To the End
It is said that a pre-Christian route existed before the Camino de Santiago, and that the magnificent cathedral to Saint James (and the subsequent pilgrimage to it) simply assumed the more ancient footpath. Of course, it makes sense for the Catholic Church to capitalize on an already established route. And yet, before Santiago was a “thing” pagans walked to the “End of the Earth,” which at that time was believed to be Finisterra (however, a point in Portugal is actually the farthest western point in Europe).
It’s interesting, too, that the entire Camino Francais route through Spain also follows an energetic Ley Line, a flow of sacred spiritual energy of our Mother Earth. This Ley Line follows the Milky Way, and in fact may be where the word Compostela comes from: Latin – campus stellae, “field of the stars.” Perhaps this is a main and subtle reason for the blessings, power and energy one feels when walking the Camino Francais. We are all somehow urged to reflect as we walk, to offer up, to leave behind things in our consciousness which are no longer needed. We add peace and love to Mother Earth as we walk; we are in turn blessed by Her.
I’ve been trying to work out what the Camino is all about, and besides being a tourist attraction why it gets the attention that it does. It has a deeply compelling energy. I’ve loved it on every level, but what’s really happening here? What makes up the core energetics of the Camino?
Logically, I also wonder why some other fantastic church in Christendom didn’t become the focal point of the Christian Mecca that is now clearly Santiago de Compostela. Why this church over, say, the Vatican? Or why not the incredible Church in Assisi with the actual remains of Saint Francis, a truly remarkable place to be to receive spiritual blessings and inspiration? It’s even historically questionable if the bones of Saint James are at Santiago de Compostela!
On a side note, I’ve read a number of theories regarding the bones that are at Santiago in the cathedral. One website reads:
They [the remains at Santiago] belong to Priscillian, an ascetic from Avila who was beheaded by the Church as a heretic in Treves, France, in 385 CE, but who was venerated as a martyr in Galicia and other parts of northern Spain.
(That website, found here, has an interesting discussion about the Camino energetics as well as a bit of history.)
Despite the factual details and questions one can chew on (maybe they don’t really matter), I very much treasure my Camino experience. It’s been richly full of inspiration, courage, tapasya (offering of oneself daily), and joy. Personally I like the Ley Line idea the best, and from the beginning of the pilgrimage I’ve wanted to follow it to its conclusion at Finisterra, the “End of the World.” So off I go, following the Camino sign posts again.
As I walked out of Santiago towards Finisterra I admire the almost-full moon greeting me to begin my next walking segment. In an hour I look back to say goodbye to the grand Compostela Cathedral, lovely spires in the distance (main photo at the top of this page).
The Camino resumes once more with new markers to follow to Finisterra. I love being a pilgrim again! It didn’t feel “over” once I reached Santiago, and I’m thrilled to walk once more. The Galician countryside is still just as beautiful as it had been for the week leading up to Santiago.
I pass more Hórreos, and now instead of being made of wood they are made of stone. A Hórreo (sounds like Oreo) is used to store corn, high above the ground, safe from rodents. I found one with the door open to have a look inside.
Ponte Maceira (a ponte is a bridge) is lovely as I walk by, as well as the river it crosses.
And finally, pictures of my albergue in the tiny little village of Olveiroa, only 35km away from Finisterra. Why are the old stone buildings intriguing? My bunk bed is the one on the bottom back left. The inside walls are new, but you can see the original round stone window above my bed. Check out that cooking hearth! One can fit entire trees in there to keep the room warm and prepare food!
My Camino Walk has been a fundraiser to build a new Temple of Light. Now having completed over 500 miles (800km) of walking, over 1,250,000 steps, I very much welcome your generous gift to help with the Temple construction. All donations are tax-deductible, no amount is too small. Just like walking the Camino one step and one day at a time, each gift to the Temple represents some additional energy added to the whole. Many blessings!
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