03 Sep ROAD OUT OF TIME: Wandering Pilgrim, the holy fool
Walking is a holy endeavour.
Our moving pilgrim bodies bridge heaven and earth as we make our way to our sacred destination. Who, how and what we encounter along the way lies in the mighty palm of Mystery. One thing is certain: our hearts will open.
A pilgrim, walking an ever-changing landscape, is akin to the Fool card of the ancient Tarot. This card leads the Major Arcana, or Greater Mysteries, and its number is zero. Nothing. No beginning or end. The Fool card carries an enthusiasm that says, “yes!” to the call of Life and infinite possibilities. She stands at the edge off a cliff with a willing readiness for adventure. There is no certainty to what lies ahead, only an alluring edginess.
Compared with the ever-turning wheel of Time, the word pilgrim is rather modern. It can be traced to 11th century French pelegrin, from the Latin peregrinus, meaning foreign. The connection with the land is evident: per, meaning through; and ager, field.
Walking El Camino de Santiago de Compostela is certainly foreign in the sense that it is a unique experience. Even if you walk this Way a dozen times, each journey is like no other. You will meet new people, hear new stories and view new vistas.
You will not tread the same road twice.
When we walk, we activate and awaken dormant parts of ourselves. Through the steady cadence of each step, we create a rhythm; a dream-like enchantment that expands our heart and widens our mind. As our thoughts wander, mile after mile, we can often arrive at solutions to worries that weigh us down.
Little is needed on the Camino trail. Instead of a cumbersome cupboard of clothes, one change of clothing is all you need carry in your Fool’s pack. After a day’s travel, you hand-wash your clothes and peg them out to dry. Metaphorically, you are washing away an experience that has altered you in some way. You then wash, eat, sleep and awake to a new cycle of transformation.
To Travel Deep is to Travel Light.
Road Out Of Time is a regular Walk & Write blog about the spiritual, mystical and religious significance and traditions of The Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
Sarah Blogg is a Camino scholar and pilgrim of life, who is drawn to share her research into and insights about the enigmatical pilgrim path across Spain.
While for many pilgrims The Camino is The Way of St James, for Sarah the ancient road is The Way of the Goddess.