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Scallop Shell

TravellingSonn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2008, Le Puy route 2013
#1
Hi All,

Is it possible to purchase the Camino scallop shell online? And if so, where's the best place to buy one?

Once again many thanks to you all
Buen Camino
Sonia
:D
 

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William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#2
I was sure that Mundicamino would do one but I cannot see it there. Bearing in mind the import of foreign organic material limits in Australia there might be problems there too.

Getting one when you start in SJPP or Roncesvalles will not be difficult or why not make your own. Go to a fishmonger or restaurant and buy some scallops and then clean the shell as best you can. It is actually surprisingly easy to drill two holes in the shell to attach it to your pack or wherever. This is what we did and it makes a good celebration meal before you go.

Buen Camino
William
 
#3
Dear Sonia, Excuse me, but just how important is the shell? In the first place, a pilgirm got it at the end of her journey, not before. It was to show that they had got to the End of the World. I'd suggest you be a lot more concerned on the right frame of mind than on the right symbol. The Camino is a lot more than that.

allaban
Castellon
Spain
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Donating Member
#4
Hi allaban,

I think the pilgrimage is a different experience for each person. Sonia is looking for a scallop shell, we should all help her to find it.

I would try Williams idea with going to a local fish store, they might have it there.

Un saludo,
Ivar
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002-2004-2006-2008-2011-2015
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
#5
YOUR SHELL WILL FIND YOU.
During the early stages of my second camino my shell, carried from home, dropped from my pack and was lost. Fellow Pilgrims were upset but I said "my shell will find me" - and it did. While having a meal in a bar in Virgin del Camino the owner presented me with a scallop shell - "my" shell.
Last year on the VdlP I didn't carry a shell which caused some comment from fellow Pilgrims. The hospitelaro at Salamanca presented me with a shell as I was leaving in the morning - again "my" shell had found me.
They hang before me as I write, proof, if needed, that the Saint will provide.
The long dead pilgrim who inspired me to take the Camino carried a scallop shell (placed in his mouth after his death). His shell has been examined and found to have come from the Bay of Biscay. Medieval pilgrims probably didn't obtain their shell until they arrived in Santiago.
When the time and place are right your shell will find you.
Dael
 

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#6
Dael makes a great point. Of course there's nothing wrong with getting a shell before you go, but you don't need to (everyone will know you're a pilgrim anyway) and if you are given one along the way, or pick one up off the beach at Finisterre (they're not hard to find) it will probably mean more to you. This has been my experience with walking sticks. I've never brought one to the Camino, or bought one there, but three times a stick has "found me." I have two of them in my living room now. Seeing them reminds me of the places, characters and circumstances (always funny) that brought us together. As for my shell, which I bought... It's in a drawer somewhere (probably the same one as my Compostelas).
Whatever you decide, Buen camino!
 
#7
ps for dael: who is this "long dead pilgrim"?

By the way, Dael, can you tell us about this long dead pilgrim of yours? or have you already posted that story somewhere?
 

TravellingSonn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2008, Le Puy route 2013
#8
Hi All,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. I posted this Question because my friend heads off next month on his Camino journey and I wanted to give him a gift.

I respect all the different points of views, although my belief is more inline with what Ivar wrote.

William your idea is brilliant and I think that's what I'll do.

Thanks again all
Buen Camino
Sonia
:D
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002-2004-2006-2008-2011-2015
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
#9
Re: Scallop Shell/Long Dead Pilgrim

Hi all,
I live in Fife, Scotland, which is separated from the Lothians and Edinburgh by the estuary of the River Forth. At the mouth of the estuary sits a tiny island, the May Isle. In the 1980's an archaelogical dig was carried out to establish the extent of medieval church presence on the island.
In 1140 a Benedictine church was built to replace earlier buildings dedicated to St. Ethernan (an associate of St. Columba). In front of the altar in this church archaelogists found the burial of a male aged approx 26 years. In his mouth, after death, had been placed half a scallop shell, a shell which had come from Spain.
Burial in front of the altar indicates very high status. To warrant burial in this location the young man, it is speculated, must have been an important member of the convent, a benefactor who had visited Santiago, or had died before completing his pilgrimage. Examination of his remains was unable to establish where he came from.
I have slightly different thoughts as to why he was accorded high status. The May Isle is approx. 20 miles from the town of St. Andrews, where the relics of St. Andrew were kept. Saints James & Andrew are often depicted, in statue form, standing side by side.
I speculate that the young man had visited Santiago and was on his way to St. Andrews when he died, almost within sight of his goal. He was going for, in sporting terms, the double.
In homage to him I began my first Camino at St. Andrews and cycled what may have been his route through Belgium, France and Spain.
I wear my kilt while walking. My kilt pin is a copy of a medieval pilgrims badge of St. Andrew and I carry a reproduction of a medieval pilgrim badge from Santiago. The original was found in St. Andrews.
May 'my' pilgrim rest in peace. We can all, I am sure, appreciate what he endured and accomplished.
Dael
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002-2004-2006-2008-2011-2015
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
#11
Hi all,
There is a lovely book "Pilgrimage in Medieval Scotland" by Peter Yeoman which recounts the history brilliantly. Peter was the archaelogist in charge of the dig on the May Isle.
I suspect that, as the English weren't very friendly toward we Scots in medieval times, Pilgrims to Santiago would use the seaborn trading links between Scotland (Fife) and 'the low countries' as the gateway to Europe.
This would explain why 'my' Pilgrim was buried on the May.
Of the pilgrim badges etc from Santiago, found in Scotland, the majority have been found near the sea.
My wife and I took a ferry from Fife to Belgium. From there onward to Paris and Kilometre zero.
Strangely before we arrived in Paris we stayed in a tiny village - Sorel - where locals insisted that we visit their shrine to St. Jacques. It is a tiny stonebuilt cell clearly dedicated to the Saint, but now unused. Obviously we were on an ancient route from the coast to Paris, one which I hadn't seen described before.
(For any Scots out there I am told that there are plans to recreate a Pilgrim route from Dunfermline to St. Andrews using exisiting tracks and footpaths. I will try to get more information and will post it).
Dael
 
#12
Sonia,

If you haven't already found a scallop shell in a restaurant or seafood shop, try http://www.seashellcity.com. I bought some scallop shells from them before departure and they were great to deal with.

I think it's great that you're supplying a shell to a friend and future pilgrim as a gift.

Best,

Steve S
 
#13
I'll try to tie the two threads of this conversation together by saying:
"Fascinating story, Dael. Thanks for all the details. I think your idea that the pilgrim was 'going for the double' makes a lot of sense. And I'd like to see you walking the Camino in the kilt!"
and,
"Good luck with finding the shell, Sonia. It's an excellent going-away present. If you're looking for another gift for when your friend returns, there's an on-line shop operating out of Germany that has quite a range of Camino souvenirs. Here's their website: http://www.pilgerandenken.de/.
rw
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2008, Le Puy route 2013
#14
Hi All,

Steve and Rob thank you so much for the links. I'm sure I'll find the perfect shell for my friend.

All the best
Sonia
:D
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
#15
During my camino I met a German pilgrim with his shell made out of aluminium foil wrapped around a shell shapped cardboard. It was made by his girlfriend for his camino. It's not a real shell but it is a great conversation topic with whomever he meets.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#16
TravellingSonn said:
Is it possible to purchase the Camino scallop shell online? And if so, where's the best place to buy one?
They are easy to find along the Way. But before I left, I ordered the metal scallop pin and red/yellow scallop patch from the Confraternity of St. James website:

http://www.csj.org.uk/acatalog/The_CSJ_ ... es_25.html

I put the pin on the front of the hat I wore along the Way, and after completing the Camino I had the patch sewn onto my leather motorcycle vest. Both are nice keepsakes. :)

Sorry if this is too late for your friend, but they might be nice gifts for him upon his return.
 
#17
hobokenpilgrim said:
Interesting story! Are there formal pilgrim routes in Scotland or do you need to make your own way until you are further south?
In reality there are no formal pilgrim routes anywhere.In days gone by you just left home and carried out your pilgrimage in the best way and whichever route you could.Today routes like the Camino Frances have become popular because of reinvention followed by business people deciding to provide the facilities and such that people require.
As a Scot myself I am aware that Scotland has a wealth of pilgrim destinations.Come across and discover them yourself.You will not have to race headlong down the road either to get a bed at night.
Harry
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#19
"In reality there are no formal pilgrim routes anywhere.In days gone by you just left home and carried out your pilgrimage in the best way and whichever route you could."

Not quite, Rafferty. The word 'hospital' comes from hospitality. The routes were clear, from shrine to shrine, from monastery and church to monastery and church (monasteries offering hospitality and hospitals, provided by monk hospitaliers). Limited to certain points along the way, river crossings or the very few bridges, slightly higher path on the winter route to stay away from the mud. Also, pilgrims tended to travel in groups for support and safety - Canterbury Tales??. True, you would walk or ride from home, but to your church where you would take the morning Mass and then to the city where you would receive a pilgrims Mass.
Re: the Scallop shell. Of course, over half a millenium ago they were picked up at Santiago, and then people had to walk back! But that was over five hundred years ago. Now, as part of the ritual, we wear them on the way there - it is quite simple. So, wear the shell. when people see the shell they sometimes call out a greeting, or give you oranges, or ask you to pray for them when you get to Santiago ... it is a good thing to wear. Attach it when you leave, go to the airport displaying it. And, true I'm afraid, they won't allow them to be imported into Australia. You can buy cockles St. Jacques(in the frozen fish section of your supermarket), which are great, and then keep the shells. You can buy them when you start but it isn't the same, no sense of ritual, you can feel more of a consumer doing it that way. Take them with you!! And take an extra one to hang somewhere special along the way, or to give to someone special along the way. Also, if you know where you are going to be before you start, you can buy them from me online and I'll post them to the address of your choice in Europe http://www.PilgrimSupplies.org
Enjoy the planning and, whatever you may think about your packing, trust me, you will carry toooooo much.
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#22
I didn't have a shell when I started... but bought one in Puenta la Reina. However, upon arriving in Fisterra, a traveling companion (who is a seasoned Pilgrim) found one for each of us on the beach. (we ended up as a group of four) Although smaller than the one I purchased, it is a most treasured "recuerdo".

The one I bought is in my classroom along with other items from the Camino to show my students when we talk about my summer adventure. But the one from Fisterra, has a special place at home. I suggest doing both - their significance is quite distinct.
Buen Camino.
 

Janeh

Active Member
#23
Hi Sonia,
I did a similar thing to what you had in mind - ordered some scallop shells for myself and to give to friends who were thinking of doing the camino. They were thrilled with the gift and mine hangs next to my computer to give me inspiration whilst I plan, or when I sometimes doubt my ability to do the camino, or spur me on when I am all enthusiastic about it all.
I ordered mine online from Br David (see his post above). They passed through customs here in australia OK - they opened them and inspected them. The only thing confiscated were the hollyhock seeds Br David included as a generous gift. (You now know not to do that don't you Br David? :) :?: :) )
Your friend has probably already left, but for future reference for yourself or other friends, I hope this was helpful. cheers Jane.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#24
Well, Hi - sunny Australia - janeH nice to hear from you. I am getting old I think (well I am, and have been a bit unavailable for a while but fighting fit now - hurrah!) ... of course, it was the hollyhock seeds that they lifted, not the shells!
Others who don't understand this bit - if I sell scallop shells for the pilgimage from my shop I charge under the actual postage and I also include packs of hollyhock seeds and tea spoons with the scallop symbol on them (but don't tell anyone as they are surprise gifts) - the idea being that in that soft and exciting planning stage 'goodies' arrive ... one thing that I didn't have for my first week was a spoon .. yoghurt, stirring tea .... an essential! (No, didn't take one from a refuge, bought a pack of four from a supermarche and left three in a refuge) ....

I'm living in Cambridge now and a couple of weeks ago saw a young woman walking towards the railway station, early morning, carrying a big pack and with a Scallop Shell tied on it - instant recognition and just time as I drove past to call out 'Bonne Camino!' - brilliant, she had almost just stepped out of her door and someone had called already - instant family, imagine the innocent buzz she felt ... and that is a good reason to start the journey with one tied to the pack - don't you think?

but, truth is, of course, all will do it the way you want - and why not.
 

Janeh

Active Member
#25
does that mean that we won't see you administering your kindness along the route during the summer Br David? I was so looking forward to that glass of wine you promised me :)
Hopefully you are well enough to be out on the camino next summer, take care and all the best, Jane :arrow:
 
#26
Not quite, Rafferty. The word 'hospital' comes from hospitality. The routes were clear, from shrine to shrine, from monastery and church to monastery and church (monasteries offering hospitality and hospitals, provided by monk hospitaliers). Limited to certain points along the way, river crossings or the very few bridges, slightly higher path on the winter route to stay away from the mud. Also, pilgrims tended to travel in groups for support and safety - Canterbury Tales??. True, you would walk or ride from home, but to your church where you would take the morning Mass and then to the city where you would receive a pilgrims Mass.

This is correct as far as it goes.However it must be remembered that in the middle ages there were far more people walking to Santiago than today.Therefore you were unlikely to find facilities enough on the road.The majority of people,especially the poor, did have to cope as well as they could.
It is true that the majority of people did receive a formal document from their church which allowed them safe passage on their pilgrimage.If they could find free space in the limited facilities offered by the monasteries and churches they were fortunate.
To say that the routes were clear again is only partly correct.When a pilgrim had acquired his passport he did literally just walk from his door and headed to Santiago.Eventually they would reach various well trodden
routes which over time became the recognised way.The route we now call The Camino Frances was largely determined by the fact that the Moors were in control of the land just to the south.Further north the mountains got in the way.
In the pilgrims shelter in Roncevalles there is a copy of an interesting 12th century document.This document states "that its doors are open to all,well and ill,not only to Catholics,but to pagans,jews and heretics,the idler and the vagabond and,to put it shortly,the good and the wicked".So nothing has changed there then.
I don't want it to be thought that I do not value the work of the hospitaliers.On the contrary I think they are a wonderful group of people and yes I am fully aware of the root of the word.
I mentioned that the Roncevalles document includes pagans.It is interesting to know that the scallop shell predates St.James and was a pagan symbol not of rebirth but of birth itself.
Also Botticellis "Birth of Venus" shows the goddess rising up from a giant scallop shell.
Another association with the scallop shell goes back to John the Baptist who used the scallop shell in his christenings.Many baptismal fonts are in the shape of a scallop shell because of this.
There are many other different explainations given as to the significance of the scallop shell.I believe though that the scallop shell was adopted as a symbol for the camino well after the pilgrimage was in full swing.The powers that be adopted the scallop shell in the same way that pilgrims to Jerusalem adopted the the swatch of palm in their clothes and pilgrims to Rome adopted as their emblem a small key worn on their cloaks.
This was an early form of branding in fact.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#27
Oh dear. Rafferty, dear brother, it is like this, - this species has been around for a long time and the stories that explain the riddle of existence have altered over the years on the outside. But you mistake the clothes for the man ... over the millenia people have worn different clothes, but the person underneath remains unchanged. Over the millenia religious descriptions have altered but the truth underneath remains the same.

Rafferty, look, I don't usually do this online but - a moment; with open and uncritical and childlike heart consider this; The 'boy who cried wolf' story is old and it crosses all nations - they all have a version. It is told to children to impart a necessary truth, that you must only call for help desperately when you need help desperately. It is not to do with wolves, or sheep, or shepherd boys, it is a story told as truth which imparts a deeper truth. Now, if you told children, before reciting the story, that it was 'made up' but they had to listen to it, it would have no effect at all. The effect is made internally by their acceptance of the truth of the story. So, necessarily the outlines of a story will change as societies and fashions change - but the internal truth remains the same. But you, and people like you (Pharisees and Scribes come to mind), hear the story and want to know "what sort of wolf was it?" "Weren't the parents prosecuted?" "I won't believe until I see the boys grave and disinter it and see the teeth marks on the bones" and so on. But this way of looking at things, although it is great for producing academic journals and impressing the innocent in bars over a good claret, misses the inner message of the story completely.
Now, Raffery, we appear to exist on this blue-white pearl, in a dark void - for no apparent reason. It is a riddle and the bottom line question that all humans ask is "what is going on and why am I here?" (alright, two questions) ... true religions answer this. My religion, Christianity, is a boat that you can enter and it will take you across that river of unknowing to a place where you know, and then you are free. You are not compelled, you are not coerced, you are not asked to give up your mental abilities, it is not brainwashing - it is a method (and rather a good one) of stepping away from this real and serious and solid way of looking at things and becoming part of something much bigger and better - (you have to trust me on that bit), you are only asked to surrender, to give up all that "oh, but in 1384 a pilgrim wore this there" and so on, or "there is no way he could have walked on water", or "I won't believe it unless I can see it.". "Well, yes, I do believe in Australia though I've never been there .. errrmmm" Really.
In the Christian gospels 'educated' people are asking him (Jesu) questions all the time, setting up tricky questions that they think he cannot answer .. and, all those 'wise' people, they are all fools. To understand what it is to be truly human you have to let go, you have to trust, you have to 'Be'. Saint Augustine, that flawed but holy man, wrote once that "unless you believe you will not understand". He meant - to try to understand first and then you will believe is faulty. It is the other way round.
Rafferty, it is like this. Modern 'intelligent and rational' thought believes that matter came into existence and eventually somehow became so complicated that it produced life. But here is the truth, the true secret Raffery - Matter is produced from Life. The way that logicians and 'sensible' people see reality is completely the mirror image of what it actually is - Matter is produced from Life.

What has this to do with the pilgrim route and scallop shells? Patience.

We have to surrender into the arms of the truth to become fully human, in Christianity this is called 'accepting Jesu in your life', in Islam 'surrendering to the Will of God', to Hindus, 'accepting the Dharma' - and it is all the same .. that we are in process, we are becoming full, good, compassionate, and we will go through all without bitterness to achieve that.
So, the question of the shell is not to do with some fabricated history of reality but the true reality of 'now', and is to do with getting the shell, pinning it on that clean and virgin pack, stepping out of the door and with all the excuses "no I just want a long walk", "no, I just want to see if I can do it", no, I'm not religious at all, but I am spiritual" - as if there is a difference! all those excuses drifting away like steam on a summer day, to step out - to take the next step.
Rafferty, God calls. If you have chosen to not hear that, well ... ok, but please, let us not go on tooooooo much about the history of this or that and miss the point about this pilgrimage, and all pilgrimages (including the one we call 'our life') that 'God Calls'.

God calls you all, to travel and to experience, and to find. Do not mistake the religion for the truth. There is only One God. And that God calls. Be proud - wear the shell.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#29
dont.. miss the point about this pilgrimage, and all pilgrimages (including the one we call 'our life') that 'God Calls'.
Please, don't patronize the agnostics who don't accept a system of dogma, regarded as unquestionably true, which is incompatible with science - or those who refuse to accept matters of fact without evidence. (This would include the Dali Lama and about 500 million buddhists who don't believe in Gods, including Zeus, Jupiter, Odin and Brahma.)
Don't we ever learn? Nancy Frey has just posted a comment that:
I believe very firmly that one of the most important messages that can be garnered from the Camino is one of tolerance! As the 12th century quote from Roncesvalles indicates all pilgrims are welcome no matter who they are.
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
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#30
I believe very firmly that one of the most important messages that can be garnered from the Camino is one of tolerance! As the 12th century quote from Roncesvalles indicates all pilgrims are welcome no matter who they are.
Oh dear, I am a history buff, an agnostic from Asia with a fascination on the history of Christianity and a definite believer on the 'all pilgrims are welcome' quote in Roncesvalles.

That said, underneath the clothes we are all pilgrims, regardless whether you goal is to 'walk with God', 'walk for yourself', 'walk for others', 'walk to find yourself', 'walk to lose yourself', 'walk to seek penance', 'walk for world peace'.......
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#31
Agreed.

Please, don't patronize the agnostics who don't accept a system of dogma, regarded as unquestionably true, which is incompatible with science - or those who refuse to accept matters of fact without evidence. (This would include the Dali Lama and about 500 million buddhists who don't believe in Gods, including Zeus, Jupiter, Odin and Brahma.)
Don't we ever learn?


Ah, Silly Doll, greetings. Well, agnostics who don't accept. Exactly - though where is the dogma? Funny, if you read my post it says nothing about dogma. It even says 'don't mistake the religion for the truth' - not very dogmatic is it? What I was writing about was surrendering - opening up - becoming child-like - to then experience a deeper truth about how/why all this 'is'. No dogma, no patronizing, just a method.
A method that any scientist could follow ... ah, but it would be 'subjective' wouldn't it? And therefore worthless? - you guys are so funny! What about Schroeders cat?

So, science. Wonderful at measurement and technology. Quite excellent at explaining how matter does what it does, completely inadequate at explaining why matter does what it does. However, physics now explains this solid universe as twists of nothing, just twists of energy and all those twists of energy are somehow one energy ... mystics have been saying that for thousands of years. The big-bang theory? Exactly the same as the Hindu explanation. Where is anything that I have written incompatible with science? And what evidence does science have that somehow refutes what I have written? Please.
Buddhists - yes, a wonderful philosophy, but you mistake. What the Buddha spoke against was the concept of a still place that one is eventually absorbed into (a 'the One') that Hindus named God. Incidentally, let us not forget that he was a Hindu! He said that a dynamic universe cannot be maintained by something Still. Mahayana Buddhism (Dalai Lama's - commonly known in the West as Tibetan), is a 5/6th century creation from a synthesis of Christianity and the original Therevada buddhism. That is why so many of the sayings are identical to Christianity. It has a number of Dante-like levels of existence and mini-gods and devils that inhabit these other levels and can interfere with this world (a bit like the Christian angels and demons). His illumination wasn't as it is now portrayed, as a flash of awareness that made him into some (non)God-like superhuman, it was a practical realisation of how one could live the riddle of existence. From this he formulated a very down-to-earth practical path. His concept of 'no God' was that your salvation, as it were, is down to you and that there is no personal creator god, not that behind this existence there isn't an energy that upholds it all. Buddhist meditation is aimed at no longer seeing this world differentiated, as this and that and that over there but to achieve a state where all is one and one moves within it. This is exactly what the Saint, Thomas Aquinas wrote, that we live and breathe and have our being within God.
Zeus and Odin and so on? .... go back to my last post - stories of the time to tell a deeper truth ... oh well ....

Silly Doll .. assume you may have wife or/and children, if not, a Mother and Father .. and that you love them deeply. Please explain scientifically what that 'love' is - with evidence of course.

I apologise for appearing patronising but ... eerrmmm ... incidentally Silly Doll, why are you and all you 'Agnostics' involved in a pilgrim route rather than a rambling association? Not drawn to it for some non-scientific reason are you?
Enough, enough - all is well.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#32
Apologies to all, this is a post about Scallop Shells and has become much toooo bantering and silly - mainly my fault - so let us close that area and go back to the scallop shell.

All is well.

The Scallop Shell. Personally I have always seen it as a representation or symbol of the Sun, with all that entails.

And, rather than following ancient tradition and picking one up when you arrive at the end (which would be at Finisterre, the end of the Earth), I think one should follow the medieval tradition and wear it from the start of the journey (as in old paintings of pilgrims in pilgrim attire with the shell on the hat).
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#33
The medieval tradition was to be given the scallop shell when you arrived at Compostela - the pictures were probably of pilgrims returning home.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#34
probably? not very scientific, it's almost as if you believe that without any evidence .. hmmm...
 
#35
The Scallop Shell as an emblem or in modern parlance,a brand, has been around for much longer than most pilgrims realise.
The Santiago story starts in A.D.814 when a hermit ,named Pelayo, from the north west of Spain was directed to a wooded area near the river Sar by some strange lights.He informed the bishop,Theodomir,who sent some men to search the area .They came across a cave containing the body of St.James.Theodomir contacted the Pope who immediately declared an official pilgrimage to the site.
However by this time the scallop shell had been used as a symbol of birth by pagans for several hundred years.
John the Baptist used the scallop shell when christening people in the sea.This association of christening and the scallop shell can be seen in many churches with many baptismal fonts in the shape of the scallop shell.
In circa.1482-1486 Sandro Botticellis "Birth Of Venus" is another example of the scallop shell being used in a symbolic way.
When exactly the scallop shell was adopted by the Santiago pilgrims is not known.
The pilgrims official outfit was determined in the middle ages by a succession of Popes and various parliaments.Their sale was licenced and regulated.Wearing of the pilgrims official outfit gave the wearer many rights.In fact the wearer was exempt from the laws of the lands they passed through and instead judged under a special set of statutes set out expressly for pilgrims.
In 1590 King Philip the second of Spain set out rules and regulations covering the formal pilgrims outfit.He did this because of so many fake outfits were being used for fraudulent purposes.
He went on to state that the official outfit could only be worn through Spain along the narrow route from the Pyrenees to Santiago-in effect what we know now as the Camino Frances.
The outfit at this stage consisted of:-
1/Long black cloak-to be used as protection from the weather by day and a blanket by night.
2/Strong boots.
3/Broad brimmed hat.
4/Staff-for protection.
5/A gourd-tied to the staff to carry water.
6/A bag- tied to the belt to carry essentials such as knife,money and passport.
7/Scallop Shell-to be tied to the hat or cape or to be worn loose around the neck.
This mention of the Scallop shell may be the first written proof of the adoption of the Scallop Shell as an emblem.It shows that the problem of how and when the shell should be worn had been decided formally a very long time ago.
There are three main Christian pilgrim destinations ,namely Jerusalem,Rome and Santiago.Jerusalem adopted the palm frond with the wearer weaving a piece into the cloak.The pilgrims to Rome adopted a key to be worn on the hat or on the cloak.Lastly the Santiago pilgrims adopted the Scallop Shell.Early forms of branding.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#37
Funnily enough on another forum a debate about the scallop shell has become heated. Rather a contradiction! Let's have peace.


John
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#38
I'll drink to that!

OOPS...sorry, that's another thread!

But to the point...symbolism, especially among Christians is both a form of "branding" (to use the current vernacular) and grounding. There are: fish, alpha & omega, the cross among others. On the big three pilgrimages: the Palm for the Holy City Jerusalem, the Key for Rome and, still today the Scallop Shell for the Camino. It allows one and each other to immediately identify a "friend" or, in this case a fellow traveler.

Now, where do I get my shell and when?
Arn
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#39
Oh dear, someone seems to have been editing their previous posts ...

I am sorry that you are upset but no, Rafferty, I have not been insulting. hhmm, haven't accused you of waffle either ..
if you think that what I have written is nonsense you may find that this says more about you than about me -

well, your career does matter to me actually, as I am interested in people generally though your profile is very secret.
you are 'at least as spiritual ... as me' ? Rafferty, it isn't a competition

Whilst I have been doing hands on work I suspect that you have spent a long time contemplating your navel.Perhaps you should come and join us in the real world,it's not so bad.

Oh dear, oh dear, I hope you aren't that critical of your patients?
Rafferty, you have absolutely no idea what I have been doing in my life, but it has had nothing to do with contemplating my navel. Personally, I would find it hard to be that insulting to someone else, you are rather tightly wound I think ...

Rafferty, my main debating posts were aimed at Silly Doll, and it could appear that I don't like him but we go back a way - and if you went to Silly Dolls personal blog you would find that there is a strong, caring, fun, sensitive and life-affirming man - I do my posts to him as they are as my personal feelings are that he is a lot more errmm ... religious? spiritual? than he allows himself to be and I can't resist winding him up a bit, but I mean no harm - he is a good and kind man - his blog is worth a visit.

I am sorry that you feel offended but, as a response, I really do not wish you to insult me and attack me - if you look further up the listings you will see where I had already apologised and tried to get the listing back on track - mea culpa and all that - so, take some deep breaths and relax Rafferty, all is well.

Nice little write up about the scallop/uniform background by the way, though John baptised in the river Jordan and he wasn't a Christian so he couldn't christen. The scallop shell association comes from early Christian paintings in Rome (catacombs), depicting John starting Jesus' ministry by baptising him and you are absolutely right, he is shown using a scallop shell.
Come, if you truly thought that what I wrote was 'nonsense' then an appropriate response would have been to refute it, which should be easy as you could only know that it was nonsense if you knew differently - but I have heard you Rafferty - all is well.
 
#40
I stand corrected on the christening issue.
There are differing accounts about much of John the Baptists life including exactly where he carried out his work.There is much evidence that he did many/most of his baptisms in the Jordan area.Something which I find puzzling is the use of the Scallop Shell which is a Marine Bivalve Mollusc which is only found in the seas and oceans.This suggests to me that perhaps he did venture to the Med or that the Scallop Shell was such a strong symbol already that it's symbolic use was widespread.
Reading today I came across a chapter in which it states that pilgrims would carry a second scallop shell .The pilgrim would present themselves to churches,abbeys,castles etc where he would be expecting to be given as much sustenance as could be picked up with one scoop of the shell.
The pilgrim would probably receive oats or barley and perhaps wine or beer.
Another legend I came across was that the St.James Way was seen as a sort of fertility pilgrimage undertaken when a young couple desired to bear offspring.The Scallop Shell is believed to have originally been carried as a symbol of fertility.
Both of these accounts would again support the notion that a Scallop Shell shoud be carried from the start of the pilgrimage.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#41
Gosh...once again into the lion's den.

First Johnny Walker takes up my need for penitence and turns me to drink. Vinotinto supplies directions to free vino. Cecelia adds in the mystic, Sil follows with Gregorian...to bring me back to reality and BOOM...I find a battle of ideas and beliefs over a scallop shell.

Now I'm quite use to being on the outside looking in and I'm not a divider but a uniter. Nor am I an expert on most topics, but I am a thinker...

Now did I miss something here, but didn't the good Brother say the following: Silly Doll, and it could appear that I don't like him but we go back a way - and if you went to Silly Dolls personal blog you would find that there is a strong, caring, fun, sensitive and life-affirming man - I believe Sil is a charming SA woman, or did I miss something here?

Oh well, I guess I'm more inclined to the simpler things on the Camino. Though don't get me wrong. You strike a target I have deep feelings with and I'm right there in the mix.

Buen Camino...friends
Arn
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#42
Arn said:
Johnny Walker takes up my need for penitence and turns me to drink. Vinotinto supplies directions to free vino
Johnny Walker and VinoTino - man, with names like that we could be the Batman and Robin (or Asterix and Obelix, for the Euro-centric) of the Camino when it comes to alcohol and spirits...who wants to be the potion-preparing Getaflix? (hehe) :wink:
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#43
Arn said:
Now, where do I get my shell and when?
You can pick up a big one (about the size of a CD) on a string (for hanging off of your pack) for a couple of Euros at the Pilgrim Office in St. Jean. Otherwise, they should be available here and there along the Way in various forms: necklaces, pins, etc.

If you want to order some bling beforehand, you can get a small metal scallop badge at the Confraternity of St. James website (and/or a nice scallop patch, if you want something to sew onto your pack):

http://www.csj.org.uk/acatalog/The_CSJ_ ... es_25.html

I got them both - wore the pin on my hat during the trek, and when I finished the Camino I had the patch sewn onto my leather motorcycle vest - cuz after all, a Harley rider and a peregrino aren't that far removed from one another... :wink:

Buen Camino! :arrow:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#45
Vinotinto,

Isn't that the shell pin copied after the pin found in the River Thames? I would like to hear that story. I do want to get that and, getting the shell in SJPP just seems the right thing to do. Thanks,oh and BTW I ordered the Brierely book...a new edition comes out in Jan '08...thanks again!

A HD biker (though they would say there isn't any other kinda real biker! It now begins to fit...Super!

Arn
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#46
Personally, as a lapsed Catholic, I have no wish to take a scallop shell. I am looking forward to the Chemin /GR65 - (I am starting in Le Puy and possibly won't walk in much of Spain this trip) - for the chance to walk in the landscape outdoors. I know that I will appreciate the historical milieu, but a scallop shell does not feel like 'me'. At least that is my current position..... though I have been known to change my mind;-)
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#47
The little metal brooch that the CSJ sells is a replica of a brooch found in the river Thames that is now in the Museum of London (exhibit No.34). In 2004 the curator of the medieval gallery, John Clark, showed us a box with 8 similar Santiago souvenirs found in London since the 1400s. The majority had been found in the silt of the Thames but a few were found in graves together with scallop shells. There is an interesting website where you can purchase replicas of most souvenirs found in Britain. http://www.castsfromthepast.co.uk/
Another interesting story is that the shell used by SHELL Petroleum was chosen by a Mr Graham (Director of the “Shell” Transport and Trading Company.) There is some evidence that the Shell emblem was taken from his family coat of arms. The ‘St James’s Shell’ had been adopted by the Graham family after their ancestors made the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella.
When the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and “Shell” Transport and Trading merged in 1907 it was the latter’s brand name and symbol which then became the short form name (“Shell”) and the visible emblem (the “Pecten”) of the new Royal Dutch/Shell Group. And so it has remained ever since.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#48
Hello Maggie,
I'm sure you know that the meaning of your name is 'Pearl' - so perhaps an oyster shell would suit you better!
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#49
sillydoll said:
Hello Maggie,
I'm sure you know that the meaning of your name is 'Pearl' - so perhaps an oyster shell would suit you better!
Yes Sil, My name does have a rather beautiful meaning. And in France they always say it so nicely!
I imagine what may well happen is that I have a friend who tends to find a beautiful wee gift for me before big undertakings. Maybe she will give me what I am meant to carry... But meanwhile, I found a lovely patch with a Kiwi with boots on, and he looks rather gorgeous on my pack!
Margaret
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#51
I am a great and ardent believer in "self censorship"...that said, allow me to offer this up for comment. For the most part, the info contained in this threat is both valuable and consistent with the main topic. The vast number of replies demonstrates that, in the main, contributors have glossed over the "banter" and pressed on!

May I suggest the learned moderator forestall his decision to break the thread.

Peace
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#52
sillydoll said:
Another interesting story is that the shell used by SHELL Petroleum
Ha - we have tons of Shell stations where I live, and I've looked at their signs with different eyes upon my return from the Camino. Does this mean I need to get my gas there from now on? Maybe they need a new slogan: "Put a Pilgrim in your tank!" :wink:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#53
Doesn't that mean that if you use Shell fuel and you have an automatic you would always end up in Santiago?
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#54
evanlow said:
That said, underneath the clothes we are all pilgrims, regardless whether you goal is to 'walk with God', 'walk for yourself', 'walk for others', 'walk to find yourself', 'walk to lose yourself', 'walk to seek penance', 'walk for world peace'.......
That about sums up this board, which is certainly a microcosm of the Camino. I asked many people on the Way why they were doing the Camino, and surprisingly most were doing it for non-Xian (or perhaps I should say non-religious) reasons - kind of ironic, I suppose. Aside from those doing it for sporting, cultural, and social reasons, quite a few were doing it to work some sort of internal/external dilemma out.

That's one reason I liked the description given to the Camino by a character in the movie Americano. She said that by it's end, you will have worked out all of your conflicts. I dunno if it's so cut and dried as that, but I certainly came to a better place concerning a number of mine... :arrow:
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#55
Br. David said:
Doesn't that mean that if you use Shell fuel and you have an automatic you would always end up in Santiago?
If only that were so, m'man - if only that were so...but then again, don't pilgrims always drive with a stick? ;-)
 
#56
I picked my shell up from the beach behind the abbey on Iona and tied it to my backpack.It proved very useful in that it identified me as a pilgrim long before arriving to the Camino Frances.
There are shells to be bought in many places on the route starting at the pilgrims office in St.Jean.The price is usually one euro for a plain strung shell and about two to three euros for a strung shell with the cross of St.James painted on it.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#58
YES you can buy real shells at St J and at many other places along the way. Pilgrim walking sticks or bastones are also available for a few euros.
 
#59
Yes Arn all the shells are real as Johnny Walker confirms.If you wait until you get to Santiago you will be asked to pay stupid prices from the street vendors.I saw shells being sold there for 5euros.
At my favourite Albergue of the whole Camino at Manjarin, Tomas the guy who runs the place,gave shells away for nothing.Also he sold badges and other assorted keepsakes for the price of a donation.
This albergue is the most basic on the Camino but somehow captured the spirit better than anywhere else for me.Tomas is a genuine character who cares passionately for what he is doing.For the cost of the donation to stay here includes an evening meal which will be a traditional mountain dish and delicious.If you are walking past this albergue at least stop off for a drink you'll find the place fascinating.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#60
Johnny Walker and Rafferty,

I appreciate the info...I'd like a shell at the beginning, but will make it a point to stop at Manjarin. Most books don't say much about it, but,I also noticed, that many who have done the Camino mention it...so, it's now on my Must Go...list.

Thanks very much.
Arn
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#61
Scallop Shell and Manjarin

http://www.manjarin.tk/ is where you will find a few pictures of Tomas and Manjarin
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#62
Arn said:
but will make it a point to stop at Manjarin
If you watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail before you go, you'll appreciate Manjarin in a fun sort of way... :wink: But, you really can't help but stop there for a bit, especially when you see his M*A*S*H-style mileage/kilometer marker... :arrow:
 
#63
Hello again Arn.Yes please do stop at Manjarin even just for a drink.The books don't recommend it 'cos it's so basic but I loved it.There are no showers,the toilet had burned down because someone left a cigarette end in a bin(Tomas was going to replace it so it should be OK now),the kitchen is outside,the beds are comfortable though even if most of them are matresses on the floor.The place reminds me of my hippy days with it's atmosphere.There were only ten of us staying when I did the Camino.We saw many people slogging past ignoring Manjarin-their loss as far as I was concerned.In the evening we sat around a table outside under the stars eating a wonderful lamb stew and salad with as much fruit and heady red wine as you could manage.There were five nationalities present even with such a small group.We sang songs and passed the guitar around and generally had a lovely time.In the morning you walk 300mtrs to a spring for your ablutions.When Tomas can afford it he intends to pipe the water in which might be done by now.Marjarin is a "dead village" which a group of alternative types are bringing back to life.
The powers that be had tried to close the albergue down by cutting off electricity because the place is so basic.Tomas went to Madrid and demonstrated outside the parliament building until the ruling was changed.This man deserves our support.He offers shelter and a warm welcome in one of the highest sections of the Camino which must be so welcome in bad weather.When I was there it was warmish aand it was great sitting outside with the mountains all around.It reminded me of my native Scotland in fact.I loved it.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#64
I stopped there for coffee and biscuits - mad and weird and sane and wonderful. Templar swords and smiley people, was bitten by their fat goose (afraid I kicked it and it looked so offended I still feel guilty) - when you heave into sight they ring a bell to let you know they are there - verr nice. And Crikey! it was cold up there. To me it was less hippy past than future post-apocalypse ...
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#66
I had coffee and biscuit there too, and donated some change for them.

I would say that the biscuit was plain and the coffee would have tasted awful in most circumstances. But the place is so high up and cold, all I can say is that it was hot and refreshing.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#67
No Rafferty, my experience the same - terrible coffee (they kept it in a flask), very strong, almost muddy. But yes, refreshing and warming.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#68
O.K....I just got my Pilgrim Guides to Spain from CJS...Manjarin is now highlighted and double stared. With little more than 228 km remaining at that location...I figure I've been through enough high spots...low spots and YGTBSM opportunities that Manjarin, and Tomas, should be a piece of cake, er biscuit.

Thanks again all!

Arn
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#69
Watch out for the religious services. As I was leaving - actually down on the road - an outside Templar service started. It went on for over 25 minutes and I didn't understand one word of it. A big double-handed sword is used and he wears a white crusader thingy with a big red cross on it. It seemed rude to leave so I stood down on the road, visible from just the waist up, listening and looking serious and as if I was paying attention. It was then that the goose started to have a go at me. I kept turning and crouching down out of sight to shake my fist at it and then pop back up again and pretend nothing was going on... people were looking sideways at me, then the fat beast actually nipped me so I turned, swung like a Russian dancer, kicked it and sprung back up again ... that was when it looked really offended and I felt guilty - but it didn't nip me again, and the service ended and I left .... you just have to go there.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#70
Br David...I'm sure you recognize my avatar...therefore the service, while not totally alien to me, may stand a bit of scrutiny.

As to geese...I've spent a significant amount of time providing assistance to folks with "intruder" problems.

When asked my suggestion as to the Best watch dog, I will invariably recommend an attack goose!

They are capable of beating a man down with their wings, make an awful racket, are protective of humans they recognize, like small children and, most important in some locals...are more effective killing a cobra than a mongoose!

Honk...honk!

Arn
 

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