Today is the feast of St. James--Santiago in Spanish. Santiago Matamoros is Patron Saint of Spain.
Regular readers might recall that y'all's Aunty mentioned I'se done a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Northwestern Spain, the Way of St. James, or simply The Camino. It's a very ancient pilgrimage route, from France, over the Pyrenees into Spain, then 400 miles across the country to the province of Galicia, where the great Cathedral of Santiago enshrines the bones of St. James, the Apostle.( St. James the Greater, as there were two apostles named James).
To this day I can weep at the sight of the Pilgrimage shell symbol, or become weak with longing at at the memory of the monastery at Roncesvalles, her spires rising above the mountain mist.
Thar' be events in a person's life that changes 'em forever more--an' this pilgrimage is such an event fer me. Even a'fore I set mah boot on the first step along that ancient path, I knowed, I ain't comin' back the same as I go.
( others have felt the same--here's a link to author Paul Coehelo's comment on his pilgrimage)
A'fore I crossed the Pyrenees on foot (I have a witness!) I wuz a dreaded obnoxious religious-y lady, an' that ain't much changed ( I see ya noddin' yore haids!) but what do be different now is that I is keenly aware of how to gauge mah own inner strengths an' failings. The gift is knowin' what ya can endure, what ya need, versus what ya want, respect for the individual walk each soul must make--folks can walk side by side but each must summon the will to pick up the next foot and put it down one step at a time. Self knowledge is often hard come by...the Camino is no less demandin' than other life events, but joyous consolations accompany this inward discovery.
Along the Camino, I met a cavalcade of characters, an' some mayhap were angels in disguise--hospitality is an enduring obligation an' honor to perform for pilgrims. Someday, mebbe one our bloggers will be trudgin' along the path, an it will be Aunty at the end of yore day ladling out yore sopa de gallo.
Pilgrimage a is metaphor our journey through this world. What sort of pilgrimage have ya' made yoreself? What sort do ya hope to make some day? Would ya' share some life-changing journey wif' us?
Below is some random photos from a SECOND journey along The Way of St. James. And, heaven willin', soon I want to make that pilgrimage again.
Another video--I doan know any of these folks...jes' a great overview: