a personal experience
The Way fo St. James
I did the Way of Saint James, the famous French Way, for the first time in 2001, we were a group of about sixty people from many countries, and the motivations that pushed each of us were the most different. There were those who did it for a deep religious sense, those who did it for the love of trekking, those who accompanied someone who felt a very strong inner drive.
But in the end, as in life, you find yourself taking one step after another and discovering that what gives you strength is not what you thought at the beginning.
Those who say that the Route of St. James is magical, say the truth. The magic lies in the desire that grows in pilgrims, to reach the goal, even if the body rebels against so much effort to which it is not accustomed.
Because it soon becomes clear, right from the first few kilometres, that the feet are not carrying the weight of the bones, muscles, organs that make up our physicality, but rather they support with infinite resilience, the overwhelming gravity of our thoughts, of our unresolved traumas, of the emotions that cling to our cells, our feelings. We are wrong when we think that the body moves matter, the body moves within an energy that we ourselves create when we think, we feel, we speak, we are silent.
The first few days were very hard for me. Athletically I was at the top, not emotionally, but I was too young to be aware of my inner motions, at least comparing to the level I am today. Moral: on the second day I injured my calf muscle, without any apparent cause, and the doctor who examined me told me that I could no longer walk, or else my situation would be made worse and worse. They carried me on their shoulders to the hostel.
It was at that point that my real journey began.
When I was able to free my frustration and anger, from the car that followed our group, I started to support my friends who were laboriously proceeding, and to observe the signs. Many of Rune accompanied me, but I still knew very little about them and did not know how to interpret them.
When I went back on the Way in the following years, I had by now abandoned the stupid youthful presumption of invincibility, and began to be aware that it is the Path that welcomes you, it is not you who walks it.
Thus, a new dimension opened up for me, on a human and spiritual level.
I learned, for example, that this pilgrimage is called Compostela, or Field of the Stars, for two reasons: because for the ancients the path to Santiago (and Finisterre) followed the Milky Way, which was right above you, you only had to look up at the Universe, and because, especially at night and with the full moon, the stars were there, right under your feet.
Yes, it is thanks to mica (lepidolite), which is a mineral that we find encrusted especially in the serpentine, that we see the stones shine as if they were silver. Exactly the same colour as the stars. And of mica and serpentine, it is studded every single metre of the Path.
Then a teacher explained to me that it was no accident. The mica, in fact, acts as a mirror, giving us back an image of us that is the one we reject. And it is at this point that the mineral performs its function, because it helps us to recognise what we see, as part of us, and to reconcile and integrate it with our self.
The serpentine adds a further meaning. This is a mineral of metamorphic origin, meaning that the original material (silicon) is subjected to temperature increases or pressures that cause a radical transformation, and the birth of a new mineral.
I associated the story of the creation of the serpentine with what I was living and had lived, that is to say the transformative process that the Path produces, I thought about all the pressures that we undergo in life, and I understood that they had a purpose, they were not sterile suffering. I began to understand that we are truly one with Nature. We are reflected in It and It in us.
I imagined the thousands of pilgrims who over the centuries had walked those paths, their invisible footprints still present, and it was there that I was told that even before the arrival of the Apostle in Galicia, that was a sacred path since Neolithic times. It was sprinkled with dolmens and menhirs, lined up according to the geodetic rules and the Lines of Fire.
Everything acquired a new sense, which was added to the original one.
The Druids had walked the Path for centuries, constantly, they had met in those forests, and had left their emanations there.
Runes, trees, roots, stars, minerals, flowers and plants: everything was and is a constant repetition of the same message, aimed at help, understanding, transformation. In a word: Evolution.