What I day I have just had and if all of you could telliport yourselves here right now you would do the same as me both laugh and cry!
Walking toward the rising sun. in the mountain that was given the name February, I found my sword in front of the Holy Grail.
Stay there for a day. Talk to the third person you meet.
The image of the Holy Grail is the second test. The image of the third person you meet is also the second test.
Having completed the 2 nd test we travelled to VillaFranca to complete the 3rd test. On arrival we were given overalls to work in and I was handed a mop to help clean the dormitory floor while Tom was set to help the construction work of the hostel! We have learned that only 12 people have been here on Paulos quest before us so when we felt like this was our own adventure it really was.
Continue walking toward the rising sun. In a place born from the ashes, a man with two gold teeth prepares a magic potion on nights when he feels like doing this. This potion has the gift of exorcizing evil spirits, and obeys a ritual where fire, water, earth and air are invoked.
Work there for a day. Shelter those who need shelter and care for those who need care. Convince the man to perform the ritual for you and for those who arrive on that day.
Your image with this man is the third test. The image of someone you helped is also the third test.
Before you leave the place, pick up a stone.
Test 2: Fatal Fantasy
This morning having travelled up the mountain we arrived excited at the hamlet realising we had reached what we thought was the church which held the Holy Grail. Prior to getting to this point we had stopped at a small pilgrim retreat house to ask for directions and to check we were in the right direction.
The gentleman at the bar proceeded to give us his map to guide us through the smaller towns and told us to continue 5km upwards to get to O Cebriero. We arrived excited and anxious and walked up to the church and through the eye of the needle to a magnificent sight which until the day I die will always stay with me. The way the back of the alter caught the suns rays and they came past the cross. Suddenly a lady arrived in the empty church and asked her to come with her.
She started speaking very quickly in Spanish of which I do not understand very much but the word FANTASIST I think I could translate in every language! The blood like Paulos’ rushed to my feet and a similar feeling as when he feels unwell came over me! Having celebrated half an hour before that we had travelled 1000miles it suddenly seemed that there was no holy grail!!!! We went into a small 1500 cottage where 6 of the 17 inhabitants sat around a fire with fish drinking bottles of red wine that the woman had just come from collecting us for the church with. They started telling us stories of Paulo Coelho concerning alter wine and priests heads. Olga was her name and as she was the third person we met we slowly walked back to our things to have something to eat (COMFORT FOOD!) Digestives and chocolate and to think! We re opened The Pilgrimage and read the chapter!
The silence was now complete, and as I noticed this, I heard, coming from my left, a woman’s voice. I stopped immediately, expecting to hear it again, but I heard nothing – not even the normal sounds of the forest, with its crickets, its insects, and its animals walking through the dry leaves. I looked at my watch: it was exactly 5:15 p.m. I estimated that I was still about three miles from Tricastela * we stopped there to get the map! and that there was still time to arrive before dark. As I looked up from my watch, I heard the woman’s voice again. And from that point on, I was to live through one of the most significant experiences of my life. The voice wasn’t coming from somewhere in the woods but from somewhere inside me. I was able to hear it clearly, and it heightened my intuitive sense. It was neither I nor Astrain who was speaking.
The voice only told me that I should keep on walking, which I did unquestioningly. It was as if Petrus had returned and was telling me again about giving orders and taking them. At that moment, I was simply an instrument of the Road; the Road was indeed ‘walking me.’ The fog grew less and less dense; I seemed to be walking out of it. Around me were the bare trees, the moist and slippery terrain, and ahead of me, the same steep slope I had been climbing for such a long time. Suddenly, as if by magic, the fog lifted completely. And there before me, driven into the crest of the mountain, was a cross.
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I looked around, and I could see both the fog bank from which I had emerged and another above me. Between the two, I could see the peaks of the tallest mountains and the top of El Cebrero, where the cross was. * We found the cross! I felt a strong desire to pray. Even though I knew that I would have to detour from the road to Tricastela, I decided to climb to the peak and say my prayers at the foot of the cross. It took forty minutes to make the climb, and I did it in complete silence, within and without. The language I had invented was forgotten; it was not the right language for communicating with other people or with God. The Road to Santiago was ‘walking
me,’ and it was going to show me where my sword was. Petrus was right again. When I reached the peak, a man was sitting there, writing something. For an instant I thought he was a supernatural being, sent from elsewhere. Then my intuition
told me that he was not, and I saw the scallop shell stitched into his clothing; he was just a pilgrim, who looked at me for a few moments and then walked away, disturbed by my having appeared. Perhaps he had been expecting the same thing as I – an angel – and we had each found just another person on the Road of the common people.
Although I wanted to pray, I wasn’t able to say anything.
I stood in front of the cross for some time, looking at the mountains and at the clouds that covered the sky and the land, leaving only the high peaks clear. Thirty yards below me there was a hamlet with fifteen
WE WERE THERE! WHERE WAS THE HOLY GRAIL?
houses and a small church, whose lights were being turned on. At least I had somewhere to spend the night if the Road told me to do so. I was not sure when it
would tell me, but even with Petrus gone, I was not without a guide. The Road was ‘walking me.’ An unfettered lamb, climbing the mountain, stopped between the cross and me. He looked at me, a bit frightened. For some time I stood there, looking at
the black sky, and the cross, and the white lamb at its foot. All at once, I felt exhausted by all that time spent on tests and battles and lessons and the pilgrimage. I
felt a terrible pain in my stomach, and it rose to my throat, where it was transformed into dry, tearless sobs. There I stood, overcome by the scene of the lamb and the cross. This was a cross that I need not set upright, for it was there before me, solitary and immense, resisting time and the elements. It was a symbol of the fate that
people created, not for their God but for themselves. The lessons of the Road to Santiago came back to me as I sobbed there, with a frightened lamb as my witness.
‘My Lord,’ I said, finally able to pray, ‘I am not nailed to this cross, nor do I see you there. The cross is empty,
and that is how it should stay forever; the time of death is already past, and a god is now reborn within me. This cross is the symbol of the infinite power that each of us
has. Now this power is reborn, the world is saved, and I am able to perform your miracles, because I trod the Road of the common people and, in mingling with
them, found your secret. You came among us to teach
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us all that we were capable of becoming, and we did not want to accept this. You showed us that the power and the glory were within every person’s reach, and this sudden vision of our capacity was too much for us.
We crucified you, not because we were ungrateful to the Son of God but because we were fearful of accepting our own capacity. We crucified you fearing that we might be transformed into gods. With time and tradition, you came to be just a distant divinity, and we returned to our destiny as human beings. ‘It is not a sin to be happy. Half a dozen exercises and an attentive ear are enough to allow us to realize
our most impossible dreams. Because of my pride in wisdom, you made me walk the Road that every person can walk, and discover what everyone else already knows if they have paid the slightest attention to life.
You made me see that the search for happiness is a personal search and not a model we can pass on to others. Before finding my sword, I had to discover its secret –and the secret was so simple; it was to know what to do with it. With it and with the happiness that it would represent to me. ‘I have walked so many miles to discover things I already knew, things that all of us know but that are so hard to accept. Is there anything harder for us, my Lord,
than discovering that we can achieve the power?
This pain that I feel now in my breast, that makes me sob and that frightens that poor lamb, has been felt since human beings first existed. Few can accept the burden
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of their own victory: most give up their dreams when they see that they can be realized. They refuse to fight the good fight because they do not know what to do
with their own happiness; they are imprisoned by the things of the world. Just as I have been, who wanted to find my sword without knowing what to do with it.’
A god sleeping within me was awakening, and the pain was growing worse and worse. I felt the presence close to me of my Master, and I was able for the first
time to turn my sobs into tears. I wept with gratitude for his having made me search for my sword along the Road to Santiago. I wept with gratitude for Petrus, for
his having taught me, without saying a word, that I would realize my dreams if I first discovered what I wanted to do with them. I saw the cross, with no one on it, and the lamb at its base, free to go where he wanted in those mountains and to see the clouds above his head and below his feet. The lamb began to walk away, and I followed him. I already knew where he would lead me; in spite of the clouds, everything had become clear to me. Even if I could not see the Milky Way in the sky, I was certain
that it was there, pointing the way along the Road to Santiago. I followed the lamb as he walked in the direction of the hamlet – which was called El Cebrero, like
the mountain. There, at one time, a miracle had happened. It was the miracle of transforming what you do into what you believe in, just like the secret of my sword and of the Strange Road to Santiago
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As we descended the mountain,
I remembered the story. A farmer from a nearby
village had climbed the mountain to attend mass at El
Cebrero on a stormy day. The mass was being celebrated
by a monk who was almost completely lacking in faith
and who ridiculed the farmer for having made such an
effort to get there. But at the moment of consecration,
the host had actually been transformed into the body of
Christ and the wine into his blood. The relics are still
there, guarded in that small chapel, a treasure greater
than all the riches of the Vatican.
We were right there we were exactly as it had said this was the only hamlet it could be. We walked straight back into the church and relooked around. There is was to the right of the cross cased in all its glory a beautiful sight. Of course she had told us this was untrue they are guarding their jewels as would all of us.