Camino Traditions & Spirit: Books, Journals & Movies.
The Inner Way: Spiritual Development for the Camino (Meditation & Guidance):
La Casa de Maria. (SB). Center for Spiritual Renewal owned and operated by The Immaculate Heart Community, a not-for-profit lay organization. Scenic, hacienda-type 'campus' with accomodations for extended retreats.
Books, Journals & Movies:
Walking The Camino: 6 Ways to Santiago (2013). Documentary movie. Lydia Smith, producer. The current 'gold standard' movie about Camino pilgrims along with Emilio Estevez's 'The Way' (2010).
The Way (2010). Movie. Producer, Emilio Estevez and staring Martin Sheen. Excellent depiction of pilgrim adventures and comradeship on the Camino de Santiago. 4 stars by most Santiago pilgrims.
The Alchemist (1988). Book. Paulo Coelho, Brazil. [Paradise Found Books, Anacapa St., SB]. Profoundly symbolic yet easy to read. Each re-read yields new meaning. A (thin) but staple backpack book among the international pilgrims on the Camino.
I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino (2006). Book. Hape Kerkeling, German media celeb. Hape's diary-into-book describes his Santiago pilgrimage and musings during his six-week Camino. A comedic (often hilarious) but highly inspiring read. Bestseller in Germany. Translated into a dozen languages.
The Way, My Way (2014). Book. Bill Bennett & Jennifer Cluff. Highly (!) recommended. Senior egotist (putting it mildly) meets his humor-filled match (himself) provided by (worn down by?) his St Jean to Santiago Camino, while saved by frequent phone calls back to a patient and encouraging wife.
Slackpacking the Camino Frances (2013). Sylvia Nilsen. A serious approach to the Camino despite the title, Slackpacking will assist the Pilgrim who by age or physical limitations (or preference) seeks to make the journey helped by pack transport, hotel bookings, etc. A useful book in any scenario. Kindle edition available.
The Way of a Pilgrim, and The Pilgrim Continues His Way (1954, Engl transl; 1884, Russian original prtg). Book. A poverty-vowed pilgrim narrates his solitary trek across Russia visiting holy sites and all the while endlessly repeating the Jesus Prayer, a 7 word mantra asking merciful forgiveness. The Jesus Prayer is perhaps the most practiced Christian prayer after 'The Lord's Prayer' and Hail Mary', and is recited io achieve ' inner stillness' (Hesychia, Gr. 500bc) - wordless sitting, imageless contemplation as an inner path to enlightenment.
One of the most circulated prayer manuals in the Western world, 'The Way of a Pilgrim' is also central to the plot of both stories in 'Franny and Zooey' (1955, '61, J.D. Salinger), where Franny Glass, a young college student, describes the it as a way "to see God," saying the 'Jesus Prayer' is similar to techniques in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Walk In a Relaxed Manner (2005). Book. Joyce Rupp. 'Doing the Santiago' at age 60. Both as a guide to preparing for and walking the Camino, and a guide to spiritual contemplation and growth on the Camino.
Planet Walker: 22 Years of Walking (2009). Book. John Francis, PhD.. (National Geographic Press). A 1971 gigantic oil spill in San Francisco Bay leads a man to walking 22 years, vowing and not speaking for 17 years and not riding on motorized vehicles while he makes his way across the United States and eventually down through South America and to Antartica. Along his 'Way', John earns degrees in land resources, helps write oil spill managment legislation and serves as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Environmental Programs.
Walking the Camino de Santigo (2013). Youtube video. Multi-media (slides, video) documentary of a couples' walk from St, Jean to Santiago, 38 min.
Mark's Camino de Santiago Documentary Film (2004, pub. 2013). Youtube video. A one-hour video of the trek with Mark from Ireland. Good phography and tips.
'Codex Calistinus' (1140 AD). Guide. The official guide book in Medieval times. The 5th book of the 'Codex' is still considered the definitive source for many modern guide books. Four pilgrimage routes listed in the Codex originate in France and converge at Puente la Reina. From there, a well-defined route crosses northern Spain, proceding to Burgos, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, León, Astorga, and finally Santiago.
-------------Keymark Books with Pilgrimage themes --------------
'The Way of the Pilgrim, and The Pilgrim Continues His Way' [See above section], (1954 English transl; 1884, Russia origl prtg; ). Book. Narration by a Russian pilgrim of his solitary trek across Russia while contuously reciting a prayer mantra - similar to techniques in Hinduism and Buddhism. (See above section.)
'The Path to Rome' (1902). Book. Hilaire Belloc. English. A pilgrimage classic by an esteemed Catholic writer and intellect. Colleague of George Bernard Shaw and GK Chesterton ('The Father Brown Mysteries'), Belloc examines personal faith while walking through France, over the Alps to Rome.
'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' (1816). Romance poem. (George) Lord Byron. English. The Knight
Candidate ('Childe'), Harold, laments his wasted years and goes on pilgrimage to evaluate his life choices and find the path to redemption and enlightenment. A core work of the English language.
'Canterbury Tales' (1390 ad). Geoffrey Chaucer. Middle English, verse. A collection of over 20 personal tales told by a group of pilgrims as they journey together to Canterbury. Humorous,
instructive and with a moral - the 'Wife of Bath' mentions 'Santiago'. Many of us were exposed to 'Canterbury Tales' in school, now read it for the flavor of comradeship and sharing as treasured by many Camino veterans. (The link gives Middle English and modern translations.)
'The Song of [the Knight] Roland' (778 ad). Heroic Poem. French (La Chanson de Roland). The heroic death of the Knight Roland, Charlemagne's champion, at the Battle of Roncevaux (Span., 'Roncesvalles'. The oldest surviving major work of French literature. Roncesvalles is either the Camino starting point for many Santiago pilgrims or the first stop after St Jean Pied de Port. Thankfully fill water bottles at the 'Fountain of Roland', the Col de Bentarte, on the French-Spanish Border.
Holy Bible. (CE). The New Testament Bible chronicles events in the life of Jesus of Nazareth and
his desciples during his journeys and spiritual wanderings in the area of Galilee in modern Israel (Gospel of Mark, 1:28) prior to the Crucifixion. Read the Bible again to grasp the flavor of 'Pilgrimage' and Jesus' teaching and leading the desciples in their quest for Salvation, Redemption and Truth. Experience the sacred journey through pain to enlightenment as preparation for your pilgrimage.
The Buddha (550 bc). India. Writings about sayings of Gautama Buddha (Siddartha, Shakyamuti, Enlightened One') during his travels with his desciples in India. Gautama Buddha's insights, and spiritual guide to walking 'The 8-Fold Path', are the basis of Buddhism.
'The Odyssey' (750 bc). Epic poem. Homer. Greece. A foundation of Western Culture that describes the hero's (Odysseus) human flaws and redemption during his wandering return home after the Trojan War (1200 bc). Enduring themes of companionship, the search for enlightenment and redemption (safety,hearth, retorno). A long read but availble in abbreviated format (and in pop-culture movies).
'The Epic of Gilgamesh' (1800 bc). Epic poem. Sumer (Mesopoatamia,modern Iraq). Gilgamesh, 2700 bc King of Uruk earns a hero's redemption and is 'reborn' after wandering adventures with a rough-hewn companion (precursor of Sancho Panza of 'Don Quixote').