After the wonderful evening in the restaurant (Green Kitchen), we went back for breakfast. Here I watched my Brother cleanse the owner and room with holy wood. She was really sweet, as afterwards she then gave him breakfast and a pair of Camino socks. Its small moments like this, you see Camino magic. I spoke to the owner afterwards about what it was like working on the Camino. She spoke honestly about the challenges of being able to integrate with locals, and how it can take a huge amount of your time. We talked a lot about how if you put out what you need into the world, you can attract what you need. The Camino had a strange way of providing. I found this clearly when I left Conques. I didn’t carry much food with me that day, but found when I was hungry, I found a shop etc etc. This is the real magic that you can see every day on the Camino.
We eventually set off in a large group and talked excitedly about the night walk most of the day. We eventually came to a large town called San Anton. When we stopped at a café for lunch, the Magician convinced a group of Korean’s to walk with us too in the night. This was really beautiful to see, as typically the South Korean’s and everyone else on the Camino don’t interact. I was starting to see a large group of us potentially setting out for this adventure!
The Magician and I walked on from San Anton together, leaving the rest of the group behind. As we continued to walk down the road, our Italian friend had suggested we spend some time by an archway to feel the energy there and possibly meditate. In this place I felt what I’d describe as a very strong energy/atmosphere. But it felt slightly tainted (like death). I couldn’t comfortably stay here at all, so I pulled the Magician on to our final stop for the night. I researched this place afterwards and found out it was a monastery (of the order of St Anthony) and was once connected as a pilgrim hospital. The hospital here was a bit of a legend, as many pilgrims who came here were cured of ‘St Anthony’s fire’ (ergotism). The poisoning was usually caused by the fungus claviceps, a parasite that is on rye. The cure actually came from eating wheat based bread, which was customarily eaten there. The rye bread normally eaten would be infected when bad corn was used to make the bread (after a bad harvest). When I found this out, it gave me the heeby geebies to be honest… Watch out Casper!
One of the mystical symbols for the Camino, is the T-shaped Tau. The origins for this are from Egypt, however it is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and corresponds to the Greek letter ‘Tau’. In the bible its talked of it as a symbol of protection. The monks in the order of St Anthony wear it as a sign of recognition. They also gave these out to the pilgrim’s to take with them as a symbol of protection against evil and sickness. So the Tau sign became the ‘Cruz del Peregrino’ and is still a mystical symbol of the Camino.
The Magician and I walked slowly on from the old ruins, along a tarmac road with young willowy trees hanging over head. We eventually got to San Esterban Albergue, where we met a beautiful Portuguese soul. He was an instant big connection for the Magician, as they openly talked about magnetism and energies. However it seemed doubtful we’d see him later on the Camino (as we would be setting off at 3am for our night walk). We had one of those magical large Camino family meals with everyone, before we tried to get to bed early. We had let the Albergue owner we’d be leaving at 3am, so he gave us strict instructions to make sure we didn’t wake anyone. By the looks of it, there would be at least 10 of us leaving to walk in the moon light. Woohoo!!