In his introduction the author begins with: It may well come to pass at a certain point in the course of a life that a person hears of stars dancing in a field at night…I am about to share here a story about stars at dance…
And he immediately had me hooked because I’ve learned over a lifetime to answer a call, never regretting it. I’ve seen stars shining from a high altitude lagoon at the base of Apu Ausangate, a sacred mountain in the Cusco Region of Peru, when none were overhead. I’ve felt waters enter me as I made an offering at one of St. Brigid’s Holy Wells in Ireland. I’ve experienced a transmission through the gaze of Santa Marta after the religious festival of San Sebastián in the highland Maya village of San Juan Chamula. So I believe in such things.
Kevin Codd is a priest. Don’t let that deter you if you’re not Catholic. I’m not. Or let the trappings surrounding the Camino de Santiago stop you, whether it’s a passing interest or a real pull to go. As Codd describes in this book, the 500-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is so much more than its religious history. It’s where you discover yourself and what else you’re connected to and how. With centuries of tradition, so many feet covering the same path, the Way to a place, which translates to mean field of stars, is an undertaking to do so.
Codd tells us why through his own experience at age fifty on his first Camino. He is quite generous in his descriptions. As much as I read the book as a spiritual guide, it also serves as a practical one. He walked the Camino Francés.* I’m walking the Camino Francés in May. I appreciate his descriptions of the villages, refugios and more hidden places to visit I might otherwise miss.** He warns about being competitive and the blisters it can get you. But he also tells you how to take care of the blisters and how to prepare in ways he didn’t. Codd openly wrote about his own emotional and mental struggles in the course of the journey. His honesty was compelling because I know I’ll have my own.
I’ve read or perused other books on the Camino as I prepare for my own journey. This one remains my favorite. Available on Amazon and elsewhere in print or e-book.
*There are many Camino routes that take you to Santiago de Compostela. The Camino Francés begins in the French village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the Pyrenees and crosses into northern Spain.
**Refugios are specially run dorms for pilgrims walking the Camino.