Taking a plunge into the deep end.

Going with the flow means sometimes taking a plunge into the deep end. I completed the Camino de Santiago leg through Aragon. Little did I know that with reaching the Aragon-Navarra border the energy on the trail would change so dramatically. Here the trail is joined by the main trail coming from France (from St.Jean Pied a Port), the one I intended to take. I am glad I got side-tracked via Lourdes onto the leg I just finished. There were only 10-15 pilgrims a day in Aragon on any given section, reaching Puenta de Reina just south of Pamplona that suddenly changed to about 200!!! The rural solitude I enjoyed is no longer there. Pilgrims race from inn to inn to secure a place for the night.

My last night was in a small inn with 7 pilgrims, next to a 12th century octagonal domed church. Hundreds visit it during the day. Tour busses unload their hordes of tourist with guides who regurgitate facts of what can be seen. None encourage the visitors to experience the essence the site has to offer. In naming facts one is mislead to believe one knows, but what is it that one knows?. The tourist chat chat chat their way around the site and hop back on the bus without being given a chance to experience Being at the site, with the site. Unlike the many pictures taken, this Being can be absorbed ito one´s Being forever and who knows maybe even taken into a next life.

The inn keeper took us to the chapel after dinner when all tourist were gone and night had fallen. With just a few candles lit, it would have been little different from 1200 years ago when the first pilgrims stayed here. We were invited to pray, meditate, just be still, whatever felt right. The inn keeper sang at the end Ave Maria in italian, which echoed around the dome with a chilling vibration. The solid, almost windowless walls felt very safe, with just one statue of Maria and Infant to focus on one can not help but be in awe and experience spiritual essence as expressed here in Spain through catholisism. This last inn on the Aragon leg of the Camino was a fitting finale of a tough but wonderful 6 days of being on El Camino Aragon.

I decide not to continue from here to Santiago but sidestep to Camoino Del Norte or Camino Primitivo. Actually I had to take a leap of faith, a plunge into the deep end as I have no maps, guidebooks etc. I walked to Puente de Reina which took about one hour where I found a bus to Bilbao north and the Guggenheim Museum. Bilbao was just awfull. The energy of the big city was a real culture shock. To see how people live stacked on top of each other disconnected from the earth was really sad, the contrast from rural and deserted Aragon could not have been more drastic. The museum was disappointing full of artistical egocentric rubbish, time to head for the Camino again. After some searching I ended up on a bus to Oviedo, no idea how and why I made that choice. It was a sudden one, with the bus leaving in 2 minutes, no time to think, no idea if this was my flow to follow. Got there at 11pm, too late to get to the albergue, so I had to look for a hotel. It was a bit expensive for me, but after getting a pilgrim´s discount I decided to take the first available room and not search any further that late at night. Just as I settled in a thunderstorm hit fearociously. Then I knew I reached the right eddy, meaning I must also be in the right flow. Is there such a thing as the wrong flow, or was I ever out of it?

From Oviedo it is only 370 KM to Santiago, a distance that I can comfortably cover in the time left without needing to get on another bus to make up for lack of time. This leg of the Camino is called El Camino Primitivo, meaning it is the original route, not necessarily a primitive one. It is apparently quiet and away from developed areas though and I found good information in English to help me organise myself better. Tomorrow I will start walking again. I am looking forward to that. The one night luxury was nice but I miss the energy of the Camino grooved into the landscape by centuries of pilgrims walking with Intend to Santiago. Tonight I happily sleep in the albergue (inn) with snoring fellow pilgrims. My guess is that on any given day at the moment -and September is high season I discovered- about 1000 pilgrims are on their way on various legs of El Camino. Everyday there are moments where I get goosebumbs when I think about it. Signs on houses, on stones, sealed symbols in pavements, well wishes from locals calling ´Buen Camino´, little piles of stones created by pigrims along the way, they are all signs of encouragement for this amazing journey for the soul called in short El Camino.

I am learning to walk in such a way that my feet absorb sufficient amounts of energy from the earth needed to propel my body into the next step. In doing so I can begin to be One with the earth, a step closer to feeling One with All. Just one second of remembering such moments of Being is enough to bring me chills and tears. What a privaledge it is to slow down.

If places could talk...

Lourdes, France would say:
Come here
Drink my water
And
Heal yourself
Santiago de Compostella, Spain would say:
Come here
Walk my road
And
Transform yourself

Singing in The rain

Where does one begin to describe all the jewels that life brings. This journey is sooo rich from the start that a few words and no images do it little justice. Once I am in Slovakia and have highspeed internet I will journal about the Camino de Santiago experience in detail on a separate blog.

For now I will just provide short updates as places with interet access are scarce at the moment. I got better after 4 days in Lourdes. Left in poring rain and arrived in Spain in a town called Jaca. So many unexpected things happened and channeled me in the right direction. Before I knew it I realised I was on the Camino de Santiago, but at a different location than planned. Planning has from now on gone out the window. Going on without a plan is much better and it allows the flow to hit me, pick me up and take me for the ride of my life really. I have just completed my fifth day of walking of about 800 km. After a tough start with jelly legs, a left over from days of fever, I got stronger each day, found my pace, connected to the earth I was walking on during day 3. I started walking with my brain in charge I now let my feet, and the energy from the earth that enters my body through the chackras under my feet, determine the pace. When I do that all goes well! After the first day of doing that my brain let go and I finally slept deeply for the first time since weeks. Being on the Camino is an amazing experience that I will tell more about in detail after 23 October. Adios for now.

Legs Going Jelly

Between 11am and 3pm fever hits hard and legs become jelly. All energy gets sapped out of me and all I can do is rest horizontally. The fever is located in the head it seems, at least that is where I feel it most. I am quite happy to surrender. Instead of heading for the start of El Camino de Santiago I went to Lourdes. Did not plan to go here as I heard and read so many negative thoughts about the place lately. I am so glad I am here. Enjoying my time in bed and when fever subsides I go to the sanctuaries, to just be and film (lots). I was raised as a catholic, but I am not here as a catholic. Yet I feel very connected with the energy of the place. I believe in the healing qualities of water specially spring and blessed water. The warter here is both. Even if no miracle ever happened here in the past, it certainly is an energised place. So many millions invest positive energy in this place that that alone is special and for me noticably radiating back. I pray here in my own way, surrender and heal amzingly fast. Glandular fever takes months to get over. I see great improvements every day. The rituals/processions that are performed here daily are at a grand scale. That is all very much part of the ego of the religion that drives this place in my experience. Nevertheless it is great subject matter for my filming, but the personal rituals at the site of the claimed miracle are most touching and humbling to observe and have great value in my eyes. That is where many people surrender, cry, let go of ego, even if it is just for a split second sometimes. That is a privaledge to witness and for me hopefull. It encourages me to do the same. That is the gift of having fallen ill. I would otherwise never have come here and witnessed this. It is in many ways just like Daramsala in India where the Dalai Lama resides. Both places are riddled with commercial distractions that can make it difficult to experience the essence of such a place. In Daramsala it took me two days to see beyond that. Here in Lourdes I was prepared and connected immediately. I will talk later more about the qualities of the water when I have relevant information at hand. For now... I am getting ready to move on, out of the way of bad weather and heading for cheaper Spain. I am ready to move on, so I like to think. Time will tell. I wont be walking anytime soon I think, but will follow the Camino anyway.

Familiarity


There are five of us
One in Switzerland
One in New Zealand
Three in The Netherlands
Last night we dined together
The time before that was 4 years ago
It felt like last week...

I have left New Zealand and started actual travelling. One thing that is clear about this journey is that I am not in ├žontrol. I did want to learn to go with the flow, little did I expect the flow to take control over this journey so thouroughly and even before I left. Tomorrow I am flying to the South of France to begin an 800 KM walk along the ancient El Camino de Santiago de Compostella in north-western Spain, so I thought. Glandular fever got hold of me the last few days, triggered by pre-departure stresses of dealing with possesions (selling property, storing stuff, shedding stuff, dealing with banking, and all sorts of bureaucratic systems one becomes part of in regular life). It is so much harder to entangle oneself than say 20 years ago. Anyway, no way will I be able to begin my pilgrimage with fever sapping my energy. I will fly to France from Holland tomorrow as booked and see what this forced-slow-down will bring. It is interesting that I choose to write about this unexpected turn of events, maybe because this effects my physical well being which is easier to write about that other forms of well-being. It will ceratinly be a challenge. I am anxious about it yet I welcome it too and will keep observing. All changes regarding this journey had very good reasons for being so far, often only in hindsight. I hope to uncover the reason for the fever as well in due time. I will not be able to post images untill I reach my artist-in-residency location in Slovakia on 23 October. Posting text without images feels a bit incomplete to me, but I may be tempted. Otherwise, till October. Thanks for being present, Marcel

Embryonic Flight



Embryonic Flight

Every morning
Eyes would wake
Gazing at the same wall
But that day
They saw
Image on the wall
Lit by the rising sun
Peeping through the curtain
Highlighting
For a fleeting moment
What needed to be see

A plane
Rising
From the ocean floor
Where it once sank
A wreck
Coming to life
Still crusted
With attachments