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The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit (2000)

by Shirley MacLaine

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349658,211 (3.51)4
It has been nearly three decades since Shirley MacLaine commenced her brave and public commitment to chronicling her personal quest for spiritual understanding. In testament to the endurance and vitality of her message, each of her eight legendary bestsellers -- from Don't Fall Off the Mountain to My Lucky Stars -- continues today to attract, dazzle, and transform countless new readers. Now Shirley is back -- with her most breathtakingly powerful and unique book yet. This is the story of a journey. It is the eagerly anticipated and altogether startling culmination of Shirley MacLaine's extraordinary -- and ultimately rewarding -- road through life. The riveting odyssey began with a pair of anonymous handwritten letters imploring Shirley to make a difficult pilgrimage along the Santiago de Compostela Camino in Spain. Throughout history, countless illustrious pilgrims from all over Europe have taken up the trail. It is an ancient -- and allegedly enchanted -- pilgrimage. People from St. Francis of Assisi and Charlemagne to Ferdinand and Isabella to Dante and Chaucer have taken the journey, which comprises a nearly 500-mile trek across highways, mountains and valleys, cities and towns, and fields. Now it would be Shirley's turn. For Shirley, the Camino was both an intense spiritual and physical challenge. A woman in her sixth decade completing such a grueling trip on foot in thirty days at twenty miles per day was nothing short of remarkable. But even more astounding was the route she took spiritually: back thousands of years, through past lives to the very origin of the universe. Immensely gifted with intelligence, curiosity, warmth, and a profound openness to people and places outside her own experience, Shirley MacLaine is truly an American treasure. And once again, she brings her inimitable qualities of mind and heart to her writing. Balancing and negotiating the revelations inspired by the mysterious energy of the Camino, she endured her exhausting journey to Compostela until it gradually gave way to a far more universal voyage: that of the soul. Through a range of astonishing and liberating visions and revelations, Shirley saw into the meaning of the cosmos, including the secrets of the ancient civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, insights into human genesis, the essence of gender and sexuality, and the true path to higher love. With rich insight, humility, and her trademark grace, Shirley MacLaine gently leads us on a sacred adventure toward an inexpressibly transcendent climax. The Camino promises readers the journey of a thousand lifetimes.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
Loved it. I enjoyed Shirley's honesty about her journey. She always speaks from the heart. She didn't give a romantic version of the Camino and was happy to share the struggles. She came across as a woman who is at peace with who she is and doesn't give a toss about what other people think. A true heroine. ( )
  Cathy_Donnelly | Jan 29, 2018 |
Shirley Maclaine has been on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and Life. Her prints are cemented at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. She is an entertainer by trade. This book, although it ostensively claims to be a record of her Camino to Campostela, is really her version of 'creating her own reality' as the book's conclusion states. She encourages everyone to do the same. The book is an entertaining hodegpodge of literary influences. If Maclaine actually wrote the book herself, I would actually be impressed as there are so many things going on at once. Instead of Virgil leading Dante through the Inferno, we get John Scottus Eriugena leading Maclaine through eons past and explaining what happened to the lost city of Atlantis. Most of the book has to do with her evading 'the press' and autograph seekers. The tedious aspect of the book has to do with everytime she describes a deepening experience she will always link it to a past life reincarnation she must have had. Overall this seems to be an exercise in getting people to take seriously her New Age point of view but framed within the centuries old accepted tradition of pilgrimage to the tomb of St James. 'Religion' and 'Church' are never good things in the book. Jesus has wisdom that must be syncretized with other traditions. Although a priest does stamp her souvenir pilgrimage passport (credencial) in her rush to make a flight to Madrid, another priest offers walking sticks with an eye that a donation will follow. Ultimately this book encourages people to find meaning in life outside of established religions.
  sacredheart25 | Jul 16, 2011 |
The Santiago de Compostela Camino across northern Spain is a famous pilgrimage taken by people for centuries. On Wikipedia English it is listed as the Way of St. James--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_St._James--saying, “The route to Santiago de Compostela was a Roman trade route, nicknamed the Milky Way by travelers, as it followed the Milky Way to the Atlantic Ocean.” This book is the author’s personal chronicle of this spiritual trek.

The Way is marked by yellow arrows, which are not always easy to spot, resulting in her getting lost a few times. She walked mostly on foot, although it is possible to take a bus or bicycle or, for one person she met, a wheelchair. Along the way, she stayed in refugios, hostels for the pilgrims. She describes her problems with the press, which increased as she neared the end point; getting a carné (credencial on Wikipedia), a folded pamphlet or passport that is stamped in each village and proves the person has made the journey; people she met; water fountains in each town that hydrate the pilgrims; dogs and cows and dirt; and the final stamp in her carné. She also describes her spiritual happenings, referring to them as dream-visions.

This is a book you can’t give up on after the first 50 or 100 pages because the biggest part of the adventure happens in the second half. Around chapter 16 I had the strong urge to hear the song Can’t Find My Way Home by Steve Winwood. You follow along on a quest of body, mind, and spirit and it’s quite a journey. ( )
  indigo7 | May 19, 2011 |
This was one of the factors that set me on the path to do the Camino last year (2010). I really enjoyed her tale, although at times felt a little lost/overwhelmed by her experience. ( )
  tulstig | Jan 2, 2011 |
I love this book, I hope some day do this too. ( )
  lizvero | Apr 10, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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p. 54: They often honked their horns and cheered us on, yelling, “Ultreya,” from their windows. “What does that mean?” I asked Anna. “It means moving forward with courage,” she answered.
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It has been nearly three decades since Shirley MacLaine commenced her brave and public commitment to chronicling her personal quest for spiritual understanding. In testament to the endurance and vitality of her message, each of her eight legendary bestsellers -- from Don't Fall Off the Mountain to My Lucky Stars -- continues today to attract, dazzle, and transform countless new readers. Now Shirley is back -- with her most breathtakingly powerful and unique book yet. This is the story of a journey. It is the eagerly anticipated and altogether startling culmination of Shirley MacLaine's extraordinary -- and ultimately rewarding -- road through life. The riveting odyssey began with a pair of anonymous handwritten letters imploring Shirley to make a difficult pilgrimage along the Santiago de Compostela Camino in Spain. Throughout history, countless illustrious pilgrims from all over Europe have taken up the trail. It is an ancient -- and allegedly enchanted -- pilgrimage. People from St. Francis of Assisi and Charlemagne to Ferdinand and Isabella to Dante and Chaucer have taken the journey, which comprises a nearly 500-mile trek across highways, mountains and valleys, cities and towns, and fields. Now it would be Shirley's turn. For Shirley, the Camino was both an intense spiritual and physical challenge. A woman in her sixth decade completing such a grueling trip on foot in thirty days at twenty miles per day was nothing short of remarkable. But even more astounding was the route she took spiritually: back thousands of years, through past lives to the very origin of the universe. Immensely gifted with intelligence, curiosity, warmth, and a profound openness to people and places outside her own experience, Shirley MacLaine is truly an American treasure. And once again, she brings her inimitable qualities of mind and heart to her writing. Balancing and negotiating the revelations inspired by the mysterious energy of the Camino, she endured her exhausting journey to Compostela until it gradually gave way to a far more universal voyage: that of the soul. Through a range of astonishing and liberating visions and revelations, Shirley saw into the meaning of the cosmos, including the secrets of the ancient civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, insights into human genesis, the essence of gender and sexuality, and the true path to higher love. With rich insight, humility, and her trademark grace, Shirley MacLaine gently leads us on a sacred adventure toward an inexpressibly transcendent climax. The Camino promises readers the journey of a thousand lifetimes.

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