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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, (pronounced moo-SHEE-ah) you have not yet reached the end of the earth. You must walk another 1.0 kilometer, out onto the point of the peninsula, on this lovely path from the east, shown in the photo below.
I suggest that when you, the pilgrimage traveler, arrive in town, that you find your accommodation, and clean-up, relax and go out again around sunset! I have stayed twice at and love the intimate, Muxía Mare. I can also recommend the Albergue Bela Muxía, where I have also stayed. For more possibilities, in Muxía, click here.
I took the lovely one kilometer walk after settling into my albergue and unloading my pack, on my first time here. This is my description, from when I saw it with new eyes for the first time. I have been here many times since, and prefer its ambiance to that of Finisterre.
The town was very quiet as Spanish towns always are in the late afternoon at siesta time. 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!
I first came to the zero kilometer marker, with the Monument to the Prestige Tanker, shown below left. This tanker accident 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.
There is a brand-new 0.0 kilometer waymark, shown below right, that still has the distance plaque in it! Hopefully no one will steal it anytime soon.
As you look over the hill, the famous Nosa Señora da Barca (Our Lady of the Boat) sanctuary comes into view. My first time here, the church was covered in scaffolding after being struck by lightening (on Christmas day of 2013), but the outside walls are now fully restored to its 17th century beauty! Unfortunately, neither the interior nor the roof survived the fire.
You can peer into the sanctuary from the outside doors, but most likely you will not be able to enter.
Apparently, Galicia was only converted to Christianity in the 12th century, so this place was a sacred Celtic place long before the coming 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, back to Muxía where it was discovered many years later and taken to Santiago.
Walking out on the point was very rocky, and as I looked southward to 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 in all its simplicity.
Towards the sea in the rocks in front of the Nosa Señora da Barca sanctuary is a rock known as the Pedra dos 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 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.
To this day, I am not sure which rock this is, so I have not included a photo of it. If you do a Google search it appears to be a long, flat rock, but there are so many like this, that I have not identified it!
I do have a photo of the Pedra dos Cadrís or kidney stone, below. Because of its kidney shape, it too has healing properties, and if you pass underneath it nine times, you will be healed of kidney diseases and/or back and head pain. Some legends also say the rock symbolizes the sail or the candle on the boat that carried the Virgin Mary.
Regardless, 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, at the turbulent waters edge, I stood and gazed into the sea. I was at my journey's 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 promised I would throw them into the sea at the 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. (I did not know it then, but I was to take many more Caminos, and as a result, this website was born!) At the end of the Camino is the start of the Camino, isn't it?
Here in Muxía, Spain, at the End of the Earth, there are no ritual fires from clothing burned, as was in the past at Finisterre. There are no abandoned boots. There are no towers of items purged nor relics or symbols of cleansing. There aren't even any wooden crosses.
Instead, there is only a feeling of intimacy, with the land, the rocks, the sanctuary and yes, the sea.
What Muxía knows of me that I cannot know of 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. This is a magical place.
I was so grateful to experience Muxía 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.
As I climbed ever higher up the hill, I looked back on the point, the monument and the sanctuary. 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. The view of Muxía is stupendous and a small cross greets you as you take in the peninsula. The harbor is to the east (left side of photo below) of the peninsula 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.
My first time in Muxía, there was a fabulous sunset. I was so lucky to see it. The Nosa Señora da Barca sanctuary looked entirely different in the setting light. Here it is below, as it looked during the re-construction.
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.
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 be part of your soul as you become a pilgrimage traveler to this most intimate and sacred place! May your endings be new beginnings. Ultreia!
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