Spirituality is one of the values intrinsic to all pilgrims who travel the Camino de Santiago. “The Camino changes you”, “You do not return the same from the Camino” or “The Camino helps you find yourself” son are some of the most common reactions among those reaching their goal. Which is why we've dedicated the month of December during our The Values of the Camino in 12 Months that we’ve been working on from El Camino con Correos and iPeregrinos. Because we all know that on the Camino de Santiago there is a physical path, the one that you travel kilometre by kilometre; and another spiritual or internal path, which is personal and unique.
Because the pilgrim undertakes the route to the tomb of the Apostle, pursuing an encounter with his or her faith, but also a search of the spirit or internal journey. In a society that drags you and beats you down, the Camino de Santiago allows you to stop and become aware of yourself. Reflection, friendship, solidarity, reflection, communion with nature or solitude are some of the sensations that allow every pilgrim to experience a spiritual connection.
Spirituality, present on the Camino from its origins
"More and more pilgrims are travelling the Camino de Santiago with a religious motivation or are looking for an encounter with themselves." This is recognized by the dean of the Cathedral of Santiago, Mr. Segundo Perez, for whom the spirituality of the Camino is present from its origins. "The meaning of the pilgrimage to Santiago since the Middle Ages has not been lost: conversion, life change, rethinking of one's existence.”
Segundo Pérez: “Pilgrims travel the Camino de Santiago for religious reasons or looking for an encounter with themselves.”
Millions of testimonies prove it. "I travelled he Camino with my husband meditating and praying for these solitary paths. It was something unique. And the most exciting part: arriving at the Cathedral,”, Maria Elena Casanova tells The Camino con Correos, who after this first experience, is wanting to repeat the Camino through its different routes.
The Camino de Santiago as a space of personal development
This feeling is so strong that in recent years different initiatives have emerged where the Camino de Santiago becomes the perfect space to work on personal development. Such is the case of Nekane Vita, who defines herself as a pilgrim of live and lover of the human being. For many years, Nekane has led Spacio Vita where she applies all her knowledge and experiences on orientation and human development on the Camino de Santiago. "The Camino, as a metaphor of life, allows you to divest yourself from everything, allows you to search for answers and helps in the awakening of consciousness, allowing you to look beyond your day to day," he says.
Nekane Vita: “The Camino, as a metaphor of life, allows you to divest yourself from everything and find the answers you need"
Nekane tells us that after many years working in the world of coaching and personal development, she realized that on many occasions she was not able to create the necessary conditions for the person to connect with him or herself. And that was what she found on the Camino. "All the symbols of the Camino help you pause, so necessary in this frantic society in which we live," she says. First, walking outdoors allows a strong connection with nature. Secondly, the backpack becomes a metaphor of life: your belongings, your fears. And, finally, anonymity. "The Camino strips you of labels and categories that society has imposed upon you. It allows you to leave your usual environment, your role, your image and you become anonymous. We are the same on the Camino," explains Nekane.
The transforming power of the Camino
The truth is that the Camino de Santiago has something that changes you from the inside. Many people who do it a priori for sporting, cultural or touristic reasons, end up having an experience that goes beyond a simple trip or hiking route. We spoke with Nekane Vita, who recognizes the transformative power of the Camino. "It reconnects you to yourself. When you travel the Camino, you give yourself permission to listen and discover all the answers inside you," she explains.
Because beyond the physical journey and even the motivation for this adventure, the Camino de Santiago is a place for reconnection, to make a day to day stop, to become aware and listen and, of course, to make decisions and introduce changes needed in your life.
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¡Buen Camino! This is our wish at Correos! – that pilgrims can fully enjoy their Camino and discover new places, histories, people and experiences through our postcards.