In the current issue of my magazine Australian Esoteric #18 (December 2018) I have included a short piece about the Camino Way in Spain. This route was originally used in pre-Christian times by the Celts, then by the Romans, who put little monuments along the way, dedicated to some of their gods, especially the goddess Venus. The main pilgrimage route to Santiago follows an early Roman trade route, which continues to the Atlantic coast of Galicia, ending at Cape Finisterre. (literally, End of the Earth, or Land’s End).
The full name is Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Camino means the Way and refers to the Milky Way, which points the way overhead for pilgrims. Santiago means Saint James. Compostela has a couple of meanings, possibly ‘field of stars’.
The route was claimed by Christians in the 9th century when it was said that the relics of St James were buried in what is now called Santiago. The secret burial place was revealed to a hermit by a bright shining star twinkling overhead.
The symbol of the route is the scallop shell, which dates back to Roman times – the symbol of Venus. Along the Camino Way are Dolmens, which face east, toward the rising Sun. These were built by ancient inhabitants thousands of years ago, whose understanding of Solar influence has been long forgotten.
The interior of the Santiago Compostela Cathedral is designed so that the light of the Sun shines on the relics of St James at three times of year: the Spring Equinox in March, the Solstice in December, and on 25th July – his Feast Day.
Following the Way is both a pilgrimage and an initiation for believers. Its ancient roots are connected to the Sun and stars. There is no need to look for divisions between “pagans”, Christians and New Age pilgrims. The Camino is a valid Way for all of us.