Days 8-9 on the Via Francigena – from Ponte d’Arbia to Radicofani
Walking through the valley D’Orca creates a sense of how much the Tuscan landscape here has been shaped over the centuries for the aesthetic eye that inspired writers and painters over the centuries.
Castles and fortress towers have been positioned on hilltops with the Via Francigena taking the pilgrim on a path over gently rolling hills, past vineyards, and bridges over meandering streams.
Pheasants fly over harvested fields as if surfing on invisible ocean waves. A bird sings. There is a brief pause and then another bird replies on the far end of the valley. In the typical Mediterranean cypress trees bird choirs entertain.
Walking in peace and solitude
The walk from Siena has been one of particular solitude. Famed towns such as Buenconvento, San Quirico and Bagno Vignoni with its famous thermal pool are virtually devoid of tourists as a result of Covid-19 travel restrictions. Since leaving Siena we have met just one fellow pilgrim, a German woman outside San Quirico, who started her walk from Tuebingen.
From San Quirico the first major attraction is the village of Vignoni Alto that appears almost frozen in time. Like in so many places along the route the chapels are open, offering a quiet space for solitude and meditation for the pilgrim. On the Camino de Santiago in Spain the pilgrim will find many such chapels closed. The reason is that these places often contain precious work of art with criminal gangs having specialized in stealing them.
Near the altar of the chapel in Vignoni Alto I find a dedication to St. Biagio the throat protector. A first reference to the saint is found in writings dated AD 500. He is not only venerated as the saint protecting ailments of the throat but cured many physical and mental ails. He is also said to have healed and been assisted by many animals.
What are you inhaling and exhaling?
During these times healing and protection of the throat and breathing systems is particularly important. The Chinese philosophy of the Five Elements tells us that the Metal Element (lung and large intestine) is largely related to an imbalance on the inhaling and exhaling, the setting of healthy mental and physical boundaries. It is telling for our times that the professional deceivers and crackpot conspiracy theorists are bombarding the public sphere with darkness.
Even here on the Via Francigena comes the reach of toxic energy from American politics. At a nearby table in a café a guest watches a replay of the debate on his tablet with a very concerned frown on his face. I was unable to listen to the rants for more than a few minutes. What we inhale and digest physically, and emotionally affects our well-being on so many levels. We cannot avoid the events in the external world but the real test is in realigning with the positive energies of healing, unity, peace, reconciliation between the races, and healing of our natural ecosystems.
There is light and darkness, goodness and evil, compassion, kindness and Narcissistic self-aggrandizement. Walking along a roadside there was a stream of cooling, calm, clear river waters on the left and a noisy road to the right. What do you focus on mentally? After my first frustration, I no longer hear the traffic, just the gentle, rushing waters of the river.
Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker
One more thing…
You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store. Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.
“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada
“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France
“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany