Our journey to Santiago comes to an end but we have a final destination, Finisterre. Finisterre, named by the Romans, means “end of the earth.” The Romans thought it was the most western land in Europe, the edge of the known earth (it turned out that a part of a Portugal is farther west.) Before Santiago became a destination for Christian pilgrimage, Pagans journeyed to Finisterre for religious reasons. These days, many modern pilgrims complete their journey by continuing on to the “end of the earth.”
We took a bus to Finesterre and, the next day, walked to the lighthouse on the most western point. Many others, like ourselves, concluded their pilgrimage with a visit to this ancient Pagan site.The road provides views over the inlet.
We pass a bar at the end of the earth and saw the light house.
We descend to a structure where pilgrims conduct rituals marking the end of their journey. Some burn their boots and clothes, symbolizing the start a new life. Some leave candles or other mementos of their journey, such as the sea shell they carried while walking (carrying a sea shell indicates that one is a pilgrim).
The hillside is dotted with debris and remnants of small fires.
We make our way to the most west-ward shrine, a crude wooden cross with pilgrim shell and hat, blown by the wind.
Lao tsu writes (chapter 33):
“Knowing others is intelligence.
Knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength.
Mastering yourself is true power.
If you realize that you have enough,
you are truly rich.
If you stay in the center
and embrace death with your whole heart,
you will endure forever.”
There was much junk left by previous pilgrims, so I brought back a candle which I will use in a ritual. Our visit to this powerful place completes our pilgrimage to Santiago but it begins our next quest, a pilgrimage around the world.
We are trying to take it easy for a while. Karen’s feet hurt and we need to plan a route east for our next adventure.