The Last Stretch…

The Last Stretch…
Walking into Santiago was a magical experience. We first
stopped at Monte de Guzo which is translated at Mount of Joy. There are two statues of pilgrims who are joyous when from the top of the hill they are able to see the town of Santiago.

It was there that we burned the papers entrusted to us from our friends and family. These were the papers we carried along our journey that contained what we wanted to let go of in our lives, such as judgment, condescension, arrogance, etc. We left there the stones which represented these releases.

We then walked into the town that was filled with other pilgrims to the cathedral where we saw the memorials to the 80 people who died in the train accident who were on their way to Santiago de Compostela. There were rows and rows of candles, flowers, and letters people had written. Some pilgrims left the shoes they had walked in; others left the certificate they received acknowledging the completion of their journey.

We all went to the noon mass where they had the Botofumeiro which is a huge metal container where incense is burned and it swings over the congregation. It is suspended from a pulley mechanism installed in 1604 in the dome of the roof of the cathedral. At the apex of the roof there is an eye in the center of a triangle. What do you think that means???

Mary took our lists of intentions to one of the priests and our donation to the cathedral and the needs of other pilgrims. Even to a person raised Jewish as I was, this journey, the mass, the intentions and releases were all an extraordinary and meaningful experience. It was and felt non denominational and connected directly to my heart and sense of what is right in the world. It also gave me a sense of what I could do to make the world a better place.

Our last day in Santiago our group met to collect our thoughts and share our experiences. While we were there we heard the joyous chanting of a large group of pilgrims who had just walked into the town and completed their journey. The feeling of accomplishment that they felt was obvious.

All of us also were filled with a renewed sense of accomplishment and wonder at what we had done. Many of us still had lots of aches and pains and blisters. We were nearing the end of our journey together and many of us had mixed emotions.
Looking forward to returning home to friends and loved ones but also being aware of missing each other and the camaraderie we had developed over the two weeks.

Walking the Camino was/is an extraordinary experience. Perhaps one day you will walk it too. Buen Camino!


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