Ikebana is often referred to as Kado, the ‘path of flowers’, or ‘flower journey’. For my Spanish students I often liken this journey to the Camino de Santiago. The Camino, or The Way of Saint James, is a pilgrimage across Spain. The most common route starts in France and ends in Galicia, in north-west Spain.
Just like Kado, the Camino de Santiago has many different routes and the path taken depends on the individual. The Camino is a long, slow pilgrimage in which many find enlightenment and life-long friends along the way.
This year we travelled to Galicia for our summer vacation and spent time hiking different parts of the Camino de Santiago. On one of our long, slow walks I explained to my daughters the similarities between walking the Camino and stepping onto ‘the path of flowers’. Inspired by this connection, they decided to collect ikebana material to make an arrangement.
Although there is an abundance of plant material in Galicia, my daughters chose Eucalyptus leaves for their arrangements. They folded the long, thin leaves and secured the end with the stem of the leaf. They placed a piece of Eucalyptus bark in their vase, attached the folded leaves and added wild fennel for a pop of colour.
We returned to the Camino de Santiago to photograph their arrangement. As I took photographs, many pilgrims and local farmers passed by and stopped to ask lots of questions. As we walked back to the farmhouse, I was overwhelmed by the depth of connection we had just experienced between the Camino de Santiago and Kado.