Sunday, August 06, 2006

There and Back Again, A Pilgrim's Tale

I arrived home on August 4th after a long journey from Madrid via Amsterdam and a 10 hour layover, which was completely my fault and completely unnecessary. But it gave me time to read and think and sleep a little before the airport energized at 3:30 in the morning with bustling international travellers eager to board flights to exotic corners of the globe. In the spirit of Camino camraderie, I was invited to Tenerife by the businessman sitting next to me on the plane. This all was very fitting for the end of a camino that brought me from my home in Jonesville, Michigan, across the Iberian Peninsula, and back again. This was my Camino.

I have one final thought, and I would like to share an idea that I have been entertaining for some time, an idea that is probably quite different than what most others are now thinking. But we all have our own opinions of the Camino, and there are no right or wrong answers. In fact there are probably no answers at all. Therefore, I take the Camino as what is was to me and nothing more; it was an education in untraditional terms, an education I have never had before. It was not a major life-changing revelation or moment of personal insight. It was what it was, and it was very good. Unfortunately, it all had to end on August 3rd as we parted ways and said good-bye. Now we must face our own journeys, but ones that are no longer marked by yellow arrows and guide books. We neither share the same goal nor take the same path. I think we just went parallel for 33 days.

I want to thank everyone in GIEU who made this trip possible, from A.T. Miller and the administrative staff, to all my fellow pilgrims and friends, and especially to Annie and Andy, the Jefes. We know how excellent they are, and I hope they know as well.

2 Comments:

Blogger annie said...

Paul, what happened in Amersterdam to cause you to have a 10 hr wait?
annie

3:29 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

I walked my own Camino in 1999 from the Pyrenees . There is still no doubt in my mind that it was perhaps the most important thing I have ever done, and, as it does with all pilgrims remains a constant influence in my everyday life.
Along the way, somewhere between Ponferrada and Cacabelos, my fellow pilgrim, and a Gnostic priest, told me that there was increasing conjecture that it was not S. James buried in Compostela at all, but a "heretic" named Priscillian. I countered that I had never heard of Priscillian, but the idea wouldn't go away. So when I got back, I began to do a bit of research and what I found was fascinating indeed. Priscillian's story had all the elements of a best seller: persecution and injustice, alternative faiths, a scandal or two, but no such book existed. So I decided the only thing to do was write my own!
Pilgrimage to Heresy has been recently published in the US . It is "novel" in so much as the story and dialogue are my own, but, the historical detail, such as we know it, is accurate, and it presents Priscillian's philosophy dovetailed with the thoughts of Miranda, a modern day Canadian pilgrim, who is looking for the basis for her own beliefs and insights into her own spirituality. If you have walked the Camino, or plan to, I would be very surprised if you do not find something of yourselves within its pages.
For more information, see http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.com where you can read about Priscillian, my own Camino, and some links to Gnosticism, as well as ordering information. You can also read some pages from the book.
If you wish to read the Prologue and the first chapter, see also http://www.iuniverse.com/lookinside/Loo ... 124&page=3
Pilgrimage to Heresy will not be to everyone's taste. It challenges established ideas about the pilgrimage and particularly asks "Who is buried in Compostela?" Ultimately, perhaps it doesn't matter: it is the Camino we experience in our hearts which lasts. Either way, it asks pertinent questions about the idea and rationale of going on a Pilgrimage in the 21st century.
I hope you enjoy reading about it.
Many thanks for your time!

Ultreia y Buen Camino
Tracy Saunders
Spain

3:28 PM  

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