Your pilgrimage does not end at the Cathedral in Santiago, no true pilgrims must continue on to Muxia (Moo-hay-a) or Finisterre (the end of the earth). Muxia is where pilgrims from England, Ireland and Scotland would come ashore on their pilgrimage. It has a chapel sitting on a hill only a few yards from the sea, and the chapel shows the weather worn status of being so close. Last December the chapel was struck by lightning during a fierce winter storm, catching the roof on fire and burning it away. The winter storms also took the toll on the wall surrounding the chapel, breaking many pieces off an hurling them against the building. About a decade ago there was a massive oil spill off this coast, and the oil company established a memorial moment here of a massive hunk of granite spilt in two pieces. A grim reminder of our impact on the world.
Finisterre is literally the end of the earth, and this is the more popular of the two locations probably because of the lighthouse (Faro Finisterre). Tradition holds that you do one of two things; burn something you used on the Camino here, to mark ending the pilgrimage and beginning the next or throwing something from the Camino into the sea, for the same symbolism. And while there were little burn piles scattered about, we chose the throw it into the sea option. We each sat quietly as those who desired approached the Atlantic Ocean and threw their shells into the water. And we sat and watched as a fog bank with rain blew in. We watched it blow across the water and enshroud us in rain. It was remembrance of our baptism and cleansing from our journey all rolled into one.
It was a very thin place.
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