Pilgrimage, From Kennesaw Mountain to Santiago de Compostelas

When you decide you’re going to make a pilgrimage, you’ve already begun it. Every step you take is a preparation for the day when you take that first step on the desired path; mentally, in your heart and mind, you’re already there. It’s not that your mind is elsewhere, but that you have invited the pilgrimage into your daily life. Not only that, when you decide to go on this path, you make it that much easier for someone else to begin. We raise consciousness together, one person at a time.

In 2015, I’m planning to hike 500 plus miles across the north of Spain, from St. Jean Pied Port to Santiago de Compostelas. Emilio Estevez’s film “The Way,” starring his father, Martin Sheen, has recently popularized this ancient pilgrimage. Called el Camino de Santiago in Spanish, or el Camino Francés, in English it translates as the Way of St. James.

My reasons for making this pilgrimage vary. I was raised in a traditional, Catholic family, although I am not a practicing Catholic. Maybe because I spent so much time in candle-lit churches, I feel a strong connection to the poetry of Catholic mystics St. Teresa de Avila and St. John of the Cross.

But a long time ago I became disenchanted with what I perceived as the dogma and rigidity of Catholicism. And I have some wounds related to my upbringing that keep me from embracing this faith. I also disagree with some of the basic church policies about women’s reproductive health and the ordination of women.

Today, my spiritual life centers around mindfulness meditation, long walks in nature, and cultivating peace and love in the world. But my hope is that by walking 15- to 20-miles a day, from cathedral to cathedral, I will reclaim my childhood religion in my own way, on my own terms. No man-made set of rules can or should prevent me from experiencing the divine as I walk across Spain or as I hike up Kennesaw Mountain, the place where my pilgrimage has started.

8 thoughts on “Pilgrimage, From Kennesaw Mountain to Santiago de Compostelas

  1. JC says:

    This sounds so wonderful, Christine! I hope you will have a chance to blog about your hike–I would love to read about it. And of course I can’t wait to read all the poems you will write.

    Like

  2. Elissa | Sometimes She Travels says:

    I, too, am in the preparation stages for making a pilgrimage, this time on the Camino del Norte. Your words about mindfulness and raising consciousness really resonate as I begin setting intentions for the spiritual aspects of my journey. Thank you and I look forward to following your journey. Buen Camino.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s