Road to Santiago

Somewhere along the Road to Santiago
Somewhere along the Road to Santiago

A rugged rock path

winds through spellbinding beauty

Spirits lift at dawn

©2017 Ontheland

Hiking across Spain towards Santiago de Compostela on the ocean must be an uplifting experience.  Chèvrefeuille provided us with this wonderful photo as part of the Carpe Diem Road to Santiago series based on The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho.

Leaving all behind


The Carpe Diem Haiku Kai journey with Paul Coelho’s The Pilgrimage continues, providing a deeper understanding of how leaving all behind and going on a pilgrimage or trip can be a path of growth. Carpe Diem host, Chèvrefeuille, harvested this nugget from Paul Coelho’s book:

‘When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb.  You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them.  You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life.

‘At the same time, since all things are new, you see only the beauty in them, and you feel happy to be alive….

Leaving all behind,

an enactment of rebirth,

each moment is new.

©2017 Ontheland

And what lasting benefit does such an experience offer?  I like Chèvrefeuille’s explanation:

Every day is a new day, what is in the past doesn’t exist anymore in the present, don’t look forward … be there right in the moment. Isn’t that what we try to accomplish with our haiku or tanka? …. Be part of the present, be in the moment, be one with the moment … be the moment.

A surge of delight,

peering out of bus windows

I see my hometown.

Cleared my slate,

polished my vision,

all is new.

©2017 Ontheland

Reaching for the sun

Kneeling head to knees,

tiny seed cradled by earth

rising, arms outstretched.

Fingers wide reach high,

muscles strain, spirit-lifting

postural being.

©2017 Ontheland

This haiku sequence is my response to the Seed Exercise described in Paul Coelho’s The Pilgrimage.  It’s a body/mind/spirit exercise that starts you off close to the ground on your knees (child pose in Yoga) and has you slowly rise as an unfurling seedling, ending up standing and reaching for the sky with open arms.  The full description is quoted at Carpe Diem #1120 Seed.  

The joyful image is in the public domain and made available by Pixabay.

Shell—Pilgrimage (4)

A fan of pathways

 joining at a sacred place

where ocean shells sing.

©2017 Ontheland

The scallop shell symbol of St James Way is laden with myth and meaning. Shells are worn and offered.  Stylized shell symbols appear on maps and trail markers:

Carpe Diem January 2017 scallop trail marker.jpg

Map showing routes to Santiago de Compostela —by Mr Manfred Zentgraf, Volkach
,Germany • CC-BY-SA-3.0 .  The heavy red line shows a popular journey from the border of France, west to the northwest tip of Spain. 


The Milky Way—Pilgrimage (3)

Scattered stars

light a rocky climb

at days end.

©2017 Ontheland

I am reading The Pilgrimage by Paul Coelho and following a Carpe Diem Haiku Kai poetry prompt series on the theme. My haiku can be understood both as related to the book and/or as independent.

The Pilgrimage is about a spiritual journey to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (‘field of stars’) situated by the ocean in northwestern Spain, where Saint James the Apostle, of the Christian tradition, is said to have been buried.  The pilgrimage has been called many names, such as St. James Path, St James Way and Route of Santiago de Compostela. In Spanish, the Milky Way galaxy is known as El Camino de Santiago—the dust from pilgrims’ boots was said to have risen up and formed a path of stars.  Read more about this ancient pilgrimage at Carpe Diem #1115 Buñuel’s The Milky Way; The Road To Santiago.


Blowing rain

smothers blazing fire,

Hot coals glow

promise of fresh flame

to light a new path.

©2017 Ontheland

This month’s theme at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai is The Pilgrimage by Paul Coelho.  I’ll be reading the book and Chèvrefeuille’s inspiring posts, and writing haiku and tanka along the way.  This first tanka is in response to Carpe Diem #1113: the Pilgrimage starts—the prologue.