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The Importance of Symbols

2020 Camino Guides


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
As I trod the long and ancient Roman Road (Via Trajana) after leaving Carrion de los Condes I reflected on the long-vanished legions that had also travelled here before me.

In the deep blue sky of that crisp early morning, the slanting sun illuminated a perfect christian cross formed by two vapour trails from jets passing far overhead.

While was praying for divine help before the important battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine also saw a cross of light in the sky, with the inscription in hoc signo vinces (in this sign you shall conquer).

He decreed that the cross would be the symbol that represented his army in battle. He won the battle of the Milvian Bridge and converted to Christianity, paving the way for Christianity to replace the old Roman gods throughout the Roman Empire.

Symbols can have important meanings and consequences, not only for long-dead Emperors, but for all of us. Look for the symbols that resonate with you as you tread your own Camino.


Bob M

rioja routard

Active Member

Thanks for that post. I know exactly what you mean. Here is an extract from my diary, last June in Vézelay;
We walked, our days marked by gentle conversation and prayer, gradually approaching our pilgrimage destination of Vézelay. At the foot of the steep hill on which Vezelay’s Basilica is perched, we noticed a little wooden cross someone had left hanging on an iron cross which served as a Pilgrim marker post. It was “T” shaped; I had never seen one like it before. My sister explained it was Tau cross from the Franciscan order. We continued our way, climbing upwards in the heat, it was muggy and cloudy. I stopped because I felt so sad and emotional and I looked to the sky; the sun was shining through a cloud of exactly the same shape as the Tau cross. I was amazed; I had never seen that cross before and now here it was again, its image repeated in the sky. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a sign for me. I mentioned it to my sister that night thinking she’d seen it too, but she’d been looking at me and not the sky.
Next day, as we walked away from Vézelay we discussed its significance and, after a good three miles came to the conclusion that that little wooden cross was intended for me and so turned all the way back again to return to the Pilgrim’s iron cross. It was still there and we made Morning Prayer there where we found it.

I took the Tau cross with me to Santiago, could the person have ever known that it would have ended up over 1000 miles at its intended destination?

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