METAPHORS PILGRIMS LIVE BY:

METAPHOR SYSTEMS OF THE MODERN PILGRIMAGE

                            by

                  ...
Copyright by Todd N. Valdini 2007




               ii
METAPHORS PILGRIMS LIVE BY:
             METAPHOR SYSTEMS OF THE MODERN PILGRIMAGE

                                      ...
Acknowledgements

       I would like to extend my gratitude to my thesis committee for their thoughtful

and comprehensiv...
ABSTRACT

Author:                  Todd N. Valdini

Title:                   METAPHORS PILGRIMS LIVE BY:
                 ...
This labor is dedicated to

Marcie and Al, my parents, who saw me off on the right path,

Jessica, my wife, who walks at m...
Table of Contents

                                                                 Page

Epigraph ……………………………………………………………...
MORAL ACCOUNTING ……………………………………………………………..                     55

  The Corporate Structure of the Catholic Church ………………...
Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………. 104

Appendixes …………………………………………………………………………… 115

 Appendix A: The French Rout...
“The Road to Compostela is nothing but a metaphor.”

       William Melczer, medievalist and Santiago pilgrim (1993, p. 23...
Author’s Note

       The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela—also known in English as The Way

of Saint James—is one of ...
Additionally, the proliferation of web logs or “blogs” and online message boards

on the Internet has also increased the a...
various linguistic/cultural permutations. In the Holy Year of 2004, Spanish pilgrims

represented 75.8% of all pilgrims wh...
Chapter One: The Why of Saint James

“What is not a journey?”

         Tzvetan Todorov, philosopher (1996, p. 287)

     ...
the distance of time and space a gestalt of our feat has emerged from storytelling and

reflection. Consequently, we conti...
Camí de Sant Jaume de Galícia (Catalan), Der Jakobsweg (German), O Caminho de

Santiago (Portuguese), Slí Naomh Shéamais (...
The Way Yesterday

         The medieval Christian pilgrim had three main destination choices for his or her

peregrinatio...
symbol of the Heavenly City” (Howard, 1980, p. 12).                 However, outside historical

forces affected the popul...
war with the Muslim interlopers. Even today in Spain there remains statuary of Santiago

Matamoros (Saint James as ‘Moor S...
King (1920), appears to have been a source of existential meditation even before the

Church appropriated it for its own r...
Further supporting the time symbolism associated with the Way is the fact that

European pilgrims, even today, initiate th...
become increasingly popular in the last thirty years and promises to continue its upward

trend (See Appendix E). Indeed t...
of the medieval pilgrim hospices that grew up along the road. The refugios of Spain

continue to keep the pilgrimage’s muc...
are taken by a source of Catholic bias and do not give the pilgrim a choice of “spiritual”

rather than “religious”.

    ...
recovery, an idolatrous adulation encouraged by the papacy. Church-generated stories of

the healing powers of the pilgrim...
Despite its religious and spiritual associations, motivations for making

pilgrimages often varied. In part, these journey...
pilgrimage frame allowed Chaucer to assemble a wide array of characters of varied stock

and social standing, thereby pain...
Medieval biographers of pilgrimage recognized the saliency of this metaphor as

one for life and their depiction of it wou...
Mecca, the Christian sojourn to Vatican City, the Buddhist journey to Kapilavastu 10 , the

Jewish visitation of Jerusalem...
because of the saliency of the institution of pilgrimage in the history of Western thought,

the word has drifted from the...
Chapter Two: Life Is a Pilgrimage

“And what’s a life? – a weary pilgrimage,

Whose glory in one day doth fill the stage,
...
and as a lifelong spiritual experience but it is by no means always immediately clear

which is considered to be the metap...
In this constant surge, the simplest and sturdiest of words are swept along, one

          after the other, and carried t...
components provide experiential source material for discussing a human life in this way.

Accordingly, one of the ways in ...
metaphorically graspable, the latter example also suggests that the physical difficulty

involved with the pilgrimage can ...
For these reasons, pilgrimage assumes greater significance as a fundamental

version of LIFE IS A JOURNEY—we might even sa...
primary pilgrim is called Christian; he travels through locations with names like the

Slough of Despair and the Valley of...
His gospel laws, in olden time held forth

         By types, shadows, and metaphors? (p. 4)

Here Bunyan defends his use ...
overarching conceptual metaphor A PURPOSEFUL LIFE IS A JOURNEY. With this in mind,

typically one’s literal home is the st...
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne

       Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,

       And smale foweles maken me...
pilgrimage as a life, making it clear why the metaphor LIFE IS A PILGRIMAGE developed in

the medieval mind, persisting to...
point of a journey is apparent. Additionally, pilgrims just outside of the gates of Santiago

would wash their bodies in t...
Furthermore, the end of the pilgrimage is not the end at all just as the winter season is not

the end of the life-year. T...
and roles—an important step in the history of fiction” (Howard 1980, p. 7). In the case of

the Quarles verse, we see that...
My staff of faith to walk upon,

       My scrip of joy, immortal diet,

       My bottle of salvation,

       My gown of...
medieval counterparts did—the suffering of the Christian martyrs of bygone days with

Christ as their archetype.

       A...
act a certain way: “But may I be so bold as to suggest that everyone who sets foot on the

Camino has the personal respons...
broad brown Garonne […]” (Selby, 1994, p. 34 [emphasis mine]). Churches, too, share

the honor: “If the church in Oviedo h...
other things a fine way to escape duty, debt, or the law …” (p. 15). Escapism, indeed,

has an especially strong tradition...
The Way is often described as having a ‘spirit’ or an ‘aura’, suggesting that it

embodies some living presence. The metap...
After its medieval heyday the pilgrimage suffered during the Reformation and

          nearly died out altogether by the ...
Way is often given the human qualities of a mother. Santiago pilgrim and art historian T.

A. Layton’s (1976) description ...
Additionally, way-marks 7 along the pilgrim road also take on human characteristics as

products/offspring of their mother...
impending journey” (Mungobeanie, 2006, November 3 [emphasis mine]). Here, the

writer expresses her desire not only to ‘gr...
decision must be made which will determine the course of the life traveler’s future. We

also often hear of people experie...
[Harrie, a pilgrim from the Netherlands] was walking to Santiago, he said,

       because he had come to a point in his l...
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Peregrinar-metafora

  1. 1. METAPHORS PILGRIMS LIVE BY: METAPHOR SYSTEMS OF THE MODERN PILGRIMAGE by Todd N. Valdini A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of The Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, Florida May 2007
  2. 2. Copyright by Todd N. Valdini 2007 ii
  3. 3. METAPHORS PILGRIMS LIVE BY: METAPHOR SYSTEMS OF THE MODERN PILGRIMAGE by Todd N. Valdini This thesis was prepared under the direction of the candidate’s thesis advisor, Dr. Prisca Augustyn, Department of Languages and Linguistics, and has been approved by the members of his supervisory committee. It was submitted to the faculty of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters and was accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts. SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: ______________________________ Thesis Advisor ______________________________ ______________________________ ____________________________________ Chairperson, Department of Languages and Linguistics ____________________________________ Interim Dean, The Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters ____________________________________ __________________ Interim Dean, Graduate Studies and Programs Date iii
  4. 4. Acknowledgements I would like to extend my gratitude to my thesis committee for their thoughtful and comprehensive reflections in the writing of this work: Dr. John Childrey for his proficiency in metaphor in literature; Dr. Martha Mendoza for her expertise in metaphor theory; and Dr. Prisca Augustyn who chaired this committee and put in additional hours to help me put all the pieces together. I am also deeply indebted to the unofficial fourth member of this committee and personal political advisor Dr. Benjamin Goldman of the University of Syracuse: My first and final line of defense. Finally, I am truly grateful to Dr. Myriam Ruthenberg for her encouragement and sage conversation over the past four years. Thank you for helping me navigate the labyrinth. This pilgrimage would not have been possible without all of your kind assistance. Ultreya! iv
  5. 5. ABSTRACT Author: Todd N. Valdini Title: METAPHORS PILGRIMS LIVE BY: METAPHOR SYSTEMS OF THE MODERN PILGRIMAGE Institution: Florida Atlantic University Thesis Advisor: Dr. Prisca Augustyn Degree: Masters of Arts Year: 2007 Pilgrimages have produced volumes of textual reflections by pilgrims and outside observers. These writers represent a wide variety of disciplines from travel theorists to travel bloggers, medieval historians to modern anthropologists and sociologists. The findings of this study reveal two major complex metaphor systems: one based on a series of interlaced existential metaphors orbiting the nuclear LIFE IS A JOURNEY and the other stemming from a network of economic metaphors of MORAL ACCOUNTING. The symbolic exchange embedded in these metaphorical systems reflects the human desire for a meaningful and worthy life. These mutually supporting complex systems of metaphor reveal an existential connection between the medieval pilgrim and the contemporary tourist. v
  6. 6. This labor is dedicated to Marcie and Al, my parents, who saw me off on the right path, Jessica, my wife, who walks at my side always, and Sarah, my friend, whom I’ll met again at journey’s end.
  7. 7. Table of Contents Page Epigraph ……………………………………………………………………………… ix Author’s Note ………………………………………………………………………… 1 Limitations and Further Research ………………………………………………... 2 Chapter One: The Why of Saint James ………………………………………………. 4 The Way of Saint James …………………………………………………………. 5 The Way Yesterday …………………………………………………………... 7 Symbolism …………………………………………………………………… 9 The Way Today ………………………………………………………………. 11 The Great Age of Pilgrimage …………………………………………………….. 14 The Literary Tradition of Pilgrimage …………………………………………….. 16 Pilgrim: Universal Traveler ……………………………………………………… 18 Chapter Two: Life is a Pilgrimage …………………………………………………… 21 LIFE IS A JOURNEY ………………………………………………………………… 23 (Re)Birth ……………………………………………………………………… 28 Death and Afterlife …………………………………………………………… 31 LIFE IS A PLAY ……………………………………………………………………. 33 PILGRIMAGE IS NURTURE …………………………………………………………. 39 The Pilgrim’s Decision …………………………………………………………... 44 Pilgrimage as Hero’s Quest ……………………………………………………… 49 Implications and Conclusions …………………………………………….……… 53 Chapter Three: The Economics of Pilgrimage ………………………………….….... 54 vi
  8. 8. MORAL ACCOUNTING …………………………………………………………….. 55 The Corporate Structure of the Catholic Church ………………………………… 59 Sin and Penance ………………………………………………………………….. 61 Symbolic Exchange ……………………………………………………………… 63 Pilgrimage as Penance …………………………………………………………… 65 The Medieval Pilgrimage Business ……………………………………………… 71 The Contemporary Pilgrimage Business ………………………………………… 72 PILGRIMAGE IS A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE …….. ……………………………… 75 A PILGRIMAGE IS A JOB …………………….………………………………… 76 A PILGRIM IS A LABORER …………………………………………………….. 78 A PILGRIMAGE IS WORK PRODUCT …………………………………………… 81 A PILGRIMAGE IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY ………………………………… 85 Implications and Conclusions ……………………………………………………. 89 Chapter 4: Pilgrims and Tourists …………………………………………………….. 92 The Turning Point in Pilgrimage ………………………………………………… 93 Touri-grinos …………………………………………………………………….... 94 Rites of Passage ………………………………………………………………….. 96 Liminality …………………………………………………………………… . 96 Communitas: the Other-hood of Pilgrimage …………………………………. 98 Tourism as a Rite of Passage ………………………………………………… 99 Pilgrim’s Return and Symbolic Exchange ……………………………………….. 100 Pilgrim or Tourist? ……………………………………………………………….. 102 Destinations ………………………………………………………………………. 103 vii
  9. 9. Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………. 104 Appendixes …………………………………………………………………………… 115 Appendix A: The French Routes of the Way of Saint James ……………………. 115 Appendix B: The Spanish Route of the Way of Saint James ……………………. 116 Appendix C: The Scallop Shell and the Way of Saint James ……………………. 117 Appendix D: Composite History of the Cult of Santiago de Compostela ……….. 119 Appendix E: Numbers of Pilgrims Gaining their Compostelas (1986-2006) ……. 121 viii
  10. 10. “The Road to Compostela is nothing but a metaphor.” William Melczer, medievalist and Santiago pilgrim (1993, p. 23) ix
  11. 11. Author’s Note The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela—also known in English as The Way of Saint James—is one of many Christian pilgrimages. Its appropriateness to the current linguistic study is due to its evolution from a religious ritual to a secular one, which is in and of itself a metaphor for the secularization of life as such. Currently, the wealth of professional and non-professional writing about the experience provides a deep pool of linguistic evidence suitable for a scholarly evaluation of its metaphoric structures. Because of the nature of this Christian pilgrimage, many of the writing samples available are of a religious disposition. This study is based on the techniques of cognitive science as developed by Lakoff (1994, 1995), Lakoff & Johnson (1980, 1999), Lakoff & Turner (1989), Johnson (1987), and Turner (1991, 1997) to provide a better understanding of the conceptual framework that lies beneath the thinking of contemporary pilgrims on the Road to Santiago. Specifically, I have described the mental concepts that constitute the writings produced by, for, and about the modern English-speaking pilgrims who voluntarily take part in this thousand mile journey in the traditionally accepted modes (i.e. by foot, bicycle, or horseback). For the purposes of this discussion and to avoid confusion I will primarily be looking at evidence from modern English speaking pilgrims on the Road to Santiago, pilgrims who write from a non-religious—but often spiritual—point of view. The nature of this particular pilgrimage has changed over time, from primarily religious to largely secular. As such, the language used by these pilgrims lends itself to a diachronic examination of a fundamental metaphorical system. 1
  12. 12. Additionally, the proliferation of web logs or “blogs” and online message boards on the Internet has also increased the amount of material from which to cull linguistic evidence. This material, which is frequently produced by inexperienced writers, has been extremely helpful in identifying the most recent reflections on Camino experiences and provides an up-to-date record of the metaphors by which English-speaking pilgrims structure their experiences. Different motivations for partaking in pilgrimage will reveal different underlying metaphors. Because of the myriad interpretations of pilgrimage, we will have just as many metaphors. Kittay (1987, p. 20) reminds us that “… metaphors are always relative to a set of beliefs and to linguistic usage which may change through time and place – they are relative to a given linguistic community.” While modes and motivations attached to the journey may change slightly on the surface, the saliency of these English metaphors remains fairly well intact. The overt or novel usages of pilgrimage metaphors has shifted over time to become far more implicit and embedded in the language. Limitations and Further Research The institution of Christian pilgrimage has produced a tremendous amount of linguistic material from which I might have chosen myriad additional examples of the metaphors discussed herein. The material studied and represented here—although not nearly exhaustive—paints a generally accurate picture of the major metaphors that support the pilgrimage concept. Additionally, not having a multi-language repertoire is a major limitation but not a detrimental one. The Way is an international phenomenon—indeed it would seem to predate the very idea of nations—and as such it has been interpreted and discussed in 2
  13. 13. various linguistic/cultural permutations. In the Holy Year of 2004, Spanish pilgrims represented 75.8% of all pilgrims while the next three highest nation groups comprised less than 5% each (Italy 4.2%; Germany 3.7%, France 3.6%) (Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, 2005, Peregrinos distribuidos según…). This suggests that there is undoubtedly a deeper resource pool from which to draw for a more complete picture of the pilgrimage. I think comparing the various other metaphor systems used in other languages to describe the Western institution of pilgrimage would be another direction that the current study could take. But that would exceed by far the limitations of this study. The sources in this study are therefore limited to those of the English language. This is not a detriment to the current study because I am only discussing the cultural phenomenon of pilgrimage as interpreted by an English-speaking culture which has been profoundly impacted in its own right by the Way: “There are roughly four hundred churches in England consecrated to St James and of these three-quarters were built before the seventeenth century and would therefore have connections with the cult of St James at Compostela” (Layton, 1976, p. 20). Finally, I have at times used non-English material where appropriate, not to expand the argument cross-culturally per se, but rather as a supplement to the themes. I have tried to use the original texts when available and tendered professional translations in footnotes. When unavailable, I have made my best effort to translate the material on my own. Any mistakes to this end are my own. 3
  14. 14. Chapter One: The Why of Saint James “What is not a journey?” Tzvetan Todorov, philosopher (1996, p. 287) In the summer of 2006, my wife Jessica and I spent our honeymoon walking from Le Puy-en-Velay, France to Finisterre, Spain 1 , an expedition of over a thousand miles. We followed the same route traveled by countless pilgrims since the Bishop of Le Puy set out on that same road in 950: The Way of Saint James. Like many modern day pilgrims, our reasons for pursuing such an undertaking were numerous. We saw the pilgrimage at once as an epic challenge to overcome together as a team, a relatively cheap holiday in Europe, a long distance church crawl, a living history book, a strenuous physical adventure, a chance to commune with nature, and a promise of spiritual fulfillment. Our journey was each of these things to some degree and much more. The experience has affected the way we look at the world and inspired us to apply our pilgrimage lessons to it. A refrain often heard by pilgrims of the Way is “it is not the destination, but the journey that matters most”. The focal point of importance for other Christian pilgrimages like Fátima or Lourdes is the shrine of devotion, the end point. The Way, by comparison, unfolds its rewards over the course of the pilgrimage and beyond. Fellow veteran pilgrims told us that the full purport of our endeavor would not be immediately apparent upon our arrival at Santiago. Not until we had returned to our lives back home, they informed, would the impact of our accomplishment have real significance. Indeed, over 1 Officially, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela ends in that city, but many sojourners who have come that far will travel the additional 100 kilometers, usually by bus, to the coast at Cape Finisterre for symbolic reasons (explained below). We continued on foot for the extra three days to complete the journey the way we had begun it. 4
  15. 15. the distance of time and space a gestalt of our feat has emerged from storytelling and reflection. Consequently, we continue to develop a deeper understanding of the magnitude of this endeavor and of the impact it has had on the rest of our lives. We are changed people for having made the pilgrimage to Santiago and yet we did not necessarily seek this outcome. It was as evident then as it is now that a pilgrimage is a de facto investment as well as a metaphorical one. As with any other significant financial investment, I wondered, “What has been our return on this pilgrimage?” Naturally, the boons of the Way must come from the lessons learned and experiences gained from it. These rewards, though, were not earned without paying the tolls of the road: the route requires an extended span of time to complete (Jessica and I took seventy five days to reach the coast of Spain); the constant, daily walking takes a tremendous physical toll on the pilgrim’s body (aside from the horrendous blisters endured by us both, Jessica suffered tendonitis in both feet twice and I lost nearly eighteen percent of my normal body weight); and for the pilgrim of modest means, the financial strain can be more burden than one can bear (we twice had money wired from family members in order to finish the arduous journey). We are now returned pilgrims; our wounds have since healed, our inner clocks have syncopated again with the rest of the world, and our families have been repaid. Since our return we have gradually realized the return on our investment. The gift of the Way is the discovery that you are not alone on this journey. The Way of Saint James The Way of Saint James—hereafter referred to as ‘the Way’—is known variously throughout Europe as O Camiño de Santiago (Galician), Donejakue Bidea (Basque), 5
  16. 16. Camí de Sant Jaume de Galícia (Catalan), Der Jakobsweg (German), O Caminho de Santiago (Portuguese), Slí Naomh Shéamais (Irish); most commonly, it is referred to as Le Chemin de Saint Jacques (French) and El Camino de Santiago (Spanish) since its main footpaths converge in these latter countries. This linguistic variation is testament to the route’s diverse popularity and reflective of the reverence held by Europeans, who have preserved it as a continental treasure. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre (2007) added the Way to its World Heritage List first in 1993 with the Spanish side and later included the French routes in 1998. UNESCO (2007) identifies four major historical origination points in France—Paris, Vézelay, Le Puy, and Arles—each fed by a number of subsidiary routes all converging on the southern side of the Pyrenees and eventually terminating at Santiago de Compostela in the northwest corner of the Iberian peninsula (see Appendixes A and B). Though the Way can claim noteworthy Santiago pilgrims of old—including Charlemagne 2 , Saint Francis of Assisi, Isabella of Castile and, more recently, Pope John Paul XXIII in 1989—the pilgrimage owes its enduring charm to its democratic appeal to all travelers, not just those with Christian beliefs or the financial means to make the trek. The accessibility of the Way is described by Roddis, et al. (1999): “Medieval pilgrims simply left home and picked up the closest and safest route to Santiago de Compostela” (p. 380). Though non-European pilgrims typically have to fly to their embarkation point, pilgrims living on the continent still travel in the same mode as their medieval predecessors. 2 Though apocryphal, since he would have been impossibly old by the time this Christian pilgrimage had been established proper, Charlemagne’s supposed pilgrimage to Santiago has become so much a part of pilgrim lore that his inclusion here and elsewhere is almost obligatory. 6
  17. 17. The Way Yesterday The medieval Christian pilgrim had three main destination choices for his or her peregrination: Jerusalem, Rome and Compostela, Spain. Each of the pilgrim roads offered a series of blessings and indulgences to those who traveled their length: the pilgrim who reached Santiago de Compostela, for instance, could reduce his or her time in Purgatory by half. Those brave souls who endeavored to travel to the Holy Sepulcher of Christ in Jerusalem were referred to as ‘palmers’ since they carried palm branches to identify themselves as pilgrims. Those who traveled to Rome to visit the tomb of Saint Peter were referred to as ‘wanderers’ or ‘romeos’ and identified themselves iconically with the Cross. Pilgrims to Compostela wore scallop shells (see Appendix C) as their signifying mark but were not referred to as anything other than ‘pilgrims’. Dante Alighieri (ca. 1293) is thought to have been the first to define a pilgrim, doing so—it appears—based on an assessment of quantity over quality: “[…] chiamansi peregrini in quanto vanno a la casa di Galizia, però che la sepultura di sa' Iacopo fue più lontana de la sua patria che d'alcuno altro apostolo 3 ”. Dante’s insinuation that the Saint James pilgrim is a sort of archetype of the practice may be an early indication of the mass popularity and democratic appeal of the Way given that the title bestowed on this particular traveler (simply pilgrim) is unmarked and linguistically paradigmatic. Of the three pilgrimages, the first was—and still is arguably—the most important in the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions: “The Jerusalem pilgrimage was the pilgrimage of pilgrimages; others were types and shadows of it, for Jerusalem was at the center of the world (it is regularly pictured there in maps of the period) […] and it was a 3 […] they are called pilgrims if they go to the shrine of Saint James in Galicia, since the sepulchre of Saint James was further away from his country than any other apostle […] (Kline (Trans.), 2001) 7
  18. 18. symbol of the Heavenly City” (Howard, 1980, p. 12). However, outside historical forces affected the popularity of the Jerusalem pilgrimage for would-be Christian pilgrims setting out from Northern Europe. Principal among these was Muslim occupation of the Holy Land. The overland route to the East was long, arduous and controlled by Islamic empires that had long been at violent odds with the Europeans. After the collapse of the Mongolian Empire and the rise of the aggressive and expansionist Ottoman Empire, land trade routes which pilgrim roads often followed were un-policed and became treacherous, limiting the possibilities for Europeans wanting to participate in the popular pilgrimage. Ironically, like the land eastward to Jerusalem, the Iberian Peninsula was also the location of territorial disputes between Muslim and Christian forces. But the Catholic Church was able to turn this to their advantage, stoking the popularity of the Way by propagandizing the road as a crucial aspect of the Reconquest of Spain. Mullins (1974) indicates that the Church was indebted to none other than their “infidel” enemy for the idea behind this successful public relations campaign: “It was Islam that taught European rulers the notion of a ‘holy war’, and taught European churchmen the binding power of moral propaganda. Both were central to the spirit of pilgrimage” (p. 32). The implementation of this campaign involved several historical revisions. Despite Saint James’s legacy of peace—he was Christ’s apostle and is believed later to have evangelized in Iberia 4 —the Church used the Saint as a rallying symbol for their ongoing 4 Though there does not seem to be any debate over the fact that Saint James the Greater did actually evangelize Christ’s teachings in the years after his mentor’s crucifixion (an avocation for which James himself was martyred later), the evidence supporting whether or not he did his missionary work in the area now known as Spain is murky at best: “Incredulous historians over the past centuries have doubted that it was physically possible for St James ever to have got to Spain, and what is surprising is that the learned St Isidore of Seville (seventh century) twice makes mention of the Apostle without commenting that he had any particular affinity with Spain” (Layton, 1976, pp. 28-9). 8
  19. 19. war with the Muslim interlopers. Even today in Spain there remains statuary of Santiago Matamoros (Saint James as ‘Moor Slayer’), usually mounted upon a charger, wielding a sword, and often trampling dark-skinned figures. The Archbishops who ruled Compostela used the pilgrimage as a tool to raise arms and money to help fight the Muslims as well as to promote their own interests. Their disinformation crusade was hugely successful, resulting in the arrival of millions of devoted pilgrims—and more importantly their money—from every corner of Christian Europe. Symbolism The Way is characterized by its wealth of natural symbols. The physical symbolism of the Way invokes a mythological aura that certainly made it of particular interest to its pagan purveyors. The sheer age of this archaic road alone lends itself to the sphere of epic mythology. The road pre-dates the Christian inception of the pilgrimage; some have suggested that it was in use even before Roman rule had spread to the peninsula: The kings of Spain had built a highway to assist pilgrims in the twelfth century: but the road was there already. The Romans had built a military road as a sign and condition of their domination: but the road was there already. Paleolithic man had moved along it, and the stations of a living devotion today, he had frequented; there he made his magic, and felt vague awe before the abyss of an antiquity unfathomed (King, 1920, p. 22). The conjecture concerning the road’s ancient existence—even Paleolithic existence, as the author proposes—suggests that the Way is a suitable backdrop for the symbolic associations between a pilgrimage journey and a life journey. The Way, according to 9
  20. 20. King (1920), appears to have been a source of existential meditation even before the Church appropriated it for its own ritual. Indeed, there is archeological information that suggests the Way was used similarly by the Celts who settled the area 5 . The tradition, still followed by many, of continuing the pilgrimage past Santiago and on to the westernmost tip of Cape Finisterre is said to recreate a Celtic death journey. Finisterre translates roughly as “lands end” or “end of the world”, which to the pagan and medieval mind, it most certainly was. The nearby Costa de Morta (“Coast of Death”) also adds to the eschatological scenario. The geographic actuality of the end of the road makes this mandatory termination of the pilgrimage a more fitting resolve to the adventure. The symbolism associated with the Way is not only the ground below the pilgrims’ feet, but also in the sky above their heads. The nighttime sky is responsible for providing orientation for the pilgrimage to Santiago. The Way is also often called “the Milky Way” because the pilgrims’ course was supposedly plotted there (Bignami, 2004, p. 1979). Other legends have suggested that the star configuration is the dust kicked up by the feet of years of Santiago pilgrims. The Spanish refer to the Milky Way as “el camino de Santiago”. This celestial corollary has inspired travelogue titles like Edward E. Stanton’s (1994) Road of stars to Santiago. Also, incidentally, the directional orientation of the Way, with its eastern originations and western destination, satisfies a symbolic aspect of the pilgrimage. For all of its paths originating in Northern and Eastern Europe, the direction of movement for the pilgrim road is an east-to-west orientation. Since this is also the same physical progression of the path of the Sun–as we perceive it from Earth– the parallels between this particular pilgrimage and the passage of time are quite strong. 5 The region of Galica most likely derives its name from ‘Gael’, someone from the Gaelic race, a Celt. 10
  21. 21. Further supporting the time symbolism associated with the Way is the fact that European pilgrims, even today, initiate their journeys from the countries of their birth and travel to Saint James’s final resting place, his tomb. The naturally occurring symbolism of the Way provides the basis the pervasive conceptualization LIFE IS A JOURNEY, a metaphor which I will explore in further detail in the following chapter. Comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell (1986) suggests natural and permanent metaphors of the kind associate with the Way can be particularly helpful in sustaining the vitality of a tradition: “The life of a mythology derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors delivering, not simply the idea, but a sense of actual participation in such a realization of transcendence, infinity, and abundance …” (p. xx). Pilgrim and novelist Paolo Coelho (1986) recalls his own meditation on the mythological connection: I was going to relive, here in the latter part of the twentieth century, something of the greatest human adventure that brought Ulysses from Troy that had been a part of Don Quixote’s experiences, that had led Dante and Orpheus into hell, and that directed Columbus to the Americas: the adventure of traveling toward the unknown” (p. 14). Christianity has overlapped its own mythology surrounding the origins of the cult of Saint James, providing an additional intrigue for travelers and compelling them to participate in the legend (see Appendix D). The Way Today The popularity of the Way has survived into modern times. Though its numbers waned greatly after the Middle Ages, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela has 11
  22. 22. become increasingly popular in the last thirty years and promises to continue its upward trend (See Appendix E). Indeed the Way is a time-tested venture with numbers reaching into the six figure range during Holy Years 6 . In the most recent Holy Year of 2004, nearly 180,000 pilgrims completed the trek (Rekve, 2005). Last year my wife and I were two of 100,377 pilgrims who received their Compostelas 7 (Confraternity of Saint James, 2007). Since the mid-eighties, books by popular modern and diverse writers (e.g., Paulo Coehlo, Tim Moore, Cees Nooteboom 8 ) about the Santiago pilgrimage have provided insight into the written mind of the modern pilgrim. As a result of its being featured by admired authors, the Way has become something of a pop-culture travel destination, attracting greater numbers of people wishing to recreate the footsteps of these romanticized journeys. Consequently, non-professional writers too have partaken in written reflection in the form of shared experiences on list serves, journal writing, and web logs (“blogs”). Additionally, with the increased popularity of the Way, a system of free or donation-only hostels to shelter and feed pilgrims has been reimplemented in the tradition 6 A Holy Year is when July 25, the Festival of Saint James, occurs on a Sunday. It is on these years that the pilgrimage surges most with traffic. 7 The Compostela is the name given to the document awarded to pilgrims who have walked at least the last 100 kilometers into Santiago de Compostela (bicycalists and horseback riders must travel the final 200 kilometers). Essentially, they are the modern equivalent of the medieval indulgence issued to pilgrims of old. 8 Paolo Coelho (1947-) is a Brazilian lyricist and internationally best selling novelist. His novel The pilgrimage: A contemporary quest for ancient knowledge (1986) is a spiritual allegory based on his experiences along the Way. Tim Moore is a British humorist and travel writer who wrote Travels with my donkey: One man and his ass on a pilgrimage to Santiago (2004). The title of Moore’s travelogue—based on his journey down the Way—is fairly self-explanatory and indicative of the author’s lighthearted take on the pilgrimage. Cees Nooteboom (1933-) is a Dutch poet, travel writer, and novelist who is frequently mentioned as a candidate for the Novel Prize in literature. His book Roads to Santiago: A modern-day pilgrimage through Spain (1992) chronicles his pilgrimage made on foot. 12
  23. 23. of the medieval pilgrim hospices that grew up along the road. The refugios of Spain continue to keep the pilgrimage’s much-desired authenticity intact. The Way has in recent times adopted more secular associations, drawing adventurers from all over the world for physical, spiritual, and purely pleasurable reasons. Some guidebooks tend to suggest that the Road to Santiago has undergone a transformation from being a religious pilgrimage to now being more of an outdoors physical adventure: “The Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) originated as a European medieval pilgrimage. Today it is a magnificent long-distance walk spanning 738km of Spain’s north from Roncesvalles on the border with France to Santiago de Compostela in Galica” Further on the authors list the benefits of such an excursion: “For a great physical challenge, an immersion in a stunning array of landscapes, a unique perspective on rural and urban Spain, a chance to meet intriguing companions, as well as the opportunity to participate in a 1000-year-old tradition through a continuous outdoor museum, this is your walk.” (Roddis, Frey, Placer, Fletcher & Noble, p. 381). Though indulgences are now a thing of the past and the Way seems to have progressed in a less religiously-oriented direction, the statistics (Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela 2005) for the last Holy Year in 2004 reveal that most modern pilgrims still claim to take part religious reasons. Those who claimed that their pilgrimage was for strictly non-religious motives represented only 9.04% of pilgrims in that year while those claiming purely religious motives represented 37.75% of pilgrims surveyed. The majority of 2004 pilgrims (53.21%) answered that their motivation for making their pilgrimage was “religious and other,” suggesting that little has changed on the road since the Middle Ages. This information appears have inherent flaws given that the statistics 13
  24. 24. are taken by a source of Catholic bias and do not give the pilgrim a choice of “spiritual” rather than “religious”. Of the major Christian pilgrimages, none are better candidates for investigating the shift in attention from religious to secular than the example of the Way of Saint James. The Way not only saddles the gap between the ancient and the modern, but its physical and symbolic characteristics make it decidedly appropriate for the current discussion. The Great Age of Pilgrimage Pilgrimage had its greatest influence on the cultural mind of the West between roughly 1000 and 1500. The ritual has been a devotional practice of the Christian faith from its very beginnings when followers of Christ flocked to the site of his crucifixion and resurrection (Addis & Arnold, 1957, p. 649). Christ’s model of suffering and sacrifice are at the heart of the faith and could be enacted by believers through the hardships of pilgrimage. Eventually, Christians made pilgrimages to various other holy places sanctified by the Church. Officially these could be journeys of penance or thanksgiving to a site associated with or containing the relics of a sainted figure of the Church. In most cases, pilgrimages were spiritual exercises or quests as well as actual journeys of salvation since one of the rewards brought back by pilgrims from those sites were tangible, sanctioned documents awarded by the Church called indulgences (remissions of the temporal punishment for sin). Popular pilgrimages were also fueled by a medieval belief in the restorative powers of the Church and its sanctified relics. A fervor generated by the so called “cult of the saints” caused many medieval adventurers to go on far reaching expeditions with the belief that physical contact with the relics of a saint would induce a miracle of 14
  25. 25. recovery, an idolatrous adulation encouraged by the papacy. Church-generated stories of the healing powers of the pilgrimage destinations and the paraphernalia associated with them also enticed believers to take to the road. Historian John Ure (2006) describes the magnetic power of Church relics to draw pilgrims from afar, believing they might benefit from their osmotic magic: “The inspiring power of physical association, relics and miracles have often been inducements to tread the pilgrim road and it is equally true that atonement for sins and punishment for crimes have also been factors in obliging unlikely and often unwilling travelers to set out on far-flung quests” (p. 7). As pilgrimage became more institutionalized by the Church, even some courts of law started to impose pilgrimage as an alternative to execution or incarceration (Ure, 2006, p. 8). Historically, pilgrimage assumed three forms: the actual or physical pilgrimage, the labyrinthine pilgrimage, and the spiritual pilgrimage or ‘vision quest’. The latter two versions were often seen as vicarious pilgrimages. In the medieval period pilgrims could still satisfy a Church-sanctioned pilgrimage by labyrinthine means: “At its furthest remove, it was possible to make a substitute pilgrimage by crawling about a cathedral labyrinth” (Howard 1980, p. 12). The ‘vision quest’ required no physical movement at all, but did call for sound mental discipline or psychotropic assistance and was often found in an ascetic or shamanistic tradition. The current discussion, however, will focus on those pilgrims who partook and continue to partake in the first of these modes yet, as medievalist L. J. Bowman (1980) informs us, prototypical pilgrimages were not to be casually undertaken: “the actual journeying was of no significance unless animated by the spiritual quest of the viator 9 seeking his heavenly home” (p. 12). 9 Latin for “a traveller [sic]” or “a wayfarer” (Simpson, 1989) 15
  26. 26. Despite its religious and spiritual associations, motivations for making pilgrimages often varied. In part, these journeys were also undergone for mere curiosity and the sheer adventure of travel. Considering that medieval Europeans lived in relatively insular isolation, the pilgrimage offered a more complete worldview than the patch of land they called ‘home’. In this way—and in many others, as this study will reveal—the medieval pilgrim was the archetypical tourist who leaves home for the promise of adventure elsewhere and the chance to improve their overall quality of life. Mullins (1974) observes, “the pilgrim in the Middle Ages shared with the modern tourist a conviction that certain places and certain objects possess unusual spiritual power, and that one was a better person for visiting them” (p. 1). And according to MacCannell (1976), modern holiday destinations and tourist attractions are “precisely analogous to the religious symbolism of primitive people” (p. 2). The linguistic evidence of pilgrim writers deepens this connection, revealing a shared metaphor system supporting both the historical pilgrimage—religious and spiritual in nature—and the more touristic and secular one of today. The Literary Tradition of Pilgrimage The highly symbolic quality of pilgrimage easily lent itself to the imaginative invention of medieval literature. The pilgrimage motif emanates strongly from this period starting with Dante’s fourteenth century La Commedia Divina (The Divine Comedy), a metaphysical journey into Hell, through Purgatory, and culminating in Heaven. About seventy years later, the theme was popularized in English with Geoffery Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a story cycle depicting an assorted band of pilgrim raconteurs headed for the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett of Canterbury. Using the 16
  27. 27. pilgrimage frame allowed Chaucer to assemble a wide array of characters of varied stock and social standing, thereby painting a detailed picture of English life in the Middle Ages, a novel invention praised by scholars including Chaucer’s translator Neville Coghill (1951): “In all literature there is nothing that touches or resembles the Prologue. It is the concise portrait of an entire nation, high and low, old and young, male and female, lay and clerical, learned and ignorant, rogue and righteous, land and sea, town and country, but without extremes” (Coghill, p. 17). Chaucer’s cross-sectional portrait is also reflective of the egalitarian appeal of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Furthermore, his characters do not embody the typical image of the suffering pilgrim; in fact, they are enjoying themselves: “they assembled at an inn, they all had mounts, and they entertained each other with storytelling of a highly secular—and on occasion ribald—nature” (Ure, 2006, p. 14). Most of Chaucer’s pilgrims were atypical for the religious pilgrimage, reflecting the historical reality of this changing tradition: motivations behind pilgrimage had shifted or were shifting from pious devotion to secular tourism. Contrary to common beliefs, great poets like Chaucer and Dante do not hold a monopoly on the use of metaphoric conceit: the tools of the language trade are used by every one of us. Metaphor in particular “is a tool so ordinary that we use it unconsciously and automatically” (Lakoff & Turner, 1989, p. xi). The language used to describe and to discuss the concept of pilgrimage is metaphoric, not only because we conceive of all activities—extraordinary and ordinary—in this way, but fundamentally because the act itself is a metaphor for human life. Pilgrimage is a living metaphor, an act set upon the stage of a tangible world. 17
  28. 28. Medieval biographers of pilgrimage recognized the saliency of this metaphor as one for life and their depiction of it would create reverberations felt far beyond its literary popularization. Howard (1980) informs us: “The pilgrimage itself, dead as an institution in England by the end of the sixteenth century, lived on as an idea preserved in books. There was never a time when the words pilgrim and pilgrimage didn’t have force […]” (p. 6). The extended life of pilgrimage as a literary concept testifies to its legacy as a powerful metaphor. However, the pilgrimage metaphor would change as different ideas of travel developed over time. For medieval travelers, the pilgrimage was symbolic of the unidirectional journey from birth to death: From early times it had the metaphorical significance of a one-way journey to the Heavenly Jerusalem: the actual trip was a symbol of human life, and the corollary, that life is a pilgrimage, was a commonplace. The pilgrim enacted the passage from birth to salvation; at his destination he adored relics of a saint or, at Jerusalem, the places where the Lord had lived and died in his earthly body […] (Howard, 1980, p. 11). Pilgrimage steadily became secularized with the help of the corpus of literature that celebrated it; and as early as the seventeenth century this notion of a one-way journey grew to include the return trip. The notion of the return changed the way people conceived of travel and it is here that the mythology of the modern tourist is germinated. Pilgrim: Universal Traveler Pilgrimage is not exclusive to one culture, religion, or social grouping. In fact, ritualized pilgrimages have been a part of cultures around the world for centuries. The phenomenon can be found in all of the world’s major religions (the Islamic flight to 18
  29. 29. Mecca, the Christian sojourn to Vatican City, the Buddhist journey to Kapilavastu 10 , the Jewish visitation of Jerusalem). The meaning of pilgrimage has evolved to include any journey that starts at home and ends at a particular site held sacred by the pilgrim. Non- religious pilgrimages include protests such as Dr. Martin Luther King’s Selma-to- Montgomery marches of 1965, charity fun runs like the American Heart Association’s annual “Heart Walk”, even family vacations like those to Disneyworld can be considered modern pilgrimages. One of the essential criteria for pilgrimage include a definite purpose for—and worth of the journey to—the participants. The concept is such a fundamental form of the journey schema that it has the metaphoric versatility to be applied to events whose movement may only be implied. In this way, the current study is a pilgrimage itself: it sets off from an initial idea, or starting point; it follows progressive steps as it proceeds; the author—as tour guide—directs the reader’s attention to various landmarks along the way, occasionally suggesting sites of interest; and eventually the travelers arrive at the ultimate point of the paper, the sacred destination of the journey. The highly flexible character and adaptability of pilgrimage is an indication of its lasting influence on Western culture. The Oxford English Dictionary’s primary definition of pilgrim is “a person on a journey, a person who travels from place to place; a traveler, a wanderer, an itinerant. Also in early use: a foreigner, an alien, a stranger” (Simpson, 2006). Not until the secondary definition does the modern inquirer discover the word’s more germane legacy as “a person who makes a journey (usually of a long distance) to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion” (ibid. [emphasis mine]). Historically, pilgrims were only those people who fit the latter definition. However, 10 According to Turner (1973), Buddhist traditions of this kind are also shared with—and ultimately derived from—those found in the Hindu tradition (p. 204). 19
  30. 30. because of the saliency of the institution of pilgrimage in the history of Western thought, the word has drifted from the particular to the generalized in the English language. This potential universality of what it means to be a pilgrim begets another question echoic of Todorov’s: “Who is not a pilgrim?” 20
  31. 31. Chapter Two: Life Is a Pilgrimage “And what’s a life? – a weary pilgrimage, Whose glory in one day doth fill the stage, With childhood, manhood, and decrepit age.” – Francis Quarles, Elizabethan poet (1634, 1808, p. 127) The verse above by Francis Quarles (1592-1644) reflects a literary sensibility flavored by the institution of pilgrimage and is indicative of the rich metaphoric properties which made the concept such fertile material for English poets and dramatists. In these three lines of verse, the author employs several concepts which are lynchpins in the understanding of life and its metaphoric relationship with pilgrimage in the English tradition. Though Quarles penned these lines nearly four hundred years ago, pilgrim writers today rely on these same conceptual metaphors to craft their own musings on the subject. Two main metaphors are at work here which furnish much of our conceptualization of pilgrimage today: LIFE IS A JOURNEY and LIFE IS A PLAY. These metaphors will be explained herein using the imaginative language of poetry written in the tradition English pilgrimage. These conceptual metaphors of existence are supported by the PILGRIMAGE IS NURTURE metaphor establishing the core metaphors of modern pilgrim writing on the Way. Pilgrimage is saturated with metaphor at many levels: from the overall structure and shape of the activity down to the everyday language used to describe it. The language of pilgrimage can often be a confounding subject to engage in because of its metaphor-heavy properties since the line between symbolism and reality easily becomes blurred: “Pilgrimage is often described both in terms of literal journey 21
  32. 32. and as a lifelong spiritual experience but it is by no means always immediately clear which is considered to be the metaphor and which the reality” (Dyas, 2001, p. 2). In the following Coelho (1986) passage for instance, it is not certain whether the author means his real ‘first step’ or his metaphoric one: “I was actually in Spain and there was no going back. In spite of the knowledge that there were many ways in which I could fail, I had taken the first step” (p. 10). Essentially, it does not matter which sense Coelho intends because both effectively convey the meanings of pilgrimage and life as significant journeys. For non-literary writers like pilgrim Louise Gehman (2006, April 30) the use of potentially metaphoric language in written reflection of the pilgrimage is meant as literal: “[The ‘cuckoo’ birds] were particularly vocal when we walked about 2 km out of our way, thinking we were on the right path.” The poetic examples here provide a historical reference to the importance of pilgrimage in the literary tradition as well as demonstrate the foregrounding use of these metaphors. The connections drawn between source and target domains 1 therein have become so engrained in the Judeo-Christian conceptualization of human existence that they are largely taken for granted by the present-day language user. As a result, where the poets’ use of the metaphors will have been explicitly metaphoric, the modern pilgrim writings referenced here will demonstrate them as embedded metaphors. This is an indication of the metaphors’ saliency and durable usefulness in the language. What some would call ‘dead metaphors’ are really the bedrock of the language itself; as Deutscher (2005) so metaphorically puts it, language is a river on which metaphors flow from concrete to abstract concepts: 1 Cognitive linguists use these terms to explain the structure of metaphor as a transfer from one conceptual field of conventionalized information (source) to another more abstract one (target). This is called mapping from source to target. 22
  33. 33. In this constant surge, the simplest and sturdiest of words are swept along, one after the other, and carried towards abstract meanings. As these words drift downstream, they are bleached of their original vitality and turn into pale lifeless terms for abstract concepts – the substance from which the structure of language is formed. And when at last the river sinks into the sea, these spent metaphors are deposited, layer after layer, and so the structure of language grows, as a reef of dead metaphors (p. 118). The calcified metaphors embedded in this substratum of language provide evidence of the mental framework of its users in much the same way that the fossilized remains of plants and animals inform an archeologist about our prehistory. The coherency of the metaphors of pilgrimage provides a barometer of Western culture’s consciousness. This data can be extrapolated to discuss some of the fundamental questions about how we conceptualize our existence. Consequently, the linguistic survey of the modern pilgrimage also provides an insightful investigation of mythology’s role in this human ritual. LIFE IS A JOURNEY The word journey, by definition, is connected wit the passage of time. It is a twelfth century lexical borrowing from French journée meaning variously a day, a day’s space, a day’s travel, work, employment, etc. (Simpson, 1989). The basic structure of a typical journey provides an analogical comparison with the span of a lifetime. It has an embarkation point (a birth), a series of stopping points along a distance (the stages of aging), and a final destination (eventual death). And though life does not actually follow a linear path—the way this analogy suggests—a journey and all of its entailed 23
  34. 34. components provide experiential source material for discussing a human life in this way. Accordingly, one of the ways in which English speakers conceptualize their own lives is through the complex metaphor LIFE IS A JOURNEY. Lakoff and Johnson (1999) dissect this pervasive metaphor, revealing that it is in fact composed of elemental or primary metaphors through which we conceive our day-to-day experiences. Metaphors are based on cultural assumptions and agreed-upon expectations. In the case of the LIFE IS A JOURNEY, one assumption is the seemingly self-evident notion that actions are motions; this gives metaphoric movement to the accomplishment of a task which may not require any actual travel. Additionally, Westerners believe that in order to have purpose in their life, they must have goals for which they strive. They conceive of these goals as destinations in time and space which they must arrive at as one might arrive at an actual, physical location in order to achieve some purposeful task (“I want a book about pilgrimage, so I must go to the library.”) Similarly, more abstract purposes and goals are also conceived of in this way (“I want to be rich and famous, but I still have a long way to go.”). A pilgrimage offers its participants a definite purposeful destination and—as I will discuss further on—can provide the successful pilgrim with renewed meaning in their post-pilgrimage lives. Implicit in these fundamental metaphors is an understanding that goals are tangible things. Santiago pilgrims look at their final destination not as an elusive dream, but as a real object that they will eventually acquire: “I still had two weeks in which to reach Santiago […]” (Selby, 1994, p. 89); “[…] I pressed on and by the time I reached the monastery at Irache, barely two miles outside the town, I was again flagging under the appalling heat” (Neillands, 1985, p. 103). Not only is the purposeful destination 24
  35. 35. metaphorically graspable, the latter example also suggests that the physical difficulty involved with the pilgrimage can be pushed against like an actual negative force. This is all to suggest that our metaphorical understanding of a journey with a purposeful destination is interactive. What is more is that in the case of the pilgrim writers, the destination is not conceived as an object that might be reached in the future; its acquisition is only a matter of time. These primary metaphors animate the basic structure of a physical journey (ACTIONS ARE MOTIONS and GOALS ARE DESTINATIONS). These three conceptions provide the blueprint for the complex metaphor A PURPOSEFUL LIFE IS A JOURNEY which entails the following metaphoric notions: (1) A PURPOSEFUL LIFE IS A JOURNEY (2) A PERSON IS A TRAVELER (3) LIFE GOALS ARE DESTINATIONS (4) A LIFE PLAN IS AN ITINERARY Quarles’ somewhat pessimistic verse falls directly in line with this metaphorical concept, casting Man as a weary traveler whose only real destinations and goals are the biological realities of life’s progression (birth, adulthood, death), hardly the only goals that modern man and woman are likely to strive for. To be sure, Quarles does not explicitly refer to life as a ‘journey’, but pilgrimage is, as has been shown, a special type of journey—it is one of the fundamental forms a journey can take: it is one which has a purposeful destination in the form of a sacred site that is only arrived at after undergoing a series of struggles over great distance. 25
  36. 36. For these reasons, pilgrimage assumes greater significance as a fundamental version of LIFE IS A JOURNEY—we might even say LIFE IS A PILGRIMAGE. And since geographical journeys were frequently understood as representing moral or spiritual progress, pilgrims of the Middle Ages did just that, believing their journeys took on symbolic significance: “… pilgrimage was a metaphor for human life: life is a one-way passage to the Heavenly Jerusalem and we are pilgrims on it” (Howard, 1980, pp. 6-7). Pilgrimage was indeed idealized as a unidirectional, upward journey from earthly reality to heavenly perfection by many medieval pilgrims. Clearly, the numerous perils along the way made the journey’s successful conclusion questionable—even doubtful—but to arrive at the final destination and to actually die there was the ultimate ideal of pilgrimage, “the return voyage was a mere contingency, an anticlimax” (Howard, 1980, p. 48). It was considered desirable to die at the destination because embodied in that act was the perfect union of symbol and reality. Today—as we shall discuss in detail below—the pilgrimage is not really complete until the pilgrim returns home for the final stage of the journey takes place there. One of the more famous, novel uses of the LIFE IS A JOURNEY metaphor in English pilgrimage literature is John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678, 1957) in which pilgrimage and its trappings take on allegorical significance. By the time Bunyan was writing in the seventeenth century, the great age of pilgrimage had already passed in Europe and its presence had become well established in English literature. Bunyan’s Christian allegory relies heavily upon the use of character and place names which symbolize moral qualities and refer to biblical passages, essentially having double signification in- and outside of the narrative itself. For example, the main character and 26
  37. 37. primary pilgrim is called Christian; he travels through locations with names like the Slough of Despair and the Valley of the Shadow of Death on his journey to the Celestial City, meeting along the way characters named Evangelist, Hypocrisy, Faithful, and Hopeful. Bunyan’s allegory is an extended parable that uses metaphor, not as a simple embellishment of the language, but as a basic tool of reasoning. One of the central purposes of a parable is to teach a lesson. Bunyan’s didactic use of metaphor is an example of the literary sensibility of human cognition. Turner’s (1996) theory amends the generally accepted notion in the field of linguistics that the human mind has a genetic predisposition to the application of grammar, proposing instead that the human capacity for story telling precedes grammar: “the linguistic mind is a consequence and subcategory of the literary mind” (p. 141). His theory suggests that, “Narrative imagining—story—is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend upon it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, and of explaining” (pp. 4-5). A key ingredient of the literary mind is the ability to map one story schema onto another, using a narrative that is already culturally established to illuminate aspects of a less familiar one. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan maps the universally understood story of a journey onto the story of a righteous life in order to teach the virtues of Christian doctrine. Bunyan self-consciously makes his case for the appropriateness of his use of the extended metaphor in the Author’s Apology, preceding Part I imploring: But must I needs want solidness, because By metaphors I speak? Were not God’s laws, 27
  38. 38. His gospel laws, in olden time held forth By types, shadows, and metaphors? (p. 4) Here Bunyan defends his use of metaphor in his discussion of weighty religious issues (in this case the soul’s spiritual salvation), presaging Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980, 2003) insistence that human cognition is developed from an imaginative rationality that is based on metaphoric reasoning. The linguistic evidence appears to be in Bunyan’s favor on this account given that Christian teachings have—from their inception—been steeped in metaphoric language. The New Testament gives us the believed word of God through Jesus’ message: “I am the way 2 , and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6 [my emphasis]). Not only is this message metaphoric but it fits perfectly into the A PURPOSEFUL LIFE IS A JOURNEY Metaphor. It is reasonable that the Christian belief system would conceptualize the course of a life from birth to death to an afterlife in terms of a path on which ultimate harmony is achieved through struggle and effort given Lakoff and Turner’s (1989, p. 61) observation that conventional knowledge of journeys dictates that “to understand life as a journey is to have in mind, consciously or more likely unconsciously, a correspondence between traveler and a person living a life, the road traveled and the ‘course’ of a lifetime, a starting point and the time of birth, and so on.” (Re)Birth In some ways, the highly symbolic make-up of the Christian pilgrimage is still intact in the structure of the Way today and is fundamentally consistent with the 2 Just as Christianity is not the only religion to employ pilgrimage as a ritual of devotion, it is also not alone in using the A PURPOSEFUL LIFE IS A JOURNEY METAPHOR. The biblical verse above is echoic of the famous Taoist teaching in which tao translates as “way” or “path” and is literally the path to enlightenment (Tzu, 1963). 28
  39. 39. overarching conceptual metaphor A PURPOSEFUL LIFE IS A JOURNEY. With this in mind, typically one’s literal home is the staging platform from which a pilgrimage to Santiago is embarked upon. While non-European pilgrims will typically make use of other means of vehicular transportation (airplane, automobile, etc.) in order to arrive at their official starting points, the first steps of the pilgrimage begin by studying the pilgrimage course, reading returned pilgrims’ testimonials, researching guidebooks, making inquiries at confraternities associated with the Way, etc. The point being that even today’s pilgrim literally begins their pilgrimage at home. While modern conveniences of transportation give today’s pilgrim the luxury of choosing the actual location from where they will embark, pilgrims living in the Middle Ages had no choice but to set out from their front door. Even today, many Europeans leave from the very place in which they were born—if not their hometowns then the countries of their births (their mother- or fatherlands). The association of a journey’s beginning with birth is represented in Geoffery Chaucer’s3 (1957) description of spring as the appropriate season for making a pilgrimage in his General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales: Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth 3 Susan Alcorn’s 2006 travelogue Camino chronicle: Walking to Santiago suggests that Chaucer may have actually walked the road to Compostela in his lifetime. What is more certain is that Chaucer probably took many insights from actual returned Santiago pilgrims from England (Mullins, 1974, p. 61) 29
  40. 40. The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open ye (So priketh hem nature in hir corages); Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, […] 4 (p. 17). This passage relies on the metaphor A LIFETIME IS A YEAR, by which time is condensed within the scope of the solar calendar and the spring season is one that teems with new life at its beginning. This metaphor derives from the natural phenomenon of the changing seasons which are a constant physical reminder of the passage of time. Speakers use this metaphor to highlight only the most symbolic seasons, specifically winter and spring since the natural characteristics of these months provide cognitive associations with the beginning and ending stages of a life (“He’s a man of sixty winters”, “She is in the springtime of her youth”). The metaphor is consistent within the general scope of LIFE IS A JOURNEY in that the journey in A LIFETIME IS A YEAR is that of the Earth around the Sun. In addition to the practical basis for starting in spring—the lengthening days and the entire summer to finish the round trip before winter—the imagery of birth and rebirth symbolized in springtime fits well into the idea of a 4 When in April the sweet showers fall And pierce the drought of March to the root, and all The veins are bathed in liquor of such power As brings about the engendering of the flower, When also Zephyrus with his sweet breath Exhales an air in every grove and heath Upon the tender shoots, and the young sun His half-course in the sign of the Ram has run, And the small fowl are making melody That sleep away the night with open eye (So nature pricks them and their heart engages) Then people long to go on pilgrimages (Coghill (Trans.), 1951, p. 19) 30
  41. 41. pilgrimage as a life, making it clear why the metaphor LIFE IS A PILGRIMAGE developed in the medieval mind, persisting today with the Way as its proof. Accordingly, the beginning of a pilgrimage, just as in a life, is a place of birth. As we shall explore later, the promise of a spiritual rebirth is also a motivating factor in the pilgrim’s decision to participate in the ritual. Death and Afterlife By comparison, then, the final destination of a pilgrimage is a representation of death with the reward of afterlife. Again, we can look to Chaucer (1957) for a fitting example of this metaphorical connection: This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo, And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro. Deeth is the ende of every worldly soore 5 (p. 44). These lines from Part IV of The Knights Tale are in keeping with the medieval conceptualization of life as a pilgrimage (line one), people living as pilgrims (line two) and death as the end to the pilgrimage and deliverance for the pilgrim’s efforts (line three). The participation in a pilgrimage was a suitable method of doing so. Suitable insofar as the Catholic Church was concerned as the medium between the human world and God’s.Contributing to that metaphor today in the Way, is the notion that the endpoint—Santiago—is literally the final destination of the pilgrimage and thus— metaphorically—death. Symbolic support of the idea of death in Santiago is the fact that the main attraction in the Cathedral is the alleged relics of the long expired apostle Saint James the Greater. Here the symbolism of a final resting place marking the final stopping 5 This world is but a thoroughfare of woe And we are pilgrims passing to and fro. Death is the end of every worldly sore (Coghill (Trans.), 1951, p. 95) 31
  42. 42. point of a journey is apparent. Additionally, pilgrims just outside of the gates of Santiago would wash their bodies in the stream at the nearby village of Labacolla in preparation for their arrival (Mullins, 1974, p. 196). The symbolic aura of Santiago as tomb brings added significance to these ablutions as ritualistic preparations of the corpse before its ceremonial reunion with the hereafter. Pilgrims seeking the radiating powers of holy relics sought a personal contact with the eternal, with the afterlife. The word relic derives from the Latin verb relinquere meaning “to leave behind” (Simpson, 1989). The underlying significance of coming into contact with these relics was to encounter that which was left behind by some saint or other holy person, usually, literally, the corporal remains either in part or in whole. Implicit here is that these holy men and women, like Saint James, whose relics have lured pilgrims from the far corners of Europe for centuries were here once but have now left to travel the ultimate pilgrimage to the world beyond: Heaven. Not only is the notion of journeying contained in the etymology of this word but also is the idea of a separation between body and spirit. It is the spirit of a person that continues beyond this material life journey and into the ethereal world. The earthly pilgrim sought the promise of their eternal life with God. The Church supported the idea of eternal splendor through the symbolic garishness of their cathedrals. The grandeur of the Santiago Cathedral is a physical representation of that heavenly reward for which pilgrimage has been traditionally undertaken. This heavenly reward was represented materially in indulgences which were essentially shortcuts to the afterlife, reducing the time a traveler spent in Purgatory. Today this is represented symbolically in the form of the Compostela (See Chapter One). 32
  43. 43. Furthermore, the end of the pilgrimage is not the end at all just as the winter season is not the end of the life-year. The ending of the final season simply marks a new beginning, a new spring in the life of the pilgrim. This is a priceless lesson of the pilgrimage cycle. … The stages of life are linguistically linked to the stages of a journey. The Codex Calixtinus is a twelfth century anthology said to have been compiled by French scholar Aymeric Picaud, detailing the history, culture, sermons, and travel guidance of the Way. Book V - “A Guide for the Traveller” is thought to be one of the first travel guides of the Western world (Layton, 1976, p. 196). In it, the author provides advice on how to properly make the pilgrimage, separating the journey into twelve navigable stages. The segments of a life are also described in the same manner (“The child is still in a developmental stage of her life.” “He is in the recovery stage of his illness.”). The convention of partitioning lengths of space and time into stages is yet another indication of the link between a life and a journey. The word evolves from the Latin verb stāre meaning “to stand” and it is from this source that we also derive its use as a platform for theatrical production (Simpson, 1989). While speakers regularly use the former sense of the word to organize their journeys, the performance aspect of pilgrimage suggested by the second sense is manifest in other linguistic mappings from the domain of theatre. LIFE IS A PLAY In the eighteenth century the metaphor of pilgrimage was “supplanted or augmented by other images, especially that of life as theater: this image allowed the author to be not a returned traveler and omniscient narrator but a privileged spectator, exploring personages in relation to one another and to the world, uncovering their masks 33
  44. 44. and roles—an important step in the history of fiction” (Howard 1980, p. 7). In the case of the Quarles verse, we see that the poet has indeed augmented the pilgrimage metaphor of life with that of the play representing the course of a life as a drama playing out on a ‘stage’. The theatre metaphor figures into the body of pilgrimage language by virtue of the metaphor of life as a pilgrimage. As we have seen, the metaphor LIFE IS A PILGRIMAGE was a recognized poetic formula from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century and the commingling of this and the LIFE IS A PLAY metaphor in the Quarles poem is indicative of how well the allegory of pilgrimage transitions into the language of theatre. The notion of life as a performance was championed in the twentieth century by sociologist Erving Goffman (1959) who observed that our everyday interactions are analogous to “dramaturgical performances”. The pilgrims of today can be seen to engage in this theatrical behavior. Ritual—like theatre—often makes use of special accessories peculiar to the tradition. The connection between the activity and its associated costume is such that the agent of the activity is not considered authentic without the costume. In medieval times the outward signs endowed the pilgrim with a certain amount of social privilege and exemption: “The pilgrim signs worn by travelers, in addition to their attire, marked them as pilgrims and separate from society, and therefore immune from political-military conflicts between countries wherever they traveled” (Garcia, 2002, pp. 7-8). The component signs of the pilgrim costume became synonymous with the pilgrimage itself, representing role, purpose, and destination at a glance. Sir Walter Raleigh’s (1604, 1681) “His Pilgrimage” itemizes the trappings of a pilgrim to Santiago: Give me my scallop-shell of quiet, 34
  45. 45. My staff of faith to walk upon, My scrip of joy, immortal diet, My bottle of salvation, My gown of glory, hope’s true gage, And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage (Lns. 1-6) The pilgrim accessories are essential to the person enacting the pilgrimage: the ritualized garb identifying one as a proper pilgrim. The vestments described by Raleigh remain indispensable components of the pilgrimage today: scallop-shell, staff or walking stick, water bottle, rucksack (scrip), and rain cloak (gown). Not only do these items serve the practical purpose of facilitating a nomadic existence, but they help to identify the pilgrim as such to outsiders and to each other. The make up of pilgrim signs creates a “front” which Goffman (1959) defines as, “the expressive equipment of a standard kind intentionally or unwittingly employed by the individual during his performance” (p. 91). The front is at once inclusive and exclusive, representing the connection and camaraderie between fellow pilgrims and distinguishing the wearer from the common tourist—a distinction that could also have its practical merits: “It is much more advantageous to be considered a pilgrim than a tourist. The pilgrim, especially in Spain, is often treated with generous hospitality for simply being a pilgrim. It is not uncommon for those who go alone or in very small groups to be offered a fresh beverage or a snack by someone who recognizes the shell or the staff” (Frey, 1998, p. 63). Taken together, the symbols of the Way become the pilgrim’s costume for they are essentially acting out the part of the pilgrims of old. What is more is that in their undertaking they are reenacting—as their 35
  46. 46. medieval counterparts did—the suffering of the Christian martyrs of bygone days with Christ as their archetype. Along with the cosmetic symbolism of the pilgrim costume, pilgrim writing also reflects the conceptualization of life as a play. Pilgrimage writing makes use of only some of the components of the schema for a play on which the LIFE IS A PLAY metaphor is based. Specifically, writers today employ the metaphor to discuss the pilgrimage as a stage and its component parts as actors upon it. Scores of examples exist in the corpus of pilgrimage writing to support the notion that pilgrims see themselves and others associated with the Way as actors in roles within a play. Some pilgrim writers are often self-consciously aware of their new roles as pilgrims. In the case of Neillands (1985), he makes several hedged claims qualifying himself as an authentic pilgrim, which makes this reader slightly suspicious. Here he talks about ‘getting into his part’—as it were—by trying out his pilgrim paraphernalia: “As I soon discovered in my role as a true pilgrim, the scallop-shell is a useful item in its own right” (p. 25 [emphasis mine]). A caption beneath an image on one pilgrim’s online photo archive reads, “Henry takes on his pilgrim persona next to the famous pilgrim statue …” (Maloney, 2005, p. 1 [emphasis mine]). In the photo, the pilgrim is pictured before a larger-than-life bronze statue, posing in the same ‘man-in-motion’ manner as the sculpture. While these pilgrims seem to jump right into their parts, Spanish historian and Santiago pilgrim George Greenia (2005) has to adjust to the prospect of his new identity: “The role of the guy handling his midlife crisis was starting to look a lot more manageable” (p. 5 [emphasis mine]). Pilgrim and former Confraternity of Saint James Chairperson Laurie Dennett (1997) suggests that the role of pilgrim requires the agent to 36
  47. 47. act a certain way: “But may I be so bold as to suggest that everyone who sets foot on the Camino has the personal responsibility to reinforce, through the way they enact their pilgrimage, its character of simplicity, self-sacrifice, openness to encounter” [emphasis mine]. And pilgrim John O’Henley (2001) shares his advice with his fellow actor- pilgrims: “There are certainly more vehicles on the roads, and in the towns, calling for caution on the part of walkers” (p. 1 [emphasis mine]). Pilgrims are not the only ‘actors’ on the Way. In fact, all people associated with the pilgrimage in some official or semi-official capacity are also part of the cast—we might call them the supporting cast of the pilgrimage. Travel writer and Santiago pilgrim Bettina Selby (1994) describes one of the representatives of Le Amis de St Jacques de Compostelle in St Jean-Pied-de-Port: “[Madame Debril] had become a victim of the popularity of the Santiago pilgrimage and her own part in it” (p. 61 [emphasis mine]). But, she continues, “She is reluctant to lay down her role or to compromise the execution of it” (ibid. p. 62 [emphasis mine]). Locals of the villages along the Way are included in the role call: “[…] I think it no exaggeration to say that generations of local people, living along the Camino and extending hospitality to pilgrims as the natural expression of devout religious beliefs and their own open and generous characters, played a major part in keeping the pilgrimage alive …” (Dennett, 2003 [emphasis mine]). Pilgrim-actors do not even have to be actual people. Inanimate objects of the pilgrimage are also personified as actors. The cities that dot the Way are metonymic players in the pilgrimage drama: “Astorga owes much of its past and present prosperity to its role as a road junction” (Neillands. 1985, p. 141 [emphasis mine]); “[La Réole, a provincial French town] played host to me too in a small grassy ‘campement’ beside the 37
  48. 48. broad brown Garonne […]” (Selby, 1994, p. 34 [emphasis mine]). Churches, too, share the honor: “If the church in Oviedo had a heightened awareness of its own role as custodian of doctrinal purity, the court of King Alfonso II was imbued with a corresponding sense of territorial mission …” (Dennett, 2005 [emphasis mine]). Places—as might be expected—provide the proper background to the unfolding pilgrim drama: “No tributaries from other pilgrim routes met at Astorga, but it was the scene on 31 December 1808 of another and much less happy meeting of the ways […]” (Layton, 1976, p. 145). These locative, inanimate players of the pilgrimage provide a sort of set dressing with which the starring actor-pilgrims interact and on which they perform their roles. The implications of LIFE IS A PLAY suggest that modern pilgrims are somehow more than just themselves when engaged in the Way. Goffman’s (1959) dramaturgical theory suggests that a person's identity is not stable, but subject to re-creation as the person interacts with others: “when the individual presents himself before others, his performance will tend to incorporate and exemplify the officially accredited values of the society” (p. 95). The perception is that these pilgrims are cognizant—perhaps only subconsciously so in some cases—that they are involved in a grand ritual which is in many ways a spectacle and their authentic performance in that role is determined by the conventionalized front of the Way. They are players in a highly symbolic, simplified version of the allegory of human life. In support of this is the fact that pilgrimage must be participated in by leaving home–almost as if when they are removed from the familiar environs of their home life, they become different people, inhabiting different personas. This would seem to be a form of escape as Howard (1980) recognizes, “It was among 38
  49. 49. other things a fine way to escape duty, debt, or the law …” (p. 15). Escapism, indeed, has an especially strong tradition in Christian heritage: the idea of escaping one’s earthbound self, one’s ego, becoming an ascetic through self-imposed exile in remote mountain wildernesses, outside of society. By casting off the excesses of life and casting oneself in the part of the pilgrim-exile, the modern pilgrim unintentionally—or perhaps intentionally—participates in this tradition. PILGRIMAGE IS NURTURE Recall that, LIFE IS A JOURNEY provides a metaphoric understanding of the beginning and ending of a pilgrimage. But what of the stages in-between these defining poles of the pilgrimage? Like their metaphoric birth and death on the Way, pilgrims also experience progressive ‘growth’. Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is an example of how this development plays out spiritually, using the poetic language of allegory. Similarly— but less explicitly—many pilgrim writers have expressed their expectations of some sort of spiritual growth to develop as a result of their journey. Accordingly, their written output makes use of a complex metaphor of growth expressed as PILGRIMAGE IS NURTURE. This metaphor entails several other related metaphoric properties of the Way: (1) PILGRIMAGE IS NATURE (2) PILGRIMAGE IS A PARENT/CAREGIVER (3) PEOPLE ARE PLANTS Each of these metaphors is systematically coherent within the structure of PILGRIMAGE IS A NURTURE. It suggests the desire on the part of many pilgrims to alleviate some perceived ‘sickness’ or ‘under-development’ through the act of pilgrimage. 39
  50. 50. The Way is often described as having a ‘spirit’ or an ‘aura’, suggesting that it embodies some living presence. The metaphor PILGRIMAGE IS NATURE is perhaps a result of the fact that pilgrimage is animated by the people who travel it, but as Neillands (1986) suggests here, it may also have to do with the flora of the Way: “Every summer, as the green leaf turns and the heat starts to shimmer across the vineyards of France or the grain fields of Navarre, the Road to Compostela comes alive again (p. 18 [emphasis mine]). The reality of these vibrant images clearly takes on metaphoric significance as reflected poetically in Chaucer’s Introduction above. Like the descriptions of flora above, the Way itself exhibits some characteristics of vegetable life in some writing: “It stretches along more than 700 km of northern Spain, nearly 2,000 km if its four stems in France are to be included […]. It crosses many rural communities, villages and, especially, cities that flourished during the Middle Ages” (González & Medina, 2003, p. 447 [emphasis mine]). Note here that it is not only the Way that grows plant-like, the cities along its stalk also share the same features of a budding plant. In other works cities are said to “spring up” along the pilgrim road (Selby, 1994, p. 99). The conceptualization of the pilgrimage as an organism that is born, lives, and dies emerges in guidebook writer and Santiago pilgrim Miles Roddis’s (1999) observations: … the fact that [the story behind how Saint James’s remains were delivered to Galicia] was believed led to … the birth of the Camino …” (p. 383, [emphasis mine]). And later: 40
  51. 51. After its medieval heyday the pilgrimage suffered during the Reformation and nearly died out altogether by the 19th century before its late 20th century secularized reanimation (ibid. [emphasis mine]). The pilgrimage is personified by Roddis here in such a way that it is given characteristics of the prototype in Christian martyrdom: Jesus of Nazareth. Like the pilgrims who act out their roles as sufferers along the Way, modeling themselves after the martyred saints of Christianity, the road itself is seen as taking on these same features. The metaphoric life of the Way takes on further aspects of personification in Selby’s (1994) relief to rejoin the pilgrimage after a day of sightseeing in an urban center: “[…] to be back on the Camino Francés again after the swirl and bustle of the town was like rejoining an old and much-loved friend” (p. 125). Neillands (1985) exercises his poetic voice in describing one medieval hamlet on the Way: “Today the little village [of Larressingle] dreams in the sun, the warm golden walls draped with madly drooling hollyhocks” (p. 67 [emphasis mine]). The character of the Way as a person is often conceived of in the same way as Selby has described it above. Nearly always pilgrim writers will describe their pilgrimage-person as someone friendly and nurturing. On one online discussion board, a pilgrim advised others, “If you trust the camino you have never an [sic] problem” (Markus, 2006, February 22). Pilgrim Lynette Torres (2004 July 8) writes her family about her impressions of the Way: “[…] the distance has become meaningless in a way...you just pack in the morning your mochila, have some cafe con leche y pan and walk as far as you can for the day, open to what the path brings, which always nurtures and provides […]” [emphasis mine]. In keeping with this particular personification, the 41
  52. 52. Way is often given the human qualities of a mother. Santiago pilgrim and art historian T. A. Layton’s (1976) description of towns along the road gives readers the notion that the pilgrimage has the life-giving properties of a mother: “All hamlets and towns we now come to before reaching lovely León are decrepit and ugly, but all the churches and monasteries were built for the pilgrimage; indeed, the places came into existence solely because of the St James” (p. 125 [emphasis mine]). It is a fact that many—if not most— of the cities found along the road owe their presence to the sustained popularity of the Way and, thus, metaphorically the pilgrimage functions as a creator as Layton indicates. As such, other language users personify the Camino as a mother-creator more explicitly as seen here: “On the route you follow scenic country roads, fields and forest tracks as well as crossing countless villages and cities born of the Camino” (Roddis et al., 1999, p. 381 [emphasis mine]). Inherent in this quote is the metaphoric entailment that CITIES ARE CHILDREN, a metaphor that occurs throughout the literature. Cities along the Way are overtly referred to as offspring of the pilgrimage as in these passages: As the name indicates, Villafranca, the ‘French town’ was created by the pilgrim trade. Even [Aymeric Picaud’s] guide describes Villafranca as the hija de la peregrinacion jacobea 6 (Neillands, 1985, p. 147); “in 997, the little town of Santiago which had grown up around the Field of the Star […]” (Selby, 1994, p. 42 [emphasis mine]). 6 “daughter of James’s pilgrimage” (Spanish [my translation]) 42
  53. 53. Additionally, way-marks 7 along the pilgrim road also take on human characteristics as products/offspring of their mother-road: “The waymarks grew strangely neurotic, zigzagging furiously and disappearing” (Fainberg, 2004). The nurturing aspect of the Way is one of its biggest attractions for potential pilgrims. There is a perceived belief in many pilgrim writings that making a pilgrimage will help a person to grow spiritually or that their lives will be reenergized in the undertaking. This motivation is symbolized in these writers’ use of the PEOPLE ARE PLANTS metaphor. Lakoff and Turner (1989) describe the conceptualization thusly: “In this metaphor, people are viewed as plants with respect to the life cycle—more precisely, they are viewed as that part of the plant that burgeons and then withers or declines, such as leaves, flowers, and fruit […]” (p. 6). Pilgrim writers tend only to highlight the growth aspect of PEOPLE ARE PLANTS since one of the driving forces of making a pilgrimage is to celebrate or seek the fertile, nurturing spirit that it symbolizes. Though Selby (1994) claims not to seek this sort of nurturing, she does recognize its reality: “[…] whereas I believed that all journeys were a form of pilgrimage in the sense that they offered time and space for reflection and for looking at life from a fresh angle, I had no expectation of any particular reward of enhanced spiritual growth at the end of it” (p. 24 [emphasis mine]). One pilgrim writer expresses her belief that the Way will facilitate her spiritual nurturing to an online community of fellow and would-be pilgrims: “It's been a difficult year this year but one that has presented much opportunity for change. As I grow and extend outwardly, I want to do so inwardly, hence this 7 Way-marks are blazes placed along the road by the local municipalities which pilgrims follow in order to stay on the proper path; they are identified variously with red and white lateral stripes (the French GR65), yellow arrows (Spanish side), and a scallop shell emblem (intermittently and between Santiago and Finistera). 43
  54. 54. impending journey” (Mungobeanie, 2006, November 3 [emphasis mine]). Here, the writer expresses her desire not only to ‘grow’ but to ‘extend outwardly’ in the same way that a plant extends outward (and upward) from its germinating seed. The pilgrimage as nurture has the added effect of also fostering growth vocationally: “However, the experience itself [i.e. the pilgrimage] was amazing and definitely helped me grow as a person and a writer, which is why I [am] doing it all again in Sept 2006, starting from SJPP this time” (Mifsud, J., 2006, August 20). The spirit of the Way is perceived as a sort of Petri dish in which its internal environment provides the appropriate conditions for the pilgrim-plant to develop: Perhaps it really comes down to whether one accepts what certain kinds of experience -the accommodation to silence, solitude, sharing, trials of one sort or another - invite personal growth on the pilgrim's part, beyond that usually required by the circumstances of everyday life (Dennett, 1997 [emphasis mine]). The Pilgrim’s Decision The existential metaphors described above are given their full import when we also look at the motivations driving pilgrims to make their journeys. Howard (1980) suggests, “[…] the ‘pilgrimage of life’ is marked off by moral crises and choices; its goal is growth in character” (p. 7). Indeed, many pilgrim writers express their coming to the Way at some ‘cross-roads’ in their lives or amidst some personal life ‘crisis’. I use these particular terms because of their relevance to LIFE IS A JOURNEY. A cross-road is a literal location where two roads cross each other and the point at which the literal traveler must make a decision as to which road to take on his or her journey. Since we also conceive of our lives as journeys, a cross-road is a metaphorical point in one’s life path where a 44
  55. 55. decision must be made which will determine the course of the life traveler’s future. We also often hear of people experiencing ‘mid-life crises’ or being at ‘critical’ points in their lives. ‘Crisis’ comes from the Greek verb meaning ‘to decide’ (Simpson, 1989). People who find themselves at these points in their life journeys are at a cross-road, a place at which one must make a life-altering decision. The LIFE IS A JOURNEY metaphor is apparent in these terms and in the motivations behind the modern pilgrimage to Santiago. Pilgrim writers describe that their reasons for making their pilgrimages are related to life changing events which force them to reevaluate their current directions in life. Pilgrim Robin Neillands (1985) describes the state of his life at the time of his decision to make his pilgrimage: “In my case I went to get away from the life that seemed increasingly sterile, in which I could not find a reason to be happy. I left for Compostela because I had slowly but completely run out of the ability to tolerate my life as it was. The world seemed to have run dry and lost its colour. Living in it had become a pointless exercise. I suppose I was simply depressed. The Road seemed to offer a little chink of light, and I got up wearily and followed it” (p. 22) At the time, Neillands found his life without purpose, without direction. So many pilgrim writers echo his sentiment. They too are at cross-roads in their lives, experiencing spiritual crises of their own. Selby 8 (1994) describes some of her fellow pilgrims in much the same way: 8 Though she does not go into a great detail about her own troubles, Selby (1994) does inform her readers that the difficulties of the road had caused her some of her own crises de coeur [‘heartaches’] (p. 104 [my translation]). 45
  56. 56. [Harrie, a pilgrim from the Netherlands] was walking to Santiago, he said, because he had come to a point in his life where he needed ‘space to think, to work things out’; a time away from everyday problems (p. 144); It was the death of [Kurt’s] wife the year before, coinciding wit his retirement that had given him the jolt he needed to finally fulfill the debt he felt he owed his father (p. 103); [A student pilgrim] was fed up with his courses and wasn’t sure anymore if engineering was really what he wanted to do. He hoped the journey would give him time to think things out, but even if he found no answers, he thought the experience would have been worth it (p. 102 [emphasis mine]). The italicized terms above are part of a metaphorical system called MORAL ACCOUNTING. Though I will discuss this system at length elsewhere, its introduction here will be helpful to better understand pilgrim motivations and to establish its coherency with LIFE IS A PILGRIMAGE. In brief, the language of MORAL ACCOUNTING borrows from the terminological field of business and finance, illustrating our conceptualization of morality as currency. The pilgrim, Kurt, has undergone the pilgrimage as part of a promise to his father. This is not a real financial debt that he owes, it is a moral one. Likewise, the student pilgrim conceives of the activity as having money-like value. In MORAL ACCOUNTING, making the pilgrimage is worthy of repaying moral debts. By discussing participation in the Way using this metaphor system, the writer reveals an unconscious understanding behind the pilgrims’ decision: that the pilgrimage road can remedy one’s moral life road. 46

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