Rocamadour: Ritual Wanderlust

For more than a thousand years, pilgrims have stopped in this gorge on their way through France to the Santiago Di Compostela. There’s a shrine to a Madonna here.

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When we’ve come this far, we may as well keep going along the only street.

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Buildings cling to the canyon walls, while a castle crowns the crest.

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How do we get up there? Where are we?

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Climb more stairs at the castle, past the clock tower which begins to toll the hour. Shakily, step out onto the ramparts to get a better view: a sense of where we are in the world.

DSCF0593Looking down, there’s the Sanctuary with its basilica and chapels. Put one foot in front of the other. Go in and light a candle. Sit. Go back in time. Read the words on a mural ” Aimer, Evangeliser, Servir.” (To love, to proclaim, to serve.) Sit still in the space.

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Later, we followed the sheltered path, down past the 14 Stations of the Cross, where millions have walked before.  We talked of history and how fortunate we are to live now.

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I’ve taken a while putting this post together. ‘Wanderlust’ doesn’t seem the right word to me. I’m more of a WanderLuck person.  Now, especially with my camera, I notice good fortune more that ever.

When I was travelling in 88, setting out as a storyteller for the first time, I was given a copy of an Armenian story by New York storyteller Diane Wolkstein. She wanted me  to write it out again in my own way. It felt like a test. I did a fearfully poor job of it then. Years later I realised what a significant tale it is.

….

Here’s a shortened version of what I read then in Virginia Tashjian’s collection “One There Was And Was Not.” Like most stories, it’s so much better told, face to face –

One there was and was not, a man who walked off in a temper one morning to find God. He was a poor farmer who’d struggled all his life. He wanted to tell God, once and for all how unfair his life had been.

On the way he met a ravenous, skinny wolf who wanted him to ask God why he was always so hungry, then a beautiful, rich woman, who was so lonely and next, a huge tree by a riverbank withered and thirsty. Each listened to his complaints, without judgement, and requested that he ask a similar question of God on their behalf. The man agreed and went on his way.

He met God sitting on a rock in the middle of nowhere. The man asked for answers for those three he’d met on the way. When God heard his complaint, he agreed with the fellow and gave him the gift of luck.

On the journey back, the man reiterated the solution to each character as he had been told … but was in too much of a hurry to dig up the treasure choking the tree roots and rejected the rich woman’s proposal. He had to get back home for he had been given the gift of luck.

And the wolf’s god-given solution ? ” Soon he would meet a very foolish man and once he had devoured him, only then would his hunger be truly satisfied!”

(I’ll leave you to imagine the ending.)

Thanks for your time.

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Wanderlust

References

Rocamadour

Shrine

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Taking The Road

This week’s photo challenge is to show something that surprised or delighted me on the road taken.

(I do need to acknowledge the patience of friends & family when we’re driving along, & I suddenly call out from the backseat, “Stop! I need to take a photo.”)

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In some traditional tales, taking to the road to seek their fortune was often the only way folk could solve their troubles.

In Norroway, long ago, there lived a widow and three daughters who were so poor that they barely had enough to keep body and soul together. One morning the eldest came to her mother and said, “Bake me a bannock and roast me a collop for I’m going to seek my fortune.”

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Diving Into Life

There are certain times in my life when I’ve had to dive right in … can’t hold back  …  and with no idea of what will eventuate.

That feeling of trepidation reminds me of the Grimm’s tale, Mother Holle, a significant story told to children as part of their Steiner (Waldorf) education.

A woman had two daughters, a beautiful step-daughter who was helpful and hard working, while her own daughter was ugly and lazy.

I imagined I was the good step-daughter diving in to retrieve the spindle I had dropped down the well. Here I go head first.

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The good daughter wakes up in a beautiful meadow. And it is here in the story,  that a strong part of me, says “Enough! This isn’t my story. I’m nobody’s household drudge” Just like the ugly daughter! (See Grimm for the remainder of their tale). In truth, at this point of my life, I am feeling lazy; part of me has always loved to be lazy!

I want to stay in the simple pleasures of the meadow. I need to daydream.

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I have loved meadows and wild fields,  since I was a small child. Wading through swishing, long grass pied with flowers, to the sound of bird song, was like being in a dream .

IMG_2476 Spring was my favourite season: buttercups and apple blossom.

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I’ve wandered through clover and dandelions in different countries accompanied by an Exaltation of Skylarks.

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I have sighed over fields in each season of the year.

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I have delighted in wandering again along familiar paths made by other feet.

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I remember being thrilled to get really close to the ground.

IMG_2536Being close to Nature, makes me feel I’m home. I think part of me will always be a Happy Wanderer, no matter where I am.

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Where is it that you feel most at home?

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Sources

GRIMMS’ tales for young and old. Translated by Ralph Manheim. New York, Doubleday, 1977.

All photos, art and text by Meg

 Story Twigs …! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.