The way of the
of the 'Camino de Santiago de Compostela'
The Pilgrimages of the Soul
In the Christian tradition, the pilgrimage to the Holy Places is still
today one of the most practised mystical experiences. Europe is
criss-crossed by pilgrimage routes traced by devotees in the last thousand
years linking cities and countries to places where Christendom was
conceived, where the missions of the first Apostles founded the basis of
the institutionalised religion more widespread and powerful in the world,
and where its saints in the following centuries performed their deeds and
their miracles. The Holy Land of Palestine was obviously the older and
more popular destination since the 3rd century AD, although it
was extremely dangerous because of the great distances to travel in order
to reach the sacred grotto of Bethlehem and because of the presence of
dangerous Moorish and Arab, later Moslem, populations living in those
territories. The Christian Church through its Crusading Knights, fought
violently with these populations and confused the conversion of pagans
with the exercise of temporal power that it imposed politically and
militarily for centuries, initiating profound conflicts that we find are
at the root of today’s hatred and violence.
On the other hand Peter’s tomb in
Rome was the other focal point of the mystical religious pilgrimages
performed by European Christians. Rome was where, in addition to sincere
devotees in search of indulgences and mystical inspiration, there went
courtiers, nobles and merchants to set up political and economic
enterprises linked to those of the Papal State.
The diffusion of Christianity in
Europe began with the journeys of the first apostles to make converts. The
apostles were generally faced with enormous hostility among the local
populations and even with death because of it. These populations possessed
their own ancestral culture, religious beliefs and spirituality linked to
the ancient cults of the Mother Goddess and to the solar myths. They had
precise cosmological and animistic ideas that regulated their lives as
well as ritual and spiritually powerful places, magic pilgrimage routes to
the sacred dwellings of the gods of nature and temples devoted to the
supreme gods of the upper paradises not accessible to mortal people.
When reaching Europe the apostles of
Christ travelled along ancient routes marked by primordial cults. They
were certainly filled with their extraordinary faith that blinded them
however to the enormous cultural and spiritual heritage of the people that
they had come to convert..
The economic, political and military interests that accompanied during the
following centuries the spreading of Christianity together with the power
of Rome and its legions, imposed on the local populations a new religion,
the legacy of an invading power that conquered through bloodshed.
The Christian religion imposed
itself by spreading in the whole of Europe a new culture and a new faith
built on the ruins of those that had preceded it and using all the
elements of the former ancient religion, transforming them and adapting
them to the new cultural and doctrinal parameters of Christianity and
Roman politics. In this way new words were overimposed on the old ones,
new buildings were built on the ancient sacred stones that marked the
progression of the stars and shrines to the new god in the places sacred
to the power of the Goddess. In this way also the ancient routes of the
cult and of the mystical and initiatic pilgrimages were transformed and
they became pilgrimage routes to the sacred places of the new religion.
The whole cultural and spiritual legacy, all the sacredness, the truth and
the power of the ancient places was expropriated by the invading cult.
They were hidden and used by the installation of the empire. What was
impossible to transform through this cultural, political and military
aggression was extirpated in the early middle ages with the genocide of
thousands of women and men accused of witchcraft and association with the
devil. Thus were ferociously destroyed the last hotbeds of irredentism to
the 'new' world.
Santiago de Compostela and the
Pilgrimage of Saint James
The Camino de Santiago de Compostella is, since the middle ages, one
of the most famous mystical-religious pilgrimages in Europe. It is
performed to worship the tomb where,according to a tradition, were found
the mortal remains of the apostle James, the Major. It appears to have
originated from the purest Christian tradition and from supernatural
circumstances closely linked to the sanctity of the apostle.
Although one refers to the Camino de Santiago as if to one specific and
precise pilgrimage route, there are several routes that start from France,
Spain and Portugal linking cities and countries leading the pilgrims
towards Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Each of these has its own
history rich in events, deeds performed by knights and demonstrations of
faith, noble castles and Templar keeps. In any case the better known and
more frequented Camino de Santiago, begins in south western France on the
slopes of the Pyrenees overlooking the Gulf of Biscay, in the small town
of S.Jean pied de port. It crosses all the northern provinces of Spain
until it reaches Santiago, for a total of 400 km, to cover preferably on
foot according to tradition carrying only a staff, a gourd, as a container
for water and a knapsack..
Last century, precisely in 1985, Santiago de Compostela was declared by
UNESCO one of the "World Heritage " sites and the Road of Saint
James got the title of First European Cultural Route. This has meant a
clear renewal of interest for the pilgrimage to Santiago that continues to
open its door in Navarra to all pilgrims from all over the world who for
whatever reason, religious, mythical, cultural or simply touristic, decide
to follow the ancient route of the star.
The history began officially at the
beginning of the 9th century AD when a man named Pelayo, went
to the bishop of Iria, in Galicia, to report a fantastic and miraculous
event. " In 835, Teodomiro, bishop of Iria, was informed by a
mountaineer that on a wooded hill some distance away on the west of mount
Pedroso, a tenuous slightly blue light was to be seen at night and that,
when the sky was cloudless, one could see a star wonderfully shining above
that same place. Together with all his clergy, Teodomiro went on the hill;
they excavated in the place that the man had indicated and they found,
inside a marble sarcophagus, a body perfectly preserved that certified
clues revealed was that of the apostle Saint James."
Soon after the discovery of the tomb the Episcopal seat was transferred
from Iria to Compostela, 'the field of the star'. The discovery of the
tomb was the basis for the founding of the city of Santiago de Compostela.
The present cathedral that substitutes the original church destroyed by
the Arabs in 977, was built in 1082.
Despite the fact that the origin of the Camino de Santiago is thus clear
and perfunctorily documented in the Christian tradition, our research can
investigate deeper to look for elements that may reveal the existence of
the Camino before these recorded events. One question to be asked for
example is what was the origin and the meaning of the manifestation of the
mysterious light that attracted the attention of the bishop of Iria, and
why, if the mortal remains found in the sepulchre are really those of the
apostle James, was he buried exactly in that place? Why was the apostle
sent to convert precisely the people of Galicia and why, after his death
in Palestine where he had returned after he had been obliged to leave
Spain because of the hostility of the local population, was it decided to
bring back the body of the apostle to Galicia? Was it possibly because
this particular place was very special? A land that was the custodian of
the more ancient secrets of forgotten cults? A place of earthly power and
of astral magnetism?
Following the Star Mystery
The word Compostela can be variously interpreted. The most obvious is
that of 'campus stellae' ( field of the star), with reference to
the manifestation of light where the alleged tomb of the saint was later
found. The whole Camino de Santiago, from S.Juan pied de port until
Compostela, is spread with villages, places and mountain passes that are
named after stars or after a trail of light, as if the whole Camino were a
stellar route, a route that leads to a special point: the field of the
Concerning this the famous French alchemist Fulcanelli offers us a clue
that cannot be underestimated.
" The Route of Saint James is also called the Milky Way. Greek
mythology tells us that the gods followed this route to go to the palace
of Zeus and the heroes as well followed it to enter Olympus. The Route of
Saint James is the stellar route, accessible to the chosen ones, to the
courageous, persevering and wise mortals."
Another possible interpretation comes from an alchemical term:
compost. The appearance of a white star on the surface of the compost,
during work in the philosophal laboratory, indicated the realisation of
the first part of the Great Work. Again Fulcanelli indicates the way:
" Pure Matter,of which the hermetic star consecrates the
perfection: it is now our compost, the blessed water of Compostela ( from
the Latin albastrum a contraction of alabastrum, white star). And it is
also the vase filled with perfume, the vase of alabaster (Latin alabastrus)
and the bud that comes out from the flower of knowledge, the hermetic
" The operation is achieved when there appears on the surface a
shining star formed by the rays coming from one center, the prototype of
the great rose windows of our gothic cathedrals. This is the sure sign
that the pilgrim has happily reached the end of his first journey. He has
received the mystical blessing of Saint James, confirmed by the luminous
imprint that shone, they say, over the tomb of the apostle. The humble and
common shell that he wore on his hat has become a shining star, in a halo
Hermetic knowledge helps us and
clears our uncertainties by revealing the ancestral arcane nature of our
Pilgrimage in the consecrated earth of the Light of the Divine Knowledge,
the eternal Dwelling of the Gods. The whole Camino de Santiago seems to
reflect on earth a much greater miracle drawn in the sky. The Milky Way
describes a stellar route that leads to the constellation of the Greater
Dog and thus to the star Sirius. The Camino is the earthly reflection of
the sacred stellar way that leads to the dwelling of the gods. It leads
the pilgrims to the sacred field of the star that represents the
victorious sign of light, the return that has taken place to the divine
origin represented by the star Sirius, that keeps the secrets of our
forgotten Origin. This element is reproduced in the sacred iconography of
Saint James who is preceded by a dog while he reaches the sacred hillock
of the Star. The Celtic populations that lived in Galicia much before the
advent of Christianity and the Roman invasion together with the Basques in
the whole area of present day Northern Spain, believed that the Milky Way
was the Arch of Iris of the God Lug.
Lug is a dark god, black like the coat of a wolf in the night or like the
feathers of a raven, a bird that brings messages. When Lug is on earth and
follows the Camino de Compostela he is a wolf or a dog; when it flies
along the Route of the Sky, Lug is a raven.
It is interesting to note that in Europe we find at least two other great
routes of ancient origin. One is in France and another in England, both
are perfectly oriented from east to west, (the Camino de Compostela keeps
an almost perfect orientation east-west on the 42° parallel). Both are
marked by an enormous number of dolmen like structures, by places, towns
and countries where there are very frequent references to dogs or wolves.
Some men in antiquity knew the earth as a living organism, its power lines,
the natural channels through which its life energies flowed. They used to
represent these places of energy and power with dolmens and megalithic
structures, linking them to each other by tracing routes along the nervous
system of the goddess. And they used to build temples near the sacred
places, plexuses of power, where the telluric currents of the body of the
earth meet with the astral currents of the sidereal spaces like perfect
reflections below of what is revealed to be the same thing above.
The Cromlechs in the
The study of the ancient dolmen like structures in the whole of
western Europe along the Atlantic ocean and of the cults linked to them
can provide further indications for our research on the Camino de
Compostela. In fact, the place where our Pilgrimage begins, the lower
French Navarre and a circumscribed zone of the Spanish Euskad, that is the
western side of the Pyrenees region, is dotted with a great number of
cromlechs of prehistoric origin; the cromlechs of the Pyrenees are circles
of stones of various shapes and dimensions that vary from 2 to 20 meters
of diameter. They are each composed of a varied number of stones set in
the ground that make up a circular shape. This type of monument is found
in the whole of the region of the Pyrenees, from the Pico de Aneto on the
East to the Bay of Biscay on the west. The western boundary is marked by
the river Leizaran, a tributary of the river Oria, which it meets in the
town of Andoain, in the province of Gipuzcoa. Accurate studies demonstrate
that the cromlechs represent stars reflected on the earth from the vault
of the sky; if they are grouped they reveal the precise configuration of
our present constellations. The non academic researcher Juan José Ochoa
de Zabalegi writes in his website <http://www.cromlechpyrene.com/>
: " All the Cromlechs in the Pyrenees represent stars! The
diameter of the circles, built in relation to the luminosity of the star,
gives an idea of the dimensions of the star to which the cromlech
" The importance of the names of the sites in the Basque language
is underlined. They often help establish the astronomical significance for
more than a group of stone circles or to find again the vernacular name of
more than one constellation and to prove the sacred nature of these groups
at the time in question."
" It has been considered that in general the groups of stone
circles follow a series of topographical alignments linked to those of the
mountains that are found in the same area as these sites. This contention
does not reveal anything new as concerning other sites and monuments,
Alfred Watkins, in 1925, already mentioned the existence of alignments
between prehistorical monuments which he called 'leys'lines' (*)"
The multidisciplinary studies of de
Zabalegi indicate that it is possible to date without any doubts the stone
circles in the Pyrenees to the first millennium before Christ.
During a conference held in 1999 at
the University of Salamanca, he presented the hypothesis that the original
pilgrimage towards the west that, in later centuries, became the
pilgrimage to Santiago, had its true origins and its mysterious cult in
the stone circles of the Pyrenees.
The extensive consolidation of a
stellar religion in the 6th century BC, the cult of two doors
for the passage of the souls, one at birth: the northern gate or of
mankind, and the other for the return of mankind to heaven after death:
the southern gate or the gate of the gods.
"For the ancient Greeks the souls descended on earth from paradise
during the summer solstice through the gate of Cancer, the so-called gate
of man" and came back to Paradise during the winter solstice, through
the Gate of the Capricorn, known as the gate of the gods (Porfirio "
The caverns of the nymphs of the Odyssey ").
There are some contradictions among the different authors concerning the
position of the two gates in the sky. However they agree on the fact that
the gates are situated where the ecliptic (2), the annual path of the Sun,
crosses the Milky Way.
In de Zabalegi ‘s study emphasis is made on the widespread belief in the
whole ancient world that both the extremities of the Milky Way possessed a
gate for the stars. The southern gate was near the tail of Sagittarius and
the northern gate, near the position ' of shaking hands' of Orion. Ancient
authors like Macrobius, Santillana and Dechend stated and proved that the
gates for the souls to enter and exit from the sky had a rather elastic
position. They stated that the northern gate ran from Taurus to Gemini and
the southern gate from Scorpio to Sagittarius. This map although it is
imprecise because of divergences,albeit minimal, between authors, do not
take us far from the Pilgrimage we are concerned with here and we find in
the section of the sky exalted during the winter solstice our white star
Sirius shining bright. Once again it offers the light of its adamant
Wisdom to the travellers in search of eternity.
The Camino de Compostela is once again the way of the return to the
immortal Celestial Origin, the route that leads to the gate of the gods
revealed during the winter solstice near the sacred field of the Star, on
the earth as it is in heaven.
The Campo of the Star
Under every one of the Christian cathedrals or shrine or pilgrimage
place are found temples of preceding periods belonging to more ancient
cults. Often archaeological excavations reveal multiple layers belonging
to different periods under the actual Christian ritual places. From the
excavations, sacred wells, grottoes or ancient megalithic structures
emerge. Compostela is no exception to this rule. Excavations have revealed
not only the remains of the older cathedral destroyed by the Moors but
also a preceding Roman temple and an even older Celtic well.
It is thus obvious that the field of the star was a place of worship in
former periods and that, maybe, even the apostle James himself visited
this site having been, in some ways, magnetised by the sacred energy that
originated from here.
When in the 9th century
AD the pilgrimages to Santiago began, this route already existed and all
the cities and the villages along its path already bore the names of stars,
of wolf, of goose or raven.
It is thus evident that our Pilgrimage coincides with the ascension of a
powerful current of life energy of the earth, known and traced much before
the beginnings of the Camino de Santiago. The artery of energy of the
Goddess that corresponds to the Heavenly Milky Way, a path of light that
leads to the White Star, the Origin of Life, was drawn by ancient and
mysterious initiates to the Mysteries of the Cosmos and of the Creation.
The Camino of the Star that is so important for the destination to be
reached, was equally important for the journey itself, so that it became
the true initiatory experience, dotted with tests and enormous
difficulties to overcome represented by the seven mountain harbours that
had to be crossed to conquer the desired goal.
We are faced with the cult of an ancient civilisation that is at the
origin of many European peoples, rich with a legacy of culture and
knowledge equal to the other ancient civilisations of the world and even
to those whose origin date to before the Flood. It is not per chance that
there is a narrative tradition that indicates that Noah landed in Galicia.
This myth or legend is ultimately the archetype that links all the ancient
civilisations of the world to the same universal myth – that of the
great purification and the sinking of Atlantis, about 12.000 years ago.
The Noah who landed in Galicia at the estuary of the Noya river, like all
the cultures of the ancient peoples of the world, brought knowledge that
was lost and forgotten, arts like that of agriculture, the breeding of
cattle and the art of building. He thought the art of carving stone and to
represent over it symbols that neither time nor the inclemency of weather
could obliterate and render its message inaudible.
Our Camino lets us see glimpses of ancient traditions lost in the course
of time. Legends of men that came from the sea and that brought their
knowledge. Men that continued to honour their world lost in the depth of
the ocean and who traced , according to their ancient wisdom,sacred routes
towards the west from where to ascend to superior worlds, to the temples
of light and eternal life.
Thus when the first Christians began to live side by side with the men of
the Pyrenees, they understood that these already had profound traditions
and spoke of a sacred route, of a field of a star where one arrives at the
end of a long and hard journey that it is necessary to undertake to reach
the Kingdom of Immortality.
These beliefs proved to be
impossible to obliterate and were systematically Christianised by two
specific religious orders, that of Cluny and that of the Knights Templar
that, from the beginning of the year one thousand controlled the
construction of all Christian places of worship in the region and the
transformation of all the sacred symbols of the ancient cults in subjects
integrated into the new Christian culture.
Thus the ancient symbols of the star, the shell, the goose leg, the raven,
the wolf and the dog were transformed into symbols for the Christian
pilgrimage. They survived even though permuted and hidden, immortalised
into the stone of the cathedrals, carved by the wise hands of mystical
artists. Artists who in the face of oblivion hid them among the symbols of
the new doctrine allowing the courageous and wise Philosophers to find
again the ancient route of the Return. Fulcanelli says:
"Without any doubt our traveller has walked for a long time;
nevertheless his smile well expresses how much he is happy and satisfied
for having kept his vows. Because his empty haversack, his pilgrim’s
staff, his empty gourd, show that this worthy son of 'Alvernia does not
have any longer to worry about drinking or eating. In addition the shell
attached to his hat, the special badge of the pilgrims of Saint James
proves that he has returned directly from Compostela."
Towards Pure Matter – The Gate
This notwithstanding, the reunion with the Philosophal Star that shines
above the head of the victorious initiated must be completed with the
return journey that will provide not a few further surprises.
" The arrival at Compostela implies the acquisition of the Star.
But the philosophal subject is still too impure to undergo maturation. Our
mercury must raise progressively to the supreme degree of required purity
through a series of sublimitations that need a special substance before
being partially coagulated in live sulphur.."
Fulcanelli indicates the existence of two ways to come back, one humid,
that is maritime, long, dangerous, uncertain and useless if one makes the
slightest mistake, and a dry one that although it is shorter, fast and
secure is hidden behind a thick mystery. If the long route of the Camino
de Compostela has led the pilgrim to the glorious seal of the Divine
Knowledge allowing him to cross the gate of the gods, to climb the steps
of the palace of Zeus, and to receive from Zeus’ own hands the supreme
gift of immortality, he must now return and walk back the route in a
contrary direction. The victorious pilgrim will have to face other tests
to refine completely the original matter that now constitutes the
substance of his awareness. He has to overcome new dangers and terrible
difficulties to reach the gate of man, revealed in the summer solstice in
the precise place where the pilgrimage began, at the heart of the Gulf of
Biscay. To cross the northern gate ratifies the rebirth of the new man and
the return of the Reborn in the world of men, on earth.
The return journey of our pilgrimage
to Compostela is wrapped in a mystery reserved for those who have reached
the blessed Field of the Star. It is an impetuous and implacable journey
in the Love that the creation possesses and that man possesses; it is the
journey of those that have such a great treasure to take as a gift, and
who can suffer so much to be worthy of it. So much so that they can see
their most intimate certainties die, like friends who abandon us precisely
at the last step, before arriving at one’s destination.
The Alchemist surprises us for the last time before returning into the
silence of the night, to scan the stars, the mysterious routes of our
heavenly homeland never forgotten.
" All alchemists are obliged
to undertake this pilgrimage. At least in the figurative sense because it
concerns a symbolic journey, and he who wants to profit from it cannot,
even if for one instant only, leave the laboratory. He must day and night
be alert, stand in the breach.. Compostela, he emblematic city is not at
all located in Spanish territory, but it the same ground of the
philosophal subject. Harsh and hard path, full of surprises and dangers.
The route is long and tiring, that route through which the potential
becomes actual and the occult is manifest! "
(1) Ley Lines
Ley lines, o Leys, are alignments of ancient sites that move across
territories. Ancient sites or sacred places can be situated on a straight
line at one or two or many miles in the distance. A ley can be identified
simply by aligning precise sites or can be visible on the ground for all
or a part of its length from the remains of ancient routes.Ley Lines were
rediscovered on June 30th 1921 by Alfred Watkins who unified cartographic
studies with personal and clever intuitions elaborated into a precise
theory.Watkins supposed that these lines on a straight line or ley lines
as he called them from the beginning were the remains of prehistoric trade
routes. He associated the ley lines with the Greek god Hermes ( the Roman
god Mercury, the Norwegian Odin) who was the god of communication and
borders, the winged messenger, the guide for travellers embarking on
unknown paths.. It was the occultist Dion Fortunein his novel written in
1936 " The god with the foot of a goat", who invented or divined
that the ley lines were " power lines" linking prehistorical
sites. Some years later it was suggested tat the Ley lines followed lines
of cosmic energy in the earth and could be identified trough dowsing. In
1960 the ley lines were closely linked to the ufological phenomena. In
1969,the ley lines were studied by John Michell, who discusses them in the
context of a study on geomancy.
In astronomy, the circular route apparently described by the Sun on the
heavenly sphere in its relative motion around the Earth. The plane of the
ecliptic crosses the celestial equator, that is the projection of the
earthly equator on the celestial sphere , forming with the equatorial
plane an angle equal to about 23° 27' 8''. This inclination known as
obliquity of the ecliptic stays approximately constant for periods of
millions of years although at the present time it is diminishing at a rate
of 48 seconds of arch per century. It will continue to diminish for many
more millennia until it will reach 22° 54'; it will then begin again to
The two points where the ecliptic crosses the celestial equator are called
nodes or equinoxes. Each year the Sun crosses at the point of the spring
equinox, that is at the ascendant node around the 21st
of March, and at the point of the autumn equinox, that is at the
descending node, around the 23rd of September.
The furthest points of the ecliptic from the celestial equator are called
instead summer and winter solstices and are located at about half way
between the two nodes. The Sun reaches the solstices respectively around
the 21st of June and the 22nd
of December. The names of these four points correspond to those of the
seasons that begin in the Northern Hemisphere at those dates. Since the
plane of the celestial equator rotates in relation to the ecliptic with a
period of about 25.868 years, the equinoxes are not fixed but set a motion
known as precession of the equinoxes. As a result the celestial maps must
be periodically corrected to determine the true position of a star at a
The ecliptic represents the fundamental circle in a system of celestial
co-ordinates called the ecliptic system.
The celestial latitude is measured towards the north and towards the south
in relation to the plane of the ecliptic while the celestial longitude is
measured towards the east and towards the west in relation to the