He said, Gonzalo de Berceo, that we are all pilgrims who walk. The adventure of the Camino de Santiago is, independently of the Inventio and its apparent lies - let the spirit of Unamuno take it into account - a path of graduation, a superior course of applied initiation, which has to provide us with the necessary resources to face this difficult test of selectivity, which after all, does not cease to be Life, because it is not in vain, it has always been said that it is the best School.
If we accept this, we can also accept that, as didactic material, the cathedrals, contemplated from a merely metaphorical perspective, do not cease to be genuine potential atanores, where anyone, not necessarily the faithful, acquires the condition of raw material, that is, without polishing, forming part of an elaborate process that has to be conveniently transmuted.
As in a comparative industrial process, although no less complex, the different departments or chapels intervene in it - transform them into retorts, stills and bonfires as you wish - where it begins or rather, transmuting, apprehending the symbols and archetypes that have to warm up your spirit and in passing, moulding your consciousness.
One of the best examples of this is the cathedral of Bilbao. Bilbao, without ever turning its back on its ancient traditions, was also one of the first cities in this complicated Hispania de Hércules y Geriones, to adopt the figure of Santiago as its patron saint, being a solace and refuge for pilgrims on that hard and ancient route that makes up the North Way along the coast.
Its history, even without going deeper into its intimacy -as Juan Eslava Galán does in his work ‘The Cathedral', stripping the soul of Jaén's cathedral- is a history of miseries and joys; of falls and ups and downs, of suffering and obstinacy.
It is known that the primitive cathedral was built on top of a previous temple. And possibly, this one also did it on an earlier pagan temple. This first cathedral, centuries before Torquemada was possessed by the spirit of the bonfire, burned on all four sides, with hardly any of its foundations saved. Detail, which makes it difficult to find out how it was in its origins.
Between the 14th and 15th centuries, the current cathedral was built, although it underwent a new series of modifications, including the tower, built in the neo-Gothic style in the 19th century. But perhaps it is true what they say, that there is no wisdom without scars and although it does not consist of pomp and the excess of ornamentative load of some others, its interior, collected and harmonious, imposes respect and admiration.
More respect and admiration, even if possible, when we observe the titles of their chapels and see in them an essential part of that ancestral wisdom, which constitute, metaphorically speaking, the Trivium and the Cuatrivium of medieval Symbolism.
In it, not only will we see a chapel dedicated to Saint Anton, but we will also see one of his few, very rare representations in which, far from appearing in the well-known representations with the bell and the piglet with the loaf of bread in its mouth, at its feet is represented an allusion to its true condition of healer of a terrible evil, which bears his name: ergotism, hellfire or more commonly, Saint Anton's fire.
Of the great veneration for the figure of Andra Mari -numerous are the churches that conserve this invocation in Euskalerria- it is not surprising that the cathedral of Santiago has several chapels dedicated to the most miraculous and venerated figures, such as the small, tiny Virgin of Pilar, so related to Santiago and its Golden Legend, and above all, with an entire Black Queen -Oh, daughters of Jerusalem! because it has been toasted by the sun - as is the Moreneta, that is, the Virgin of Montserrat, without forgetting Saint Lutetia or Lucia and that call to the inner gaze, to the ‘apnea of the unconscious' recommended by Jung.
But perhaps the thing that attracts the most attention and admiration in this small encyclopedia of stone and majesty is its magnificent mystical rose or rosette, an authentic jewel, whose beauty is not only worthy of admiration, but also of devotion.
In short, Bilbao and its cathedral of Santiago: a real lesson for all those of us who are pilgrims… and the Way we walk.
WARNING: Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property.
Te invito a conocer el mundo del que estoy enamorado.
Image © juancar347. All Rights Reserved.
Original content by @juancar347
[Martial, latin poet]
Toca la imagen y participa.
Diviértete y disfruta.