Sunday, October 9, 2011
Jaca’s cathedral in Aragón has a basilisk that seems to come from some pre-Christian Pyrenean past.
Eunate’s church in Navarra has a sacred flutist possibly harkening to a Sufi influence, not to mention its ring of thirty-three external arches that are akin to Islamic prayer beads, acting as a meditation upon the ninety-nine names of God—three times around, and entering the hundredth door, as the Sufis call it. Eunate in Basque actually means 100 doors.
Nearly 500 kilometers further along the Camino, Santo Tomas de las Ollas in León possesses nine horseshoe arches in its apse that form an eleven-sided polygon. Another mediation on 99, not to mention on the interfaith nature of the sacred road?
Even St. James’ tomb in Santiago de Compostela may instead contain the bones of another beheaded martyr, the Galician Priscillian, a monk, hermit, and local leader from the 4th century who wove many locally beloved pagan ideas into his rendering of Christianity.
Throughout the sacred pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino, many churches are infused with a sacred geometry that only makes fuller sense if the pagan, the Classical, the Judaic, the Christian, and the Islamic traditions are considered together. Moreover, all along the corridor spanned by the Camino there are dolmens, menhirs, engraved stones and cave walls, and holy springs that also speak of a prehistoric past that saw this corridor as equally sacred.
The Camino—the many roads across Europe and across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela—has many layers; the Christian layer is only the most recent and evident.
I have recently published a multi-layered travel guide on the Camino, The Esoteric Camino France & Spain, as an application download for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch. (An eBook is forthcoming.) Based on over 25 years of exploring, walking, and studying the Camino as a pilgrim, anthropologist, and writer, this app carries in it explorations into the many layers of this sacred road, from prehistory to the present.
The Esoteric Camino France & Spain complements other Camino guides, the more numerous practical how-to guides, and does something no one of them does in one place: offer the deep layers of ancestry and the less obvious lineages and symbols of the places along the Camino. It is rich in esoteric lore, regional folklore, and sacred geometry.
Moreover, as I continue my treks, I will continue to explore stretches of the many Caminos in Europe. As I do so, I will expand the entries in the app.
The current edition of The Esoteric Camino France & Spain covers the French Road, the Camino Francés, from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, to Finisterre, Spain. The current app also covers the Camino Aragonés from the Somport Pass to Puente la Reina, Spain, as well as parts of the road that begin in Le-Puy-en-Velay in France.
The Esoteric Camino France & Spain is available through Sutro Media on iTunes and on Android.