Muxía, Spain is a seaside spiritual site that shouldn't be missed at the end of your pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. It is a most sacred place, rife with legend, natural beauty and a unique and intimate ambiance.
In fact, if you are not walking the Camino de Santiago, I would still recommend this most magical place, full of gorgeous beaches and serenity like you haven't seen in awhile.
We are adept at saying what we make of places - but we are far less good at saying what places make of us. Two questions we should ask of any strong landscape: 1. What do I know when I am in this place that I can know nowhere else? 2. What does this place know of me that I cannot know of myself?" ~ "The Old Ways," Robert McFarlane
When you arrive in the town of Muxía, Spain, (pronounced moo-SHEE-a) you have not yet reached the end of the earth. You must walk another 1.4 kilometers, on this lovely path in the photo, below. At least it is not 3 more kilometers like in Finisterre!
(For a list of accommodations in Muxía, click here.)
I took the lovely 1.4 kilometer walk after settling into my albergue and unloading my pack. I had a whole hour and a half before my friend would join me, so I took the opportunity to wander around the land's end by myself.
The town was very quiet as they always are at siesta time in the late afternoon. The sun was high, as was the wind and I was eager to see what this place wanted to show me, as no other place could!
Below is the zero kilometer marker, with the Monument to the Prestige Tanker that spilled 70,000 gallons of oil into the Atlantic Ocean in 2002. I didn't find this monument all that enticing. Interesting, for sure. Click the link to read more about this disaster and its effects.
As you look over the hill, the famous Nosa Señora da Barca (Our Lady of the Boat) church comes into view. Unfortunately, it was hit by lightening recently, and like the grand Cathedral in Santiago, it too was under scaffolding. Plus the church was closed for renovation. Despite this disappointment, I found the place no less enticing and spiritual.
Apparently, Galicia was only converted to Christianity in the 12th century, so this place was a sacred Celtic place long before the coming of legend of St James' arrival by boat.
As the legend goes, the Virgin Mary herself met St. James at this very site and helped and encouraged him in his preaching throughout Galicia.
It is also believed that by a miracle of God, the body of the saint, after his beheading at the hands of the Romans, was carried in a boat to Muxía, Spain, where it was only discovered many years later and taken to Santiago.
Walking out on the point, was very rocky, and as I looked southward to this this Costa da Morte view, I was sure the flat rocky ledge in the middle of the photo was where Martin Sheen threw the ashes of his son into the sea, in the movie, "The Way."
Now I know The Way is just a story of fiction, but it was moving nonetheless for me and after watching it, sealed my fate forever.
I sat on the rocks and gazed at this view for some time.
Here is a closer view of the front of the church. I tried to take photos that minimized the construction and scaffolding. It wasn't an easy task.
Towards the sea in the rocks in front of the Nosa Señora da Barca church is a rock known as the Pedra de Abalar or rocking stone. As many legends exist about the powers of this rock as websites I found on the subject. Because of the way it sits, with some wind or weight, the stone can be easily rocked.
This Pedra de Abalar is purported to be able to heal most diseases, induce fertility, or determine guilt vs. innocence depending on which source you read. Supposedly the beliefs in the rock are a vestige from the Virgin Mary's presence, but I believe that this place has been steeped in legends and magic powers since the beginning of time.
This place is certainly a magical place and you can actually feel the spirits of all those souls who pilgrimaged here to find spiritual and physical healing.
Here is the Pedra da Abalar as you look toward the sea. It is a very prominent feature in the seascape that you cannot miss.
Here, at the turbulent waters edge, I stood and gazed into the sea. I was at my journeys end here in Muxía, Spain - at least for now. I had carried for miles on my Camino de Santiago, two very small shells that have been given to me. One from a dearest friend and the other from my husband.
They wished for me to carry their shells to have their presence with me, since they were unable to come on the pilgrimage with me. It was at this place, that I threw their shells into the sea.
The gesture was symbolic of my journey's end, and I no longer needed these talismans. It was a very emotional moment for me, and I longed to hang on to the shells. But, I had promised I would throw them into the sea at End of the World for them, and so I did, with tears in my eyes.
I was letting go. Letting go of an amazing journey that had come to an end. I needed to move on to my next life's experience.
Here in Muxía, Spain, at the End of the Earth, there are no fires from clothing burned, as in Finisterre. There are no abandoned boots. There are no towers of items purged nor relics or symbols of cleansing. There aren't even any crosses.
Instead, there is only a feeling of intimacy, with the land, the rocks, the church and yes, the sea.
What Muxía, Spain knows of me that I cannot know myself, is the powerful connectedness that you feel as you stand with all the souls who have stood here before you, seeking healing and communion with Spirit, just as I was seeking.
I was so grateful to experience Muxía, Spain alone. Almost no one was here while I experienced the Presence of this place.
From my intimate moments by the sea, I turned around and climbed back up the hill to the Prestige Monument.
I shot this photo, below, once more of the zero kilometer waymark and the steeples of the church.
As I climbed ever higher up the hill, I looked back on the point, the monument and the church. There are absolutely lovely views of the Costa da Morte on the summit.
It is a short, steep climb to the top of Monte Corpiño and this plaque awaited me at the top.
The view of Muxía, Spain is stupendous and a small cross greets you as you take in the peninsula. The harbor is to the West (left) and this waterfront is where all the businesses and restaurants are located.
The view out over the harbor to the north was beautiful and the windmills lined the distant shore.
I was standing on this lofty height when I received a text from my Camino partner, Shelly, that she had reached the one kilometer sign and would be in town soon. I walked down the hill and through town, at the southern end to meet her.
It was a joyous reunion and after she settled into our room for awhile we went to the harbor to celebrate yet another successful leg of our Camino de Santiago!
After our celebration, as the sun was completing its journey across the sky, we both went back to the land's end.
The Nosa Señora da Barca church looked entirely different in the setting light.
At the northern point of the peninsula, there is a lighthouse and yet another on the distant shore of the bay. I patiently waited to snap a shot of both lighthouses lit at the same time. Look carefully in the photo below, and you will see its guiding light.
I sat on the rocks alone as I let Shelly wander around the rocky shore, also taking her special moment to throw her shells into the sea.
With a bottle of wine, we sat and toasted the end of our Camino de Santiago, and were afforded one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever witnessed.
We were delighted and felt so blessed to be able to be here in this moment in time, joining all those pilgrims of the past, present and future.
Muxía is indeed an intimate place!
I will never capture this moment and this feeling again. Although writing this article and reflecting sure comes close!
Returning to the quote at the beginning of this article, what did this place make of me? I hope that Muxía, Spain accepted my humble pilgrim heart, and allowed me to join the myriad of seeking souls who found Peace, Intimacy and Presence on her shores.
May you too, have Muxía Spain be part of your soul as you become a pilgrimage traveler to this most intimate and sacred place! Buen Camino!
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