Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Pilgrim Credential Arrived!

My pilgrim credentials arrived in my mailbox yesterday and I am delighted!

In about 12 weeks I will be in Spain and my pilgrimage will officially begin.

Of course in many ways, everything that leads up to walking the Camino is part of the pilgrimage too.

In life, it is the journey that matter and not the destination and so it is with a pilgrimage.

The credential (or pilgrim passport as it is often called) documents each stop along the pilgram's path. Traditionally, pilgrims present this document in villages or towns they pass through and a local official places a stamp therein.

Upon arrival at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the passport is again presented, but this time the pilgrim is rewarded with a formal certificate called a compostela.

Pilgrims must walk the last 100 kilometers (and show the appropriate stamps) in order to earn the compostela. Those who are walking for religious reasons receive a beautiful document, while those who walk the camino for sport or the challenge, earn a less grandiose compostela. I will walk from Roncevalles or Pamplona - close to 800 kilometers. My motivation is spiritual (but fun is always important to me!).

I have heard the compostela jokingly referred to as a "get out of hell free card"! Why? Because many pilgrims walk the Camino as an act of penance. And their reward is the forgiveness of their sins.

I am walking the Camino as an act of gratitude, but I'll hang onto the compostela. I would not want to spend ANY time in hell!

{Photo credit: @ Virginia J Pulver, Santa Fe 2009}


Amawalker said...

Hola Ginn! I'll be following you on your journey! Remember, you have to walk at least the LAST 100km to earn a Compostela (not just any 100km)so make sure you get at least 2 sellos (stamps) in your passport in the last 100kms.
Pilgrims hugs,

Virginia said...

I am delighted to have my credential and yes, I will make sure to get at least two during my last 100K...I would NOT want to go to hell just because I am negligent with my paperwork! 8-) (My MA is in organizational management so I feel compelled to live consistently with basic organizational pronciples!)

Sippin' Coffee in Sunny Santa Fe