The Camino ~ europes ancient pilgirmage
The Camino is a rare energy, one of the rarest in the western world. It is true that Christians have walked this route for 1,200 years, calling it the Way of St. James. However, this is simply the most recent expression of the far more ancient pilgrimage. Archeologists describe places along this route holding evidence of human habitation exceeding 80,000 years. And while today’s route is marked by yellow arrows and iconic scallop shells, history shows the way was marked, by sacred symbols and standing stones, as long as 6,000 BCE (a minimum of 8,000 years)! No doubt The Camino is one of our oldest existent pilgrimage routes. The earth here holds a spirit of place. Add to this, hundreds of millions of pilgrims over millennia have placed their sweat, prayer and resonance on this land. This mixture creates the Camino as a place that deeply supports human union, harmony and transformation.
Transformational Tours offers various pilgrimages along the Camino in Northern Spain, ranging from an almost 8 week walk with ample time for reflection, daily practice and regular retreats along the way, guided by Alexander Shaia, author, spiritual guide and Camino lover. Alexander also leads a Camino tour, travelling in comfort by bus to the most significant sites along the Camino and including a taste of what it is to walk this ancient pilgrim route. Cath Connelly, Australia’s most loved Celtic Harpist also leads a 26 day Camino walking pilgrimage just for women, with ample time for connection, ritual and hear Cath play the harp in the most majestic of surroundings.
Photographs by Alexander Shaia
Walking the Mystical Camino 2018Alexander will have a Skype conversation with each person interested in joining this pilgrimage
Introduction to the Mystical Camino, by Alexander Shaia
The Camino is an ancient route of transformation called by various names over eight millennia: The Milky Way, The Way of the Stars, of Isis, of Venus, Hermes, Mercury, of Druid priests, Celtic adepts, of the Black Madonna, and today’s most common, The Way of St James or El Camino de Santiago.
This latest incarnation of the route began in the 9th-century, when according to legend, a shower of falling stars led the Spanish hermit Pelayo to the forest around what is today Santiago, where he discovered the long forgotten tomb of the apostle St. James. Since then, Christians have added their footprints to those of our ancient forbears who first travelled this sacred route across what we call Spain.
We will walk with eight thousand years of lore and tradition, and along the way we too will seek to touch the inner miracles that have occurred on this trail. We will place a scallop shell on our pack, emblem of the pilgrim, and add our footprints to the millions who have travelled before us – including such legendary pilgrims as Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola and Francis of Assisi. We too will become part of the Camino’s ongoing history.
Follow the yellow arrows and scallop shell signposts that point the way through forests, farmland, medieval villages and hamlets, where cows meander down country lanes and locals wish you a “Buen Camino!” We are not tourists, but pilgrims on a journey of transformation.
Our transformational journey begins with a retreat in the sacred Hecho Valley, followed by our walking the the Camino Frances from the village of Zariquiegui, through the major cities of Burgos and Leon, and across the Galician mountains to Santiago de Compostela, then to the Sea at Muxia where we linger in retreat and reflection over our last days together. Yes, we are pilgrims on a journey of transformation.
The pilgrimage has been designed and crafted by Alexander Shaia, a lover of the Camino and international author and retreat and seminar teacher, supported by Karin Delgado who is a native Spanish speaker and has rich experience in counselling and interpersonal communication.
The pilgrimage is limited to 8 pilgrims plus Alexander and Karin.
In the main cities we stay at comfortable 3 and 4 star hotels. In smaller towns we stay in quaint family run accommodation, many of whom have been serving pilgrims on the Camino for generations. A luggage service is included to carry your main bag (maximum 20kg) between each lodging. All breakfasts are included and most dinners (47 out of 54). Lunch on walking days and lunch and dinner on free days are at the individual pilgrim’s expense. There are many beautiful cafes where pilgrims stop to eat.
We believe, along with our partner Nativa Travel in Spain, that we have created a unique and beautiful pilgrimage along the Camino in the true spiritual essence of pilgrimage. If you are interested in joining this pilgrimage we will arrange for you to have a Skype conversation with Alexander to discuss the journey.
10 September to 3 November 2018
Pilgrimage commences in Pamplona in the North East of Spain close to the border with France. We recommend arriving in Pamplona an additional 1-3 days before the pilgrimage commences to relax and get over jet lag, we can arrange accommodation at Hotel Levre in Pamplona, our accommodation for the first night of the pilgrimage. Pamplona has a small airport with daily flights from Madrid, trains are also possible from Madrid.
The pilgrimage conclude with a retreat at Muxia, on 3 November a coach will drop people Santiago Airport at 11am for a first flight out at Noon or later and then on into Santiago town for those who will be spending an extra night or two. There are several flights a day from Santiago to Madrid.
Madrid is the most accessible airport for international flights and has easy train connections to Pamplona. Barcelona is another option, but with a more lengthy train ride into Pamplona. We can assist you with train and travel bookings.
$USD4,000 deposit on booking
$USD8,500 paid by 10 June 2018
$USD4,000 deposit on booking
$USD7,750 paid by 14 February 2018
(all payments are non-refundable, we recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking)
w Rob Bell & Alexander Shaia
You Made it Weird:
w Pete Holmes & Alexander Shaia
Alexander’s interest in the Camino began in the 1980s and became a full blown love affair in 2012 when he first walked the Camino. Alexander’s doctorate is in clinical pyschology and he has studied deeply as a Jungian psychologist with forays into Tibetan Buddhism and Indigenous spirituality, giving him a unique insight into the Camino and an understanding of its pre Christian roots.
Alexander is the author of several books and the founder of www.quadratos.com for which he holds retreats and lectures around the world. Alexander now spends a significant part of the year in Northern Spain; guiding pilgrims, writing about the Camino and deepening his love affair with the pilgrims way.
Karin Delgadillo Poepsel
Karin is a social activist and a community leader. She worked internationally for over 30 years as a consultant to several organisations including UNICEF and the United Nations Program Develop, and as a Board Member of Institute of Connectivity of The Americas. Karin founded ChasquiNet Foundation, a non profit organization based in Ecuador dedicated to serving underprivileged communities around the world, providing educational opportunities and developing structures for social justice.
Walking the Camino with Alexander was a reflective, contemplative, and shape shifting inner journey. It opened for me another way of understanding and integrating myself spiritually by walking in beauty everyday; sometimes with others, sometimes alone. Each foot, one by one, step by step, became a meditation simultaneously connecting me with nature and the realization of oneness with everything around me.
All accommodations were ready for us and the kindness, generosity and welcoming from our hosts was heart opening.
As a group we came together as strangers and parted as friends; a community of well traveled pilgrims who each walked the same route yet took different paths. Alexander was able to traverse individual differences through the teachings of Quadratos and the group responded by becoming a container.
I am grateful to Alexander and all my pilgrim friends for an experience I will carry with me forever.
Karin, Country Victoria, Australia ~ Camino 2017
Quite simply – life changing.
After a few days once I had settled into a steady walking rhythm (aided by must-have walking poles). The absolute joy of walking through beautiful Autumnal countryside, the thrill of walking through ageless villages, the happiness of hearing ‘Buen Camino’ and realise it was directed at me. Ancient stone houses once crumbling being rebuilt and brought to life. Breathtaking architecture of the cathedrals.
After a while I started to feel like a pilgrim. The external joy started seeping deeper. I became more aware of the rhythms and moods of Nature. Watching a leaf soundlessly and gently falling, the end of its life observed by only me. Becoming aware of a passing breeze, a hidden fragrance. My senses became attuned – picking up distance sounds – a tractor in a far field, an Autumn bird’s song, a lone soaring circling eagle.
Walking the ancient paths I felt such a connection with all of mankind, with all the people who throughout the ages had trod/run this way – some in fear, some in holiness, some in hope, many in weariness. I wondered about them, their lives, their stories…
And then the cacophony of brass bands, hooting trumpets, Madonnas held aloft as locals in costume celebrate the long held traditions of their religious calendar.
Gracie, Sydney, Australia ~ Camino 2017
Many thanks to each of you each for the time and care you put into our pilgrimage; it was far beyond my expectations. The spiritual retreat days, and the arduous hiking schedule provided an ideal scenario for exploration of our inner selves. The special attention to our accommodations, the provision of healthy and well prepared food, and medical support throughout the trip allowed us to focus on more in depth, personal concerns. Alexander, the variation of religious and spiritual experiences transformed the physical walk of the pilgrimage into The Way of the Camino, facilitating meaningful and long lasting changes within each individual of the group.
This pilgrimage has proven to be a turning point for my life. Truly grateful.
Vicki, USA ~ Camino 2017