Each year on the CSJ. site one can find comments that wring the heart. Mostly these centre around the subject that has come to be known as 'Camino blues'. If you have never come across it before it is the reaction that many or is it most pilgrims have when they return to their normal life after anything up to three months on the Camino. They find that they have changed their whole outlook on life whilst away and now are shaken by the twin forces of a return to the same old rut and the knowledge that there is a better way to live. They know there is one because they have experienced it on Camino.
I have also heard from several places that folk are driven to tears because they feel lost. The blues really comes when it is realised that there is nothing they can do about it. Unfortunately for many this places the whole of the Camino into the realm of fantasy that was good while it lasted. But it is over, get over it.
I have been thinking about these things for sometime, perhaps it is years. For some the answer is to go on another pilgrimage as soon as possible. And keep going. That may be an answer, but I do not think that it is the right one. By all means go on as many pilgrimages as you wish or feel you need to join.You will gain much for your soul. But at the end you will still be standing at the same place
I have come to see that pilgrimage, a sacred journey, is only part of a much bigger journey or pilgrimage. The lessons gained on pilgrimage are meant to take us to the next level. It seems to me that most people come home expecting to make life different from now on However in the cold light of day they soon get lost. So what is needed is a structure that will support the individual in a collective that will enhance that person.
Many years ago St Francis came to see this same need . His answer was to start the third order. He gave a rule of life for those who would accept it. This rule was the distillation of his teaching. It also called into being a fellowship of brothers and sisters who were travelling along the same road. They could and do support each others as they know what the difficulties are.
I have been thinking about these things and it comes to me to ask the question 'Why should Santiago Pilgrims not develop a similar idea.' What about a Santiago rule, based on the pilgrimage lessons. If you want to know what those lessons are the read the thread I started on the CSJ discussion pages on the subject of lessons.http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/el-camino-frances/topic8653.html I really need some feed back on this one, What do you think?