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Europe should
get a soul

[from Schuman Declaration,
May 9, 1950]

STAR TRAIL CHEMIN DES ÉTOILES

Valuefull on the road + Getting Europe on the move

The most original form of travel was probably pilgrimage (pilgrims were also called “Reyssläufer” in the Middle Ages). This has always stood for the longing for an overarching (life) goal and meaning and for the desire to engage with the world and foreign cultures with empathy and curiosity. Encounters with the unfamiliar encourage the willingness to take a self-critical look at the patterns of one’s own habits of thought and action. Those who also open themselves up to reflecting on their own values in the mirror of the society in which we live and exchanging ideas with others not only gain inner strength and courage to face life, but also the motivation to help shape reality.

As part of the European model project “Starry Path/Chemin des étoiles”, people are invited to search for traces of the lost paths of the medieval pilgrims to Santiago in a multifaceted region in the heart of Europe. The explorations along the rediscovered routes offer the opportunity to discover medieval “contemporary witnesses” of the pilgrimage in order to trace what sustainably connects people, time(s) and living spaces. This valuable journey allows us to explore the world we want to live in - in view of the past - and the values we stand for.

The following canon of values provides inspiration for the “spiritual luggage” when walking along the stars. The values described therein summarize the social, spiritual and cultural foundations of Europe and are intended - without claiming to be exhaustive - as a source of inspiration and guidance for reflection and further thought. In this way, these values can be creatively reflected on along the way or when pausing to reflect and contribute to a new self-image of social cohesion and fundamental European values.

Level Values

Selection of basic social values as a framework condition for self-determined, humane and creative coexistence.

Peace

For there to be peace in the world, nations must live in peace.for there to be peacebetween nations, cities must not rise up against each other.for there to be peace in cities, neighbors must understand each other. for there to be peace between neighbors, there must be peace in one’s own house. for there to be peace in one’s house, one must find it in one’s own heart.    

 

 

Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher, 4th-3rd century B.C.

Peace refers to a state between individuals, groups or states that is free from (violent) conflict and war and in which emerging conflicts are resolved non-violently with the help of rules and laws. An important prerequisite for this is the virtue of “peacefulness” and the willingness to actively strive for peace. Individuals can also achieve a feeling of “contentment”, a so-called “inner peace”, through self-awareness and self-examination. Seeking (inner) peace means embarking on a path in life that is geared towards living in harmony with oneself. This is the basis for being able to find peace on the outside and to carry it out into the world.

Zwei Pilger vor Kriegsmahnmal zeigen ein Plakat

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How much importance do I give to inner peace in my life?
Every step you take towards your own inner peace has an effect on peace on the outside. Every peaceful attitude and action gives you inner strength and confidence and is a contribution to all-connectedness and peace in the world.

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Humanity

The purpose of our existence is directed to the formation of humanity. Our rational activity should be formed to reason, our finer senses to art, our instincts to genuine freedom and beauty, our motive forces to human love.

Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803)

Humanity stands as a term for (co-)humanity and the continuous cultural formation of the mind, which aims at the realization of human rights, helpfulness and participation. It is about the position of man in the world and for the world: to be responsible, to follow the truth on the trail and to fathom the innermost thing that constitutes being human - the Conditio humana. Humanity is defined and brought to life both by the individual and by the particular culture that practices it. In most cultures, the humanitarian worldview includes the values of dignity, connectedness, compassion, kindness, charity, helpfulness, and mercy. The elementary prerequisites of a humane way of life include openness and kindness. The ability to recognize the polarities that arise on each individual life path and to balance them in the interplay between the inner and outer worlds, if possible to reconcile them, is one of the essential characteristics of humanity.

Zwei ältere Pilgerinnen auf Waldweg sind sich zugetan

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When and in which areas of life am I compassionate?
On my path through life, I want to be human in my own unique way. With this attitude, I want to have a particular impact on small things.

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Freedom

Freedom…   controls the self from foreign access limits the self where others are free   keeps distance from encroachment enjoys closeness without encroachment   calls from restriction into granting dispenses with fear and distress   obliges to exercise in togetherness spreads in large trains   dances for the balance on the rope of needs in the other

Peter Michael Lupp

Freedom is a privilege from which many people are still excluded. Being free means being able to make decisions in a self-determined manner and without external coercion. However, part of the experience of freedom is the ability to feel the difference between freedom and unfreedom. Paradoxically, this means that in order to unfold, freedom also requires limits, which must be reflected in the pursuit of one’s own freedom. Freedom requires self-knowledge and self-responsibility in thought and action. Free is he who is in harmony with himself and shapes the gift of freedom with gratitude and meaning.

Frau mit ausgebreiteten Armen auf Felsvorsprung am windbewegten Wasser

?
What freedoms do I actively enjoy? Am I aware of the privilege of living in freedom?
Know yourself! With every step I take, I come closer to myself, find myself, live from the center, become more truthful and freer in my thoughts and actions.

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Democracy

Democracy always means: the willingness to see not only one’s own interests and the ability to balance and compromise.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Democracy (from the ancient Greek δημοκρατία’ rule of the people of the state) forms the basis of our European society. In democratic states, the government emerges from the people through (free and equal) political elections. The most important features of democracy include freedom of expression and of the press, separation of powers, constitutionality, and protection of fundamental, civil, and human rights. A democratic culture must neither ignore nor negate the ethical and religious forms of life that come together in a pluralistic polity; rather, it must embrace them and integrate them in such a way that the principle of respect applies equally to all citizens. Democracy needs people who have an interest in the community and the common good and who are willing to actively work for them. This presupposes that people respect each other as equals, do not make their own interests absolute, and have the courage to engage in an open, fair debate, but also to compromise. In this respect, democracy is also the decisive prerequisite for freedom, equality and solidarity. A democratic way of life within communities therefore always seeks a constructive balance between the I and the We.

Pilgergruppe sitzt auf Treppenstufen neben Kirche

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What significance does civic togetherness have for me? What active contributions do I make to the common good of the society in which I live? Am I prepared to actively stand up for the rule of law, the protection of human rights and equality if necessary?
On my path, I open myself up to the recognition and appreciation of diversity in our society. I am committed to enabling all people to live peacefully in democratic structures.

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Level Emotions

Human social behavior, which is based in particular on emotions, is an essential factor in ensuring that ethical and moral values are not only understood and respected, but also internalized. Only in this way can they be made relevant in everyday actions and promote and advance peace and the common good.

Tolerance

Without tolerance we cannot develop compassion.

Dalai Lama

Tolerance means accepting and respecting the views, actions and customs of others and is a central characteristic of democracy. Tolerance is also an important prerequisite for equality, diversity and the avoidance of exclusion. Tolerance is of great importance in social discourse. It is discussed, for example, in connection with religiosity, sexual inclinations, cultural differences and alternative value systems and communities. The limits of tolerance lie where others are denied this basic form of respect and equal treatment. However, the responsibility for ensuring that these limits are respected cannot be completely ceded to the state. In the first place, it is the people themselves who are obliged to practice tolerance and to treat others with forbearance, patience and mindfulness.

Junge Pilgerin in Kirche gibt ihrer Begeisterung Ausdruck

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Do I recognize and experience the diversity in living together within our society as enriching? Do I see myself as part of a cosmopolitan community?
On my journey, I open myself up to perceiving reality sensitively and attentively. I practise my tolerance and ability to engage in dialog on the way by treating other points of view with respect. Indifference towards my fellow human beings is alien to me.

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Friendship

Silence surrounds all common action and all living together   Friendship needs no words   It is the loneliness that comes from the fear of loneliness is freed.

Unknown author

Friendship is a relationship characterized by affection, based on mutual sympathy, appreciation and trust. Friendships are of great importance for our social interaction. Aristotle described friendship as “one soul in two bodies”. Cicero recognized “the safe friend in an uncertain situation”. Friendship with another person also goes hand in hand with a constant deepening of self-knowledge in the other person. In a figurative sense, friendship also refers to a good and often contractually regulated political relationship between peoples or nations (e.g. “Franco-German friendship”).

Älterer Mann sitzt vor steinernem Wegekreuz am Rande einer Wiese und macht sich Notizen

?
What emotions guide me when I think about friendship?
On my way, I dedicate time for thoughts of friends and thank them in spirit for being able to share in their lives. They can count on me in good times and bad.

“What idea of my own do I have for today’s route?”

Compassion

Compassion for all creatures is what makes people truly human.

Albert Schweitzer

Compassion describes the sympathy for the situation of another individual and is a natural human ability. One’s own feelings resonate with the feelings of another living being. In sympathizing with the feelings of others, people learn to better deal with their own emotions. A variation of compassion is empathy, which helps people to empathize with the thoughts of the other person, to understand them, to respond to them and to react accordingly. Compassion for other human and non-human beings requires acceptance of one’s self and love for oneself.

Junge Frau in Kirche schaut zu jungem Mann mit geschlossenen Augen

?
What do I think and feel about myself? What feelings do I have towards others?
I also observe my emotional world for myself and others on my journey. I wish everyone I meet and people I am thinking about well and silently bless them.

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Solidarity

Together instead of lonely   Accompanying instead of leading Conquering free space Listening growing together Exchange wonders Turning gazes Giving closeness giving hope thinking ahead   Better than usual

Peter Michael Lupp

Solidarity is derived from the Latin word meaning “solid, genuine, firm” and is therefore associated with consistency, continuity and stability. Solidarity describes sticking together with and supporting other people whose ideals, values and goals you share. It requires a public space and proximity in order to express sympathy, solidarity and compassion towards others. It is also about growing together in a cosmopolitan community with a friendly attitude in order to peacefully stand up for common values.

Gruppe

?
Which open-minded European values do I agree with and feel connected to others through?
My encounters on the road remind me to act responsibly for the community of people, especially in times of crisis. I plant this thought in my heart and it gives me a feeling of solidarity towards other people, self-confidence and strength. As far as I can, I want to help people around me in times of need, illness and despair.

“What idea of my own do I have for today’s route?”

Encounter of cultures

Stranger(s) reach me over the thresholds the hand to the WE   Let us widen horizons Give home Open worlds hope for the future make peace and touch deeply

Peter Michael Lupp

In the encounter with other cultures, landscapes and with the foreign, new impressions and connections always arise involuntarily. People can resonate with them and thereby contribute to a sense of European togetherness. The goal is to cultivate an ethically sustainable and mindful connection between people, their diverse cultural imprint, origin and spiritual attitude. The cosmopolitan encounter and friendly exchange with people from other cultures is also accompanied by an awareness of the importance of respect for human dignity, equality and the protection of human rights.

Ältere Dame zeigt im Gespräch auf lächelnden Jugendlichem

?
Am I open to encounters on the road? With what appreciation and respect do I meet people from other cultures on my journey?
Diversity and a dignified approach to different cultures and their lifestyles enable us to see and understand things in a new way. They enrich society and everyday life: living together, openly and in diversity as a matter of course.

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Level Ecology

Preserve creation

Preserve creation   Fall out of the ever increasing fall out   Naked at the end Walk free   Without frame in the new space   Adult Reverberate[t] give   Sowing the future [T]one seed is enough

Peter Michael Lupp

Due to unreflective growth thinking, the power of markets and our consumer behavior, mankind’s natural sense for the “Blue Planet Earth” - creation - is creeping out of kilter. Mankind currently consumes around 50 percent more resources each year than the earth can regenerate and thus provide sustainably within this period. As a result, the earth, but also humanity itself, is increasingly losing its ecological and ethical balance, which is essential for survival.

Against this backdrop, the “emergency call” - preserve creation - is a reminder of humanity’s responsibility for its unique habitat full of diversity: planet Earth. Although it is taken from the Christian world, it also stands for the interdenominational mission of peoples and cultures to stop the overexploitation of our natural resources in order to preserve our common habitat for future generations.

It is also about the human measure of frugality: the realization that renouncing our consumer behaviour can even lead to a more satisfying life in many cases. This requires a constant public discourse. Preserving creation leads to an ecologically and ethically sustainable relationship between humans and nature and also succeeds sustainable lifestylesin its spiritual dimension through spiritual dimension. How can we cultivate a lifestyle of “less” with joy, meaning and spirit, build a society that consumes less, recognizes and avoids risk spirals? Everyone has room for maneuver - that is our privilege

Pilger steht mit ausgebreiteten Armen auf Wiese und schaut grüne Landschaft

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Do I see the beauty of nature and the wonders of this creation and what value do I give it today and in the future?
It is important to me to sustainably secure the basis of life on this unique planet Earth. My responsibility is reflected in my daily interaction with the gifts of nature, which should also be available to future generations. In this attitude, I choose the path of the good life in the all-connectedness of creation earth.

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Level Spirituality

Spirituality

That I recognize what holds the world holds the world together in its innermost being, See all the power and seeds And do not rummage in words anymore.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Spirituality is about the “way art” of becoming oneself. In this process, the wonders of life and the meaning of one’s own life mission become more conscious and can be experienced in their actual (carrying) breadth, away from purely rational ways of looking at things.

The spiritual dimension ignites in the purposeful pause and in the sincere devotion. On a higher level, the inclusion of the spiritual dimension opens up to humanity the opportunity to make the meaning of human existence and its ethical and moral task more comprehensible and to act accordingly. Herein lies a spiritual resource to cope with the upcoming change within our society in favor of a better world.

An access to experience spiritual reality is offered by exercises of slowing down, mindfulness, undivided devotion, meditation or inner prayer (in an interdenominational context). This requires places where these exercises can be celebrated undisturbed and time in which something can mature and heal. Meditative journeying on the “Starry Path” and pausing at special places of the past offer a variety of individual spaces of experience for this.

Mann mit Wanderstock und gefalteten Händen über dem Kopf schaut auf nebelschwangere Landschaft

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What place do I give to the conscious experience of spirituality in my life? Do I use the possibilities of meditation to find inner peace and balance?
On my path, I consciously take time for a form of spiritual expression that is in harmony with my inner self and practice it with full devotion (ritual, prayer, singing, meditation, contemplation of images...).

What idea of my own do I have for today’s path?

Tips for on the road

  • Plan alone or with friends a pilgrimage walk on the “Stars Way/Chemin des étoiles”.
  • Pick out two or more medieval cultural monuments along a route of the project space in the interactive map or illustrated book.
  • Choose a starting point and plan your individual pilgrimage tour from there to the selected destination points, even if it is off the official marked routes. Hiking trails or cycle paths away from the marked routes of the Way of St. James pilgrims can be requested from the relevant tourist information offices, planned using the various navigation options on the internet etc. or simply ask for directions along the way.
  • Take (in addition to sufficient provisions) a (value) theme with you on your way. The focus could be on the question: What values do I stand for in the present, what is my attitude today as a pilgrim along the stars?
  • Stop along the way at special places in nature and at the selected medieval destinations. Try to experience or sense what impulse nature or the cultural heritage of the Middle Ages has in store for you. Realize that you are embarking on a path of knowledge that often also offers small gestures along the way. If possible, meditate in quiet places in nature that you intuitively choose for yourself, or in the (medieval) churches along the way. Concentrate on your breathing during meditation and let any thoughts that arise drift away like clouds.

Pilgerin zeigt auf Steinbild an einer Kirchenwand

  • Along the way, consciously pay attention to details in the landscape or when you meet others. Many people have been here before you and many will follow you. Everything is interconnected. Take the opportunity for an inner dialog or an exchange with those who accompany you. A rest stop offers the opportunity to read a suitable text (literature, poem), pray, sing or even write and paint.
  • Keep a record of your encounters and experiences along the way with notes or drawings.
  • Collect pilgrimage stamps in your Starry Path stamp card along the way and link them to one of the impulses listed in the stamp fields.

Meditation

Frau sitzt in Meditationspose auf Steinmauer

The breath flows slowly and deeply in and out through the nose.

Inhaling and exhaling stabilizes your inner balance.

The deep inhalation and exhalation centers your self.

Let yourself be carried deep inside to the bottom of your soul with full devotion.

Thoughts drift away like clouds and gradually dissolve as if warmed by the sun.

The source of creation emerges from the emptiness of thought. The essential emerges tangibly. The path of the good life opens up.

After the meditation, stand up and let the moment resonate, breathe in and out through your nose again deeply and calmly.

Into the bottom of the soul.

Out to continue your way courageously.