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The Invisible Queen

April 8, 2013 Day 9 Torres del Rio – Viana (13 km)

Outer Journey

Today I chose not to walk a long distance.  The shorter distance was adjusted by the steep climb (300 meters) from Torres del Rio directly into the wind.  Along the path there were small stone dwellings used by sheperds.  I was so tempted to crawl into one because the wind was so strong.

What is note worthy about today was I entered the famous Rioja wine producing region.  I ended in the pretty and lively town of Viana.  This was the first small town where I saw young people and town people in shops and restaurants.  It was enjoyable to be around them all.

Inner Journey

Although I walked most of the day alone, I left Torres del Rio in the company of a 19 year old German woman and a woman from Maine in her 60´s.  When I asked the woman from Maine reason for walking The Camino, her answer struck me.  It is her opinion that at her age she feels like the ¨invisible woman¨.  Her children are out of the house.  Altough she is a professor and a researcher, she believes that if anything ever happened to her husband, she would be alone because at her age she is undesirable..  She also believes that if anything ever happened to her that her husband would find companionship quickly.  She said that older men have more worth in our society than older women. I have heard this before from women.  Women reach a certain age…maybe menopause and they are either considered insignificant or they experience themselves as such.  I am curious about what caused this phenomenon and instrinsic lack of self worth in women.  Why have we lost our identity?

As I continued along The Way in solitude, I reflected on this.  I reflected on my own life and how I felt about myself at the moment.  I was dirty, bundled up in unattractive clothing, and no make up.  I felt a little worthless myself.  So the question is, ¨who am I and what is my value?¨  I am wondering if this is what the domain of somatic and ontological learning would call an historical and cultural ¨shaping¨  that women have been impacted by all over the world.

I began to think of the quintessential sovereign woman,  ¨The Lady Magdalene¨, my spiritual guide.  A woman from royal lineage depicted as a prostitute for over two thousand years.  Even after the Vatican cleared this misconception in the 1960´s, the image of her as a fallen woman is still widely perceived.  From the accounts I have read, Lady Magdalene´s lineage was obvious to all who came upon her because of how she held herself, stately and regal under the most challenging circumstances.  So what is possible for me? How do I choose to hold myself?

As I walk The Camino, I am impacted by the icons of history and I am aware that all of them have been built by men and the conquerers.  Everyone who knows me understands I am not blaming men and I hold men in the highest regards, however, I am curious about the missing voice of the feminine in our icons, buildings, and history.  What would the world be like if it had been represented.  Is it really true that women haven´t significantly contributed? The only consistent icon is The Great Mother or Virgin Mary and her sole contribution that is recognized is that she birthed The Messiah as a Virgin…really?  I am not questioning the virgin birth of Yeshua because I happen to have read a significant amount about ancient Egyptian alchemical practices and there is folklore about the practice of  light conception…my question refers to no other recorded significant contribution from this historical icon.  She is portrayed as a common, simple woman, but of course pure enough to receive the Son of God.  When I was first introduced to the story…Mary was unaware and poof the angels came to her and said…you are pregnant with the Son of God…

Why is there no mention that she came from a Royal family and was highly educated and she was a Nazarene Priestess and that the Nazarene´s held women in the highest regard and of equal status to men?  That she was a teacher and leader of her people?  I am so clear that the time has come to reveal the other side of history.

I realize that one of the things I came to do in this life is to reveal what is hidden…to be willing to be the light in the darkness.  I ask questions.  I create turmoil.  I have come to accept and love that about myself.

I have so much more to say about this but I will sign off for now.

Buen Camino!





  1. Deirdre

    April 16, 2013 - 5:50 pm

    Once again, when I read your blog I think “wow!”

  2. Rachel

    April 16, 2013 - 8:45 pm

    Just wanted you to know that I enjoy your posts so much. I haven’t been commenting but I’m reading and am there in heart. I too feel and see this in our world regarding women in their fifties and sixties. So many of my closest friends and amazing women are in this category and it makes me sad and wonder for myself if this too will be my future . The women are so rich with beauty both inner and outer and have done so much work that they have so much to offer, yet they live their lives alone and companionless. The men that age want the 30 and 40 year olds. So unfair and so sad that their beauty and gifts are overlooked. Thank you for sharing your journey and for being willing to share your experience. Your realness , vulnerability and truth are deeply appreciated and I find myself questioning and feeling the same things you do. You are not alone. Peace and love.

  3. Thomas

    April 16, 2013 - 10:19 pm

    I’m really enjoying your posts, Alie, and I’m grateful you took my contact info at Trader Joe’s just days before your journey began. But am I the only person of the masculine persuasion that’s reading your material?

    History was written by men, hence, so many “Invisible Queens.” But you and others like you can certainly change that.

    • Alison McLean

      April 16, 2013 - 10:56 pm

      Hello Tom!
      It is so good to hear from you and I enjoyed talking to you and your wife and I think it was her brother at Trader Joes. Thank you for connecting and no you are not the only one of the masculine persuasion that is subscribing to my blog. I do want to make it absolutely clear to all the men out there (whether they are reding this blog ir not) that I hold men in the highest regard and there’s no blame here. I believe that humanity and the planet…we all have suffered because of the silencing of voices; whether those voices be women or others.

      Btw, I thought of you and your pallet as I traversed the Rioja region. I don’t know too much about Spanish wines. Wish I knew more. All I know is that some of my fellow pilgrims start drinking it before noon!


  4. Lori

    April 16, 2013 - 10:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing this..your amazing…stay warm, stay dry my friend..

  5. Anita

    April 17, 2013 - 12:13 am

    Hi alie.

    I would love some suggested reads on the above topic.
    As stated before, my quest is to allow myself.
    I grew up in the “bible belt”‘ and have a very skewed version of this history.
    My only early recourse was total rejection of it.

    When you have time…:)


  6. DelphineMcLean

    April 17, 2013 - 1:42 am

    Dear Dulcinea: How we look forward to your posts! We love your photos but wish you were in more of them. Can you get someone to photograph you. Don’t worry if your clothes are a bit dirty or no make up. You will always look beautiful to us, and to your knight DQ. DQ by the way is getting a translation of a lovely blessing given at the Cathedral in Leon (In Spanish of course.) As soon as I have it in English I will forward it to you. We are still not too sure of where you are exactly. Have you been to Burgos yet? Have you left? I heard tell that there is a Municipal albergue in Burgos which is beautiful and new that costs only 4euros a night. You get a bunk bed, shower and access to laundry facilities. Sounds like a bargain.
    A good place to rest and recuperate.

    DQ thinks of you and wants you to know that after Burgos there is a meseta, a mesa in English. The lend is flat so the walking is easier, but longer and more boring, and the towns farther apart. DQ wishes he could be walking with you, but he advises for you to walk with others so that the camino would not seem so long and your pack so heavy. Some modern pilgrims take a bus from here to Leon but you may not want to, so get some interesting companions first.

    Muchos besos y abrazos. Burn csmino.

  7. Gerrie Ritchie-Cox

    April 20, 2013 - 8:50 pm

    Love your blog and wish I was with you x

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