Search 57,387 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

Religious, doubter, seeker, atheist, don't care, tourist, or whatever? Why are you walking?

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
From ancient times, the Camino was for devouted pilgrims in faith, seeking relief from their sins at the tomb of Saint James in Santiago.

These days, people walk for many reasons, as reflected in the heading of this thread.

Why is it that an ancient pilgrim path of faith in rural Spain has become this popular, from all corners of the world?

IMHO, something is missing in people's hectic, and often meaningless daily lives, and the Camino has an ancient answer for some. Many can feel it when they do the walk.

As for myself, I am neither religious nor atheist. Call me spiritual/reflective. But I do not rule out anything: I simply do not know. There is a story to illustrate the importance of what we can not know and can not see, but which may still exist:

An astronaut and a brain surgeon were discussing the concept of an all-seeing entity (some call it God). The astronaut said:

"I have been farther out into the Univere than any other human being, but I have never seen any trace of a God"

The surgeon replied:

"I have operated deeper into the human brain than any other brain surgeon, but I have never seen a thought".

Think about it...

Along your walk... There may be more to it than what shows,
 
Last edited:
Learn Spanish for the Camino
Enhance your Camino experience by learning about the Spanish language and culture.
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
When you walk the Camino, and suddenly a pandemic appears
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Last edited:

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I like to see the world on its own terms, at a human pace on the ground.

I am from an Irish Catholic family, raised in the church “just in case’ at the insistence of my aunts, but with the warning from my father that the fairy stories that gave them comfort could impoverish the world. It’s complicated.

But I love the world and its complicated peoples and their/our histories. Few places in the world have such an established infrastructure for me to walk town to town, seeing the accomplishments and the failures of humans around every corner. There are other routes in Europe that I’d like to follow: the VF, the various pilgrimage routes in Ireland now. I’d like to do the “great walks” in New Zealand (I think — but the similarities to North American through-hikes makes me hesitate). All these things are also considerably more expensive than Spain… and sometime early in my first visits to Spain I shifted from being monogamous in my love of all things French to rather more profligate in my affections for Spain and then Portugal…. And the different regions.

So: historical appreciation of the place of faith and religion in the creation of the modern hospital system (thanks to the plague, the bar fights, the dysentery and the malnutrition that made nuns into nurses; monks into apothecaries…), and a love for ancient archeology whether of “civilizations” (eg: Roman empire) or of early settlements (eg: Atapuerca), and all the hybridized archtecure from the fall of the empire, the arrival of Islam into Spain, and then the move in from the North of the Christian Visigoths….

And all those fascinations being indulged probably quiets the chatter in my head.

Plus surprises: hearing Iberian wolves howling in the wee hours across the valley in Mos. Storks…. I’d never seen a stork until Pamplona… gerbils in the meseta… learning that if I am walking I love sunrise…
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
2012
Nothing to do with today's reality, imho.
This old pagan still undertakes the same old journey for the same old reasons. Why anyone else does it is their problem not mine. But I’ll give them a hug or stand them a drink if they look like they need it 😉
Edit: small “p” not “P”. We ain’t a club you can join and no one gets to wear a badge 😉
 

TMcA

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
I want to respond in depth to your question, maybe because I feel bad that I do not walk at all for religious reasons and that leads me to not classify myself as a pilgrim. Also because I have collected thoughts on this subject from this forum and my own ruminations as well as a French forum that I frequently read. And part of what I write below comes from the French forum.

I walk because I love:
  • being on vacation - the cares and needs of life back home are mostly left behind
  • the camaraderie on the trail, at the albergue or casa rurale, and at dinner
  • the easy interchange with others as I walk
  • the resultant feeling that we humans, despite cultural differences, can share a common experience - that we are all part of the family of man and woman
  • the unknowns - what is over the next hill? What will the place of rest be like? Etc. And that every new day will have the same rhythm but be different
  • feeling close to nature
  • the simplicity of the hike - everything pared pretty much down to what fits in a pack
Some other aspects that I think make these Camino walks successful:
  • people on the Caminos leave their social status behind - a highly paid executive has no greater status than a shop clerk
  • in addition to jettisoning whatever status we might feel, we also leave behind our lives back home, members of our family (usually children), and the routines of our daily lives. To me this opens us up to experiencing the world from a new and possibly more open perspective. So...
  • walking a Camino is to walk as a seeker, whether we intend to or not- and we cannot help but to see things with new eyes
  • using the Camino Frances as an example, a Camino is a long, easy walk given its infrastructure for readily available meals and lodging
  • it is a cheap European vacation
This is long already...maybe I will add more thoughts later.
 
Last edited:
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
It was a pagan journey long before it was a Christian pilgrimage.

The Camino de Santiago to some extent follows the earlier Roman roads (the reason for a pilgrimage was to get directly to Santiago, after all) ... there is no evidence or proof that it was ever a pagan 'pilgrim route' of any form. Finis Terre was named by the Romans, not the Celts.

The main problem with any myths of pre-Christian pilgrimages, and for western Europe we are talking of the Celt tribes, is that the Celts didn't have a written language - so no records, no history.

The religious or ritual locus for the earlier pre-Celt people were to gatherings at the great standing stones in their various forms, and they were mainly in the north west of Europe (think Brittany) so pre-Celt people in Spain would have travelled there - eastwards and then north, from feast remains burials at such sites we know that they drove their cattle herds with them.

The route/s may have originally been a series of Celtic tracks that the Romans built over and made into roads but there is no evidence that ritual journeys were ever made by the Celts or any earlier people to "the end of the earth" on the western coast - after all, all coastlines are "the end of the earth". Sorry.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
It is a modern rite of passage undertaken in the main by financially safe people, many of whom have heard of "The Way". Few walk for reasons other than the glow that comes from being able to tell the tale of when that 500 miles was walked across a mountainous land. Little regard is given to any form of organised religion and the vast majority have antipathy to the religion around which the pilgrimage is based.
Many see it as a cheap drinking excursion and yet others as an enforced entry into regular exercise. Yet most walk with thoughts of others in their hearts and in their actions. Helping others becomes the norm. Sharing difficulties is second nature.
Aye, its a totally contradictory experience isn't it?
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
The specific difference between the Camino and 'leisure distance hikes' throughout the world is that the latter have hikers going on them whereas the Camino is very different.

There is something about Camino that draws people to it ... the truth is, no one knows why ... oh sure, people will come up with all sorts of explanations, we justify all our actions, but at heart, no one knows .... we hear of it, it sits in our minds ... it then gets reinforced by "coincidences" and eventually - we go.

Why do I go? Why do I do first aid out there? To me it is being 'called' (in the truest sense, nagged), called until one answers, surrenders, packs that bag, and goes - but that is from my own personal mindset, world view. I have done this since 2005 and early last year decided that it was over. I had had enough, no more .. but now? I am called again, nagged again! - and I have no choice but to answer - funnily enough I don't think I really want to go but find I have no choice - called, I surrender - I will return - when I am allowed to.

Not all who undertake it are "financially safe" - par ex: I met a Brazilian pilgrim once who had scraped and saved for eight years to be able to go - eight years ... there are many like that, hidden by the garish designer wear pilgrims. But each has the same value, in expensive robes or cheap rags - each a human on Camino.
 
Last edited:

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
It is a modern rite of passage undertaken in the main by financially safe people, many of whom have heard of "The Way". Few walk for reasons other than the glow that comes from being able to tell the tale of when that 500 miles was walked across a mountainous land. Little regard is given to any form of organised religion and the vast majority have antipathy to the religion around which the pilgrimage is based.
Many see it as a cheap drinking excursion and yet others as an enforced entry into regular exercise. Yet most walk with thoughts of others in their hearts and in their actions. Helping others becomes the norm. Sharing difficulties is second nature.
Aye, its a totally contradictory experience isn't it?
I dunno why anyone else walks. I cannot speculate. Why do *you* walk though? That was the question in the title from the OP.
 
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

CalgaryLynn

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
It has been on my "to do" list for many, many years. I am recently retired and this seems like a great way to start off another chapter in my life. I am Catholic so the religious ties are definitely there as well as a love of walking and hiking. I have travelled to both Spain and Portugal and enjoyed both countries. Especially Fado music. At some point, I would like to live in a European country for a year, just because I didn't get a chance to do it during my 20's. Porto is on my list so this will give me a chance to explore. I was telling my nephew that during Holy Year all my sins will be forgiven when I walk through those doors 🎚️ so I should be coming back with a clean slate.😇 He told me to walk through twice just to make sure it gets everything.;)
 
Last edited:

dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
It was a pagan journey long before it was a Christian pilgrimage.
By 'pagan' I take it you are referring to journeys associated with religious faith or practice, and indeed, pilgrimages are a practice for very many religions, for example, Hindu and Buddhist journeys to the holy shrines. This suggests that long distance walking is something we are hard-wired or naturally inclined to do, and culture and beliefs provide an overt or explicit motivation for it - which only partly answers alexwalker's question, of course.

Coincidentally, pilgrimages tend to follow pre-existing routes for fairly obvious practical reasons: the name 'Francés' actually derives from 'franca' meaning 'open' rather than from 'French' as the route was kept open in the Middle Ages both for pilgrims and trade; the Via de la Plata and the Camino de Lana were both 'vias pecuarias' and used in neolithic times (at least the Plata was) as drove roads to transfer livestock as the seasons changed.

I think the best I can offer is that we walk because we like it and if there is an overt reason for following a particular walk, especially one that calls to our faith, our emotions or spirit or sense of tradition or desire for social contact, we'll do it.

Buen camino
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
It is a modern rite of passage undertaken in the main by financially safe people, many of whom have heard of "The Way". Few walk for reasons other than the glow that comes from being able to tell the tale of when that 500 miles was walked across a mountainous land. Little regard is given to any form of organised religion and the vast majority have antipathy to the religion around which the pilgrimage is based.
Many see it as a cheap drinking excursion and yet others as an enforced entry into regular exercise. Yet most walk with thoughts of others in their hearts and in their actions. Helping others becomes the norm. Sharing difficulties is second nature.
Aye, its a totally contradictory experience isn't it?
Good point there. On all my Caminos I met very few of the devout yet poor and I do often wonder how many out there want to walk the Camino but never will do to financial and other restraints. A far away dream never realized. A light at the end of the tunnel that is never reached. I suppose that is why I never took it for granted when I did walk it. Just so happy to be there. Blessed. Who cares about shaving grams off a pack's weight when you are lucky just to get some equipment in the first place.
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
When you walk the Camino, and suddenly a pandemic appears

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
The Camino de Santiago to some extent follows the earlier Roman roads (the reason for a pilgrimage was to get directly to Santiago, after all) ... there is no evidence or proof that it was ever a pagan 'pilgrim route' of any form. Finis Terre was named by the Romans, not the Celts.

The main problem with any myths of pre-Christian pilgrimages, and for western Europe we are talking of the Celt tribes, is that the Celts didn't have a written language - so no records, no history.

The religious or ritual locus for the earlier pre-Celt people were to gatherings at the great standing stones in their various forms, and they were mainly in the north west of Europe (think Brittany) so pre-Celt people in Spain would have travelled there - eastwards and then north, from feast remains burials at such sites we know that they drove their cattle herds with them.

The route/s may have originally been a series of Celtic tracks that the Romans built over and made into roads but there is no evidence that ritual journeys were ever made by the Celts or any earlier people to "the end of the earth" on the western coast - after all, all coastlines are "the end of the earth". Sorry.
No need to be sorry, its just another opinion. Here at home nearly all holy sites and pilgrimages were once pagan sites that were Christianised, it was part of the tactic of winning the hearts and minds of those to be converted.
 

nathanael

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Plata,
From ancient times, the Camino was for devouted pilgrims in faith, seeking relief from their sins at the tomb of Saint James in Santiago.

These days, people walk for many reasons, as reflected in the heading of this thread.

Why is it that an ancient pilgrim path of faith in rural Spain has become this popular, from all corners of the world?

IMHO, something is missing in people's hectic, and often meaningless daily lives, and the Camino has an ancient answer for some. Many can feel it when they do the walk.

As for myself, I am neither religious nor atheist. Call me spiritual/reflective. But I do not rule out anything: I simply do not know. There is a story to illustrate the importance of what we can not know and can not see, but which may still exist:

An astronaut and a brain surgeon were discussing the concept of an all-seeing entity (some call it God). The astronaut said:

"I have been farther out into the Univere than any other human being, but I have never seen any trace of a God"

The surgeon replied:

"I have operated deeper into the human brain than any other brain surgeon, but I have never seen a thought".

Think about it...

Along your walk... There may be more to it than what shows,
I walk the Camino to reflect and pray and have done eleven Caminos. I am religious and an Old Roman Catholic priest and dare say am skeptical about where or not the body of St. James is in Compostella. Nevertheless, the Camino is a special place for many hopefully next year will return to do another. Be safe and continue to do this journey of a lifetime.
 

Dorian Gray

Itinerant Observer
Past OR future Camino
2021
I have a lot of similarities with you OP, I'm not religious, but also not atheist. That said, I love hiking and long-distance walking, so I did it last summer (2020) as a way of exercising post-lockdown, but more importantly as a way of getting to know myself better. And it was hands down the best experience of my life so far.

It was also the most difficult thing I've ever done, both physically (3 months of not being able to leave my flat beforehand) as well as mentally. I learned a lot about myself in that month, met some great people, and have thought about it constantly since I got back. So much so that I'm planning on doing it again (del Norte instead of Frances) next month.
 
Last edited:
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
When you walk the Camino, and suddenly a pandemic appears

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Various ones.
I'm not sure what I take from it, a little deeper awareness possibly working side by side with my everyday thoughts and in the present day with everyone being orientated towards quick visual impacts that is rare and precious.
I saw a post on here recently saying that only practising Catholics who had been christened Catholics should walk it, I had to laugh, I fit the latter bit, but really do they stretch the same criteria to who they receive hospitality along the way from, who provides kindness to them as well and who provides them with the transport to and back from the Camino, we are all reliant on each other in some way or another, and the Camino for me is that connection that sharing.
 
Last edited:

koknesis

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
I guess we carry a kind of "nomadic DNA" still inherited from the ancestors what drives our thirst for exploration. The internal motivation to satisfy it can be very different of course.
 

Stroller

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
I have no idea why, but this is about as close as I can get:

And that's why I have to go back
to so many places in the future,
there to find myself
and constantly examine myself
with no witness but the moon
and then whistle with joy.
ambling over rocks and clods of earth,
with no task but to live,
with no family but the road

Pablo Neruda
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2009, 2014, 2017
It is a modern rite of passage undertaken in the main by financially safe people, many of whom have heard of "The Way". Few walk for reasons other than the glow that comes from being able to tell the tale of when that 500 miles was walked across a mountainous land. Little regard is given to any form of organised religion and the vast majority have antipathy to the religion around which the pilgrimage is based.
Many see it as a cheap drinking excursion and yet others as an enforced entry into regular exercise. Yet most walk with thoughts of others in their hearts and in their actions. Helping others becomes the norm. Sharing difficulties is second nature.
Aye, its a totally contradictory experience isn't it?

I beg to differ. I've met a good number pilgrims who walked for more reasons than "the glow that comes from being able to tell the tale of when that 500 miles was walked". Some walk to remember loved ones, some are devout pilgrims who have walked to draw nearer to God or their form of spirituality, and some walk to close out one chapter before starting the next. With the pilgrims we've met, each one's story is different, and sweeping generalizations about pilgrims (for example, that "many see it as a cheap drinking excursion") really aren't helpful.
 
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).

William Garza

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
I guess we carry a kind of "nomadic DNA" still inherited from the ancestors what drives our thirst for exploration. The internal motivation to satisfy it can be very different of course.
My imagination was captured, not a simple temporal infatuation
Its more like ..

Having smelled the air..once
Tasted..once
Experienced..once

And now nothing else will fill the voids of those experiences left behind but for the longing.

Nomad ..yes
 

Dorian Gray

Itinerant Observer
Past OR future Camino
2021
I beg to differ. I've met a good number pilgrims who walked for more reasons than "the glow that comes from being able to tell the tale of when that 500 miles was walked". Some walk to remember loved ones, some are devout pilgrims who have walked to draw nearer to God or their form of spirituality, and some walk to close out one chapter before starting the next. With the pilgrims we've met, each one's story is different, and sweeping generalizations about pilgrims (for example, that "many see it as a cheap drinking excursion") really aren't helpful.

That said, last year I walked the Frances and met to amazing Spaniards with whom I'm going to walk it again this year. Along the way, our group grew until at one point we were a mass of 12. Unfortunately, the people added were looking exactly for a cheap drinking excursion, which was the exact opposite of what I was looking for, so after a week of that, I set off on my own to regain the experience I was after. One of the Spaniards broke off and caught up with me, which was nice since we had been walking since the beginning.

Anecdotal for sure, but the cheap drinking excursion was a lot more prevalent than I expected. Possibly because I can't fathom trying to walk 30km hungover and dehydrated! But I also met a ton of lovely people who were looking for something more profound. Just my experience from last year.
 

David61

Active Member
Well we are all decendants of nomads. 😊
I know you are right but your comment reminded me of the article from a few years ago. They had found the complete skeleton of a human in 1903 which was recorded as being the oldest ever discovered in the UK at around 10,000 years old. Jump forward to modern day DNA testing and DNA was extracted from the skeleton. This then led to an appeal to locals to give DNA samples and a retired teacher still living locally matched!! 10,000 years and not much nomadic wandering. Sorry to go off Camino as it were.
One article of many is linked here
 

dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
It was a pagan journey long before it was a Christian pilgrimage.
My feeling is that it's unlikely that people were making pilgrimages or any other type of journey to Compostella very much until the discovery of the body of St. James was announced - it was such an unimportant place it didn't even have a church. But Galicia was a stronghold of the Celts (Galicians are still very proud of their Celtic heritage) and there is an abundance of Celtic archaeological sites including Finisterra so it is quite possible Celts were making journeys and processions even before the Romans arrived: many of the Celtic remains are in very remote places. As for pilgrimages in general, Christianity can't claim to have invented that idea, but as a religion it has always had the habit of appropriating local customs and beliefs and absorbing them into its own beliefs and practices. From what I saw in South and Central America way back in the eighties, they are still doing it.
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
That said, last year I walked the Frances and met to amazing Spaniards with whom I'm going to walk it again this year. Along the way, our group grew until at one point we were a mass of 12. Unfortunately, the people added were looking exactly for a cheap drinking excursion, which was the exact opposite of what I was looking for, so after a week of that, I set off on my own to regain the experience I was after. One of the Spaniards broke off and caught up with me, which was nice since we had been walking since the beginning.

Anecdotal for sure, but the cheap drinking excursion was a lot more prevalent than I expected. Possibly because I can't fathom trying to walk 30km hungover and dehydrated! But I also met a ton of lovely people who were looking for something more profound. Just my experience from last year.
Yes, I may have been unfortunate but my last camino was full of young, though some not so young, folks determined to drink their way across Spain. I have also mentioned in the past the number of YT videos extolling the pleasures of cheap carousing. Added to that a glance at the recent topic about how to behave in Albergues also mentions the drinking topic a few times.
However I did say "Yet most walk with thoughts of others in their hearts and in their actions. Helping others becomes the norm. Sharing difficulties is second nature."
I have been on pilgrimage a lot over the years, not all to Santiago. The why is because I can afford to, because I love walking and because I have an inner urge to find a meaning to life. Always hoping that the real answer is something other than 42.😜
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Past OR future Camino
2021
I'll think simply. Whatever the reason is that someone undertakes a Camino is exactly the meaning. It's a chance to actually do something that is simple in concept, pointed in direction, and satisfying in the simple experience of doing. We miss that in the sometimes meaningless complexity of our daily lives. But on the other hand, as someone above said, it's just fun - also missing in many our adult lives.
 

Dorian Gray

Itinerant Observer
Past OR future Camino
2021
Yes, I may have been unfortunate but my last camino was full of young, though some not so young, folks determined to drink their way across Spain. I have also mentioned in the past the number of YT videos extolling the pleasures of cheap carousing. Added to that a glance at the recent topic about how to behave in Albergues also mentions the drinking topic a few times.
Oh god, I forgot about (or maybe blocked out) the albergues that didn't enforce quiet hours, where a majority of the room was in the same group and were all there for carousing. Meanwhile, I got up and was out the door every morning before 6. Thankfully they weren't the norm.

The why is because I can afford to, because I love walking and because I have an inner urge to find a meaning to life. Always hoping that the real answer is something other than 42.😜
Me too, mate. Me too. Though as I get older, I'm getting more comfortable with the answer being 42.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
From ancient times, the Camino was for devouted pilgrims in faith, seeking relief from their sins at the tomb of Saint James in Santiago.

These days, people walk for many reasons, as reflected in the heading of this thread.

Why is it that an ancient pilgrim path of faith in rural Spain has become this popular, from all corners of the world?

IMHO, something is missing in people's hectic, and often meaningless daily lives, and the Camino has an ancient answer for some. Many can feel it when they do the walk.

As for myself, I am neither religious nor atheist. Call me spiritual/reflective. But I do not rule out anything: I simply do not know. There is a story to illustrate the importance of what we can not know and can not see, but which may still exist:

An astronaut and a brain surgeon were discussing the concept of an all-seeing entity (some call it God). The astronaut said:

"I have been farther out into the Univere than any other human being, but I have never seen any trace of a God"

The surgeon replied:

"I have operated deeper into the human brain than any other brain surgeon, but I have never seen a thought".

Think about it...

Along your walk... There may be more to it than what shows,
Whatever you believe and it brings you some or alot of comfort and peace and it isn't forced upon others or doesn't become a basis of judgement is fine by me. I have my own philosophy but not here to bore you with it. When it comes to filling a hole in our lives that may missing or the ability to have some realizations or answers I leave that to each person. One person's hole in their life has never even been a factor in another's.
The only way to have a resolution and opinion of these questions is over a wonderful communal meal!. Maybe I will run into you one day.
 
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

Moorwalker

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
I walk for all sorts of reasons, none of them religious.

I'm pretty much an outright atheist, although as a scientist I'm open to persuasion in the presence of good evidence.

I'm to some extent a non-religious Pagan in that I feel myself to be a small part of the whole cycle of life, and I walk across the land with that awareness. I'm a slow walker, I always have been. I like to look at things as I go, smell things, feel things, just experience things. I like to stop and look at the view when I feel like it. That's a lot of the reason I rarely take photographs, for me the camera gets between me and the experience.

I also love the sense of history, the feeling that there have been people before me for a very long time indeed and that I am a part of a continuum.

It's a challenge, and at the same time a way of stepping aside from ordinary life for a while.
 

TalTi

New Member
Past OR future Camino
1st timer.
planning for October 2020
From ancient times, the Camino was for devouted pilgrims in faith, seeking relief from their sins at the tomb of Saint James in Santiago.

These days, people walk for many reasons, as reflected in the heading of this thread.

Why is it that an ancient pilgrim path of faith in rural Spain has become this popular, from all corners of the world?

IMHO, something is missing in people's hectic, and often meaningless daily lives, and the Camino has an ancient answer for some. Many can feel it when they do the walk.

As for myself, I am neither religious nor atheist. Call me spiritual/reflective. But I do not rule out anything: I simply do not know. There is a story to illustrate the importance of what we can not know and can not see, but which may still exist:

An astronaut and a brain surgeon were discussing the concept of an all-seeing entity (some call it God). The astronaut said:

"I have been farther out into the Univere than any other human being, but I have never seen any trace of a God"

The surgeon replied:

"I have operated deeper into the human brain than any other brain surgeon, but I have never seen a thought".

Think about it...

Along your walk... There may be more to it than what shows,
No wonder you were the cirst to reply when I first came in here...
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I want to respond in depth to your question, maybe because I feel bad that I do not walk at all for religious reasons and that leads me to not classify myself as a pilgrim. Also because I have collected thoughts on this subject from this forum and my own ruminations as well as a French forum that I frequently read. And part of what I write below comes from the French forum.

I walk because I love:
  • being on vacation - the cares and needs of life back home are mostly left behind
  • the camaraderie on the trail, at the albergue or casa rurale, and at dinner
  • the easy interchange with others as I walk
  • the resultant feeling that we humans, despite cultural differences, can share a common experience - that we are all part of the family of man and woman
  • the unknowns - what is over the next hill? What will the place of rest be like? Etc. And that every new day will have the same rhythm but be different
  • feeling close to nature
  • the simplicity of the hike - everything pared pretty much down to what fits in a pack
Some other aspects that I think make these Camino walks successful:
  • people on the Caminos leave their social status behind - a highly paid executive has no greater status than a shop clerk
  • in addition to jettisoning whatever status we might feel, we also leave behind our lives back home, members of our family (usually children), and the routines of our daily lives. To me this opens us up to experiencing the world from a new and possibly more open perspective. So...
  • walking a Camino is to walk as a seeker, whether we intend to or not- and we cannot help but to see things with new eyes
  • using the Camino Frances as an example, a Camino is a long, easy walk given its infrastructure for readily available meals and lodging
  • it is a cheap European vacation
This is long already...maybe I will add more thoughts later.
In my mind you have listed way more than enough universal reasons we walk. Of course it is a flexible list as we are all unique people we all have unique reasons to walk. Speaking of your reluctance of the label pilgrim. You are as much a pilgrim as our pilgrim forefathers. The church is a far different institution in so many ways as are pilgrims today than in 1500. My personal definition of a pilgrim and what I try to do when I walk is to strip down to basics. Simple donativos/albergues, communal or meals in the albergue with new friends, walk my own walk, eschew as many material trappings as possible. I walked my first two caminos without a phone. Now I carry one only because I am now married to a Latin woman and I don’t say hello every day I will be in deep doo doo when I get home. “How do I know you are not in a ditch somewhere if you don’t call Pinche Gringo??”
Others walk with pack services, 25 Euro plus dinners, paradores etc. That is not my idea of pilgrimage or a pilgrim but as the old saying goes my ideas and 2 bucks will get me on the subway. Nice to know you pilgrim.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Yes, I may have been unfortunate but my last camino was full of young, though some not so young, folks determined to drink their way across Spain. I have also mentioned in the past the number of YT videos extolling the pleasures of cheap carousing. Added to that a glance at the recent topic about how to behave in Albergues also mentions the drinking topic a few times.
However I did say "Yet most walk with thoughts of others in their hearts and in their actions. Helping others becomes the norm. Sharing difficulties is second nature."
I have been on pilgrimage a lot over the years, not all to Santiago. The why is because I can afford to, because I love walking and because I have an inner urge to find a meaning to life. Always hoping that the real answer is something other than 42.😜
Oh god, I forgot about (or maybe blocked out) the albergues that didn't enforce quiet hours, where a majority of the room was in the same group and were all there for carousing. Meanwhile, I got up and was out the door every morning before 6. Thankfully they weren't the norm.


Me too, mate. Me too. Though as I get older, I'm getting more comfortable with the answer being 42.
Question 1: am I missing something or what is 42?
Point 1: I have no idea if either of you have walked other caminos or not or when you walk. I swore I would never walk the CF after my second Camino for similar reasons and it was getting too crowded for
My taste. Since than I walked the Portuguese and Norte in late October early November as well as Le Puy and found them to be wonderful. Less pilgrims but plenty of wonderful ones. Walked the CF IN November/December 2019. More pilgrims than I expected but still wonderful. I tend to think that there are more pilgrims that walk in off peak times that enjoy walking alone. Far less emphasis on families even on the CF. My impression only. This October 15 I will start in Sevilla.
Maybe if you haven’t experienced a late fall, winter, early spring Camino it is something you may want to try.
Of course other considerations may prevent it. Or at least try a less traveled route.
 
Past OR future Camino
2012
Question 1: am I missing something or what is 42?
It's an insider joke. The late, and wonderful, Douglas Adams wrote a book, eventually a series of books which were made into a series of radio plays and even a godawful film.

In the initial book The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, among various other conceptual leaps is the suggestion that this planet was established as a giant mega-computer to establish why a previous mega-computer when asked "what is the answer to life the universe and everything?" answered 42. Unfortunately, the planet is demolished to make way for an hyperspace by-pass before the computations are complete. The mice are furious. The Dolphins leave just before demolition but do leave the parting message "so long, and thanks for all the fish".

If you have not read the books I would say yes, you are missing something - some wonderful, humorous and yet profound fiction (well, I hope its fiction 'cos otherwise we have a problem).
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
Question 1: am I missing something or what is 42?
Point 1: I have no idea if either of you have walked other caminos or not or when you walk. I swore I would never walk the CF after my second Camino for similar reasons and it was getting too crowded for
My taste. Since than I walked the Portuguese and Norte in late October early November as well as Le Puy and found them to be wonderful. Less pilgrims but plenty of wonderful ones. Walked the CF IN November/December 2019. More pilgrims than I expected but still wonderful. I tend to think that there are more pilgrims that walk in off peak times that enjoy walking alone. Far less emphasis on families even on the CF. My impression only. This October 15 I will start in Sevilla.
Maybe if you haven’t experienced a late fall, winter, early spring Camino it is something you may want to try.
Of course other considerations may prevent it. Or at least try a less traveled route.
Tinca gives the answer to your question, though the older I get I think the answer is as close to 42 as is possible even without the aid of one or two pan galactic gargle blasters.

I take your point about the alternative routes and the winter/late autumn CF.
 

Holly Mitchem

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2016, del Norte 2019
It was a pagan journey long before it was a Christian pilgrimage.
I have heard/read this said multiple times but have never seen any substantial documentation of this in terms of academic research. Only in new-agey type books. And not certain what "it" would apply to here. A long walking route to a particular location on the Atlantic Ocean? A route to Santiago de Compostela? Would love to have citations of books or papers by respected academics in the field that explains the pre-Christian origins of specific pilgrimage routes if anyone knows of them.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I want to respond in depth to your question, maybe because I feel bad that I do not walk at all for religious reasons and that leads me to not classify myself as a pilgrim. Also because I have collected thoughts on this subject from this forum and my own ruminations as well as a French forum that I frequently read. And part of what I write below comes from the French forum.

I walk because I love:
  • being on vacation - the cares and needs of life back home are mostly left behind
  • the camaraderie on the trail, at the albergue or casa rurale, and at dinner
  • the easy interchange with others as I walk
  • the resultant feeling that we humans, despite cultural differences, can share a common experience - that we are all part of the family of man and woman
  • the unknowns - what is over the next hill? What will the place of rest be like? Etc. And that every new day will have the same rhythm but be different
  • feeling close to nature
  • the simplicity of the hike - everything pared pretty much down to what fits in a pack
Some other aspects that I think make these Camino walks successful:
  • people on the Caminos leave their social status behind - a highly paid executive has no greater status than a shop clerk
  • in addition to jettisoning whatever status we might feel, we also leave behind our lives back home, members of our family (usually children), and the routines of our daily lives. To me this opens us up to experiencing the world from a new and possibly more open perspective. So...
  • walking a Camino is to walk as a seeker, whether we intend to or not- and we cannot help but to see things with new eyes
  • using the Camino Frances as an example, a Camino is a long, easy walk given its infrastructure for readily available meals and lodging
  • it is a cheap European vacation
This is long already...maybe I will add more thoughts later.
I can straight out agree with all your points.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
It is a modern rite of passage undertaken in the main by financially safe people, many of whom have heard of "The Way". Few walk for reasons other than the glow that comes from being able to tell the tale of when that 500 miles was walked across a mountainous land. Little regard is given to any form of organised religion and the vast majority have antipathy to the religion around which the pilgrimage is based.
Many see it as a cheap drinking excursion and yet others as an enforced entry into regular exercise. Yet most walk with thoughts of others in their hearts and in their actions. Helping others becomes the norm. Sharing difficulties is second nature.
Aye, its a totally contradictory experience isn't it?
It is my experience, that some start out with that luggage, but end up with a different, better one.
 
Learn Spanish for the Camino
Enhance your Camino experience by learning about the Spanish language and culture.
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I walk the Camino to reflect and pray and have done eleven Caminos. I am religious and an Old Roman Catholic priest and dare say am skeptical about where or not the body of St. James is in Compostella. Nevertheless, the Camino is a special place for many hopefully next year will return to do another. Be safe and continue to do this journey of a lifetime.
Also skeptical, but if the walk is helping people to deeper understanding and reflection, it has done its (starting) job, IMHO.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I have a lot of similarities with you OP, I'm not religious, but also not atheist. That said, I love hiking and long-distance walking, so I did it last summer (2020) as a way of exercising post-lockdown, but more importantly as a way of getting to know myself better. And it was hands down the best experience of my life so far.

It was also the most difficult thing I've ever done, both physically (3 months of not being able to leave my flat beforehand) as well as mentally. I learned a lot about myself in that month, met some great people, and have thought about it constantly since I got back. So much so that I'm planning on doing it again (del Norte instead of Frances) next month.
Welcome to the club of Pilgrims Anonymous...
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I beg to differ. I've met a good number pilgrims who walked for more reasons than "the glow that comes from being able to tell the tale of when that 500 miles was walked". Some walk to remember loved ones, some are devout pilgrims who have walked to draw nearer to God or their form of spirituality, and some walk to close out one chapter before starting the next. With the pilgrims we've met, each one's story is different, and sweeping generalizations about pilgrims (for example, that "many see it as a cheap drinking excursion") really aren't helpful.
You, of all, should know, receiving so much feedback. Thank you.
 
Past OR future Camino
2012
I have heard/read this said multiple times but have never seen any substantial documentation of this in terms of academic research. Only in new-agey type books. And not certain what "it" would apply to here. A long walking route to a particular location on the Atlantic Ocean? A route to Santiago de Compostela? Would love to have citations of books or papers by respected academics in the field that explains the pre-Christian origins of specific pilgrimage routes if anyone knows of them.
Holly, wouldn't we all. Though if you want some specific pre-christian stuff try Godgling Mithras, the mithraic observances of the Roman military and its links with Galicia. Particularly the Mithraic temples in Lugo and at Santa Eulalia de Boveda. As has already been stated in this thread the Celts, bless-em, didn't have a written language. They had an intense symbolic language as is evidenced by their jewellery, sword and axe ornamentations and the few surviving wood carvings. The Beaker folk also didn't have a written language. They just cremated their dead and buried the remains in little clay pots. What no-one can explain, perhaps no-one has bothered yet to try and explain is why some nice Neolithic / early Bronze age chaps who spent their lives frolicking the Danube delta ended up with their cremated remains (aren't teeth wonderful) buried in little clay pots in Galicia.

For me, I'll just cite oral tradition. When I first told my grandmother that I was planning to walk to Spain she said "to Muxia, to the boat?". Which meant as little to me as it will to you. It took me years to discover that there was a tradition of westward migration in my peoples. That Fisterra, Finis Terre, the End-of-the-World was an actual destination. That Lands End in the UK and the Dingle in Eire, Brittany in France all had significant monuments from an age without written history and legends of the transition from life into after-life and the "summer / gentle " isles beyond the sundering seas. That boat by the way was the boat by which departing souls were transported to the everland. You can see its broken remains on the beach at Muxia. (Where do you think that scholar of myth, legend and Saxon JRR Tolkien got at least one idea from?)

The pilgrimage route to Santiago is a pretty modern creation by any standards of age & authenticity. The pilgrimage route to Finis Terre was walked when Santiago wasn't even there.
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
I have heard/read this said multiple times but have never seen any substantial documentation of this in terms of academic research. Only in new-agey type books. And not certain what "it" would apply to here. A long walking route to a particular location on the Atlantic Ocean? A route to Santiago de Compostela? Would love to have citations of books or papers by respected academics in the field that explains the pre-Christian origins of specific pilgrimage routes if anyone knows of them.

Wouldn't we all, Holly. There is no evidence whatsoever that pre-Christian peoples undertook any sort of 'pilgrimage' across Spain, either to Santiago or to the sea. All those Celtic and pre-Celtic peoples did not have a written language so no records, no history - all of it is just wishful thinking, romanticism, deriving from the modern concept by some people that what you can think in your mind must be true in the real world as well - it isn't. Might as well talk about ancient Amazon societies, Vegan societies, pacific societies, and all the other non-existent golden age myths. Though, to be fair, Santa Claus is real, obviously.

As for Finis Terra - that was named by the Romans, in Latin, and all later myths about pre-Roman times pilgrimages to that place come from that later naming - all lovely, but all false, just pleasant post-Roman myths. For the Romans, conquering Spain, for them it was indeed the end of the earth, no further Spanish land to conquer, but nothing spiritual in that, just the time for them to sheath their swords, break the wine open, and have a few days off.
 
Last edited:
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
From ancient times, the Camino was for devouted pilgrims in faith, seeking relief from their sins at the tomb of Saint James in Santiago.

These days, people walk for many reasons, as reflected in the heading of this thread.

Why is it that an ancient pilgrim path of faith in rural Spain has become this popular, from all corners of the world?

IMHO, something is missing in people's hectic, and often meaningless daily lives, and the Camino has an ancient answer for some. Many can feel it when they do the walk.

As for myself, I am neither religious nor atheist. Call me spiritual/reflective. But I do not rule out anything: I simply do not know. There is a story to illustrate the importance of what we can not know and can not see, but which may still exist:

An astronaut and a brain surgeon were discussing the concept of an all-seeing entity (some call it God). The astronaut said:

"I have been farther out into the Univere than any other human being, but I have never seen any trace of a God"

The surgeon replied:

"I have operated deeper into the human brain than any other brain surgeon, but I have never seen a thought".

Think about it...

Along your walk... There may be more to it than what shows,
First time I walked it was because my son had walked the year before and said I should try it so more curiosity than anything. By the time I was asked the question in the pilgrim office in Santiago I could in all honesty say 'religious'. I really felt my religion and closeness to God that I had not felt for many years. I had been what we call in Ireland 'a sunday Catholic'. Three more times I have been back and on the camino I can pray like never before. Because I find it tough, very tough at times I find it a bit hard to fathom others referring to it as a holiday/vacation. A holiday to me is lounging on a cruise ship sipping coctails. Struggling up that trail just before Orisson or O Cebreiro is not my idea of a holiday, more like torture. But I agree with the idea of camaradarie. No where else have I found it so easy to make friends. However I cannot get my head around people flying all the way from Australia or US just for a walking holiday. Its easy for me just coming from Ireland but something I dont understand must draw people from all over the world when there is no religious pull. 4 of the best guys I met came from Oz and they were basically on a long lads night out. I just dont get putting yourself through a tough trek just for fun. But I suppose we can all agree that the Camino is magical and regardless of reason it keeps calling us back and God willing, I will be back at least one more time. Of course, I have said that before each of my 3 subsequent pilgrimages
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
It's an insider joke. The late, and wonderful, Douglas Adams wrote a book, eventually a series of books which were made into a series of radio plays and even a godawful film.

In the initial book The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, among various other conceptual leaps is the suggestion that this planet was established as a giant mega-computer to establish why a previous mega-computer when asked "what is the answer to life the universe and everything?" answered 42. Unfortunately, the planet is demolished to make way for an hyperspace by-pass before the computations are complete. The mice are furious. The Dolphins leave just before demolition but do leave the parting message "so long, and thanks for all the fish".

If you have not read the books I would say yes, you are missing something - some wonderful, humorous and yet profound fiction (well, I hope its fiction 'cos otherwise we have a problem).
The funny thing is I did read that book in college. But I spent more time partying than studying. I remember I loved the book but between smoking alot of wacky weed and ingesting many different categories of psychedelics there isn't that much I can remember. But I wouldn't change it for the world. In about a month I will be meeting the "Boys" for our annual reunion. This one celebrates 50 years of friendship. It was supposed to be the 50 year celebration and 5 of the 8 of us walking the CP. But Covid and unfortunately cancer got in the way. But I will definitely bring up the Guide for further illumination . We all read it as well as the first three books by Carlos Castenada. If you haven't read his works on the teachings of Don Juan a Mexican Brujo I would recommend those also.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Tinca gives the answer to your question, though the older I get I think the answer is as close to 42 as is possible even without the aid of one or two pan galactic gargle blasters.

I take your point about the alternative routes and the winter/late autumn CF.
Check out my response to Tinca. I think it sums up my question quite nicely hahaha.
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
In my mind you have listed way more than enough universal reasons we walk. Of course it is a flexible list as we are all unique people we all have unique reasons to walk. Speaking of your reluctance of the label pilgrim. You are as much a pilgrim as our pilgrim forefathers. The church is a far different institution in so many ways as are pilgrims today than in 1500. My personal definition of a pilgrim and what I try to do when I walk is to strip down to basics. Simple donativos/albergues, communal or meals in the albergue with new friends, walk my own walk, eschew as many material trappings as possible. I walked my first two caminos without a phone. Now I carry one only because I am now married to a Latin woman and I don’t say hello every day I will be in deep doo doo when I get home. “How do I know you are not in a ditch somewhere if you don’t call Pinche Gringo??”
Others walk with pack services, 25 Euro plus dinners, paradores etc. That is not my idea of pilgrimage or a pilgrim but as the old saying goes my ideas and 2 bucks will get me on the subway. Nice to know you pilgrim.
She will bust out the chancla on you...
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
A disney Character once said..
"It is the Way"
If so..the the Way...may exist as a way in another place
A long time ago
In a galaxy far far aWay

Well
It is at the end of the Milky Way
It is the end of walking a long way

Has anyone ever sat at the end of the Way
Under the Milky Way
Eating a Milky way...bar?

Wondering...is this the Way?
A..way?
One of many ways?
Is this road one way?
Am i in anyones way?
On the Way..who has the Right of Way?
Did I do it the right way?
Or earlier, did I turn the wrong way?

Anyway...
Off you Go!
 
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

aussie62

New Member
Past OR future Camino
planning to walk 2017
I want to respond in depth to your question, maybe because I feel bad that I do not walk at all for religious reasons and that leads me to not classify myself as a pilgrim. Also because I have collected thoughts on this subject from this forum and my own ruminations as well as a French forum that I frequently read. And part of what I write below comes from the French forum.

I walk because I love:
  • being on vacation - the cares and needs of life back home are mostly left behind
  • the camaraderie on the trail, at the albergue or casa rurale, and at dinner
  • the easy interchange with others as I walk
  • the resultant feeling that we humans, despite cultural differences, can share a common experience - that we are all part of the family of man and woman
  • the unknowns - what is over the next hill? What will the place of rest be like? Etc. And that every new day will have the same rhythm but be different
  • feeling close to nature
  • the simplicity of the hike - everything pared pretty much down to what fits in a pack
Some other aspects that I think make these Camino walks successful:
  • people on the Caminos leave their social status behind - a highly paid executive has no greater status than a shop clerk
  • in addition to jettisoning whatever status we might feel, we also leave behind our lives back home, members of our family (usually children), and the routines of our daily lives. To me this opens us up to experiencing the world from a new and possibly more open perspective. So...
  • walking a Camino is to walk as a seeker, whether we intend to or not- and we cannot help but to see things with new eyes
  • using the Camino Frances as an example, a Camino is a long, easy walk given its infrastructure for readily available meals and lodging
  • it is a cheap European vacation
This is long already...maybe I will add more thoughts later.
very well said ... you covered it
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Because when I’m in my final days on this earth and reflect on my life I will feel pride and joy in knowing I gave myself this magical gift of time...time to reflect, to reconnect with my spiritual self, to ponder the past and forgive my mistakes and choices, to envision the last third of my life and to simply “be”. ❤️
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
Nothing to do with today's reality, imho.
replying to:
It was a pagan journey long before it was a Christian pilgrimage.

For you and I, perhaps. For others, very much so. There are still people who identify as pagans in today's reality (some are friends of mine - I'm pretty sure some frequent this Forum). Just as many walk the Camino to connect with Christian pilgrims who walked the Camino in times past, others may walk to connect with pagans who walked along the same route.
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
replying to:


For you and I, perhaps. For others, very much so. There are still people who identify as pagans in today's reality (some are friends of mine - I'm pretty sure some frequent this Forum). Just as many walk the Camino to connect with Christian pilgrims who walked the Camino in times past, others may walk to connect with pagans who walked along the same route.

Can we be clear? There weren't any "Pagans" before Christianity. 'Pagan' is a pejorative Christian term that came into common use from the 4th century to describe anyone (in the Roman Empire) who was not a Christian or Jew - therefore a follower of a polytheist rather than a monotheist religion. As the root word came from 'provincial', 'country folk', it had strong connotations with 'country bumpkin', therefore a stupid person.
Those moderns who identify as pagans today do so mistakenly as they are not polytheists, not members of a 'many gods' religion.
Modern 'pagans' would appear to be some form of nature worshippers? Whatever they are they have no lineage that connects them in any way with the original Celtic or pre-Celtic peoples that once lived in Europe.
Mind you, the Welsh are the genetic descendants of the original Celts from pre-Roman times - but they tend to be Christians now - Dang. ;)

As Celts and pre-Celt peoples didn't have a written language there are no records whatsoever of their journeys - especially any journeys for any sort of pilgrimage purposes along any of the Christian routes to Santiago (or to the coast at Roman named Finis Terre), although we know that pre-Roman roads and tracks existed, obviously. Also, we have no idea at all what their beliefs and practises were, none at all ...

It is all myths - romantic myths ..... but then, many live by myths, we are humans after all.
 
Last edited:
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
Can we be clear? There weren't any "Pagans" before Christianity. 'Pagan' is a pejorative Christian term that came into common use from the 4th century to describe anyone (in the Roman Empire) who was not a Christian or Jew - therefore a follower of a polytheist rather than a monotheist religion. As the root word came from 'provincial', 'country folk', it had strong connotations of 'country bumpkin, therefore stupid.
Those moderns who identify as pagans today do so mistakenly as they are not polytheists, not members of a 'many gods' religion.
Modern 'pagans' would appear to be some form of nature worshippers? Whatever they are they have no lineage that connects them in any way with the original Celtic or pre-Celtic peoples that once lived in Europe.
Mind you, the Welsh are the genetic descendants of the original Celts from pre-Roman times - but they tend to be Christians now - Dang. ;)

As Celts and pre-Celt peoples didn't have a written language there are no records whatsoever of their journeys - especially any journeys for any sort of pilgrim purpose along any of the Christian routes to Santiago (or to the coast at Roman named Finis Terre). Also, we have no idea at all what their beliefs and practises were, none at all ...

It is all myths - romantic myths .....
It may be all myths. It equally may be a myth that the remains of St. James are to be found in Santiago. But the idea that the remains of St. James are to be found in Santiago is certainly relevant to why a lot of people walk to Santiago. Similarly, the idea that pagans walked the route, myth or not, may be relevant to why some walk it today, romantic myth or not.

As to whether modern "pagans" are really pagans and what connections there are or are not to pre-Christian beliefs, I'm not qualified to say. I'm not going to dispute someone's religious identification, though. If someone says they are Christian, I won't dispute it or talk about the similarities or differences between their beliefs to what Christ is reported to have preached. Similarly, if someone identifies as Hindu, I will accept that and not judge how close they tow the "Hindu line". If someone identifies as pagan, I will afford them the same respect.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
I have done the Camino three times, each with different reasons.

The first was in 1989. I mostly hitchhiked that Camino, from Roncesvalles to Santiago. My reasons were purely cultural/historical. I was very much into medieval studies and it was a chance to immerse myself in a medieval experience - see medieval art and architecture and do something medieval. At that point, the Camino was still seen more as a medieval pilgrimage than a contemporary one. I became aware as I followed the route, that a few people were walking it (far fewer than the people I met who were driving it). I thought it would be cool to come back some day and walk the whole thing.

The second was in 2016. My purposes were far more multitudinous.
  • It was a chance to pick up on that idea from a couple of decades previous and walk it properly.
  • It was a bonding experience with my teenage son.
  • It was a chance to revisit fond memories of places and introduce my son to them.
  • It was an adventure and a physical challenge.
  • In my research, I kept reading about it as a spiritual and transformational journey. That sounded good, too!
My third was in 2018. I had experienced the modern Camino in 2016. I wanted to get me some more of that!
 

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 101 ratings
Downloads
15,185
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,863
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,669
Updated

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Top