Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Camino de Santiago - Capo de Finisterre (Preparing #7)

After I reach the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, I will continue to Cape Finisterre. For most pilgrims, they end their journey in Santiago. I will, however, continue another 90km (55 miles) to the Atlantic Ocean. The name of the cape comes from the Latin "End of the World", for it was once thought to be the westernmost edge of Europe.

Although the Camino de Santiago has seen its share of pilgrims for perhaps 1400 years, in recent centuries, people have continued to the Atlantic. Once arriving at the ocean, they burn their clothes or boots at the end of their journey.

If you watched the movie "The Way" with Martin Sheen, the pilgrims continued to the lighthouse in Muxia at the same cape to bring closure to their trip.

I doubt I'll be burning my clothing. But I will do something that may represent something similar. During the journey, I intend to hold a Lenten-style emotional and spiritual purge. I will write down my fears, hatreds, anxieties, and doubts throughout the trip. I'll collect these pieces of paper, gather them in a pile, and burn them to ashes. It's akin to burning the palms on Ash Wednesday. Before casting the ashes into the ocean, I might even mark my forehead with the cross as one does on Ash Wednesday.

Isn't this counter-intuitive? Perhaps. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a penitential season, culminating on a resurrection Sunday we call Easter. In contrast, I'm suggesting to mark myself at the very end of my pilgrimage, not at the beginning. 

In my mind, I don my pilgrim's hat and garb and scallop shell at the beginning and throughout my walk. That is indeed a Lent-style season for me. Why should I end the trip with another mark?

I think I'm drawn to doing this because I want to acknowledge that though this specific journey will be ending, my journey of faith continues onward. Moreover, I start my trip in humility and I end in humility: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. I want to be marked to recognize that though I will be finishing one phase of my journey of life, joyously I hope, I also anticipate further roads, further humble marches, whether these treks be physical or spiritual, mental or emotional.

Join me as I walk to the "End of the World" and mark the beginning, middle, end, and beginning of my journey.

Thank you and bless you for joining me on this transformational journey.

I leave Los Angeles on September 10 and land in Spain September 11.

Please walk with me by donating to Episcopal Relief and Development

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Prior blog postings regarding the the Camino
Camino de Santiago - Introduction (Preparing #1)

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