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What does the 'spirit of the camino' mean to you?

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I searched for an existing thread like this and although I found a few that mention the camino spirit, I didn't find one where different people explained what it meant to them.

The spirit of the camino is a feeling experienced on the trail that can be hard to define or to explain to non-pilgrims but that most other pilgrims can easily identify with. Exactly what that feeling is will likely vary to some degree from one pilgrim to another and I'm interested in hearing the different perspectives of members of this great community. That being the case...

What does the 'spirit of the camino' mean to you?

As inspiration, I will quote this beautiful 2018 post from @Elisha, but feel free to provide a much shorter answer if you prefer!

Its been a little over 3 weeks now since my last day on the Camino de Santiago & in the space of that time, the memory & the mourning for being back on The Way has its moments of feeling palpable. The journey you’ve all followed me on through the photos I’ve shared does little to truly harness the emotion & humility of being a pilgrim. Contrary to the blue skies & wild flowers, what the photos don’t capture is the pain, the tears, the comradery, the willpower, the love & power for change that exists within the confines of the Camino.

Your life suddenly becomes very simple - Each day you wake before the sun rises, quietly repack your belongings in the dark & you find a reason that compels you to put one foot in front of the other. That reason compels you to walk through pain; through shin splints, tendinitis, blisters, rain & hail. You walk, you eat, you laugh, you sleep, you repeat.

You cry. You cry because you’re happy, you cry as a result of pain, you cry because you’re humbled & you cry because of the deep love & respect you have for nature, the path & the people on it. Often you cry without reason at all.

The Camino makes you family; everything you have you must be willing to share. You share your last Compead, your wine, your burdens, your humour, your thoughts. You share of yourself without limitations, hesitation or personal gain. What you share becomes the testimony of your experience.

You share with strangers & quickly learn that 1 step back is more valuable than 100 steps forward in order to help another without thought for yourself. This lesson quickly breeds change & you see the best version of your Self reflected back at you in the eyes of those who you’ve stopped to help. The compassion, both given & received, cracks your heart wide open & makes it impossible to not be unequivocally changed by the experience of being human. By the experience of being a pilgrim.

The Camino compels you to look within, to be vulnerable, to let yourself need & be needed, to be compassionate; to dig deep into the confines of your heart & to learn about yourself. It tests your limits of physical & emotional pain & spins what you find into the most valuable possession you’ve ever held in your own two hands - The most authentic version of your Self you have ever known.

The journey to Santiago de Compostela is not an endurance challenge, a test of fitness, a competition or a walk about kilometres or miles. The Way is a journey into yourself. A journey into friendship, contemplation, silence, nature, humility, spirituality & gratitude.

To my Camino Family xx
 
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wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
I would be more spiritual than religious so for me there was no great visiting of churches other than Burgos, Leon and Santiago.
For me the spirit of the Camino was the goodness and kindness of those I met along the way. Sure, we met a few asses now and then, and probably in some peoples opinion I was one, but we need those for balance I suppose. ☺
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Spirit of the Camino? Orujo!

OK, cheap joke. Serious answer: Camino, for me, is a journey in liminal space to a place of the heart. Time after time I have felt the shift / transition; whatever you'd like to call it.

Dear old Wiki provides (and saves me some typing) "... liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete." Which is Anthropologist speak for that of which my gran would say "The veil is thin here".
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
For me the spirit of the camino can be reduced to simple basics.

During past years there were timeless stretches which seemed to be in another world. Gone were the hordes of camera-clicking tourists and/or pilgrims as well as any urbane atmosphere with a bar at every corner. All was reduced to simple basics; I was alone on a seemingly endless gravel path beneath the vast dome of an immense sky. The only sound was the companionable crunch of my boots and perhaps distant birdsong.

Happily for me while tramping along and alone I often sensed that special moment when everything 'clicked' realizing that this was, indeed, MY way and that all was and would be good. ...Perhaps such secular transcendence felt while walking might be akin to what runners call 'the zone'. Your body can handle the task while your spirit glows with the effort. Neither easy, nor impossible; all simply is. ...Thus, thankfully you continue.

I first began to walk the CF when I was 65.
Now at 81 age and time have taken their toll but hopefully my personal memories will endure. Physically I may not be there, but sentimentally I will always "wear" my pilgrim shell. And whenever this life may end it is reassuring to hope that such a beloved spiritual route will continue throughout the centuries to come.
 
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Tim Floyd

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
Portugues 2021
What a great question! What does the spirit of the Camino mean to me? A few thoughts...

For me the Camino was about letting go and letting life happen. We did not have a firm schedule but got up every day, followed the arrows, trusted we would find all we needed. We always did. Some days were hard. Some easy. But every day was a new day and we learned not to make decisions when we were tired or hurting, because with the new sunrise everything was new and better. Ever since, when we encounter a challenge or problem of some type, we look at each other and say "tomorrow is a new day". That was one lesson of the Camino.

Another I have a hard time putting into a simple word, but I will try to explain. For me the Camino was spiritual in that I felt connected to pilgrims from generations past who made the journey out of penance or dedication. There was something special for me to be connected in some way to others hundreds of years ago. That spiritual connection was deeply meaningful to me. Maybe someone can express it better if you know what I mean.

Finally, the Camino was about people and my relationship to them. I discovered that so many people doing the Camino carry heavy burdens. Not the backpack and such. Emotional burdens. I met strangers, who quickly became friends, and we shared stories of loss, hurt, confusion about the future. The Camino was a great opportunity to listen, encourage, learn, support, and get the same in return. I remember one lady we encountered on the trail on the descent from Cruz de Ferro who was clearly in pain and struggling. We walked with her, shared our supplies, and got her a cab to take her the last few miles from Acebo to Molinaseca. As she left she thanked us and called us her "Camino angels". Never been called an angel before, but it demonstrated to me that we have the opportunity to be just that to the people we encounter every day.

That is the spirit of the Camino to me.

I look forward to following this thread.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
I cannot say I have ever given it any thought, the whole spirit of the Camino bit, if there is indeed one. I simply walk the Camino because it gives me joy. Inner peace. Perhaps that's because it brings life down to basics, or perhaps not because I could do the same routine on any of a number of walks, but doing it on the Camino fulfills that.
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
A story from Rumi* describes it for me, what the Camino does to everyone is equivalent to what the Greek artists are doing.

'The Chinese and the Greeks disputed before the Sultan which of them were the better painters; and, in order to settle the dispute, the Sultan allotted to each a house to be painted by them. The Chinese procured all kinds of paints, and coloured their house in the most elaborate way. The Greeks, on the other hand, used no colours at all, but contented themselves with cleansing the walls of their house from all filth, and burnishing them till they were as clear and bright as the heavens.
When the two houses were offered to the Sultan's inspection, that painted by the Chinese was much admired; but the Greek house carried off the palm, as all the colours of the other house were reflected on its walls with an endless variety of shades and hues.'

From the medative action of the Camino I get to see the beauty of the people, places and situations around me, and I feel it's the same for most of us, is that the Spirit I'm not sure but it is a big part of it.
A gentleman said to me once the Camino connects people and it is this connection, maybe that's the spirit.

*Sorry to fans of Coleman Barks translations, who translates them in the essence they were intended but this was the only one I could pull up from the net.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Simplicity, having few needs.
Contentment, not whining to myself when things are not as I might want.
Presence, being there for each moment, wirh openness.
Kindness, inwardly and outwardly.
Connecting, in a spitit of common humanity.
Truthfulness, not having to pose or be fake.

All of this together manifests as the sweetest kind of peace. The Camino brings out the best in us, when we're in sync with it.

Edit... which is not to say it's like this all the time! 🙃 :rolleyes:
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Great answers so far, keep 'em coming!

Another I have a hard time putting into a simple word, but I will try to explain. For me the Camino was spiritual in that I felt connected to pilgrims from generations past who made the journey out of penance or dedication. There was something special for me to be connected in some way to others hundreds of years ago. That spiritual connection was deeply meaningful to me. Maybe someone can express it better if you know what I mean.

I feel this too, that we're not just sharing this experience with the pilgrims (and locals) we meet along the way, but with those who have come before us and those who will come after us. That first hit me when I saw the ruins of a 12th century pilgrim 'complex' outside Navarette on the Camino Francés, a week or so into my first camino. That gave me a new perspective in understanding that story unfolding before us on camino includes not only the history of the towns and regions we pass through, but the history of the actual camino itself.

35666190211_159208002a_c.jpg
 

Jomas

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VF many times. Monaco-Lindau '15. Assisi-Pietralcina '17. CF '18.
🤔
the spirit of the journey, in my opinion, is not on the real path, while you are walking it or a few days after returning home, when there is still a mix of joy, nostalgia, lightness and novelty.

What I could define as the "spirit of the journey" should now live within you, in the daily routine of your life.
I haven't found it yet ... the "system" still has too much advantage over my "being".
And it gains more and more meters .... I just have to defend myself.

So I can't give an right answer but I gladly quote these post:
I simply walk the Camino because it gives me joy. Inner peace. Perhaps that's because it brings life down to basics

Just trying to be a good person.
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
I
haven't found it yet ... the "system" still has too much advantage over my "being
It's different for each of us, I have seen some people who it has struck like a thunderbolt and has completely changed their lives, inwardly and outwardly and they have followed it. With me it varies but usually that inner peace has gone south after 2-4 weeks, this time it lasted 5 months, so the system does have a grip but it's grip is only as tight as we grip it.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Year of past OR future Camino
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
Amen to all the above. I would add the releasing of expectations. It's hard to follow in the footsteps of all the fantastic stories and not expect great things. Surrendering to the unfolding of what your Camino actually is, instead of what you think it should be! Sometimes the unfolding is indeed, not what you expected or what you necessarily want. Flexibility to make necessary changes is part of the Camino as well.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
My first Camino was just a bit of a dander. My son had done it the year before and I thought it might be good craic for an retired computer consultant who had sat on his butt behind a desk for over 30 years. Within a fewe days I had met people who were a joy to know. Total strangers who were helpful to a silly old fool who thought all he had to do was walk. Exhausted and unable to carry on at Uterga, I found people who helped and encouraged a total stranger. I had allowed my religion to fall onto the back burner over the years but here were people not preaching about Jesus but actually practicing what he preached. Slowly but surely, the love and example of everyone along the trail made me re-examine my values in life and my wee dander across Spain became a pilgrimage. Suddenly I understood the brotherhood of man. Helping and giving with no expectation of anything in return. The outpouring of love for all and from all was like a light coming on in my life. I did not start out to find Jesus or to sort out my head or solve problems. I had a good life with no problems to solve but somewhere along the Way, Jesus found me. I dont use the term lightly but I really did love all those I walked with, especially my dear friend Mees, sadly no longer with us. RIP buddy. When I got home I could not stop telling anyone who would listen about my Damascus moment although my moment was the best part of 6 weeks. I walk slowly. But now my problems started. 25bdays after I got home my wife had a stroke and all that new found religion went out the window. Her sensational recovery and her faith sent me off again in 2015 in search of that 'camino spirit'. They say we should not try to recreate the good times as it seldom works. Well when its the camino spirit, it works time after time in 2016 and 2018. And finally, we all meet camino angels who help us along. My biggest surprise was when someone called me their camino angel. The spirit had me helping someone and I did not even know I was doing it. It just came naturally. Lots of preceding words trying to express what I feel and getting nowhere when just one word actually covers it,LOVE
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
🤔
the spirit of the journey, in my opinion, is not on the real path, while you are walking it or a few days after returning home, when there is still a mix of joy, nostalgia, lightness and novelty.

What I could define as the "spirit of the journey" should now live within you, in the daily routine of your life.
I haven't found it yet ... the "system" still has too much advantage over my "being".
And it gains more and more meters .... I just have to defend myself.

So I can't give an right answer but I gladly quote these post:
For me more like got to get my butt back to work to pay the bills so I can walk the Camino again, lol. No time for pining over a holiday gone past, lol.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
You are right in saying that the spirit of the Camino can be hard to define or explain to non-pilgrims. That's why, whenever I am asked for a word to describe the Camino, the one I pick is "ineffable" (incapable of being expressed in words). There is a Chinese word "tao" for which the Spanish translation is "camino". At the very beginning of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says something like "The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao." Some things are slippery that way. The act of confining them within the bounds of words changes them and they are no longer what they were, like probability waves collapsing.

All that said, I will play the game and try and capture some fragments of the Tao, the Way, the Camino. Each is just a tiny piece. But perhaps, like a hologram, each fragment contains the whole.

You see the spirit of the camino whenever you see people helping and supporting each other - carrying another's weight when the burden becomes too heavy for a fellow pilgrim, sharing from the limited amount that we carry ourselves when we see another in need, or the local residents with their donativo stands or helping pilgrims who have departed from the path find it again.

You see the spirit of the camino in the connections people make with each other, sometimes in Camino families that can last for weeks, sometimes in fifteen minutes of walking together or while sharing a table at a bar.

You see the spirit of the camino in the connections people make with the land that they are walking through, land that they are measuring and experiencing step by step, day by day, through the cities and peublos, through the fields and forests.

You see the spirit of the camino in the understanding that people gain of their bodies, through the aches and pains, the weariness and fatigue, often the injuries and ailments, but also the growing strength and appreciation of our capabilities and endurance.

You see the spirit of the camino, not only in the community and conversation, but in the silence and space, space away from the distractions of our regular daily life, space where we can see ourselves, where we can see the larger universe and reality, where we can see that the line between the two is not as clear as it seems when we aren't paying attention, space where we can see where we've come from and get some ideas about where we are going.

You see the spirit of the camino in the way it gives so much and requires so little (in fact, if we bring too much it encourages us to reduce what we are carrying), requiring only that we keep putting one foot in front of the other (for those of us who are walking) and move ourselves closer to Santiago.

Of course,the spirit of the camino is so much greater than the above. But those are a few bits that can start to give a flavour.
 
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(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
You are right in saying that the spirit of the Camino can be hard to define or explain to non-pilgrims. That's why, whenever I am asked for a word to describe the Camino, the one I pick is "ineffable" (incapable of being expressed in words). There is a Chinese word "tao" for which the Spanish translation is "camino". At the very beginning of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says something like "The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao." Some things are slippery that way. The act of confining them within the bounds of words changes them and they are no longer what they were, like probability waves collapsing.

All that said, I will play the game and try and capture some fragments of the Tao, the Way, the Camino. Each is just a tiny piece. But perhaps, like a hologram, each fragment contains the whole.

You see the spirit of the camino whenever you see people helping and supporting each other - carrying another's weight when the burden becomes too heavy for a fellow pilgrim, sharing from the limited amount that we carry ourselves when we see another in need, or the local residents with their donativo stands or helping pilgrims who have departed from the path find it again.

You see the spirit of the camino in the connections people make with each other, sometimes in Camino families that can last for weeks, sometimes in fifteen minutes of walking together or while sharing a table at a bar.

You see the spirit of the camino in the connections people make with the land that they are walking through, land that they are measuring and experiencing step by step, day by day, through the cities and peublos, through the fields and forests.

You see the spirit of the camino in the understanding that people gain of their bodies, through the aches and pains, the weariness and fatigue, often the injuries and ailments, but also the growing strength and appreciation of our capabilities and endurance.

You see the spirit of the camino, not only in the community and conversation, but in the silence and space, space away from the distractions of our regular daily life, space where we can see ourselves, where we can see the larger universe and reality, where we can see that the line between the two is not as clear as it seems when we aren't paying attention, space where we can see where we've come from and get some ideas about where we are going.

You see the spirit of the camino in the way it gives so much and requires so little (in fact, if we bring too much it encourages us to reduce what we are carrying), requiring only that we keep putting one foot in front of the other (for those of us who are walking) and move ourselves closer to Santiago.

Of course,the spirit of the camino is so much greater than the above. But those are a few bits that can start to give a flavour.
I can easily relate to your (great) post, as well as many other posts in this thread. Thanks to all!
 
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Pinker to

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Future
I guess it depends on what you’re searching for.

If looking for solitude and reflection it may mean open wide spaces that would provide you the opportunity to be with your inner self. In contrast, if your bet is the social side of the route, it could be the company and camaraderie of your unknown buddy hikers.

To be honest. I’m far from knowing where that stunning spirit lies, as for me it’s also been just a glass of wine when it shared and needed.
 

DonnaS18

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sept (2018)
It's different for each of us, I have seen some people who it has struck like a thunderbolt and has completely changed their lives, inwardly and outwardly and they have followed it. With me it varies but usually that inner peace has gone south after 2-4 weeks, this time it lasted 5 months, so the system does have a grip but it's grip is only as tight as we grip it.
So true “the grip is only as tight as you grip it!”
I have met people who didn’t get it at all and it was just a walk and I felt so sad for them.
I guess they weren’t ready yet to either grip or to be gripped!
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
So true “the grip is only as tight as you grip it!”
I have met people who didn’t get it at all and it was just a walk and I felt so sad for them.
I guess they weren’t ready yet to either grip or to be gripped!
Someone said to me 4 weeks ago some spiritual messages are " Just let go!" which I have tried but it almost feels like I need special instruction in doing this.
 

DonnaS18

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sept (2018)
Why? Unless something is causing you harm why the need to let go.
The Camino spirit lives on in me. I miss the physical journey but won’t let go of the memories or messages. Hence why I and many of us visit this forum.
Maybe I’m missing something in yr post?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
Spirit of the Camino? Orujo!

OK, cheap joke. Serious answer: Camino, for me, is a journey in liminal space to a place of the heart. Time after time I have felt the shift / transition; whatever you'd like to call it.

Dear old Wiki provides (and saves me some typing) "... liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete." Which is Anthropologist speak for that of which my gran would say "The veil is thin here".
What a fantastic definition.....it hits the nail on its head.....
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Why? Unless something is causing you harm why the need to let go.
The Camino spirit lives on in me. I miss the physical journey but won’t let go of the memories or messages. Hence why I and many of us visit this forum.
Maybe I’m missing something in yr post?

Is it perhaps learning to hold things lightly rather than tightly? I have been musing while reading these posts, and found myself recalling a walk along a river lined with giant chestnut trees; far in the distance, and very high, there was a busy highway. A special day that brings joy with a somewhat different "flavor" each time it comes to mind, when I hold it lightly.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2012
'Let it be'
I think I will hold moments of Camino in my heart forever: that view, that conversation, that sudden crash of bird-song and sunlight somewhere on the Meseta that allowed me to understand that I had been elsewhere for a while. But I won't worry them; I don't need to gnaw those bones.

The trees I planted when the latest member of my tribe was born are flourishing. The sun blazes in between the storm clouds of our latest Atlantic Depression (no allusion intended). I put the garden to bed between the showers, light the woodburner in the workshop for the first time since March.

I have stopped planning a Camino for 2021. I've stopped planning much at all except where the Broad Beans will go in November and when to cull the Kale; which stretch of which Sussex trail I'll devote my Ditch-Pigging to this year and, which way I'll take to where when heart and feet need to roam. Not quite William Palmer "compelled to walk from that day to this between the worlds of magic and of men" but always a pilgrim, always on the way.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
If there is a spirit of the Camino, he is the Apostle Saint James.
 

Devon Mike

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 & 2019), Primitivo & Ingles (2017)
I pray my Lord I'm on my way
Protect me through each Holy day
I know the pilgrim's life I choose
Is not a life I want to lose
 
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filly

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I think I will hold moments of Camino in my heart forever: that view, that conversation, that sudden crash of bird-song and sunlight somewhere on the Meseta that allowed me to understand that I had been elsewhere for a while. But I won't worry them; I don't need to gnaw those bones.

The trees I planted when the latest member of my tribe was born are flourishing. The sun blazes in between the storm clouds of our latest Atlantic Depression (no allusion intended). I put the garden to bed between the showers, light the woodburner in the workshop for the first time since March.

I have stopped planning a Camino for 2021. I've stopped planning much at all except where the Broad Beans will go in November and when to cull the Kale; which stretch of which Sussex trail I'll devote my Ditch-Pigging to this year and, which way I'll take to where when heart and feet need to roam. Not quite William Palmer "compelled to walk from that day to this between the worlds of magic and of men" but always a pilgrim, always on the way.
Could you clarify ‘William Palmer’, please. Somehow the words remind me of the magical paintings of Samuel Palmer...
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2012
A reference to wonderful series of tales by Sebastian Baczkiewicz

"Of all the tales told on these islands, few are as strange as that of William Palmer. Cursed, apparently, on the road to Canterbury in the spring of 1185 for denying the presence of the other world by the king of the grey folk – or Fairy – himself, and compelled to walk from that day to this between the worlds of magic and of men, and subsequently known in all the strange and wonderful lore attributed to the mysterious William Palmer, as Pilgrim."

 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I think I will hold moments of Camino in my heart forever: that view, that conversation, that sudden crash of bird-song and sunlight somewhere on the Meseta that allowed me to understand that I had been elsewhere for a while. But I won't worry them; I don't need to gnaw those bones.

The trees I planted when the latest member of my tribe was born are flourishing. The sun blazes in between the storm clouds of our latest Atlantic Depression (no allusion intended). I put the garden to bed between the showers, light the woodburner in the workshop for the first time since March.

I have stopped planning a Camino for 2021. I've stopped planning much at all except where the Broad Beans will go in November and when to cull the Kale; which stretch of which Sussex trail I'll devote my Ditch-Pigging to this year and, which way I'll take to where when heart and feet need to roam. Not quite William Palmer "compelled to walk from that day to this between the worlds of magic and of men" but always a pilgrim, always on the way.
This is the best thing I've read all morning.
Gracias, @Tincatinker!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Thanks again to everyone for participating in this thread and sharing your thoughts. Apart from making for great reading, it helped inform our discussion on this subject in our Spirit of the Camino introduction podcast episode (and we read out Elisha and David's answers in full because they were so beautiful). In a couple of episodes' time we have @Elle Bieling as a guest and she gives an amazing answer to this same question in addition to what she said upthread, so that's something for everyone to look forward to!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I am a bit late, and have only read the last few offerings. You two, Wendy and Nick, in your interview with Ivar, struck me as having your spirit of the Camino. Today, or perhaps better to say, up until the pandemic crossed wires, the spirit of the Camino encompasses many wonderful human aspirations. To be asked the question is itself a gift. Taking ‘the Camino’ in the context of the journey to Santiago, impelled by an unknown force, it is a testimony to the human spirit, thirsty and hungry for meaning. Before I make a total fool of myself - and honestly I don’t actually care about that, let me say thanks again for the question. When, if, I ever find an answer... I will let you know!!! Maybe yes, maybe no. The question really is the point of departure, and of arrival.
 
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DevereUx

Devereaux
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2018
I posted this somewhere before, but my last entry as I left Santiago sums up the spirit of the Camino for me:
"On the Way home-10/27, Saturday
How strange to ride in a car! I'm done walking miles. I took a cab to the Santiago train station. It felt false and very confining.
The train arrived punctually at 9:39AM. I boarded coche 4, plata (seat) 252. We departed Santiago and my heart cried.
As the countryside passed my window, I realized I had walked the mountains that now flew by. The green hills and valleys flashed by. I felt a deep sadness. I miss the trail so much. Yet, I'm now so tired.
Sadness, relief and completion overwhelm me. I know the hills outside the window intimately. I know the dirt, the stones, the flowers, the cows, the grass. I know the smell of morning, before light reveals the reality of place.
I know the smell of hay drying in the morning sun.
I know the smell of cows and pigs.
And, I know the beauty of a sunrise and a full moon set in the morning.
I know the kindness of strangers.
I know the closeness of the strangers that became family.
Oh, the joys and hardships in those hills that speed past.
Of all, the Meseta will be the most enduring.
I'm glad I can't see it speed by. It is a memory best left as is; a journey into my soul; to places I didn't know existed.
While my mind fixes on a snapshot image of a rust-colored, rock strewn, gravel road snaking over fields of grass, my soul recollects the visits of angels.
I had friends with me in Navarra.
I had companions with me in Galacia.
But, I had angels with me on the Meseta.
So much left behind outside the train window. So much remains inside.
Just like the back doctor in Leon said after patching me up, "It will take days for this to have its affect." Indeed.
I'm just realizing...the real journey has now begun.
I have known simple, intimately.
I've experienced slow, intimately.
I've reconnected to the earth, intimately.
Now, where will all this intimacy guide me?"
 

backpack45

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
The spirit of the Camino is being open to new experiences, sharing, gratitude, and passing along the wisdom and gifts that you have gained.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
For me, The Spirit of the Camino, is The Spirit of God, pervading our awareness as we have time to slow down, be quiet, allow the silent rhythmic mantra prayer of walking to open us up to her continual presence. Our sense of awe is what Otto Rudolf, German Scholar, in his book ”Idea of the Holy“ calls “Mysterium Tremendum.” He writes....” it may at times come sweeping like a gentle tide pervading the mind with a tranquil mood of deepest worship.”
 

Tim Floyd

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
Portugues 2021
Amen to all the above. I would add the releasing of expectations. It's hard to follow in the footsteps of all the fantastic stories and not expect great things. Surrendering to the unfolding of what your Camino actually is, instead of what you think it should be! Sometimes the unfolding is indeed, not what you expected or what you necessarily want. Flexibility to make necessary changes is part of the Camino as well.
Well put!
 
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JMac56

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2015)
CF+Fis(2016)
CP:Porto-SdC-Mux-Fis(2017)
CF:Leon-SdC(2017)
CF+Mux+Fis(2018)
Some quotes that speak to my thoughts on the spirit of the Camino:

"I once was lost, but now am found" from Amazing Grace by John Newton;

"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" - Leonard Cohen;

"Grab your things, I've come to take you home" from Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel.

I could go on but it's hard to sum up this transformative experience in mere words.

Buen Camino. 🚶‍♂️💛
 

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