Belorado, Hontanas, Sahagun

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Belorado:

Keynote: Faith
Holding faith in the emptiness before the dawning of the next chapter when you will find your authentic and supportive community.

This dusty town was the place I slept after a particularly long and hot day. Much of the walking was along a dishearteningly ugly highway. Since the Camino has been in existence for over a thousand years, it’s route across the country is usually the most direct way to get from place to place. The modern Spanish government has not been blind to this fact. Roads, like the busy N120, have been constructed alongside the trail in a many places.

After a day of noise from cars and a longing for a more peaceful track, Belorado was a safe harbor. I found this a challenging stretch mostly because my body was now in full revolt from my ever-quickening pace. I had this feeling deep in my bones that there were young people I was meant to meet up ahead, so I pushed myself to walk farther and farther each day. This had caused my achilles to bunch up like tightened rubber bands and brought on tendonitis with each step. The church in the town was covered in large nests. Beautiful long legged storks had fashioned these nests to sit atop the spires. Somehow I need to remain calm in the face of another day’s journey towards community. I ate pasta, slept, and awoke at 5 am to begin my walk in the dark. It was a Saturday. As I took off into the outskirts of town, young Spaniards were still in the streets, awake from clubbing the night before. To them I must have seemed an apparition that their addled senses could not understand. That day I walked 50km/30 miles. I hardly stopped to eat. The road just fell away before me. At midday, I saw the city that was my goal and I knew I would reach it. That night, I met two American guys, who were part of the group that I would travel with until the end of the trail. They later told me that I seemed positively rabid to talk to them. I was rabid, for the part of my journey without community was thankfully over.

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Hontanas:

Keynote: Tenderness
Finding the inner kindness to listen to your body with compassion.

Hontanas was the first place I spent the night in the very distinctive region called the Meseta. The trail runs through the Meseta for about a week and a half. The Meseta is known to be dry, hot, treeless, and very flat. The towns are very compact in this area and sit like islands in the midst of golden heat. Of all the geography that the pilgrim encounters on the trail, this one is the most talked about. People note its intensity. Most have a strong reaction to the empty vastness one way or another. For some, it clears the mind. For others, it is endless tracks of the same as far as the eye can see. Hontanas was a town in the middle of the Meseta. For miles all that could be seen of the tiny hamlet was a church spire that look as if it were a few feet off the ground. The land was like being at sea; grass waving and the clouds reaching right to the edge of the earth. As I got closer to the town, the houses and old streets came into view down in a little valley, tucked against the edges of the only hollow for miles. This sweet and mellow town seemed unperturbed by the constant change in weather that brought blazing sun one minute and then torrential rain the next.

When I stopped in Hontanas, it was clear that the pain in my legs, or my ankles to be more specific, had finally caught up with me. I arrived at midday and would have liked to press on, but my body said no. I had to trust this wisdom. In return I had a very precious talk with a woman in the albergue and met up with my new American friends again. Let me tell you, listening to my body was not an easy task, but just as Hontanas was cradled by the Earth, this point on the trail compelled me to cradle myself. The restorative work I did that night was essential for all that would come for me in the following days.

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Sahagun
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Keynote: Surrender
Breaking down the behaviors triggered by fear that cause us to push our physical and emotional selves beyond balance.

This Essence combination came from the Flowers collected around one of the more challenging moments on the trail in terms of my internal journey. I had met up the previous night with both the American boys and a much bigger group of three British guys, two British girls, two Germans, an Australian young woman, and a man from the Netherlands who had started the trail at his front door. It was suddenly a different trip, filled with laughter and companionship.

But I was still a bit edgy about slowing down from my spartan pace, so the next morning I walked beyond where the group had arranged to meet for the night. I don’t exactly know what possessed me to do so, but it meant that I walked in the blazing afternoon heat, ran out of water, burned my legs so badly that they bled, and generally felt physically scared for the first time. When I arrived in Sahagun, the albergue was empty. I felt bereft of my new community. I knew that I had pushed too hard and I needed to look at the personality pattern that drove me to that. The next day, I slowed my pace dramatically and walked only a few kilometers so as to meet up with the group again. As I sat in the grass and waited for the group to catch me, I realized that I was ready to look at the pattern and let it go with kindness. I think this Essence will be helpful for any that find themselves in a similar place.

Mazarife, Rabanal, Manjarin

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Mazarife:

Keynote: Joy
Keynote: Realizing the potential to create oases of color and joy in the bleak stretches of our lives.

This was one of the most lovely and eclectic places that I stayed the whole trip. The albergue was in the middle of the Meseta, but painted every bright color you could imagine. The people who ran it loved pilgrims. The front yard even had a pirate ship in it. As our group had talked about pirates frequently in our days on the trail, when we saw that ship, we knew that we had arrived in a truly magical place. We slept outside on mattresses tucked up alongside each other, and giggled as the sun went down. The town was in a minor draught and the water supply was turned off every day at midday. Somehow, this lack of necessities did not diminish our lovely evening one bit. I felt truly grateful for the gifts that Mazarife gave all of us.

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Rabanal:
Keynote: Empathy
Helps us to practice the art of containing other people’s stories with compassion and clarity.

The day that we walked through Rabanal was one of earthen tracks and deep conversations. One of the gifts of the trail is that you never know with whom you will walk and how that conversation will change your relationship or even your sense of yourself. On this day, I walked with my friend from the Netherlands who had already been walking for over three months when he joined our group. We talked of his life and he told me of his experiences with the death of his father when he was a young boy. After that morning, he and I had many nice moments of pure silliness. One was eating the best chocolate pie I have ever tasted during our afternoon in Santiago. Much of this was due to the fact that we had gone deep that morning. The trail had helped me to see and hear him as we walked and talked. In my experience of life, the gifts of a listener who can contain your story and stay connected to you after the telling is done, are the most precious gifts we can give each other. This essence is there to support us in this.

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Manjarin:
Keynote: Discernment
Finding the ability to look below the surface of a situation and feel into its energetic core. To break down the external worldview and be energetically discerning about what are true gifts and what are red herrings.

This was another magical night on the trail. As a group we decided that we wanted to experience an albergue that was a bit off the normal route that most pilgrims take. We aimed our day’s walking to arrive at a small albergue in an abandoned village high in the mountains, one that had been deserted for over fifty years. Some were a bit nervous about the reports of no running water, no bathrooms, and very rustic sleeping accommodations, but the consensus was that it was too much of an adventure to pass up.

When we arrived at the ramshackle buildings, they were colorful and cluttered. Kittens ran around our ankles. It was a place of life among the ruins of the village. We slept in a converted barn. Our generous hosts served us one of the most delicious meals of the trip. We bathed in the well down the road, and sat around the outdoor table until the sun went down. Our hosts were Knights Templar, members of an ancient fraternity who have supported and protected pilgrims since the Middle Ages. In ancient times, they looked after the pilgrim’s money so that it was not stolen while they walked the trail unarmed and defenseless. Here in the small deserted town, hundreds of years later, this small band of men, some elderly like the head of the albergue, who sat at the top of the table and told us of the history of this town, and others, like his son who was busy cooking our supper, gave us all gifts that we had to look below the surface to truly see.

Trabadelo, O’Cebreiro, Galicia

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Trabadelo:

Keynote: Truth
Finding the courage to acknowledge and let our old patterns go, even as we are unsure of what our lives will look like without them.

Trabadelo was a small cluster of buildings along a winding river right at the base of the last mountain range that we would traverse before the end of the trail. A few nights before, we met a man in his late twenties from Tasmania who had walked around the world on his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. He had started nearly two years ago and had walked up through South and Central America into the States and Canada. He then flew to Russia and walked all the way across Asia and Europe to Spain. He planned to end at Fisterra where my friends and I planned to finish. Having now walked several hundred miles ourselves, we were in awe of his seventeen thousand mile journey. He was an interesting character, reminding me of a charismatic person I had known in my life before the Camino. I was drawn to getting to know him even as he gave me very mixed signals. This pilgrim gave me a great gift. He revealed to me a relationship pattern that had left me lonely. He helped me to see how I could choose more accessible people to be part of my life. As a familiar relationship paradigm played out at lightning speed, I realized I was not bound to continue a pattern that had not worked for me in the past. When this pilgrim woke me at 4 am to tell me he was walking ahead of our group and would not be stopping where our group was stopping, I said goodbye. Though it was tough, I allowed myself the chance for the first time to not follow this pattern. It took days to find peace with my choice, but the land and Flowers along this stretch gave me the courage to listen to my newly minted wisdom.

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O’Cebreiro:
Keynote: Strength
Accessing the strength to keep moving forward and leave behind the people and places in your life that you have loved yet know are not part of your onward growth as a soul.

On the top slopes of the entrance into the region of Galicia lies O’Cebreiro, a small town tucked in the clouds. It was a place that I stopped at for only a brief moment before moving on down into the valley beyond. The group I was traveling with had swelled to twelve, but suddenly the group was breaking into pieces. This was a complex moment, when I had to make a choice about whom I would travel with during the rest of the trail. I decided to move on with the two American guys and the three British boys. They were walking about 10k further than where the rest of the group was spending the night. As I walked down the backside of the village with this new smaller group, I was overcome with sadness about leaving the others behind and began to cry. One of my friends waited with me in the shade of a tree as I let the tears pass. I came to understand that this sadness was really about all the moments in my life when I had to leave behind people that I loved but knew I needed to part with. The sorrow was for all the loss, even in the face of the truth that it was the wisest and strongest decision for my soul. This essence of Galician Flowers is there to support us in all these moments of letting go, as well as to help us heal all the old scars of such moments we may not even know we still carry with us.

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Galicia:

Keynote: Grace
Moving with kindness and grace on your spiritual journey, even as you travel alongside groups of souls who are not, or have not been, on such intensive internal courses.

When our group entered the last stages of the trail, many elements of our day-to-day life were now second nature to us and we were thrilled to be so close to the end of our pilgrimage. One of the elements that we were not prepared for was the massive increase of people on the trail. One trail fact is that at the end of your pilgrimage most pilgrims go to the cathedral in Santiago to receive a compostela. This document establishes that you have walked the trail. It has religious significance for many. In order to get this certificate, you must walk at least the last 100km/60 miles of the trail. Hence many people only walk the last 100km.

Around the 100km marker in the region of Galicia the trail became clogged with teens in shiny gold sneakers, side shoulder slung backpacks and cans of soda as trail drinks. This was a jarring shock to all of us who had traveled from France and beyond. Before this point, when you can across people on the trail, they were like fellow warriors. There was a bond that might have been simply a nod of acknowledgement, or a lengthy talk, but always one of comraderie. Now we pushed through crowds of chatty teens who barely noticed our passing, or groups of couples that walked only with water as their bags had been bused ahead to their next destination. This was a new element and it took much patience and centering to stay connected to the arc of our journey.

Arzua, Lavacolla, Santiago, Fisterra

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Arzua:

Keynote: Vulnerability
Allowing yourself to be taken care of and supported in moments of vulnerability.

The group of five that I was traveling with was nearing the end of the trail. Suddenly the stresses of the outside world were all starting to reappear and weigh on us. I was in a particularly anxious place and one of my friends spent the afternoon sitting on our bunks in the aubergue talking to me and generally supporting me through the crisis of all that had happened the days before, and all of the unknowns that awaited me when I returned home. It is very hard for me to practice this skill of allowing people to be there for me in my messiest emotional states, but on the trail I was reminded that vulnerability is a great bonding force and brings us closer to the ones we love.

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Lavacolla:
Keynote: Cleansing
Helping your body clear its emotional field of any clutter that remains from past and finished energetic work.

Spiritual work is hard to do. Sometimes you have to get dirty emotionally and in my case, physically, to get it done.

The river Lavacolla outside of Santiago was traditionally the place that medieval pilgrims washed themselves before they walked into Santiago. For this reason the Flowers collected around this spot are about cleansing. My group did this by playing along the riverbank. A few of the brave boys even tried their hand at modern dance in the riverside meadow. It was such an apt way to cleanse before the walk to the end.

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Santiago:

Keynote: Integrity
For the moments when you experience false endings, created by our culture or society when the internal journey is still ongoing.

This essence was a particularly clear one for me, as the arrival into the famed city of Santiago was clearly not the end of my journey. I had always known that I would still have 100km left of walking until the end of the land and the beginning of the sea at Fisterra. The energy of the city and in particular the pilgrim office at the cathedral was one of conclusion. Groups were jubilant with the sense of accomplishment, but I was still itching to dive into the last few days of walking. It was a challenge to keep the momentum of my own journey alive as many people around me had settled into their endings.

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Fisterra:
Keynote: Birth
Help to support all the energetic and physical systems of the body through a transition where the soul is at the end of a long process of laying down a major paradigm of this or many lifetimes.
This is the final essence in the collection. It was made from Flowers collected on the last day, leading up to the arrival at the final 0km marker, the lighthouse, and the sea itself. This Essence is really more than just about the physical end of the trail. It is about how we take care of ourselves after a major shift in our lives has occurred. It’s about how we integrate the information we have gathered and find the next path forward. This Essence is about how you go forward when your life has changed completely from the inside out, how you reintegrate this new way of being, this new lightness into the old structures of your life that still remain. Its about how you find the courage and discernment to take these changes from your internal world and make external world shifts. The process of walking the trail was one of closing a large chapter in my life. It was a letting go of major thoughtforms and patterns which did not serve me. It was a deep shift at the root of myself. I needed help to not totally spin out of my body with this shift. This Essence is there to ground and support the soul and the body as it becomes a newly evolved version of itself and finds the next trail that is even more authentic than the last.

The Devas on the Energetics of Land Use

It was Easter 1964. I stood on a dusty hilltop with a crowd of more than fifty thousand. I had two long blonde braids and the toothy smile of a seven year old. In the press of people, I could see nothing of what was going on. My only focus was holding my father’s hand, terrified that if I got separated from him, I would never find him or anyone else I knew, ever again. This was because this hilltop was outside Mexico City at a place called Huixachtlan and the enormous crowd pressing in around us was watching a reenactment of the crucifixion.

For many reasons I remember this event vividly. As I strained to get even a glimpse of the man playing Jesus for the reenactment, my father told me that this place was the exact same spot where the Aztec’s most important religious ceremony occurred. Every fifty two years, all fires in the Aztec realm were extinguished and a new fire, representing the beginning of a new Aztec calendar cycle, was lit in the chest cavity of a sacrificial victim, right on this volcanic mound rising above the valley of Mexico City and the former Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.

No sooner had Cortez arrived with his lethal germs than the new religious order of Catholic priests began to use the site of the Aztec New Fire ceremony and many others Aztec sites for their own religious practices. Why? Not just because building on top of the old structure made the new religion seem more familiar to the conquered people, but because the site of religious ceremonies are usually high vibration spots on the Earth’s surface. Consciously or unconsciously, people recognize high vibration land when they experience it and either honor the land without agenda or try and use the land for their own purposes. Recognizing the energetics of Huixachtlan as well as its religious significance to the Aztec people, the priests knew this was a spot they needed to dominate, if they wished to successfully export their own worldview.

Elizabeth Sheehan is about to post descriptions of the Flower Essences she made on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, an ancient pilgrimage route along a specific line of specific earth energies running across northern Spain. Before she posts her definitions, I thought it would be interesting to ask the Devas about the energetics of land use and why a sort of metamorphosis of religious activity from one culture to another on a piece of land is so common.

To go over what many of you may already know, Devas are from the Angelic kingdom. They are an aspect of divinity that work as architects or designers of everything in creation. For every specific place on Earth, a specific Deva formulates and holds the divine plan for that specific place. This divine plan is a refined vibration, free of the detritus of human personality and reflecting the highest potential of the piece of land. Every piece of land on Earth has a Deva that knows what would be the highest possible use for this piece of land. These purposes do not hold the dogma of specific human institutions but represent more eternal verities such as faith, hope, or truth.

The fact that a Deva designs and continues to support the manifestation of the highest good for a piece of land does not mean that human personalities won’t impact the land and take it in directions off its course. The higher the vibrational purpose of the piece of land, the more likely the land is to be both recognized for its strengths as well as abused because of these strengths.

Throughout whatever depredations a piece of land suffers, the Deva of that land will continue to hold the divine plan for the land and the Elementals or Nature Spirits assigned to the land will continue to work to manifest the divine plan as held by the Devas. The humans on the land will either help or hinder this process.

Frequently the human powers that be, whether secular or religious, will expropriate a piece of land that holds a very high vibration and try to use the energetics of the land to serve their own more narrow purposes. This effort to use a high vibration piece of land for a less refined human purpose may appear to work for a span of time, sometimes even for a few centuries, but anything outside the divine plan will not prevail in the very long run. This is because only something vibrating at the same rate as the divine vibration of the land can prevail long term.

The Devas tell me that when a piece of land is worked by humans in harmony with its divine purpose, it is a very precious thing, representing a cooperative moment between Human, Angelic and Elemental beings and one that creates a specific musical note of great depth, beauty, and significance. When asked to give an example of a place where human use and Devic intention is in alignment, the Devas mentioned Yosemite. When asked for a place that is having difficulty aligning Devic purpose with human use, the Devas mentioned Jerusalem.

The Devas note that each piece of land on this planet has its own unique and beautiful musical note to express. They explain that the energetics of Earth are much like the energetics of the human body. All things are connected by an energetic network like our central nervous system and the more subtle system of the chakras. Furthermore, just as some places on the human body, such as the heart, have more energetic importance than other places, the Earth too has places, such as Huixachtlan, that hold more energetic significance and can therefore express more powerful music.

This connective network of vibrational high spots on Earth is sometimes referred to as ley lines. Throughout recorded history, humans have recognized both powerful ley lines and the spots where ley lines cross, often building their most significant structures along these ley lines or at the spots where the ley lines cross.

When one human community has failed in its attempt to use the energies of the land for its own purpose, others usually sweep in. In fact, the history of high vibration land is frequently a complicated one, with one group after another fighting to seize control of the land for its own purposes. The story of Spanish priests using the most significant Aztec site for their own most significant commemorative experience is just one example.

When I was twenty, I worked with a crew of archeologists, excavating the remains of a Viking settlement in York, England.. One day after work, we were taken down into the bowels of immense gothic cathedral in York known as the York Minster. There, scattered on the basement floor, were the columns of the Roman military fortress of Eboracum, built by the ninth legion in 71 AD. Other basement artifacts included stone remains from three previous churches all built on the same site as the present Minster. Each remain marked a different moment of transformation as the city metamorphosized from the roman town of Eboracum to anglo saxon Eoforwic to viking Jorvik to the present day city of York.

As a pilgrim on the more than thousand year old Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Elizabeth experienced the remnants and ongoing efforts of humanity to co-op the energetics of the trail. Like every pilgrim who has walked the trail, she also experienced the enduring grace of its healing energies as held by the Devas, made manifest by the Elementals and pilgrims and as cradled by very earth of every step on the way.

The descriptions of the 19 Flower Essences Elizabeth made along the Camino are ready. We will post them with photos in a series of blogs, because we can’t seem to get the blog to load as one unit. When I met these Essences I burst into tears of joy. Here I was, grounded by my broken arm, experiencing an armchair pilgrimage of a the most stationery kind. I had no expectation that this summer of minimal gardening would yield very much in the way of Flower Essences. Yet, this most amazing gift of Flower Essences arrived! What a reminder of the bold generosity of Nature!

Everything about this collection reflects the generosity of Nature. The Flowers of the Camino did not have the personality idea that only a pilgrim walking the route could receive the grace of their vibrational gifts. They were happy to come back with Elizabeth to share with ALL of us their profound and joyful vibrational wisdom useful for all our journeys!

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!