilgrim. Pilgrimages are actually rising in popularity. I can’t speak to every pilgrim’s convictions or to what you deem qualified, but I would say that there is very much a place for pilgrimage in the modern world, and in fact we may need it more than ever.
 

SusanMB

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012)
Camino Portuguese (2014)
Camino Via de la Plata (April/May2016)
Norte (2017)
We have journeyed as Pilgrims since ancient times and we will continue on pilgrimages while ever we inhabit Earth. This question has been asked since ancient times, and for sure the answer never changes.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I guess for me the deal breaker in the whole discussion is the fact that there is a Catholic cathedral at the end of the walk. The cathedral is the actual end goal. The finish line if you will. I know not everyone these days sets that as their goal, but I my point is that the cathedral was/is the entire reason the pilgrimage exists. That is really not in question. So let's say for argument's sake the cathedral for whatever reason suddenly disappears due to man made or natural occurrence. All that is left is the plaza. A big, flat empty concrete lot in a sense. Suddenly that is all that is left to walk to. If that happened would as many people want to still walk the Camino? Personally I think not. I think that there would be an enormous decrease in pilgrims walking to Santiago from wherever. A decrease to the point there would no longer be a pilgrimage, even if they built a brand new cathedral or let's say they decide to go secular and build a shiny new tourist center as the goal instead. You walk in, get a number and are issued a mass produced "everybody is a winner" certificate, lol. Complete with a bar or QR code, lol.
I think it is a little more complex than that. I think at first, it wasn't the Catholic cathedral that was the destination (the current cathedral wasn't there when the pilgrimages started) so much as the relics of St. James that could be found therein. It's a very nice cathedral but very nice cathedrals can be found all over Europe. What drew people was the opportunity to be right there with the relics. Relics of Christ's inner circle aren't able to be found all over Europe. Pretty much in Santiago and Rome (which is why they were the primary pilgrim destinations in Europe).

I was going to start with that simple statement - that it wasn't the Catholic cathedral but the relics, which presumably might have some sort of meaning for any Christians, not just Catholics, although I recognize that veneration of saints and relics is more important to some denominations than others. But then I thought, it's not so simple as that. Because the relics that I thought people were walking to were gone for centuries but the pilgrimage never quite died out. Clearly, something other than the relics was drawing people to Santiago de Compostela. My guess is that, by that point, Santiago de Compostela had gained renown as a pilgrimage destination in and of itself. One of such stature that the loss of what had created the draw wasn't enough to extinguish it.

I think at this point, the Camino is even more likely to survive such a loss. The percentage of pilgrims who do not identify as "religioius" is greater than ever, constituting the majority of pilgrims according to the released statistics. Many say that the value they experience on a Camino is found mostly in the journey rather than the destination. If they lost the current cathedral and built a brand new one, I don't think it would affect numbers much. It wouldn't be the first time. I think the Camino is here to stay. Time will tell.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
The Mode of the Pilgrim has won a position in Modernity:
To take a rucksack, put on one´s trusty boots and by any mean of transportation, go searching into the world....
After having traveled extensively in my own part of the worls when I was a student: England Scotlanf & Wales, ...I thought my meandering and stravaiging was over...
Life brought family and children and then sickness and then healing.
I cannot praise enough my time honoured habits of donning the rucksack, find the sleeping bag and then take off in search of answers....it has never left me.
I thought I had lost my Wanderlust in my youth, but it is still there, stuck in a stuff bag somewhere... just to be dusted off and renewed...
-I have gotten used to the puzzled faces of collegues: ´what, but you have walked the Camino, why another one...?´
I would never try to explain the introspection, the search for new avenues of exploring and soul searching.
The answer is I may never reach my goal which has so many faces, but who is counting..?
 
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FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
I do not know what other people think the Camino is (nor do I care), but for me it is foremost a religious pilgrimage.
I didn't realize it at first, but by the end, it was for me, too.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
Yes, and they're centuries old.
I would hope nobody believes the Camino has become secular due to its increased popularity in the past ten years or so as a sort of a self help walkabout. lol
I agree. I think (hope) that anyone who just thinks of it as a European Appalachian Trail is in for a life changing treat.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I agree. I think (hope) that anyone who just thinks of it as a European Appalachian Trail is in for a life changing treat.
They are certainly in for a surprise. I hope that unlike the famous Francis Tapon they do not find it a disappointment. It does help to have some idea of where you are walking and why. Though the second might be more fluid and elusive.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
I find it interesting that there has been a huge growth in interest in walking pilgrimage routes in recent years. Perhaps more so than for walking routes with no claims to religious or spiritual significance. If we define 'pilgrimage' in fairly broad terms then it seems the demand is still there.
So, are you saying that the numbers indicate the "lure" of a religious/spiritual destination has some instinctual attraction to the human experience? Or that people can define their own journey as a pilgrimage based on destination alone (of course, people define their own pilgrimage)?
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
For me it is a trip of healing in the way of self-discovery.
I began walking to chelate the chemicals that make me so sick.

I quickly discovered the Camino presents me with personality "challenges" about myself that also need "chelating." 🤣 Every year, new challenges, sometimes in the form of other pilgrims or clients, and every year I learn more about myself. What I find out about myself is not always pretty, but the Camino gives me time to ruminate, to think things over, to try to make changes, and hopefully grow. I'm hard-headed, so sometimes I have to repeat and repeat the lesson until I learn, but I DO learn. Then just about the time I think I have it licked, a NEW challenge raises its head.

I used to say, "I prayed for patience and got a son. I begged God for patience, and I'll be danged if he didn't give me a second son. After the 3d son, I stopped praying for patience!"

This year, I prayed for faith, and got cancer.
I think God has a weird sense of humor.

What I learned this year is to be careful what I pray for!
Jeepers, Annie, you should have just been like the rest of us and prayed for a room without snorers:p.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
My opinion: there is a need in the modern world for such a thing like a pilgrimage.
I recommend to walk the CF or any other longer pilgrimage to everyone who is asking me about my experiences.

Keep on walking!
. . . and, goodness, the weird looks I get when I recommend it. People are so afraid.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
Thank you for your question. It led me to do a search on our ubiquitous friend, google. Here is what I found. I have only just discovered it, so cannot comment. I hope to gain enlightenment. Perhaps you might, also. Now, to more mundane matters.
go to http://www.oapen.org. and then, Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World. It is a free pdf.
I followed your suggestion. What a wonderful site - thank you! It is interesting to discover that academics (cultural anthropologists, no less) ask the same question. The sites in the study are all purposely modern - do they present a secular or religious experience for their pilgrims? It's too late in the evening for me to find out, but I have it bookmarked.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
So, are you saying that the numbers indicate the "lure" of a religious/spiritual destination has some instinctual attraction to the human experience? Or that people can define their own journey as a pilgrimage based on destination alone (of course, people define their own pilgrimage)?
I think that many people find places of overt religious significance very interesting. Even those with no personal faith of their own can see the cultural and historical significance and feel something of the importance which a place has had for others. Not long ago I read Guy Stagg's book "The Crossway" about a mammoth journey on foot from Canterbury to Rome, Istanbul and eventually Jerusalem. An avowed atheist who wanted to experience something of religion by participating in its rituals without personally accepting its formal beliefs and doctrines. I suspect that sort of active curiosity is not uncommon.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
If you are looking for statistical information, I think the increasing long lines at the Pilgrim office give you your answer. As numbers walking have increased so have the number of Compostelas issued.
It is heartening to see that people want to "do" the CdS, for whatever reason! I remember the looks on the faces of my fellow pilgrims when we finally line up at the pilgrim office to get our official Compostela.
 
There will always be a place for tracks like the Camino, there always has been. I am not religious or spiritual. But I will be riding the Camino Norte in September for the cultural experience, the views, to meet people and for the physical side of riding my bike.

I do not think they are lesser reasons than walking it for religious or spiritual reasons. They are just different reasons.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
Probably more so, than ever.
Life can get so complicated these days I think many people are lost and searching for meaning and purpose...
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
I think it is a little more complex than that. I think at first, it wasn't the Catholic cathedral that was the destination (the current cathedral wasn't there when the pilgrimages started) so much as the relics of St. James that could be found therein. It's a very nice cathedral but very nice cathedrals can be found all over Europe. What drew people was the opportunity to be right there with the relics. Relics of Christ's inner circle aren't able to be found all over Europe. Pretty much in Santiago and Rome (which is why they were the primary pilgrim destinations in Europe).

I was going to start with that simple statement - that it wasn't the Catholic cathedral but the relics, which presumably might have some sort of meaning for any Christians, not just Catholics, although I recognize that veneration of saints and relics is more important to some denominations than others. But then I thought, it's not so simple as that. Because the relics that I thought people were walking to were gone for centuries but the pilgrimage never quite died out. Clearly, something other than the relics was drawing people to Santiago de Compostela. My guess is that, by that point, Santiago de Compostela had gained renown as a pilgrimage destination in and of itself. One of such stature that the loss of what had created the draw wasn't enough to extinguish it.

I think at this point, the Camino is even more likely to survive such a loss. The percentage of pilgrims who do not identify as "religioius" is greater than ever, constituting the majority of pilgrims according to the released statistics. Many say that the value they experience on a Camino is found mostly in the journey rather than the destination. If they lost the current cathedral and built a brand new one, I don't think it would affect numbers much. It wouldn't be the first time. I think the Camino is here to stay. Time will tell.
I have often wonder about the ‘religious’ vs ‘spiritual’ balance and whether or not such a large uptick in spiritual walker would still exist if everyone would receive a Compostela regardless of why they walked and did not need to declare a reason, knowing full well if they said ‘walking holiday’ that they would not get one...
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I have often wonder about the ‘religious’ vs ‘spiritual’ balance and whether or not such a large uptick in spiritual walker would still exist if everyone would receive a Compostela regardless of why they walked and did not need to declare a reason, knowing full well if they said ‘walking holiday’ that they would not get one...
I don't think that would change the "religious" vs "spiritual" balance at all, as whichever of those two one selects, one gets the same certificate. It might change the religious/spiritual vs sportive balance, though.

But I think, based on what I've read here and in other forums of people's experiences, that a number of people claiming spiritual at the Pilgrims Office may not have started their caminos with spiritual intentions but found the spiritual dimension of their camino along the way.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
I don't think that would change the "religious" vs "spiritual" balance at all, as whichever of those two one selects, one gets the same certificate. It might change the religious/spiritual vs sportive balance, though.

But I think, based on what I've read here and in other forums of people's experiences, that a number of people claiming spiritual at the Pilgrims Office may not have started their caminos with spiritual intentions but found the spiritual dimension of their camino along the way.
The Camino sometimes changes you in ways you have no way of anticipating. We are blessed creatures, aren't we?
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
I live in a village that goes every year on a pilgrimage
See like this one with tractor 🚜 only we walk

we start before sun up driving to the Sanctuary to have mess at sun rise from there we walk about 40 km back home with our brass band playing and singing then we pray the rosary over and over again the brass band instruments have a transporter which will give little rides for the very old the sick . It ends with a mess at the village..
Here is one from my hometown
When they return the street they are coming in is having a welcome feast for them.
We have no question about modernity it’s a tradition you do it or you don’t.
 

Anthony Rocco

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ignaciano, Aragones, Arle, Tolosana, Salvador, Primitivo, Madrid, Olvidado/Invierno (2020)
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
Let's be clear: the many pilgrimage routes to Santiago are all pilgrimage routes, as are other pilgrim paths in Europe and elsewhere. These have clear goals for the pilgrim and places along the way of religious significance. When we walk these routes, we enter with the preparation and spirit of a pilgrim.. In contrast, there "hiking paths" all over Europe and the U.S., and we walk these as well. Among the longest and most rigorous is the Appalachian Trail which is only for the most dedicated, persevering and hardship-prepared. None of these are caminos. They provide unforgettable "human" experiences, just as the Camino de Santiago or other caminos in Europe provide unforgettable human experiences for those who walk them. To me, it's all good, whatever your motivation, your mindset, your preparation.
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
We plan to walk The Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales which is similar in the sense that there are “stages” with villages and luggage can be sent ahead. The “religious”’aspect is yours to bring and should be easy to meditate on walking through Gods spectacular beauty in this part of the world.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
Our "modern world" is pretty messed (not my first word but want to be nice) up and Pilgrimages are a place where we can retreat to to reset our minds and our priorities. For me the Camino was originally a historic appreciation walk but the people that I met there and the churches, chapels, cathedrals and albergues soon ramped up the spiritual side of the walk. I think that we really would be in trouble if there were no Pilgrimage routes left to be used.
 

Island

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2019
Pilgrims' Way 2020
Via Francigena 2020
California Mission Trail 2020
I believe in "pilgrimage" (the verb) - making a journey as an act of devotion.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I think it is a little more complex than that. I think at first, it wasn't the Catholic cathedral that was the destination (the current cathedral wasn't there when the pilgrimages started) so much as the relics of St. James that could be found therein. It's a very nice cathedral but very nice cathedrals can be found all over Europe. What drew people was the opportunity to be right there with the relics. Relics of Christ's inner circle aren't able to be found all over Europe. Pretty much in Santiago and Rome (which is why they were the primary pilgrim destinations in Europe).

I was going to start with that simple statement - that it wasn't the Catholic cathedral but the relics, which presumably might have some sort of meaning for any Christians, not just Catholics, although I recognize that veneration of saints and relics is more important to some denominations than others. But then I thought, it's not so simple as that. Because the relics that I thought people were walking to were gone for centuries but the pilgrimage never quite died out. Clearly, something other than the relics was drawing people to Santiago de Compostela. My guess is that, by that point, Santiago de Compostela had gained renown as a pilgrimage destination in and of itself. One of such stature that the loss of what had created the draw wasn't enough to extinguish it.

I think at this point, the Camino is even more likely to survive such a loss. The percentage of pilgrims who do not identify as "religioius" is greater than ever, constituting the majority of pilgrims according to the released statistics. Many say that the value they experience on a Camino is found mostly in the journey rather than the destination. If they lost the current cathedral and built a brand new one, I don't think it would affect numbers much. It wouldn't be the first time. I think the Camino is here to stay. Time will tell.
Dude, you're trying really hard there to make the Camino sound secular. LOL :D
You trying to convince me, or yourself?
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I agree. I think (hope) that anyone who just thinks of it as a European Appalachian Trail is in for a life changing treat.
Very true.
One thing I fear is the use of "trail names" being used on the Camino. Shudder. I can just hear an exchange between two pilgrims in passing..."buen Camino, I'm Moondance, what's your trail name? Oh, buen Camino. They call me Wild Child. Any trail magic around? Anybody got any weed?".....LOL
Dear Lord, I hope that is never a reality.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Dude, you're trying really hard there to make the Camino sound secular. LOL :D
You trying to convince me, or yourself?
I think for many the Camino is profoundly religious. For those who are religious, I think the current Cathedral could be destroyed and replaced and it wouldn't affect the value of the Camino one bit. They come to venerate the saint. Which building his relics reside in is of little religious importance.

I think the Camino is profoundly spiritual for even more pilgrims. I think for these, too the Cathedral could be destroyed and replaced without reducing the value of the Camino. They don't receive their spiritual rewards from this particular building.

I think that there is a minority for whom the Camino is a purely secular experience, with only athletic and/or cultural experiences as rewards. For a few of these people, seeing this particular Cathedral is an important cultural experience, but were it replaced, I think there are still many other valuable cultural experiences to attract them.

The Camino is many things to many people. Certainly it is secular to some but it can hardly be argued that it is inherently secular and I don't know what I said that might give the impression that I believe that.
 

Island

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2019
Pilgrims' Way 2020
Via Francigena 2020
California Mission Trail 2020
So the key word here is "devotion"? I never thought of that way to describe it, but I am intrigued.
I must preface with this is my opinion and others certainly will feel otherwise, but I believe pilgrimage is an act of devotion to faith. There are a lot of ways to "walk" the Camino but only a purposeful act of faith resonates with me as a pilgrimage.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
Very true.
One thing I fear is the use of "trail names" being used on the Camino. Shudder. I can just hear an exchange between two pilgrims in passing..."buen Camino, I'm Moondance, what's your trail name? Oh, buen Camino. They call me Wild Child. Any trail magic around? Anybody got any weed?".....LOL
Dear Lord, I hope that is never a reality.
I was surprised to find that, in 2013, an act of regular helpfulness (I helped a pilgrim repair his hiking poles with my duct tape) earned me a designation by him as a Camino Angel ("Oh, are you the American lady who helped . . . ? We heard about you! He called you his Camino Angel!"). That's a trail name I would accept, although mightily undeserved - I had simply done what anyone would have done (I realize there are many, many Camino Angels out there, and have been over the millennium).
In 2015, everyone knew about the German lady with the lime green backpack - and stayed away from her (for various reasons too crazy to go into here). Was that her trail name?
I think some people just stick out in your mind, maybe they have a trail name, maybe just a descriptor, just like the names of posters in this forum. It's all good, IMHO.
But, yeah, those "trail names" feel a bit . . . forced . . . and may not translate well. On the other hand, if you get one, you don't make it stick to yourself, do you? Moondance, WildChild, - OK, Boomer!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Part of (2018)
Primitivo (2019)
Finistere (2019)
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
Yes, there is a place. It has become timeless since its inception. It has a place in every time period that academics will try to describe the world by.
Its start is in the heart of faith and worship of the Allmighty for the Christian believer.
It removes the seriously urbanised from the humdrum of life into open spaces, clean air and hours of simplified living and moving.
Truth is that people's pilgrimages is not isolated to a specified route somewhere in the world but rather somewhere on the road of life wherever they might find themselves.
A pilgrimage is transformatory by some design and largely timeless in its final outcome.
Pilgrimages has much value. Pursue it when and where you can.
:)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
For those who are religious, I think the current Cathedral could be destroyed and replaced and it wouldn't affect the value of the Camino one bit.
A highly doubtful claim ...

A large aspect of many religious pilgrimages is the religious tourism bit -- and I think that you greatly underestimate the value that we Catholics place on our more beautiful churches !!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I think for many the Camino is profoundly religious. For those who are religious, I think the current Cathedral could be destroyed and replaced and it wouldn't affect the value of the Camino one bit. They come to venerate the saint. Which building his relics reside in is of little religious importance.
A highly doubtful claim ...

A large aspect of many religious pilgrimages is the religious tourism bit -- and I think that you greatly underestimate the value that we Catholics place on our more beautiful churches !!
I will stand by my opinion that the religious value is in the relics, not the church that holds them. Much as I love the Cathedral in Santiago, it is by no means the most beautiful in Europe. The building is not what made Santiago the pilgrimage destination it is.

Certainly, were the church to be destroyed and replaced it would be a tremendous cultural loss. And I am sure that, for many Catholic pilgrims, in addition to the religious reasons for pilgrimage, there is an appreciation of the Catholic cultural heritage expressed in the many churches. However, as I said farther on in my post, if the Cathedral were to be destroyed and replaced there would still be much of cultural value to act as a draw to the Camino.

And, I expect that if the Cathedral were destroyed and replaced, it would just be a different beautiful church at the end of the walk. This is not the first cathedral at the site to house the relics. It has been replaced before, in whole and in part. Pilgrims did not stop coming. It was not the end of the Camino phenomenon. I see no reason to presume it would be if it were to happen again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I finally found time to begin to read the article I referred to way back at the beginning of this thread. Other things need to catch my full attention, and also a jigsaw puzzle has to be begun! but the article certainly offers plenty of material for consideration. I look forward to reading through the rest of it. For anyone who is interested, I think it is worth the time.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I will stand by my opinion that the religious value is in the relics, not the church that holds them.
There is literally no religious difference between the two -- the altar of EVERY Catholic church is set over its own particular relics.

But well, you seem to have crossed the boundary over what constitutes discussion of religious activities and questions relating to the Camino and to pilgrims, and discussing religion itself, so I won't follow you any further than this.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I finally found time to begin to read the article I referred to way back at the beginning of this thread. Other things need to catch my full attention, and also a jigsaw puzzle has to be begun! but the article certainly offers plenty of material for consideration. I look forward to reading through the rest of it. For anyone who is interested, I think it is worth the time.
364 pages ... Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World - I admit that I've not read it. I wondered who the saint on the cover is. I guessed that it is a rock star. Steven Tyler from Aerosmith ... no. Apparently it is Jim Morrison. I might read the chapter on The Pilgrimage to Jim Morrison’s Grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery: The Social Construction of Sacred Space. Why is that relevant to Camino pilgrimage? I think we see this currently happening along the Camino Frances/Camino to Fisterra for example: the social construction of sacred space.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
A highly doubtful claim ...

A large aspect of many religious pilgrimages is the religious tourism bit -- and I think that you greatly underestimate the value that we Catholics place on our more beautiful churches !!
I read your signature details, and I read "The Camino is centered in humility, not in hiking. " I like that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
This may relate to the never ending debate on what exactly makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage, but I need to get some opinions. In our day and age, many see themselves as "spiritual" rather than "religious." Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Do we just call it a walking trail? Tourist trip? I know what I think - what about you?
I have barely scratched the surface of the article I referenced above ( am going slowly, but enjoying it). You asked a question: Is there a place for a pilgrimage route like the Camino de Santiago? Yes. No matter which way I might try to justify my opinion, there will be room, thankfully, for different opinions. Call it whatever you like, there is a place for it. Enjoy your 2020 Camino/Pilgrimage!
 

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