I was afraid that I would ruin my iPad by getting it wet so I captured few moments on video while walking from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reissue, then to Padron, and then to Santiago. I did catch a few places. We became increasingly focused on arriving at our destination, the Cathedral of Santiago.
We passed a church and graveyard. Lao tsu did not support organized religion but he was not against it. In my work with people with mental problems, I urge people to use their religious beliefs in ways that help them become psychologically healthy. Prayer, as a form of inner focus, can help people see clearly. Quiet prayer, without words, can be particularly effective.
We walked through a park by a river, then found a place to spend the night. I do walking meditation, breathing and out in harmony with my steps.
In Caldas de Reis, we hung our wet cloths in a place provided by the owner. Even though it rained all night, our clothes were dry in the morning. We joked about this — it was a miracle!
We stayed in Padron, where in the Igrexa de Santiago, they have the original stone, used to moor the boat that carried Santiago’s body to that city. From there it was taken to the place where the Santiago cathedral was later constructed. This suggests that there was an actual body involved, not just fantasy. Santiago was buried in a chapel but the location was lost during Roman times. Then, about 800 years later, a hermit had a vision that led the authorities to the chapel.
I understand that legends evolve through the retelling of stories but I believe that people sometimes have dreams and visions which correspond with reality. The hermit’s vision allowed the discovery of three bodies in a chapel (St. James and his two disciples). St. James is probably resting in the Cathedral of Santiago.
From Padron, we walked toward Santiago, following the way signs (this was the route that the body was taken to be buried). The rain ended.
We reached a way marker indicating that we were less than 10 kilometers from Santiago!
We reached a stop sign with an important message! We have walked about 400 miles to reach this point. We are just three kilometers from the cathedral!
Lao tsu wrote (chapter 30):
“Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn’t try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counter force.
Violence, even well intensioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.
The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself
he doesn’t try to convert others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn’t need other’s approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.
It is strange to find that Lao tsu’s message, transcribed perhaps five centuries before Jesus, is so appropriate for us today. Lao tsu did not avoid political issues but he did not get entangled in them. If you accept yourself, as you are, you can live peacefully in the present moment.
We deviated from the Camino Portugues to enter the main plaza where the pilgrims from France first see the Cathedral of Santiago. There it was! We had walked for 650 kilometers to see this!
The cathedral is covered with scaffolding; it is being repaired both inside and out. We went back to the route of the Camino Portugues and entered the Praza das Praterias (Plaza of Silversmiths). At the Casa do Dean, now serving as the pilgrim office, we received our certificate of completion.
In the video, we walk past the ornate fountain, with its horses leaping out of the water and enter the cathedral’s southern door, traditionally the entrance taken by pilgrims coming from Portugal.