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2019 Camino Guides

LIVE from the Camino May The Fire Of Saint John Purify Your Camino-From Tipperary to Santiago

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2), Chemin du Puy, Portuguese, Via de la Plata
#1
Today is June 24 and I am on a ship crossing over the Irish Sea and North Atlantic to Cherbourg, France. A simple, touching message from my Camino buddy in Mallorca wishing me a Happy St. Juan Day.
The translation is “May the fire purify your way.”
AEBFAD5B-5660-4D52-A229-A67369BA0FC6.jpeg
This was an ancient Celtic custom with the lighting of large bonfires through the night. I knew it was done in West Clare where I started. But then I found out it was a custom followed around the world and very strong in Spain and particularly Galicia, where many Irish Celts oriinally came from. A year ago I was in Muxia after my most difficult Camino, Via de la Plata, soaking my blistered feet in the wonderful basement cold sea water spa of Alburgue Arribada, one of my favorite Alburgues on The Camino. Then the morning after the Night of San Juan, Audi the young woman on left and her mother brought me this flower water to wash my face in.
E3DB9A39-68C2-4C2A-8F9B-B30E305E20F3.jpeg
So refreshing and cleansing. A beautiful ritual. A very grateful pilgrim.

So perhaps this partly explains why Santiago is one of many destinations for me but my end goal is the quiet and beauty of Muxia at the of the world.
B535196F-5A82-4686-A795-9D69EAB08486.jpeg B535196F-5A82-4686-A795-9D69EAB08486.jpeg

———————
Some explanation of St. John Day bonfires and flower water rituals from Wikopedia:

Midsummer tradition is also especially strong in northern areas of Spain, such as Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria where one can easily identify the rituals that reveal the pagan beliefs widespread throughout Europe in Neolithic times. These beliefs pivot on three basic ideas: the importance of medicinal plants, especially in relation to health, youth and beauty; the protective character of fire to ward men off evil spirits and witches and, finally, the purifying, miraculous effects of water.[citation needed] What follows is a summary of Galician traditions surrounding St. John's festival in relation to these three elements.

Medicinal plants: Traditionally, women collect several species of plants on St. John's eve. These vary from area to area, but mostly include fennel, different species of fern (e.g. dryopteris filix-mas), rue (herb of grace, ruta graveolens), rosemary, dog rose (rosa canina), lemon verbena, St John's wort (hypericum perforatum), mallows (malva sylvestris), laburnum, foxgloves (digitalis purpurea) and elder flowers. In some areas, these are arranged in a bunch and hung in doorways. In most others, they are dipped in a vessel with water and left outside exposed to the dew of night until the following morning (o dia de San Xoan -St. John's day), when people use the resulting flower water to wash their faces.

Water: Tradition holds it that the medicinal plants mentioned above are most effective when dipped in water collected from seven different springs. Also, on some beaches, it was traditional for women who wanted to be fertile to bathe in the sea until they were washed by 9 waves.

Fire: Bonfires are lit, usually around midnight both on beaches and inland, so much so that one usually cannot tell the smoke from the mist common in this Atlantic corner of Iberia at this time of the year, and it smells burnt everywhere. Occasionally, a dummy is placed at the top, representing a witch or the devil. Young and old gather around them and feast mostly on pilchards, potatoes boiled in their skins and maize bread. When it is relatively safe to jump over the bonfire, it is done three times (although it could also be nine or any odd number) for good luck at the cry of "meigas fora" (witches off!).It is also common to have Queimada (drink), a beverage resulting from setting alight Galician orujo mixed with sugar, coffee beans and pieces of fruit, which is prepared while chanting an incantation against evil spirits.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#2
Today is June 25 and I am on a ship crossing over the Irish Sea and North Atlantic to Cherbourg, France. A simple, touching message from my Camino buddy in Mallorca wishing me a Happy St. Juan Day.
The translation is “May the fire purify your way.”
View attachment 43850
This was an ancient Celtic custom with the lighting of large bonfires through the night. I knew it was done in West Clare where I started. But then I found out it was a custom followed around the world and very strong in Spain and particularly Galicia, where many Irish Celts oriinally came from. A year ago I was in Muxia after my most difficult Camino, Via de la Plata, soaking my blistered feet in the wonderful basement cold sea water spa of Alburgue Arribada, one of my favorite Alburgues on The Camino. Then the morning after the Night of San Juan, Audi the young woman on left and her mother brought me this flower water to wash my face in.
View attachment 43851
So refreshing and cleansing. A beautiful ritual. A very grateful pilgrim.

So perhaps this partly explains why Santiago is one of many destinations for me but my end goal is the quiet and beauty of Muxia at the of the world.
View attachment 43852 View attachment 43852

———————
Some explanation of St. John Day bonfires and flower water rituals from Wikopedia:

Midsummer tradition is also especially strong in northern areas of Spain, such as Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria where one can easily identify the rituals that reveal the pagan beliefs widespread throughout Europe in Neolithic times. These beliefs pivot on three basic ideas: the importance of medicinal plants, especially in relation to health, youth and beauty; the protective character of fire to ward men off evil spirits and witches and, finally, the purifying, miraculous effects of water.[citation needed] What follows is a summary of Galician traditions surrounding St. John's festival in relation to these three elements.

Medicinal plants: Traditionally, women collect several species of plants on St. John's eve. These vary from area to area, but mostly include fennel, different species of fern (e.g. dryopteris filix-mas), rue (herb of grace, ruta graveolens), rosemary, dog rose (rosa canina), lemon verbena, St John's wort (hypericum perforatum), mallows (malva sylvestris), laburnum, foxgloves (digitalis purpurea) and elder flowers. In some areas, these are arranged in a bunch and hung in doorways. In most others, they are dipped in a vessel with water and left outside exposed to the dew of night until the following morning (o dia de San Xoan -St. John's day), when people use the resulting flower water to wash their faces.

Water: Tradition holds it that the medicinal plants mentioned above are most effective when dipped in water collected from seven different springs. Also, on some beaches, it was traditional for women who wanted to be fertile to bathe in the sea until they were washed by 9 waves.

Fire: Bonfires are lit, usually around midnight both on beaches and inland, so much so that one usually cannot tell the smoke from the mist common in this Atlantic corner of Iberia at this time of the year, and it smells burnt everywhere. Occasionally, a dummy is placed at the top, representing a witch or the devil. Young and old gather around them and feast mostly on pilchards, potatoes boiled in their skins and maize bread. When it is relatively safe to jump over the bonfire, it is done three times (although it could also be nine or any odd number) for good luck at the cry of "meigas fora" (witches off!).It is also common to have Queimada (drink), a beverage resulting from setting alight Galician orujo mixed with sugar, coffee beans and pieces of fruit, which is prepared while chanting an incantation against evil spirits.
Kevin, please don't get upset in the morning when you discover it is still June 25...
 

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