Today was a day of surprises and happiness. We saw my Camino French Mummy (after we didn’t think we’d see her again), with another beloved Camino family member. This Flemish man has lived in Spain for a number of years and walked part of the Camino most years. He called himself the Turtle. As although he walked slowly, he always got there in the end. Personally, I’d always thought he speed in front of me and the Magician with our long French lunches.
We finally started to see views of the Pyrenes, as we walked the 12k in the blistering 28 degree heat again. The view started the count down for us till we reached St Jean and the famous walk over these mountains. This could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing!
Before we got to Navarreux we were recommended to go to a piece of forest land that a couple had set up with a Camino garden. We spent over an hour there, reading all the little notes of wisdom. Breathing in the calm beautiful atmosphere.
Getting in early to Navarreux allowed us to explore their area and to chill in the sunshine with a beer, before we went to the Donativo called the Alchemist. In Navarreux the Church of St- Germain was finished in 1562, but converted to Protestant temple under orders of Jeanne d’Albret. Before it was later re- converted back to a Catholic church.
When we arrived at the Alchemist Donativo, both the Magician and I felt immediately at home. The person who runs the Donativo (know as the Alchemist) is known for being a bit of an outcast in the town itself. This in in itself is rather ironic to me, as Navarrenx has always had a reputation for having a significant Cagot (outcast) population.
During the vegetarian meal the Alchemist served, he gave us his speech for how and why he runs a Donativo. He does it because the people who come into his home, he wants to make sure that they’re fit enough to be able to walk again tomorrow. This hit me as a pure act of service, that he genuinely took pleasure from helping Camino walkers. Later in the evening the Magician did what he did best and chatted away to people. This was also the first time in a while he’d offered magnetise anyone. A woman was having a sore spot in her ankle, and he worked to re- balance the energy there. As always, the lady said the pain felt a lot better. But this was one of the first times I could see other people sceptically watching the Magician. I remember the first time that the Magician had magnetised me and the effect it had on taking away the pain I’d had in my knee. I’d been very sceptical, but having been walking in France for so long know I also started to see that different cultures and people can be very sheltered into understanding more about spirituality. The French culture on a whole seemed a lot more open to spirituality, than the English. This made me challenge the British cultural understanding and ability to really leverage knowledge from other cultures. One key example for me in this is that Eastern cultures typically have low rates of depression compared to Western cultures. And yet we still don’t learn or leverage these practices.
After dinner we explored the Alchemist’s home. There were giant singing bowls that we placed on our heads, and the Alchemist showed us, if you hit them, this would help to ground you. I mainly felt a lot of tingles running up and down my legs, plus the giant ringing noise in my ears!