I often make long solitary walks along the country roads. I do this both for the body and for the spirit: it is in fact a form of physical and spiritual exercise at the same time.
When I do these walks alone, I can find within myself my most authentic and intimate "pagan" spirit and inclination (as the profane say). In practice I abandone all the theories, the more or less subtle theological disquisitions, rules of ritual practices, complex Gods/Goddesses meanings and all the baggage of knowledge I have put together during all these years of study. In short walking in the country I find again the most genuine and truest sense of "paganism."
I must say that this experience of totally empirical "traditional spirituality" (in my case the Via Romana) is not however an easy task. Walk along a country road is not enough to achieve this.
When our minds are agitated, trapped in the illusion of the "world of things", of the frenzy to chase useless things, you can not feel anything when standing in the nature, looking a landscape, a forest. It is as our sadness would involve the Nature around us. We are just walking just as if we were in a gym on a treadmill
But if we can calm the mind, slowing down the thoughts, reordering the priority scale of our existence, then you can not remain indifferent to the beauty of nature, its colors, its perfumes, the singing of the birds, the rustling of leaves of the trees. The pace slows down, the breath becomes calmer and one can feel a gasp in front of the greatness and the simplicity of it all. In this moment one feels a sort of the proof that one has a "pagan" soul and the Gods and Goddesses become (not in a profane sense) "visible", "perceptible". So you can get close to the Gods and Goddesses by another way, by direct experience, without so many speculations, no rituals, no theories, no rules: simply because they are cming toward us. All the erudition acquired is set aside: less theories, less reasoning, knowing or not knowing does not make much difference.
Many people tend to discredit all of this because they consider these feelings, these approaches to life as childish or ridiculous. The monotheists also consider this as just nonsense.
The Cultor and Cultrix do not go to a church, a mosque or a synagogue to pray: the traditional temple does not have this purpose. I have written many times that the Cultor and Cultrix do not pray in the profane sense of the term. Most of the liturgies and rites take place in the outside world: and often a Cultor/Cultrix perform these rites and liturgies even without realizing to do so. Eating a frugal meal with friends or with your family in peace is already a form of ritual. Our church is the world.
If contemplating a forest we have this perception of the Divine, we are perceiving something that is far from unreal: it is the rediscovery of a deep bond with important expressions of existence in which the "pagan" spirit finds its own home. Abandoning the so-called "complex reality", with its technology and speed, and settling for this "world" is however a very difficult task: there is nothing simple in turning our gaze to something that today many label simply as "the past". In this "place of belonging" we are trying to find relief because if a Via does not do this, but it rather creates tension, agitation, violence, intolerance and fanaticism, what it's worth?
In short, in this era of conflict and chaos, we undertake the Via to help us in building spaces of quiet and directing our thoughts, even just simply walking along a country road, in places where the body and mind can find peace and freshness.